Newest Review: ... 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, li... more
Screen Size? Massive.
Nintendo DSi XL
Member Name: Tarapea
Nintendo DSi XL
Date: 15/04/12, updated on 15/04/12 (28 review reads)
Advantages: Looks great, cameras, motion sensors, new stylus, no migraines
Disadvantages: No gameboy advance slot, cant play the new 3DS games on them
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.
Summary: If you don't want a 3DS, but do want a great handheld console - this is for you :)
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