Early Review: Nintendo DSi XL

The DSi XL defies technological evolution. Unlike the DSi and DS Lite before it, the DSi XL offers almost no technological upgrade over the previous Nintendo handheld game consoles. In fact, on March 23 Nintendo announced the successor to the not-even-out-yet DSi XL:  the 3DS, which will include 3D screens that don’t require glasses.  Nintendo won’t launch the DSi XL in the U.S. until March 28, but Nintendo is already drawing eyes to the 3DS.

So why bother with the DSi XL? Because, as Nintendo told us at the Game Developer’s Conference, size matters.

In the world of gaming and technology, smaller is almost always better. Whether it’s the tiny flip-phones Ben Stiller made fun of in the movie Zoolander, or our current love affair with netbooks, manufacturers always strive to make smaller devices, both for the road and home. Yes, some gadgets such as smartphones have gained girth so that they can accommodate a wide variety of new features, yet every time this growth is justified with technological advances. The DSi XL does the unthinkable: it has gained size and weight simply for the sake of getting bigger.

DSi Dimensions: 5.39 in x 2.9 in x 0.74 in

DSi Weight: 7.69 oz

DSi Screen Size: 3.25" (both screens)

 

DSi XL Dimensions: 6.4 in x 3.6 in x 0.8 in

DSi XL Weight: 11.08 oz

DSi XL Screen Size: 4.2" (both screens)

The DSi XL is nothing more than a larger DSi--93% larger to be exact. The screens do not display at a higher resolution, there isn’t more memory or a faster processor… the cameras haven’t even been upgraded from their poor 0.3 Megapixels. In fact, the only change besides the size is battery life, which only changed to accommodate the larger screens. Oh, and the viewing angle has increased on those screens.

Surely Nintendo, the current king of both home and portable gaming consoles, wouldn’t make such a huge mistake. So, what’s the point?  What did Nintendo set out to accomplish? What twisted, diabolical scheme did the company cook up to convince hundreds of thousands of gamers to buy yet another DS? Is it the novelty of owning another Nintendo product, being the cool kid on the block, or something else entirely? You’ll definitely be surprised by our findings.