With the Nintendo 3DS coming to stores within the next calendar year, it has garnered almost all of the company's excitement over the last few months. However, another new product was released recently that may not have the 3DS's potential, but really is valuable in its own right. Here's our review of the Nintendo DSi XL,which we are very thankful to have received from Nintendo for review.
The DSi XL is the first "size variation" within the DS family as all the previous models, from the DS to the DS Lite to the DSi all were pretty much the same size. The XL's screen is 93% larger which allows for a better angle on the action and more available on screen. But really this is the only change from the DSi that was originally released. Both screens measure 4.2 inches diagonally and also has improved battery life over the DSi and previous versions.
Compared to the original DS released way back more than five years ago, it's really a vast improvement. Obviously the screen is the first thing you'll notice, but the larger screen allows more of a showcase for the improved graphics of games since then and really take the system higher.
The other big feature added to the DSi model absent from previous models is the aptly titled DSi Shop. While there really wasn't much to do on previous DS's besides play your game and play online, you can now download applications from the shop to improve the DSi. While it isn't exactly the iTunes App Store, there really is a lot there for you to play with and make your DSi worth owning.
It was the main purpose for upgrading to the DSi from the Lite and continues to be worth it.
The digital camera, which has been on many of the DS models, isn't really that groundbreaking but considering devices like the iPod Touch don't even have a camera, it really is worth something to many people. While the DSi seems to be a poor man's iPhone with the app store and camera, there is obviously no phone capability but you can Pictochat with other DSi owners. There is also an internet browser. It seems less spotty than Wii's browser/internet but it mostly depends on your Wi-Fi capability.
DSi's also introduced an SD card slot which many users were clamoring for. However, there really hasn't been that much software or apps that were only avaialble on the DSi. But really not that much in terms of exclusivity could be expected simply because the DSI really is just an aesthetic upgrade, not a technical one.
The XL is the first step in upgrading the DS line. The screens were previously smaller because of a price point, but Nintendo has somehow recitified that apparently and higher resolution graphics can now more easily be showcased. The screen could never really stay that small and allow the graphical power to increase. It would have been hard to notice in the end. More space is available on the bottom screen which also allows you to have an easier time hitting buttons with the stylus. Everything is spread out and easily hit. You almost have to try to miss the icons to not hit them. The screen is probably more responsive than an iPod Touch's and much easier to type on.
In terms of the actual structure of the thing, it really doesn't seem as sturdy as the original, but that's probably just because the material is different. It feels more like a Lite than the original and obviously looks better than the clamshell design of the first one. The XL looks like a Lite on steroids. The volume button is a problem. I preffered its location on the bottom on the original because its location now, on the left side, happens to be exactly where I put my finger so the volume will seemingly randomly change throughout the game before I figure out what I did. The power button also doesn't seem well put together. While it's designed to be hard to hit to fully turn off the device so you can still keep the game on, it is awfully hard to turn off. A power switch like the original had would be preferable with three settings: off, on and home screen, which the soft reset curretnly allows.
All in all though, the DSi is a big improvement over the previous versions of the DS just because of the shop and potential of things like the SD slot. The XL's features may not be many different from the DSi but the bigger screen will allow for noticeable graphical improvement and an easier time with the stylus. While there are a few little problems with the general structure, overall it's a great improvement and I would greatly recommend an upgrade from the original or Lite. However,from the original DSi, it's probably not worth it unless you really like big screens.
Stay tuned for my Pokemon HeartGold review in a couple of days and for more sports related articles as well as tech news and reviews on pnosker.com