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DSi XL Review

Posted by TurtleGirl On April - 12 - 2010

If you’ve been pondering about whether you want to invest your cash in the new DSi XL, ponder no more as GGUK gives you their impression of the fourth member of the Nintendo DS family. First off let me begin by saying that the DSi XL is not to replace the cute DSi or DS Lite, it’s just another handheld console to add to the wonderful Nintendo family. It was released just over a month ago on the 5th March 2010 in Europe and I thought it was about time to devote some much desired time and have some fun with this handheld console.

I’ll go over the weight, size and dimensions in a while, once I’ve told you all how delighted I am to be the owner of one. Over the years I’ve purchased most of the gaming consoles that have been available, with handhelds being a firm favourite of mine. Maybe it’s the fact that they are portable and you can just about take them anywhere which appeals to me the most. I’ve had everything from Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, to one’s such as the SEGA game Gear and Atari Lynx. So you could say that I’m quite familiar with them. They have been a part of my life and will remain that way for a long time to come.


I know a lot of you will be thinking “why bother with the Dsi XL?”, when you probably already have a Nintendo DS or DSi. In fact you maybe right to some degree, but it also depends what you want from a handheld console.



My first impressions of the DSi XL is that it’s a beefy handheld console. The size comparisons to the Nintendo DS are fairly big. Taking the DSi XL in one hand and the Nintendo DS in the other, you can already see the difference. The DSi XL measures a whopping 161 x 91.4 x 21.2 mm compared to the smaller Nintendo DS Lite at 133 x 73.9 x 21.5 mm.  Experimenting with each of the consoles in my hands, you notice how much more space the Dsi XL takes up. The feel of the console in my hands is a good experience, even though looking at the photo it looks very oversized. The sheer quality of the Dsi XL really does override the Nintendo DS Lite, even though we’re not being competitive. It’s  got a solid feel to it, and the outside has a distinctive sheen. It’s structure feels weighty in my hands, while still looking very contempary. I chose the Dark Brown colour, but there is also a Wine Red colour to choose from and if you’re lucky enough to live in Japan, you can choose Natural White.


Screen sizes are very different too, with Nintendo boasting that the Dsi XL has a 93% bigger screen. The screens measure 4.2 inches diagonally. For comparison, the DSi’s screens diagonally measure 3.25 inches and the DS Lite’s screens are 3 inches diagonally, so it’s signifacantly bigger. There was one big element that made me choose the Dsi XL and that was screensize. I had found over the years of having the Nintendo DS, that it seemed small and quite frankly I wanted something bigger. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but the DSi XL brightness seems really illuminated and much more vibrant on the screen. Playing games on a bigger screen defintely has it’s bonus’s for me. Everything graphically looks and feels better.


The weight comparison between the two handhelds was large. Whereas the Nintendo DS Lite and DSi weighed in at 218g and 214g, the DSi XL weighs 314g. Does that feel a lot heavier?. Yup, it sure does. I don’t know whether that is a disadvantage or not really. I guess it depends on whether you tend to travel a lot.

The sound is amazing on this handheld, although I felt there was a little feedback on some games. No longer do you have that tinny noise that I once remember on the Nintendo DS. Pump up this baby and you’re bound to have a few people glaring at you. Another thing I noticed is that it didn’t have a slot to add an expansion pack and there is no place to attach the guitar hero grip, which I felt was a bit disappointing.


The DSi XL comes with two styluses.  The DSi XL stylus is 96mm long, just 4mm longer than the stylus on the DSi. The XL also includes a 129.3mm long pen-shaped stylus, which does not fit inside the console. I quite like the long pen shaped stylus, even if it did seem a bit huge. It was a shame that stylus could not be fitted to the DSi XL in some way. The console comes pre installed with the games Dr. Kawashima’s: Little Bit of Brain Training: Arts Edition and Dictionary 6 in 1 with Camera Function alongside the DSi Browser. I tried surfing the internet with the Nintendo DSi Browser which does what it says, but then later realized it doesn’t support flash. This dampened any chances I had of watching BBC iplayer or You Tube videos on it. I don’t know if it will ever support flash, but you would think that Nintendo, with it’s technological advancements in the gaming industry, would have accommodated for that.

The camera functions are really good. The Nintendo DSi camera includes 11 different lenses, such as Graffiti which basically enables you to plaster your photos with stickers like speech bubbles, as demonstrated by Pocky below, to various distortion lenses in which I’m not going to show you how stupid I looked. Use your imagination. Photos can be saved onto the system memory or onto an SD card which is pretty handy and the album allows you to see how many photos you’ve taken. Word of warning though if you’re seriously into your photography. Although it does process some very nice photos, mine of which are mostly of my dog, they’re not professional photos. It’s a camera for a bit of fun. Let it be noted that photos can only be deleted one by one and there is no mass deleting. So unless you want to spend ages deleting your pictures, I suggest you take only a few or upload them onto your PC.


If you’re feeling in the mood for music, you can mess around with Nintendo DSi sound. This is where you can listen to music files that are stored on SD cards which you can then adjust the speed and pitch of. You can also record and edit your own sounds which sound scarily distorted when you play them back or was that just my voice?. Anyhow it’s great fun and worth playing around with. You’ve also got PictoChat in which you can send and receive messages and pictures to and from other users which is pretty cool.

You’ve also got the Nintendo DSi Shop where you can download the latest Nintendo DSiWare releases directly to your Nintendo system, using the delightful Nintendo DSi points. There’s all different types of software available, from games to fun applications. Purchases are spread out to four different pricing categories from free software to premium titles. I chose Dr Mario as my first download. That’s a brilliant game.

Let’s end this review with a quick summary of what I thought were the highs and lows of the Nintendo DSi XL. Generally speaking I think it’s an incredible masterpiece of gaming technology. It’s solid and robust,  but I do think that if this baby was dropped from a great height, then it would be in many pieces and I would be the first to cry very loudly.


Does the Nintendo DSi XL fit comfortably anywhere?

We’re talking about whether it fits nicely in the pockets of your jeans or in a jacket pocket?. Only just, unless you have incredibly large pockets. While the Nintendo DS will definitely fit everywhere, I think the DSi XL will only just be accommodated by some pieces of clothing.

Is it worth investing in a DSi XL if I already own a Nintendo DSi?

If you already own a Nintendo DSi or DS Lite, then stick with it for gaming because it still does what it says on the box. The main reason I wanted a Nintendo DSi XL is because I review so many games on a daily basis and wanted to see what they looked and sounded like on a bigger screen. Another reason also was that I never had a camera on mine, so that was a new feature for me which caused me much bemusement and much dismay for Pocky.


The DSi XL will hold a special place in my heart, until at least Nintendo release their next handheld console.




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