Nintendo DSi XL Review

Hardware

Nintendo started its trend of ‘extra-large’ DS models with the DSi XL back in 2010, turning an already incredible portable console into a larger, smarter, more accessible iteration. The 2DS XL and 3DS XL live on as its successors today.

While the DSi and DSi XL design is similar to that of the DS Lite, the dual screens on this are 93% bigger than on the regular DSi and DS Lite – with a wider viewing angle. The handheld  supports internal and external content storage, has built in Wi-Fi and features two digital cameras. The 3 megapixel cameras look rather rubbish, compared to cameras used on most modern devices, but luckily I won’t be using them much.

The DSi XL has a glossy finish on the outside – which looks nice and shiny when it’s new. However, it can easily attract lots of finger prints on the surface and scratches are more visible. I noticed that the bottom of the handheld has a matte finish, which is perfect for when you’re resting the DSi on a table or surface. I still wonder to this day why Nintendo didn’t give you the option of choosing between a matte or gloss finish – maybe they just thought it looked cooler?

Apart from the annoying gloss finish on the lid and poor camera quality, I think Nintendo did a really good job on the Hardware. The design feels refined, and there’s many colours and themes to choose from. I also noticed that the hinges stop the screen at 120° in addition to the original DSi’s position of 155° to allow easier table-top viewing – which is rather useful!

Ergonomics

The Nintendo DSi XL is nice and comfortable to hold in your hands, and a lot better in my opinion compared to the smaller DSi and DS Lite. Also due to its larger size, you’ll struggle to fit it into your pocket, and will most likely need to invest in a protective case to carry it about. The DSi XL does comes with a larger stylus, which I find nice and comfortable to use, but unfortunately doesn’t slide into the DSi XL. You will need to use the smaller stylus instead, if you don’t want to risk loosing the larger stylus when you’re on the go.

Battery Life

There’s a 1050 mAH rechargeable battery, which lasts 4 to 17 hours depending on various factors including the light settings and how many times the player has charged the system.

Software

All DS games are compatible with the DSi and DSi XL, except those that require the GBA slot. The DSi XL comes pre-loaded with three DSi Ware games such as Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: Arts Edition, Dictionary: 6 in 1 and Flipnote Studio. There’s also a web browser built into the DSi, along with other applications made by Nintendo e.g. DSi Sound, DSi Camera, PictoChat, DS Download Play and finally the DSi Shop – for purchasing and downloading DSi Ware games and applications from the store.

The DSi Shop ceased activity on March 31, 2017, but DSiWare games and apps on the Nintendo eShop are unaffected. The last DSiWare software title to be released was Crazy Train, which was released in the United States on January 28, 2016.

History

The Nintendo DSi XL is the The fourth iteration of the Nintendo DS, and was the first to start the trend of ‘extra-large’ DS models. The handheld was launched in Japan on November 21, 2009, and worldwide beginning in March 2010. Development of the DSi began in late 2006, and the handheld was unveiled during an October 2008 Nintendo conference in Tokyo. Consumer demand convinced Nintendo to produce a slimmer handheld with larger screens than the DS Lite. Consequently, Nintendo removed the Game Boy Advance (GBA) cartridge slot to improve portability without sacrificing durability.

Technical Specifications

  • CPUs – Two ARM architecture CPUs, ARM7 and ARM9.
  • RAM – 16 MB
  • Battery – A 1050 mAH battery
  • Sound – Stereo sound. There are two speakers on the top portion of the handheld. A headphone jack is on the side of the bottom portion.
  • Storage – The system can store 256 MB, though SD Cards can provide more space, up to a maximum of 32 GB with SDHC Cards.
  • Cameras – Two .3 megapixel cameras.
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11b/g wireless.
  • Top Screen – 3.36 inches long, 2.52 inches wide.
  • Bottom Screen – 3.36 inches long, 2.52 inches wide.
  • Pixels – 256 * 192 (49,152) per screen.
  • Media – DS game cards, SD cards (32 GB and under).

Final Verdict

Pros:

  • Bigger screens
  • Wider viewing angle
  • Comfortable to use
  • Larger Stylus

Cons:

  • Gloss finish on the lid is a finger print magnet!
  • Less portable
  • Both cameras look poor

For adult gamers (like me) The Nintendo DSi XL is a must, because it feels a hundred times more comfortable than the previous versions of the DS, which were essentially designed for children. Also, playing DS games on the larger screens feels a lot nicer (compared to playing on the smaller screens on the previous versions of the DS) and would even go as far to say this is the best way to experience DS games.

There’s a wider viewing angle too, which means someone sitting next to you can watch you play DS games (if they have nothing else to be doing) and you can see games at an awkward angle better. My only complaints are that the gloss finish on the lid can attract lots of finger prints, and scratches are more visible. Both cameras look poor compared to the ones used on most modern devices, and the device is a lot harder to fit into your pocket than the DS Lite or DSi.

All complaints aside, the DSi XL is definitely worth getting, especially if you’re an adult agamer!