* Prices may differ from that shown
I got my DSI XL from my grandhorror for using on flights and general filling in boredom time. It is slowly becoming addictive when I am out and about hanging around ? she is not having it back yet!
This one is in red and has had a lot of use over the past year from myself, and the grandhorrors. It came with a mains charger, when plugged in it can still be played. Battery power is quite good for this type of product.
The main thing for myself is that both screens are 4.2? big, makes it much easier for me to play and see with my glasses. It still remains remarkable light, but is the right size and weight to hold for periods of time. I have also found, to my annoyance, that the screens are big enough to allow people to ''huggle in'' to watch and give advise!
I am no ''techy'' on these machines so I can only give you a general run down on it.
The larger screens are great for me, and the kids for reading text, puzzle games, Etc. You can take photos, edit photos, Etc. with some good results for kids. It has an SD card slot so photos can be saved to the album or to the SD card. Vis versa, photos from the SD card can be viewed and edited. Music can also be played via the SD card slot. Again the music/sound can be played around with as well as graphics, kids seem to enjoy it and cotton on faster than me!
Games wise, it is quick with pretty good graphics and sound for this type of console. I have not gone into it that much, but I am informed (regular by the grandhorrors) that there are an assortment of games out there for it at differing prices.
As the previous owner of a rather pink DS lite, i thought it might be time to upgrade to something a bit less old hat. But i just wasn't convinced enough by the 3DS to want to shell out the money for it - judging by the reviews of the 3D screen, it sounds a bit like forking out for the pleasure of a migraine. So it was the DSI XL for me, in that gorgeous and classy wine red colour. I guess i'm a bit too old for pink these days...
Lets get straight to the most important thing - the screens. They're both a staggering 4.2 inches big. (*waits for the sniggers*) That's 93% bigger than the DS Lite. No, but seriously, anyone that's owned a DS lite or the very original DS will know what a vast difference this is. And yes, it really does make for a massive improvement in gameplay. The whole experience is just better, despite the old saying that bigger isn't always better.
So what does the unit actually look like? Well, as usual with the NIntendo DS consoles it's a lift open lid affair. Inside you'll find two of the aforementioned huge screens - the top one is a viewing screen, the bottom a touch screen. Newer games incorporate the bottom screen a lot more than the older ones, and this makes using the XL version even more enjoyable. To the left of the touch screen is the standard D-pad and power button. Having a power button will be a novelty to those, like me who were upgrading from a DS LIte and were used to the slightly less user-friendly on/off sliding switch. To the right hand side you'll find the usual Nintendo buttons - X, A, B and Y along with the good old start and select buttons. So in general, Nintendo haven't changed their winning design too much and anyone upgrading from an older model won't find it too difficult to adjust.
Another lovely addition is the new stylus. It's called a touch pen, looks just like a posh ink pen and is 40mm longer than the regular styluses, two of which are also included with these DSI XL units. Just a little tip to anyone looking at getting an accessory kit - Nintendo also make something called a thumb stylus. They look ridiculous, a small piece of plastic with a tiny slot for your thumb, but it makes life so much easier during gameplay, particularly for younger gamers or anyone with dexterity problems.
Battery life is also much improved, with an average of 1-3 hours more than its predecessor. There's rear and front facing cameras so you can take and edit pictures. The cams are relatively low in resolution but still a fun feature, especially as it adds the opportunity to have motion detecting games - another new element to gameplay.
The unit also offers better speakers than any of the previous DS models, along with something called Nintendo DS Sound which allows you to load your m4a music tracks onto external memory, slot it into the console and play. The sound is amazingly crisp for such a small unit, and it's a great little feature.
Yet another improvement on older DS consoles - the connectivity. As always, the unit allows you to connect to WiFi and play games online with your friends. One of the major selling points of the XL to me was that it's now easier than ever to connect your DS to the internet. Previously it was a struggle, with Nintendo shutting down a lot of the support for older models and stability of the service being very poor. Connecting with the DSi XL is a dream - a few clicks and away you go, with no hassle whatsoever.
Also the DSI XL comes with pre-installed software, so even if you have yet to rack up a games collection you can get started right away with Dr Kawashima's: Little Bit of Brain Training: Arts Edition, and also a dictionary stored straight on the unit. Perfect. If you have an SD card that can be slotted in too, to give you extra space. This also comes in handy if you intend to use the internet browser, having the extra memory from the SD actually speeds browsing up a little. Obviously if you really want to browse on that size device, you really need a netbook or a tablet, but for the odd bit of surfing, it's great. The home screen also offers us access to the Nintendo DSi shop via WiFi, this means you can download games straight onto your console without having to wait for a game to be delivered or allow endless game boxes to stack up around the house!
I'm quite sad that the DSi XL, along with the DSi are missing that old favourite, the GameBoy Advance slot. For those of us that have had these much older NIntendo consoles and games, it's a bit of a let down to not be able to have a new console that's backwards compatible. I suppose you could look at it from the point of view that it makes for a slimmer unit, and a more even finish to the console in general, but still...
Another negative is that none of the DSi consoles are compatible with the newly released 3DS games. To me this is a small sacrifice for the bigger screens, but it's something you should be aware of before purchasing.
All in all, it's a brilliant console. The DS systems have grown up, they feel and look classy, have big enough screens and motions detectors to make gameplay more fun than ever before.
Most people who are now in their early to mid-twenties will have grown up with Nintendo. You'll remember getting excited over the coloured Gameboy, playing Pokemon on your Gameboy Advanced and nerding out when the Nintendo DS finally came out. This hold especially true for men who, let's face it ladies, are still as excited about their toys now at 25 as they were at 5.
I decided to get my boyfriend a DSi XL for his birthday last year. His Sony Playstation had met with an early demise and he was mourning it like one would mourn the loss of a beloved pet. A year later, I'm not sure if buying him a DSi XL was the best move I ever made in terms of winning 'good girlfriend' points or a rookie mistake (since I now find myself getting ignored for a game of Pokemon).
First off, my boyfriend absolutely loves his DSi XL. He loves it more than his 3DS which he bought a few months ago. The fact that the screen is bigger makes for better Gameplay, and the larger size makes the DSi XL more comfortable to hold. The fact that the DSi XL cannot take older games can be a bit annoying at times, but in general the device has much more advantages than disadvantages. My boyfriend also loves the fact that the battery lasts for quite a while when fully charged and that the DSi XL can connect to wifi and act as a web browser. The two cameras (one in the front and one in the back) are also great for snapping pictures while out although the resolution of the pictures is no where near as high as those taken by a good camera phone or camera.
Still, in terms of value for money the DSi XL is great and if you purchase it for your boyfriend or husband they are sure to love it and love you for thinking of it!
DSI XL. A handheld console by Nintendo which you insert games cartridges into to play games, draw, read books etc.
As a massive fan of the nintendo products i loved the original DS. My only dilema is being a fair bit older than my children my eyesight is not as good as it used to be. I enjoy all of the games Nintendo have created but without being able to play them for very long as the screen has been too small i became very frustrated.
Then out came the DSI XL. Oh happy day. I rushed straight out and ordered it and awaited the day it would be in. I bought the wine red colour which is like a burgundy red. In the shop i tried the dark blue and the yellow DSI XL they had on display with MarioKart. I found the yellow one too bright and hard to concentrate on the screen and the dark blue one just looked too dark for me. There is a special edition bright red one with the mario pictures on it but I personally wasn't keen. No particular reason why it just didn't appeal to me. The colour is totally personal preference but at least there is a wide variety of colours to choose from.
What does it do?
Everything the original DS did but with the additional fun of a camera and fun effects you can add to your pictures but with a much larger much easier to see screen (ideal for me with my not so tip top eye sight).
What doesn't it do?
Unlike the original DS the DSI XL WILL NOT play not european games. Any DS games you buy from sites like Ebay which are from America or non european region are no good they just simply will not load onto the DSI XL. There are also a very small selection of DS games that will not play including Guitar Hero. If in doubt look the games up on the internet or ask a game store member of staff for advice before purchasing.
So it arrives. The box is simple. White with a picture of the DSI XL on it and a stylus (name for a DS pen). You get 2 pens with it one small stylus which slots into the back of the DSI XL which makes it easy to take with you without losing it, and one large stylus which is far nicer to use. Note for drawing games I would recommend the small stylus as the markings are more precise and I found the results far better.
The console itself is quite large but not too heavy. The console lifts up to open out into a top and bottom screen. The screen is 4.2" which is 93% bigger than the original DS. The top screen is just for viewing, the bottom screen is for using the stylus on to select options. This is a touch screen and you can use your finger to touch it instead of the stylus if you wish. You can buy screen protectors for less than £3 to protect the screens from damage witht he stylus, fingermarks, dirt etc if you wish.
The console is charged with a charger. This comes in the box. It doesn't take long to charge up. A few hours should fully charge it. The on button is on the bottom front left of the console. Simply push it and the screen will light up. Next use the stylus or your finger to scroll left or right or the left and right buttons and select the option you'd like. This includes settings, games, camera, some preview games or trial games already installed, dictionary, internet, web browser, picto chat, download play, DSI shop and DSI sound.
What do they do?
System settings: these change your wirelss internet connection settings, screen brightness, profile details where you can personalise your DSI XL, date and time and alarm (never used the alarm), parental controls where you can limit the content allowed to be displayed, language and updates. There are a few others but I have never needed to amend these.
There is no slot for the old GameBoy Advance games which the original DS has.
Game - play the game loaded in the cartridge slot.
Camera - take and edit photos and view your photo albums
DSI sound - play music from your SD card or record and edit music and sounds - some of the voice distortions can be very funny to play around with higher pitch or fast or slow talking like a chipmunk or slow motion.
DSI shop - where you can connect throught you home wireless internet and buy more games or download extra free ones or spend you stars which are nintendo points you find in the box when you buy a new game. These can be exchanged for more games.
DSI download play - join another DSI player and play together but you must be sat near each other.
Picto chat - chat to each other by writing and sending messages and pictures. This can be used from one room to the other the children often use this feature to chat once they've gone to bed.
DSI browser - browse the internet again requires wireless home internet
Dictionary - look up spellings or compare words in different languages
Trial games - a sample of brain training and Art and drawing games.
Sinply follow the instructions on the screen for any of the options you want. If at any point you want to go back to the beginning simply press once the power button. To turn it off press and hold the power button.
The games cartidges are very small less than an inch square and wafer thin. These slot into the back top edge of the console and it is clearly labelled on the console where and how to put them in.
How easy is it to use?
Very. Most games give on screen instructions and anything you want to do is very straight forward and if you press the wrong button simply reset.
I tend to find this can make your wrists ache a little if held up for long periods of time as it does weigh more than the original DS. Ask in any games shop to hold one to guage the weight.
Not all games that played on the DS will play on the DSI.
No GameBoy Advance games slot which the original DS has.
Everything. i can enjoy all the games I love again and see them clearly. I was worried they would be more pixelated but you don't notice this as much as I had feared. Some games are worse than others for this.
I have bought some books which come on the games cartidges and with the background screen lighting I can read in bed or play games without disturbing my husband with having to have the light on.
It has a slot for headphones so I can listen without everyone else having to listen. The sound quality is good.
Art games are brilliant on the DSI XL I would strongly recommend Art Academy as it step by step teaches you to draw adn all the skills needed to paint etc. I'm not very good still but I do very much enjoy playing.
This is easy to use, simple to understand and although I bought it because its larger due to my sight my children love using it to especially showing each other their photos and special effects including my favourite putting Mario's hat and moustache on the photo of their dad. Very funny.
Overall I love this I am pleased I bought it even if the cost is expensive at just over £130. (was about £150 when I bought it a year ago.) It fits in my handbag and goes everywhere with me purely because it is entertaining and with the games cartridges being so small you can take a book game and a game for the children to play and everyones happy for those moments waiting for school to come out etc.
What Is It?
Today I am reviewing the Nintendo DSi XL. The DSi XL currently comes in six colours, Dark Brown, Blue, Green, Wine Red, Yellow and Red. The Red one is a limited edition Super Mario 25th Anniversary bundle though so I am not sure how long that particular colour will be available for.
Who Makes It?
The Nintendo DSi XL is made by... you guessed it... Nintendo. It is the fourth version of the DS to be released, its predecessors were the DS, DS Lite and the DSi. The DS series follows in the footsteps of other Nintendo hand held consoles such as the GameBoy, GameBoy Color and Gameboy Advance. With updated versions of all our old favourite games.
What's In The Box?
Inside the box you will find the DSi XL console, a mains charger for the DSi, an updated stylus that is slightly longer than a normal DS stylus, a second stylus that is the same size as a regular pen and does not slide into the console like the normal stylus and all the user guides and information you need to get started.
So What's XL All About?
The main purpose of the XL is the bigger screens, the screens on the XL are 4.2" which makes them 93% bigger than the screens on the DS Lite. It also comes with "A Little Bit Of Brain Training... Arts Edition" pre-installed on it. Another new function is that now instead of having to turn your console off and on again to change games you can change games with the machine on. All you do is when you have finished playing your game just press the power button once quickly and it will take you back to the main menu where you can then remove your game and insert another one. To turn the console off completely press and hold the power button.
You can play music using the SD slot in the side of the console. You just have to put the songs onto the SD card in the AAC format and put it into the console to access the files. It is a shame that you cannot play MP3 files but it is still a great feature.
You get three play lists to save your music to, top ten, practice and memory. Each one holds up to 100 songs each.
Sound quality on the XL is better than on the previous versions too, surprisingly clear.
There are also several effects that you can add to your music as an extra fun feature, I wont go into them here as it is nice to figure out little things like that for yourself.
Another pre-installed application is the voice recorder. I have only used this feature once or twice myself so far but it is definitely a fun addition. You record yourself saying something and then you can add effects to it to change the sound when it is played back to you. For example you can speed it up or slow it down. You can also make it a higher or lower pitch. There is quite a few things you can do with it, I still have not got it completely figured out myself.
The cameras on the XL are 0.3megapixels. There is one underneath the top screen and one on the cover. You can switch between the two cameras depending on whether you want to take a photo of yourself or someone else. There are a lot of fun effects for the camera, you can add frames and objects (such as a filmstrip frame and objects including tear-drops, Mario hat and moustache, cats ears and whiskers and many more), you can also merge two photos together, create your own frames or one of many other effects that are offered up. If you have a WiFi connection you can also upload them directly to Facebook from the DS.
If you have a WiFi connection you can access the DSi Shop. In this shop you can download DS Wares either for free or at the cost of Nintendo Points. You can get Nintendo Points by purchasing them or registering your Nintendo Products. When you purchase a Nintendo product there will be a little leaflet inside the box (usually gold) that has a pin on it to register your product at the Nintendo website. Once you have registered your account will be credited with stars, you then use the stars to buy Nintendo Points. It is all explained on the website. 100 Nintendo Points costs 400 stars and you can exchange stars for points once per day. There are currently only two free DS Wares on the DSi shop, and my DSi XL came with both of them pre-installed onto it, but my boyfriends only had one of them pre-installed on it and he downloaded the other one. The one we both had pre-installed was the internet browser, the other one is called Flip Notes, I have not tried that one out yet so cannot say anything about it in this review.
There are some good games on the DSi Shop, I am currently saving for "A Little Bit of Brain Training... Maths Edition" which costs 800 Nintendo Points. The cheapest games I have seen so far are 200 Nintendo points. Whenever you buy a game it will have a pin number for registering it inside it so every time you get a new game you will be able to add to your Nintendo Points and save up for some of the better downloadable games. As far as I know the DS Wares cannot be purchased any other way or downloaded from anywhere.
If you have used one of the previous DS versions then you will be familiar with the controls of the DSi XL, or even if you have only used a GameBoy before you should be pretty familiar with them. You have the directional buttons on the left (up, down, left and right), on the right there is the A, B, X and Y buttons along with the start and select buttons. Two noticeable differences between the DSi XL and the DS Lite is that for one, the power button has moved, it is no longer a switch on the side of the console but a button just under the directional buttons and secondly the volume button is no longer a switch on the base of the console but two separate buttons on the left hand side of the console. The volume buttons can also alter the brightness if you press select and then use the buttons.
How Much Does It Cost?
The DSi XL varies in price depending on where you go to buy it. The console alone costs in the region of £140 give or take. This seems a steep price, but it is worth it. There are also many bundles available for purchase. For example the bundle I purchased was a DSi XL console with the Pokemon Heart Gold game (complete with pokewalker) and it cost me £170. It is a good idea to shop around for different bundles and offers to find one that suits you.
You can buy the DSi Xl on it's own on Amazon brand new for £139.99.
Problems With The Console
Personally I have not had any problems with my console itself. We have had a problem playing games with people who have the DS Lite, we found that we could only play games with them if they had the game too (multi-card play). When using the built in DS Download play (single card play) we found that anyone who did not have the game would get cut off often.
One other thing that I noticed with my boyfriends DSi XL is that his screen started flickering, which happened about a week after getting it. It stopped on it's own though so I don't know what happened there.
I own a Wine Red DSi XL and I absolutely love it. I got it because my DS Lite broke and I needed a replacement. The camera is fun for people of all ages and it is great that you can put the photos directly onto Facebook. I love the pre-installed Brain Training game as it makes full use of the camera function, I wish they would bring out a full brain training game that did this as well as more games that make use of the camera function.
I like being able to download new games from the DSi Shop, and hope that they will add more free ones for people who cannot afford to be buying new games for the Nintendo Points all the time (or even buying the points themselves).
In conclusion I would definitely recommend this console to anyone who is thinking of buying it. Once you get used to the larger screen you wonder how you ever coped on the DS Lite with it's tiny by comparison screen.
Don't just take the first offer or bundle you see though, if you decide what YOU want in a bundle and then shop around online for it you will find the perfect bundle for you rather than ending up with games you have no interest in because they came with the bundle. It is worth remembering also that some shops will let you exchange the games in the bundle for others of equal or less value, all you have to do is ask!
When considering writing this review, I wondered whether to pitch it to the completely uninitiated, or to those already familiar with the DS console, explaining the differences between the original version and this XL model. I opted for the latter, because I am going to include all the information that I would have wanted to know when I was considering buying the DSi XL. Most people will know that the DS console is a handheld gaming system by Nintendo that utilises two screens and that games can be controlled by the inbuilt keypad or the stylus, which is a narrow pen that slots in the back of the console. We have already had the DS, DS lite, DSi, and even the new 3D version. What are the advantages of buying the DSi XL over these versions? All will be revealed...
Before buying the XL, we already owned a DS Lite and a DSi. I like the Lite version, because it is retro compatible with the Gameboy games, something that Nintendo did not include in later versions, and I like the DSi because it includes a camera and voice recorder and is lots of fun. trouble is, I have 3 kids and only 2 DS consoles, so I was looking to buy a new one, so that there was no arguing! I was not interested in the new 3D version, because I had read reports about it being unsuitable for young children and causing eye problems. My youngest son already wears very strong prescription glasses, so I did not really want to cause him any more problems. I was hoping that the release of the new console would have pushed prices down, but alas, this is not the case. The DSi XL cost about £159.99 in most shops, but they will usually throw a free game in for you. Pre owned models usually begin at £120. When I saw the price, decided against the console, because it just didn't seem woth paying extra for, when you can buy previous models for a lot less, but I decided to check out my local Argos Clearance store, where, to my absolute shock, they had a brand new brown XL console for a mere £109.99. Needless to say, I grabbed it when I got the chance, really chuffed that I had saved myself a whopping £50.
So, what is so special about the XL? Well, I suppose size matters, and when I stand the XL next to the other two DS consoles, it looks quite a bit bigger, which really does make for a better gameplay experience. My son for example, loves the zoo tycoon game and similar games, but on the regular DS, the graphics can look pretty tiny. On the XL, the graphics are a lot clearer. Everything is much easier to see. The games look really fantastic on the bigger screen, and the sound quality is lovely, crisp and clear. The console also has a bigger stylus, as well as the regular sized one that slots in the back. The trouble is that the bigger one does not actually slot in the back, so whilst it is more comfortable to handle, where the heck do you put the thing? Ours has ended up in my DS tin, which is an old sweet tin I use to keep all the chargers and spare DS bits in. I don't really think that the big stylus is going to get a lot of use, though it will be less likely to get lost down the back of the setee like the little ones, so it depends on your point of view.
The XL is very similar in features to the DSi, with its two cameras and voice recorder functions, which are identical in the two consoles. You can have loads of fun with these functions, and the internal storage of the Ds allows you to store about 400 pictures, even more if you have an SD card. You can do lots of daft things with your photos and edit them into oblivion, adding weird cartoony bits and stretching your face like rubber! A slight variation with the XL version, is that you can also upload your photos to Facebook, which you can't do on the previous DS model.
A great feature of the console is its wireless features. You can play against your frinds and family, whether they are in the same room, or even a bit further afield if you have access to the internet. My kids like playing racing games like Mario Kart, which they can all play, even though we only have one copy of the game, because the consoles connect wirelessly so they can all play. This doesn't work with all games though, and some games require each player to have their own copy of the game.
There are loads of games for the console, and something for players of any age. You can even get books to read on the Ds, "Kindle style". Personally, I love brain games and puzzles, whereas the kids love racing, and platform games. Preowned games can be really cheap, whereas the latest releases can cost as much as £30.
The XL has a brain training game already installed, which is a bit limited, but lots of fun. I get frustrated with the game, because some features require you to say words out loud, and the console can't understand my Black Country accent! The console also has a handy dictionary, which translates words into different languages, and you can even use the camera to take a photo of a word and the dictionary will translate it for you.
Another function of the XL, which is not on the other consoles is the flipnote function. This allows you to create animations, by making flip books, which you can add sounds to, creating your own cartoon. My daughter is 8, but she has made some really impressive cartoons using this method. Move over, Nick Park!
The DS comes with a charger, and I usually find it best to play with it plugged in, as it loses its charge pretty quickly, only lasting a few hours after each charge. It definitely does not keep its charge as well as the smaller DS consoles. The console looks well made, stylish and durable.
As an adult, I like the XL version, and the size suits me better, but my son says the smaller console is better for his smaller hands, and more comfortable for him to play on.
In conclusion, the DSi XL is a fun console with lots of quirky features, a large screen, a camera, flipnotes, dictionary and voice recorder. However, the downsides are that it does not hold its charge for long and has nowhere to store the large stylus. Of course, the biggest downside is that it does not understand Black Country (but then, who does?). I love the console, but for me, it does not have so many advantages over the basic DSi, to justify the large price tag. If I hadn't got mine cheap, I would have bought a regular DSi. As things go, I'm pretty smug that I bagged a bargain.
For Christmas 09 I surprised my wife by buying her a Nintendo DS Lite console, for someone who isn't much of a 'gamer' but enjoys puzzles and word searches I thought it would be ideal for her to while away a few hours when we are away from home at our caravan. To that end the present was a great success and I must admit to borrowing it on more than a few occasions when I discovered the world of Professor Layton, seeing an opportunity and wanting to make a claim back on her own console my wife ended up buying me my own DS console for Christmas last year but rather than buy another DS Lite she went one better and bought me the latest incarnation of the console; the DSi XL.
I enjoy playing games on my system and that it what it is exclusively used for although there are many features on this console which are not included on the DS Lite. For the purpose of making this a comprehensive review I mention the different features it offers as well as giving my own opinion on how they perform.
**The Bigger the Better?**
First things first though and undoubtedly the main difference between the DSi XL and DS Lite is the size of the actual console itself and the screens on which you play. Impressively, the screens on the XL are 93% larger than the DS Lite and the difference between the two is quite remarkable and very obvious when it comes to playing a game. This is the one aspect which appealed to me the most and as I can spend hours and hours playing a game the fact that they are easier to see means that I no longer get the headaches I used to get when playing on my wife's DS Lite. I half expected the image quality to have been compromised or for there to be obvious pixilations in the resolution but to my eye there is absolutely no difference whatsoever. Images are clearly and brightly presented on the DS XL and the fact that you can see more detail makes 'point and click' puzzle games that much easier to play. Games such as Professor Layton are beautifully rendered in bright, exquisite detail which makes the portable gaming experience that much better and an improvement to the consoles sound delivery makes it clearer to be heard and much more involving to me as a player.
There are improvements to the stylus with the DSi XL, as well as being provided with a stick stylus the same as with the DS Lite the XL also comes complete with a fatter stylus which has a pen-like appearance to it. This is far easier to hold especially when it comes to extended game playing and is a lot more comfortable between the fingers and thumb, the only downside with this new addition is the fact that it cannot be incorporated into the console the same as the original stick can so this does stand a very real chance of being lost rather quickly especially if you are buying this console for a younger player. Fortunately you are still provided with the original stylus anyway should you need to fall back on it which can safely be housed into the body of the console itself.
Bigger screens inevitably mean a bigger console overall and there is a considerable difference to holding a DS Lite and XL in your hands. I'm in two minds about this in all honesty as the appeal of the Lite to me is that it is easy to pick up and play whenever I want and whilst I can still do this with the XL the fact it is larger and therefore bulkier means that after a while it does become uncomfortable to hold especially during a long game playing session. The payoff is obviously with the screens itself so it's a difficult aspect to actually criticize but I would be lying if I said there was no difference between the two and as appealing as the larger screens actually are you do pay the price for this by having a bigger console to hold and try and make comfortable in your hands.
Other features which are new to the DSi XL are the inclusion of 2 cameras on the console itself one inward pointing and the other outward. These are a great little addition which will no doubt appeal to younger owners of the console and the fact that you have access to software to manipulate images you capture makes this an enjoyable feature that can provide a few chuckles. Images are surprisingly clear and much better than I thought they would be with the camera, you can store them onto the systems internal memory or insert a SD memory card and store them that way. This isn't a feature I use much I have to admit, I did have a play around with the cameras on Christmas Day but the novelty did soon wear off for me, however I can see that other people would certainly enjoy the fun this could offer them and credit to Nintendo for actually including this onto the system in the first place.
A sound recorder is also included which allows you to manipulate the pitch and pace of what you capture and again whilst this isn't really something I use myself I can see it being great fun to younger owners of this system and another amusing addition. If you have access to Wi-Fi then the console can be connected to the internet and games can be downloaded from the DSi store online, as we don't have a wireless internet connection at home I can't actually comment on this feature as I haven't been able to try it out for myself. Reading other reviews it would appear that the connection speed and the systems browser is dependent on how quick your internet provider is so this is something that will be different for everyone.
There are a couple of pre-installed pieces of software, "A little bit of Brain Training: Arts Edition" and a 6-in-1 dictionary, these along with the other features are accessible from the consoles 'dashboard' when it is first switched on and using the supplied stylus you simply click on what you want to access. As already stated I use my DSi XL for game playing and it's just a case of me inserting the game cartridge into the slot at the back of the console, switching it on and selecting the game from the dashboard, it really is as easy as that.
Supplied with the console is a charging lead which is of decent length and this slots into a little jack connector on the back of the system itself so doesn't get in the way when in use, I find that I can get a good 6 hours continuous game play before the indicator light turns red (this acts as a visual warning that the batteries are getting low and require charging) and once plugged allows me to continue playing whilst charging away. I can't say how long a full charge takes as I tend to leave mine overnight so that it is ready to be picked up and played the next day, I would imagine this would only be a matter of a few hours though even from empty but haven't actually timed it myself.
The console as a whole appears to be made from robust materials which have a quality feel to them, the coloured casing has a sheen to it which gives it an expensive look and internally the two screens are surrounded by a matt finish. The buttons on the console themselves are of a size which makes them easy to press but are not too large so they are obtrusive and as the majority of games require the stylus to be used anyway they are seldom utilised. Despite my concerns about the weight of the console when held in one hand (my other hand holds the stylus) I do consider the DSi XL to be a fantastic system which has given me plenty of hours of game play. The improvements to the sound delivery and of course the larger screens and easier to hold pen stylus makes playing DS games a lot easier on this system and the fact that there are additional features including 2 cameras and an internal web browser makes the DSi XL a lot more than just something to play games on.
My DSi XL is wine-red in colour but there are other options to choose from including black and green and unlike the garishly coloured DS Lite's the DSi XLs are quite muted in comparison. In December 2010 my system cost £139.99 and included in the bundle deal my wife went for were 2 additional games plus a protective case and accessories including a spare pen stylus. Whilst this is undoubtedly a considered purchase it is one that I would highly recommend even though the launch of the soon to be released Nintendo DS 3D may limit its desirability somewhat although saying that it wouldn't surprise me if Nintendo end up reducing the price of this incarnation of the console when it is superseded by the newer model.
Due to the weight of the DSi XL I would question its suitability for very young players as holding it for a long period of time may be uncomfortable for small hands, older players and adults shouldn't have that many problems with it though but be aware that if you are switching from a DS Lite to this you will notice a big difference.
I conclusion then I should award a perfect, five star score for the DSi XL really as it has made a vast improvement to playing DS games for me, however the weight and size of the console does make it ever so slightly cumbersome and not as comfortable to hold as the DS Lite was so I am going to deduct a star from my final score. I do highly recommend it though and my four star score still represents an overall excellent rating from me and given the choice between my DSi XL and my wife's DS Lite I would reach for the XL every time.
Thanks for reading my review.
I bought this for my 12 year old daughter's christmas and after using it for the past few weeks (in a more regular basis than I would have liked as it is very addictive) she is so far delighted with it. She had a ds lite which was broken beyond repair through rough handling so after reading reviews and talking to friends, I decided to go for the new dsi XL model, rather than buying another DS Lite as by all accounts, it was worth the extre £40. I managed to purchase it in Curry's for £135.
The biggest difference between the DS lite and the new DSi XL model is the size of the screens. There are two 4.2 inch screens which are 93% bigger than the original. This gives it a much wider viewing angle wich allows others to watch and share the fun while you play. Although you wouldn't think this would be very enjoyable, I have saw up to 5 children crowding around the player for up to an hour, throwing in helpful tips (or otherwise) as he/she plays. Now as my daughter had no access to a ds for about a year prior to receiving her new one she wasn't able to compare the size until her younger cousin appeared with his "tiny" ds lite, as described by both my daughter and cousin age 9 after having a go on both models. However, the console is quite a bit bigger and heavier, which might be a bit tricky for younger children to handle, but for older children it is perfect. In fact when this model was initially released it came only in wine and brown colour choice which makes me think that Nintendo was primarily aimed at the adult market. The larger screen is definitely suited to those of us who are short sighted or not so young, with its larger text making it especially useful when playing games such as brain training, a built in game on the console, and also language or vocabulary learning games where there is a lot of text to read. I have notice though that it has now become available in brighter, funkier colours for the younger audience (or for those of us that don't mind being caught out playing our kids games)!
The other great function that this model has is the ability to take images which can be edited, manipulated and effects added. You can save these photos in the photo album or onto an SD card (there is an integrated slot for an SD card on the console. We have all had great fun taking pictures and we especially like the fact that we can take a picture together and measure the likeness between family members, ie. it will tell you the perecentage likeness between the two people that have been photographed. Lets say that my 14 year old daughter wasn't quite as pleased as me to find out that there is a 45% resemblance between us and we were likened to siblings.
The DSi sound application also lets you play music via an inserted SD card and also allows you to record and manipulate sounds which the kids have had great fun with, especially my 4 year old who is at an age where she loves nothing more that the sound of her own voice!
Finally, the DSi XL has translation software that is truly amazing. It has actually been described by Nintendo as a dictionary 6 in 1 which is a bit misleading as it does not define words but translates them into different languages. How it works is as follows: you type, write or photograph the word that you want translated and it will translate it into 5 other languages which include French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Italian. Imagine how useful this would be on holiday? You can actually take a picture of a sign/ menu description, etc, that you need translated (if it is one of the above mentioned languages) and it will actually translate it into English for you. I have not had the opportunity to try this out yet but will keep you posted on how well this works.
The console comes with an AC adaptor which is used to recharge the battery pack. It can also be played while it is plugged in which is a good idea as you can then conserve the energy stored in the battery pack for when you are out and about. The Nintendo DSi browser also lets you access the internet from anywhere with a wi-fi connector.
With hundreds of games to choose from - which is purchased as a games cartridge that is inserted into the DSi XL - this console is designed to appeal to the mass market. Favourite games in our family are Professor Leyton and the Curious Village (a series of puzzles to be solved) and Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney (a game which takes you through the investigation and courtroom phases of a case). For learning a language, My Chinese Coach is a comprehensive game that is a useful learning tool for learning Mandarin Chinese. It is also available in Spanish, French and Japanese.
The games can be quite expensive though, ranging from abot £10 to up to £40 for a newly released popular game. However one of the advantages of this console is the ds download facility which allows you to download whatever game your friend(s) are playing if you are all in the same room This allows you to interact and compete with each other in the game which my kids have found to be great fun.
In conclusion this is a great buy , and versatile due to the huge number and types of games available. With a quick start up button, it is also very easy to use as my four year old daughter manages to use it competently. As someone who is somewhat technolocially challenged, I also have no problems with using the console which might be a better indication of its simplicity. I happily award the Nintendo Dsi XL a well deserved five stars.
I bought a DSi XL for my daughter for her birthday. She was desperate for one, as her friends were getting one too. In hindsight, I wish I'd saved my money.
It's not a bad product. But as she already had an original Nintendo DS (not DSi) she wanted one with a camera.
The positive first - the screen is great. It's good size, very clear and sharp. But I don't think it adds much to games. The buttons feel......nice.......but I wouldn't really have missed the difference.
The negative! The camera positioning is stupid. Once you buy a holder for the DSi XL, most holders cover the lens - so my daughter has to position the case in a strange way to be able to take pictures. And the big chubby pen????? What's that about, and where should you keep it???
The whole machine feels, wrong. The original DS feels tidy and the right size for your hands, but the DSi XL just feels clumsy and unbalanced.
We're not a big gaming family, but even I can tell this isn't going to be a massive hit.
Summary - good if it's your first DS, but a waste of money for an "upgrade".
This product from Nintendo is the lastest in a line of products, I think this product is useful and can be used by all ages. I got mine from Amazon, as it was the best price I could find. All the previous games from other Nintendo DS's also work on this console. However, this console doesn't have a Game Boy game slot like the other DS's.
Also when mine arrived the top screen was slightly loose but in time it has fixed itself. The camera is only 0.3 megapixels, but you can't really tell. Also you can adjust images and make them look funny or confusing to fool your friends, I thought this was an innovative feature because you can have hours of fun with your friends and family.
Also, this model can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, which made this device more practical aswell, the only problem was that its performance does suffer slightly with its weak wireless component.
In addition, the touch screen is extremely responsive and makes games feel smooth and versatile. The touch screen is the significant feature in this device, in my opinion. Aswell as this if it does become un-calibrated it is easily fixable with an application under 'Settings', unlike other previous models where if it loses calibration you can't fix it.
Aswell as this, this model has a added new feature to the DS range, by installing an SD card slot. This is useful for uploading photos to play with on the camera application. You can also upload these pictures directly to Facebook from your DSI XL. You could also put the SD card in you Computer or laptop and upload them to anywhere.
In conclusion, I belive that this product is quiet reasonably priced and that every home should have one, And if you were thinking about buying it as a gift, anybody would be overjoyed to receive one on these.
I bought a Nintendo DSi XL about two or three weeks ago now, so I've had a bit of chance to really have a good play on it before writing this review. I ordered it from Amazon as part of a deal, where I paid £149.97 for a DSi XL in dark brown, and that game with a new game (had a choice of about 15) and a new dark brown accessory pack too (eg a case and spare stylus etc). That was about the best deal I could find, as even on ebay they seem to be costing at least £130 just for the console alone. It's a lot of money to pay for a games console, but I suppose considering the technology that's gone into it, and inflation in general, it's not an unreasonable price to pay.
Getting my new DSi out of the box for the first time was really quite a surprise. I know they say the DSi is much bigger than the DS Lite (the last console I had used), but I wasn't fully prepared for the dimensions of it in reality. This is a chunky, old-fashioned looking little brick really. Like a Gameboy original has been dressed up as a filofax.
They say that the screen is 92&% bigger on the DSi XL than it was on the DS Lite, but actually it's just the console which looks that much bigger. The actual screen is only 92% bigger when you put together the top and bottom screens, then work out the extra percentage over all. It's not like the bottom screen alone is now 192% of the old bottom screen size alone (if that makes sense?!).
I don't think much to the feel of the console either, so it's not just the first visual impressions which left me feeling a bit deflated. The power button is now on the front of the console, but other than that the other buttons are in the same places (close enough anyway) as they were on the DS Lite. The top and bottom panels are set differently though, with a raised rim running all around the edge that feels a bit cheap and crude. It's not got the sleek and glossy surfaces that its predecessor had. The larger stylus has a nice feel at least, though I'm not a fan of the chunky pen which also comes with this new larger console. There's nowhere on the console to store the larger pen either, so if that's what you want to use instead of the slim stylus then you'll need to make sure you have a case to carry it all together in.
Actually booting up and using my DSi XL cheered me up a bit though, as I found that reading the screen on this was noticeably easier than it had been on the DS Lite. The DS Lite, in fairness, has been designed for children to use - so naturally it's a bit awkward for some adults. The DSi XL has been designed to overcome that, and I think with reasonable success.
There are some drawbacks to this larger screen though, and that's that certain DS games have been made so poorly graphics-wise that you wish you didn't have to see them enlarged on a DSi XL screen! Zoo Tycoon is the one that instantly springs to mind - it looks absolutely awful, like I'm viewing a 1990's PC game on a CRT monitor.
Other games are made much better by the larger screen though, if only because the writing and options are so much easier to read and access. The 100 classic book collection goes extremely well with this larger screen, as do most of the puzzle games I have such as 42 All Time Classics. The graphics on both of those cartridges blow up to fit the larger screen with ease, and both look good on it.
There are some additional built in functions with this games console that the grandson is a big fan of, but I have no real purpose for. There's a digital camera for starters, and the pictures can be stored either on the DSi or on an SD card (which you need to purchase seperately or take out of an existing appliance). The camera takes pretty mediocre photos, about on par with those you get on your average modern mobile phone, but the fun comes when you use the built in editing functions. You can take mirror photos which look like kaleidoscope pictures, and you can blur, distort and enhance your pictures using amusing built-in editing tools. As I said though, not really one for the adults is it?! If you get a nice picture on your DSi XL that you want to share on facebook, you can upload it directly from your console which I think is pretty nifty.
You can set up a wireless internet connection with your DSi XL, but make no mistake that this is no substitute for a netbook. I tried a couple of times to check my email on this without success. It lets me connect, it takes me to the Yahoo homepage, but then it always find a reason as to why it can't further connect or properly zoom in on a specified area of a web page. The internet only seems to work smoothly for sending photos straight from the camera application or for accessing the Nintendo Shop to purchase downloadable games. The console is supposedly also able to link wirelessly to other consoles in the area, though this is not something I have any reason to do myself.
The built in game is called a taste of brain training, and I don't recommend it at all. It uses the built in microphone to get me to speak my answers for a brain assessment, but it doesn't recognise my speech for the word "red" at all, which is one of only four words it asks me to say in the initial brain assessment! I tried this a few times but every time I had this same problem, which led to innaccurate results. It rendered the whole application a bit pointless considering it's entire purpose is to test the accuracy of my answers.
Overall I'm a bit disappointed. For £150 I was hoping for a sleek new gadget - not a clumsy toy. The DSi XL comes in a choice of dark brown or wine red, and the adverts on television feature mature adults using the consoles as well so it's not like you can argue that this was designed with children in mind. It works like a children's toy though, especially considering the immature camera application, the clumsy, cheap-feeling design and the unreliable internet access. I'd be happier if they'd just whacked a bigger screen in the DS Lite and charged me £30 less I think. One to buy when the price comes down a bit or the current model is redesigned I'd say.
I am the first to admit that when it comes to video games, I have little or no interest. I remember playing Space Invaders and PacMan in the very early 80s on arcade machines but the concept of playing a video game was lost on me really.
I spent years watching news coverage of queues forming for the latest "must have" console and shook my head in bemusement wondering why something which seemed so juvenile had grown men (and to be fair it usually was grown men) waiting in queues for hours on end to be one of the first to own one.
However it is unusual for kids these days not to have at least one video game console and as the mother of a 13 year old daughter it goes without saying that she does indeed have a couple.
Her first video game console was the Nintendo DS Lite and she fully embraced gaming once she was in possesion of the console, requesting a Wii not long afterwards. She loves both consoles but it's the portability of the DS which has seen her graduate to the DSi and more recently to the newly launched DSi XL.
~~What's in the Box?~~
The box contains the console itself, user manuals, charger, regular stylus and new larger pen style stylus.
The new DSi XL is noticeably larger than previous consoles in the DS range with screens which are 93% larger than those on the DSi.
The console has a microphone and two speakers and also features two cameras - one regular and the other which enables the user to take pictures of themselves. Photo effects are also available to add to the fun.
Currently available in two colours, either wine red or chocolate brown, the console comes with a dictionary and a pared down version of Dr Kawashima's Brain Training pre-installed.
As if all this wasn't enough for you, you can also surf the internet wirelessly with the console and even make voice recordings which you can enhance or add effects to and use the console as a music player either through headphones using the headphone jack or through the speakers.
Like the original DSi, there is no slot for Game Boy Advance games as was available on the DS Lite - this feature seems to have been permanently phased out by Nintendo.
The beauty of this console is it isn't just something you can play games on. It has other features which I shall tell you about here.
Music can be played via the SD card slot - you merely copy tracks in the AAC format onto the card and then you can play them on your DSi. I must admit I would prefer it if it were to play mp3 files, but I suppose you can't have everything.
Filing music isn't that easy however as you only get three play lists to add songs to - these are the self explanatory Top Ten, along with Practice and Memory - which both hold up to 100 songs.
Sound quality is excellent through headphones and music can also be played through the console's speakers. I was pleasantly surprised at the sound quality through the speakers - it is much better than any sound you get playing music through the speaker on a mobile phone.
You can also add several "effects" to your music, including removing vocals by choosing the Instrumental feature or the less useful "radio" effect which gives a song the effect one would have received from an old transistor radio in the dim and distant past, an "echo" effect which makes the singer sound as if they are in a cave and, if you are truly curious, the "8 bit game" effect which will turn the song you are listening to into the sounds one would expect from an arcade video game. Pointless really, but good fun I suppose.
You can also change the speed and pitch of whatever track you are playing. As someone who used to take great delight in playing 45 rpm records at 78 rpm on a turntable as a child, I fully understand why my daughter loves these features so much.
Another feature my daughter loves is the Voice Recorder - you can record yourself saying something and then add various effects such as helium if you fancy sounding like Minnie Mouse, the Budgie effect which will have your voice tweeting away, the Robot effect if you wish to sound like an automaton and Low and High Harmony which will can give a simple word a very rich sound.
You can also mix in a voice recording with a song you are playing on the Music Player, which my daughter loves to do.
You can change the pitch and speed at which your voice recording plays too. The maximum time you can record your voice for is just ten seconds.
As an adult I find these features a bit silly but my daughter loves them.
The camera on the DSi XL is a paltry 0.3 megapixels - actually there are two cameras on the console, ensuring you can take a picture easily of yourself without turning the console around - you merely touch a button entitled "Switch" to choose whether you want to take a picture of something in front of you or behind you.
You can only view pictures you have taken on the DSi XL on the console - if you copy pictures from your phone or camera on to the SD card the console will not recognize them. However you can copy pictures you have taken on the console back to your computer.
So long as you understand the picture quality isn't brilliant, the camera does offer some useful features, including the ability to upload pictures directly to Facebook so long as you are linked to a wireless network.
You can also add various effects to photos you have taken with the console allowing you to distort pictures (my daughter is a big fan of this feature), add graffiti over a picture or add speech bubbles, change colour to black and white or alter colours on the pictures and a fun mirror feature which gives a kaleidoscope effect to photos.
The control buttons on the DSi XL are similar in size as those on the original DSi console. What is good about this console however is the fact there are only a few buttons to master with much of the control being done via the stylus on the touchscreen.
There is a video control pad for gaming, and A, B, X and Y control buttons and Left and Right buttons at the back of the console. The Left and Right buttons are multi-function and are used for taking pictures with the camera.
Also multi-functional is the Volume up and down key - you can also change the brightness settings by pressing and holiding the Select button before using the Volume key to increase or decrease brightness.
The Start button is used for pausing games.
Powering up is easy too using the clearly marked Power button and to turn off you press and hold this button.
You can also access the DSi Shop - but note you have to be online for this.
The Shop operates using points which you can buy offline. When you first get your DSi XL 1000 points are credited to your account, allowing you to download "DSi Ware" which comprises applications and games. Some DSi Ware is free with others coming in at 200, 500 or more points.
There are applications such as flashlights to download or games such as Yummy Cooking Jam which my daughter enjoys.
When my daughter first informed me a new version of the DSi was coming out I was wary, but she dragged me into Game where videos were shown previewing the new console. I must admit at this point I was curious as I could see the console was clearly aimed at the older user - and I am sure the fact Brain Training is pre-installed was a carefully considered decision by Nintendo.
My daughter of course was more concerned about something she could play her "Animal Crossing" on easily but I decided to buy myself a copy of the DS "100 Classic Book Collection" as I saw something she missed - the console could be used to pass the time not just playing video games - but reading and puzzling on too.
However before we started anything, we had to set the DSi XL up - which was simplicity itself. Linking it up to the wifi at home was easy and my daughter entered some personal information to ensure the console recognised her.
I decided to be brave and see how I got on with the "100 Classic Book Collection" and was impressed from the start.
Because the console is larger than previous incarnations of the DS, the screen size is large enough to use as a reader.
Depending upon if you are left or right handed, you choose your orientation before you start to read. You can also change the font size which is useful if you struggle with smaller print.
You do need to use the stylus to "turn the page" with this particular "game" and you have to be aware that each page consists of two paragraphs at most but it's a novel way to read classic books and more to the point a good space saving way of owning them.
I was happy to read the books with the console on the lowest brightness setting but obviously different circumstances may find you having to change this.
I also had a go at the Brain Training game which is included in the console. I must admit from the start I failed to get to grips with this leading to me having a brain age significantly older than my (admittedly already pretty old) real age.
I did enjoy playing it however and it's something I found great fun - I enjoy puzzles and memory games and while I wasn't particularly successful at first I soon got the hang of things leading to my brain age significantly reducing, much to my relief.
The stylus contacts well with the touchscreen and most of the time my handwriting was easily recognized by the game.
I think I would struggle to play this game on a smaller DS or DSi however - the pen stylus makes games where writing is required far easier for those of us with stiffer fingers for instance, never mind the larger screen makes it easier to read what is on there.
Battery life on the console is good - with a maximum of 13 to 17 hours on the lowest brightness setting and a minimum of 4 to 5 hours on the highest setting. We really notice a difference in being able to easily change the brightness setting on the DSi - this was something that wasn't as easy to do on the DS Lite.
If you are a hardcore gamer, I don't believe the DS consoles would be for you - there is something both juvenile and feminine about them really.
However the DSi XL seems to be seeking out a newer audience - that of the older consumer - someone who isn't necessarily interested in playing Mario Kart but does enjoy crossword puzzles or a bit of brain training.
The console comes with a regular DS stylus but the pen stylus is far more comfortable to use and for me anyway, is a step in the right direction for making these consoles easier to use for the older generation who haven't grown up on video games.
I appreciate I am something of a luddite in the gaming world - most of my experience of video games comes from buying them for my daughter and setting some of them up for her, as well as playing them with her on occasion, although most of the time I find the experience an alien one.
I have to say however that I thoroughly enjoyed using the DSi XL for an altogether more sedate way of passing the time - using it to read books was pleasant, as was doing the brain training and I shall be buying a crossword game for it in the near future - assuming my daughter lets me near the console of course!
The only bad thing I can really say about the DSi XL is to point out that the XL doesn't just extend to the screen - the entire console is significantly larger than the original DS meaning you can't just slip this in your pocket, except, of course, if you have a really big pocket.
I do, however, have to extend my gratitude to Nintendo for not changing the style of the power jack from the original DSi. I found it infuriating and pointless when they changed the power jack socket on the DSi from that on the DS Lite and had been expecting a similar design change on this console, leading to me having to shell out for another spare charger, so it was a pleasant surprise to see I didn't need to.
So in conclusion if you haven't been a huge gamer for much of your life and are curious about video games, the DSi XL is a great place to start - especially if your fingers aren't as nimble as they once were or your eyesight not as sharp.
If gaming is a matter of life and death to you however, perhaps you should look elsewhere.
The Nintendo DSi XL retails at around the £159 mark.