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Early Review: Nintendo DSi XL

Early Review: Nintendo DSi XL
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The new DSi XL is here. Does size really matter? Nintendo thinks so. So grab a breath mint and gather round the gamer with the new toy.

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.

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  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 25, 2010 3:25 AM
    i think it would be really cool
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , March 25, 2010 4:25 AM
    sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not much of a difference size isnt what we want we want more kool features more technology more games but MORE size isnt at all better i dnt think it will even fit in my pocket i know i wnt be spending my money on this or trading in my dsi and paying money either ill just stick wit dsi untill you guys come out with more kool features and technology!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THUMBS DOWN 4 DSI XL
    -SORRY
  • 3 Hide
    welshmousepk , March 25, 2010 7:35 AM
    @diana333

    judging by your spelling and grammar, i am going to assume you are not in the demographic this device is supposed to appeal to.
    its not supposed to fit in a pocket, its larger specifically for people who have trouble staring at a smaller screen. i would have no use for such a device, but its nice that nintendo are offering it as an option for the new legions of 'old' gamers who would probably hurt themselves trying to play on a DSi console.

    try to remember that the gaming world does not revolve around you.
  • 2 Hide
    memeroot , March 25, 2010 12:21 PM
    why can't they just ram a realy cheap phone in there so I dont need 2 devices?
  • -1 Hide
    cknobman , March 25, 2010 12:35 PM
    memerootwhy can't they just ram a realy cheap phone in there so I dont need 2 devices?


    can you say (dare I say it) apple, or android?

    Nintendo DS is a overaged product that just needs to die. My son wanted a DS more than anything and 3 years ago I bought him one. Now it just mostly collects dust because 75% of the games for it are crap and gimmicks.
  • 3 Hide
    jdw_swb , March 25, 2010 12:44 PM
    They just release this and then announce the 3DS will be released probably around xmas.....which will totally replace the DSi XL.
  • 0 Hide
    rtfm , March 25, 2010 1:30 PM
    I have a ds and the extra screen size would be nice, but there's little point without any extra resolution (if not for games, then for movies). Also they missed the opportunity to reposition the buttons so they are better for larger hands. The shoulder buttons are virtually unusable for me.
  • 0 Hide
    rtfm , March 25, 2010 1:34 PM
    cknobmancan you say (dare I say it) apple, or android?Nintendo DS is a overaged product that just needs to die. My son wanted a DS more than anything and 3 years ago I bought him one. Now it just mostly collects dust because 75% of the games for it are crap and gimmicks.


    For me and my girlfriend, the ds is great. It's small so it fits in her bag and the battery life is fantastic so we use it a lot on holiday and flights. The appeal of the DS isn't cutting edge technology but the ability to suck time, think of it like flash games on the go.
  • 1 Hide
    Collie147 , March 25, 2010 4:15 PM
    Actually I think the DS itself is a fantastic piece of gadgetry. Fine the majority of the games are gimmickey, and half of the games that are based on PS3, Wii or XBOX that have been carried over onto the DS dont work well, but as far as homebrew is concerned (and education) it's unbeatable. I've used mine as a remote control for my PC, browsing the internet on something readable thats cheaper than an XDA or an iPhone, recording sounds and music (albeit it doesn't handle loud noises all too well) and as a mini audio mixer and sampler. It's fantastically diverse and if the programming was open source everybody would have one!
  • 0 Hide
    jamezrp , March 26, 2010 5:24 PM
    Memeroot, if they put a phone in it, then it wouldn't be simply a gaming console. It would be a phone first, and Nintendo doesn't make productivity devices. First and foremost, they are an entertainment company, and extra stuff will always come second. So even if you find that your Xbox 360/PS3 is more important to you than your Wii, keep in mind that the Wii is much more focused. It's a game console, and that's it (well, now it does netflix...but who's really going to use that for SD quality video?).
  • 0 Hide
    jamezrp , March 26, 2010 5:29 PM
    rtfmI have a ds and the extra screen size would be nice, but there's little point without any extra resolution (if not for games, then for movies). Also they missed the opportunity to reposition the buttons so they are better for larger hands. The shoulder buttons are virtually unusable for me.


    Which model? If you've got a DSi, then yeah, keep going, the DSi XL isn't for you. If not, then the DSi XL is a great choice.

    The more I use it, the more I'm glad I'm using it over a standard DSi. I do most of my portable gaming at home, because I don't like carrying a ton of gadgets with me on the road, no matter how small (PSP Go, for example, rarely travels with me), so size isn't a difference. But for the DSi XL, the size is a bonus. Unlike the PSP, it's not heavy and it doesn't get tiring to hold in any position, and the screen doesn't take a giant resolution hit if you use it properly.

    Of course, with the 3DS just announced, I really wonder what Nintendo is thinking...they could have waited a few weeks, or until E3. It makes us wonder why anyone would bother buying this when the 3DS could release this year.
  • 0 Hide
    rtfm , March 26, 2010 7:23 PM
    jamezrpWhich model? If you've got a DSi, then yeah, keep going, the DSi XL isn't for you.citation]

    Yeah, I've got the DSi.
  • 0 Hide
    jamezrp , March 26, 2010 7:30 PM
    rtfmYeah, I've got the DSi.


    It's a tough call. Unless you've got $190 burning a hole in your pocket, I wouldn't recommend it as a smart purchase decision. But on the other hand, everyone in my house loves the DSi XL now, even though we've literally got every DS model (see pictures above!), as well as PSP's and iPhones. I don't know if it's just the newness, but the big screen really, and I mean really makes for an interesting social experience.

    But, once again, it's still $190 for a bigger DSi.
  • 0 Hide
    blackmancer , March 27, 2010 12:35 PM
    my bet - just another roll of the hardware before a major upgrade next year
  • 0 Hide
    nottheking , March 28, 2010 1:46 AM
    memerootwhy can't they just ram a realy cheap phone in there so I dont need 2 devices?

    That's because a smartphone, while a cool idea, is a VERY ambitious project. You have to worry about a ton more things with it, especially how it'll work with each of the mish-mash of standards any ONE carrier will use on their networks, let alone all of them, plus you have to deal with them, the FCC, etc. about approving its use as a phone, getting a carrier to agree to use it for their customers, etc.

    While with a handheld console, Nintendo has 100% control; they don't have to talk with anyone else about it, so they have far less things to juggle; it's much easier.
  • 0 Hide
    jamezrp , March 28, 2010 3:11 AM
    notthekingThat's because a smartphone, while a cool idea, is a VERY ambitious project. You have to worry about a ton more things with it, especially how it'll work with each of the mish-mash of standards any ONE carrier will use on their networks, let alone all of them, plus you have to deal with them, the FCC, etc. about approving its use as a phone, getting a carrier to agree to use it for their customers, etc.While with a handheld console, Nintendo has 100% control; they don't have to talk with anyone else about it, so they have far less things to juggle; it's much easier.


    I don't agree with that nottheking. Sure, there's more to worry about, but if Nintendo had a similar model to Apple, then it wouldn't be such a big deal. Considering Nintendo's market, they could easily make a deal with a service provider (or several) to have an Apple-like app store and control over their product.

    The thing is, they wouldn't.

    No matter what happens, Nintendo isn't interested in making a phone, which may or may not be a good thing. They want to focus on an entertainment device, strictly for entertainment purposes. Now, if they made the 3DS have an exceptional camera and made good use of it for gaming, that would be a reasonable exception (as we've stated in this and the prior DS review, the camera stinks, except when viewing on the DS itself).

    However, there are possible gaming applications for phones as well, which Nintendo could explore. My impression is that until either Apple, Sony (with their recently-rumored PSP-phone) can achieve great success on a phone-portable console, they won't do it. There's no reason for them to do it, and the aim for an inexpensive portable gaming device and a cheap phone is more consumer-friendly than an all-in-one and expensive device.
  • 0 Hide
    lightsaber , March 29, 2010 12:17 PM
    I'll wait til next year when the 3Dsi come's out.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 14, 2010 2:49 PM
    you guys just need to realize that the dsi xl is just for seeing a screen better. And that if you want a hardcore ds just get the 3ds.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2010 6:44 AM
    In my honest opinion the DSi/XL and the 3DS will and are great gaming consoles and whoever says "They should just die already" are complete retards... just saying. Nintendo don't just make random things for the sake of it, DSi and DSi XL are different because one is adapted for use with the older crowd that maybe have reduced vision etc. Just remember guys Nintendo is family orientated so the products they make aren't for hardcore gaming.
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