We all know how we react when the Nintendo comes up in a conversation. The King Kong of the gaming industry started out small, manufacturing playing cards in which they were quite successful. Their thirst to prove themselves and carve a niche in the world helped them become a household name and a basic necessity. They are the world’s best-seller of hand-held gaming consoles and the second best seller of video game consoles worldwide. Having made landmarks in the gaming industry, they set the standard for other video game consoles. How can we forget the gameboy and its series which went on to become the best selling portable gaming console of its time? Their choice to dabble in electronics was perhaps a turning point all over and we certainly do not regret that.
Surviving many a pitfall to eventually reign the gaming industry, we all wait and watch to see what this company will come up with next. Their video game ventures including hand held consoles of recent times, include the Nintendo DS series and the wireless Nintendo Wii. The Nintendo DS series consist of the original DS, the lighter and sleeker Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi and its successor which we will be discussing, the Nintendo DSi XL. The Nintendo DSi XL boasts bigger screens and better quality. We will tell you whether it is a reasonable upgrade or if you should save up for the upcoming 3DS system instead.
Is it bigger and better? Or is it better since it is bigger? Let us find out.
The one feature that has everyone wanting to get a good look at the DSi XL Portable Gaming Console, is the bigger screen which is said to be the star of the show. Weighing at 314 grams and measuring (H x W x D) 161 x 91.4 x 21.2 millimetres, this console is still extremely comfortable once held and does not feel bulky. It comes in three beautiful shades of blue, maroon, white, black and brown.
Dual Screen Interface:
The dual screen interface of the Nintendo DSi XL is enhanced by its 4.2 inch displays. There was speculation about how this would make the picture more pixillated, and hence making it seem blurred. But once the cartridge was put in and the device turned on, it delivered crisp and clear images. The Nintendo Dsi XL is rumoured to have been aimed at the older generation who find it harder to look at the tiny images and text on screen. Well, the DS Lite and DSi have small screens of 3 inches and 3.25 inches respectively and they have never failed to deliver. But a 4.2 inch screen is a significant difference and it shows when a game is played. The controls are clearer within the game. The dialogue and other text is clearer which relieves eye strain. Older citizens are waiting to lap it up. The top has a glossy finish and the rest has the matte appearance. Also the wider viewing angle seems to make it the social device that Nintendo has described it to be.
The detachable component of the system, i.e. the stylus has a new member in its family. The Nintendo DSi XL comes with two styli. There is a longer stylus compared to the previous consoles which fits into the slot that is located on the device itself. The new member is more like a fountain pen and there is no slot for it. This will help those who find it hard to navigate around certain features of the console without their fingers cramping. We will get to those features later.
Connectivity and Slots:
The DSi family sadly, has done away with the popular GBA slot previously provided on the DS and DS Lite systems. This means you can chuck out all your GBA cards as they will not be compatible with the DSi consoles. This is one of the aspects which continues to disturb us as there is still an impressive library of games for the Gameboy. However, they have introduced the popular SD card slot. You can save your photos on the SD card and transfer it to other consoles or upload it onto the internet.
Speaking of the internet, the DSi family does not come installed with software that allows you to access the internet. You have to set up the connection yourself. It does have wireless communication which is what helps you share photos and use pictochat. With its built in WiFi , you can connect with players across the globe and participate in various multi player games. Maintain a range within 65 feet and you can play with other DSi users within the locality without internet access.
As you turn on the unit, the Nintendo logo will appear after which you will be directed to the main screen displaying options to change your brightness, settings and alarm at the lower part of the screen and in the middle, there will be options like the Pictochat, DS download play and the game that is inserted. The feature list of the Nintendo DSi XL include the Pictochat, the cameras, the new DSi shop, multi playing and downloads, DSiware, the Flipnote studio.
The Nintendo DSi family comes with two built in 0.3 mega pixel cameras with eleven different lenses. One is placed internally facing the user and the other is on the outer part. Everyone who has been cribbing about the resolution of the cameras in the Dsi system will be disappointed as they have not improved in the slightest in the Nintendo DSi XL.
Pictochat is nothing new to existing users of DS consoles. To those of you who have not heard of it, Pictochat is used to communicate between other DS users. It is pre installed into all the Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite and Nintendo DSi consoles. It is quite convenient and user friendly with its easy to use interface. After you select Pictochat, you will be asked to pick a chat room. There are four chat rooms each sharing a capacity of sixteen people. After selecting your chat room, you can communicate via Pictochat. There is a range within which your device has to stay in order to participate. Then you can get started. You can use the stylus provided to write on the screen and then click the send button located on the side to submit. It also has an on screen keyboard. Pictochat supports quite a few other languages like French, German, Spanish and Japanese. The pictochat is pretty cool to use for animations. You can create several frames and scroll by fast and watch them play. Many display their creations online too.
The Flipnote studio is quite popular with those who like to draw and animate. This is a free download which gives a boost to the Nintendo DSi XL. The Flipnote Studio, as the name suggests, is used to bring to life your creations. Its interface is very simple and users seem to love it. You just draw on the screen and tap to move to the next frame. The previous frame will be displayed lightly for your convenience in a light box and it displays up to 4 frames this way so you know how your animation will end up. You can share your creations by directly sending them to your friends who own a Nintendo Dsi or DSi XL console or you can upload them onto the internet via the Flipnote Hatena website. You will also be able to go through the uploaded content of other users which makes it a fun aspect.
DSiWARE and DSi SHOP:
The DSi shop is where you can redeem your Nintendo points to download DSi software to your console. You will require a wireless broadband internet connection to access this through your DSi XL. You will find its icon on the main menu. The DSiware is exclusive to the DSi and DSi XL systems. Nintendo Dsiware is a service that provides games and applications that can be downloaded for free or a price. They can be bought with Nintendo points which are in turn bought with money. The selected game is downloaded onto the internal drive and the Nintendo points are deducted from your account.
The Nintendo DSi XL Game Console comes with three preloaded software titles, the Brain Age Express: Math, Brain Age Express: Arts and Letters, and Photoclock. These are perhaps the only few features exclusive to the DSi XL without being shared by the DSi. Let us see if they are worth it.
Brain Age Express: Math
Brain Age Express series are well played games. They are designed to keep your mind mentally fit. This is the first version of the Brain Age Express games. The game has been modified slightly keeping in mind the DSi family. It has been made with the intention of spiffing up those dead brain cells and to keep your mind young even if you are not. Solve problems with your stylus as quickly as you can. Your progress is recorded using the internal clock in the console and new challenges are introduced. With internal storage being available, the game play is fun. You can save your challenges and access them later.
Brain Age Express: Arts and Letters
This is the second instalment in the Brain Age Series.
Arts and Letters has seven different challenges. Read on for a detailed explanation.
Read Aloud: You are given reading material and have to read as quick as you you can for a good speed result.
Word Scramble: Unscramble the given words in the required time period. The words become harder as you go farther into the challenge.
Photo Recall: A photo or a group of photos will be displayed on one screen and you will have to pick out the photo that you last saw on the other screen. Sound easy? Check it out for yourself.
Word Attack: Think you are fast? Then, in this challenge you have to memorize and spell out correctly the word that is flashed quickly on the screen.
Piano Player: On one screen, you will have a piano with labelled keys. On the other screen, red arrows will progress along with the given sheet music and when they hit a particular note,you will have to try and play it on the piano.
Meet and Greet: This is an interesting challenge which requires you to memorize the face of a person along with their details as fast as you can. As you progress, you are quizzed upon them. This gets very tricky with multiple people.
Virus Buster: You will have to eradicate viruses by placing them in multicoloured capsules. Align them in order to form vertical or horizontal rows of four like colours.
Focussed on words and letters, Brain Age Express: Arts and Letters gives you timed, audio and physical challenges which are bound to keep you occupied. So with improved handwriting recognition, unlock new challenges, act out a scene and train the literary part of your brain.
This is Nintendo’s second clock application. Well, there is not much to say about this software. The name says it all. You can have your desired photo displayed behind the clock and that is about it.
The video performance is definitely its biggest asset. With its bigger screens, it makes you go crazy the minute you open up the case. Even while playing games that are not made for its screens, it pulls off a decent picture and there is not a single noticeable pixel in sight and even if there are, it will not be noticed because you will be busy playing the games in awe. Say goodbye to cramped images and enjoy the larger experience.
The audio has also been significantly improved and there is less interference than before. However, the only format supported for audio files is AAC. It is high time that Nintendo switches over to the widely and more conveniently used mp3 format.
The original DS has a battery life of four to ten hours depending on how much you play. The DS Lite gives us five to nineteen hours of play depending on the level of brightness that you choose. It has four levels. The DSi and the DSi XL both have an extra level of brightness. The battery life of the DSi is around three to fourteen hours and the DSi XL gives us about four to seventeen hours of play accordingly. This is a big difference for those avid gamers.
The Nintendo Dsi and Dsi XL systems both come with a warranty period of twelve months from manufacturer defects which are applicable to all the included components, i.e. AC adapter and stylus. The software and accessories come with a warranty period of 90 days. If you wish to extend this period, you can do so by registering your system to your Club Nintendo account. Visiting their official site will give you more information.
So are you confused yet? If you are thinking that the DSi XL Hand Held Console is nothing more than the Nintendo DSi with a bigger body, then you are mostly right. Sure the screens are bigger and there is an extra stylus, but it really does not have much to offer. The audio has improved. If you already own a DS Lite or DSi , then you will fail to understand why you should upgrade to a DSi XL. The DS Lite comes with a GBA slot and is backwards compatible. The DSi, though it has done away with the GBA slot has the DSiWare to make up for it. What does the DSi XL have to say in this regard?Though it will play the DS games, you cannot transfer the games that you have downloaded through DSiWare to your DSi XL console which is a major setback for all those gamers who have a library full of them. This will put down any thought of buying one. Most of those who own a DS Lite did not think it necessary to upgrade even to a DSi as they were quite satisfied just playing games which is what the central idea is.
The introduction of DSiWare provided some incentive for them to buy the DSi but we cannot say the same for the DSi XL. It offers nothing that makes us want to run and get a new console. The screens make us say “wow” but that is just about it. As for their wider viewing angle, it does not really serve any purpose nor is it really necessary. After a while, you begin to notice the low resolution of 256 X 192 pixels per screen. The extra juice provided by the battery powers up those huge screens and still gives you good playtime though. The release of the DSi XL has also been badly timed with another upgrade soon to be available. The Nintendo 3DS is to be released. It boasts backward compatibility with all the existing DS titles till date and 3D experience. The pre installed software though popular is not enough to justify the price tag. We recommend the DSi XL to those who do not own a Nintendo DS Lite or Nintendo Dsi console and are waiting to game. Those who like to buy the latest gadgets or have slightly big hands too can go ahead. But if you wait a little longer, the Nintendo 3DS might be a more reasonable upgrade for the extra dough that you have worked hard to save up.
Nintendo Dsi XL Console – Technical Specification Table
|Model Name||Nintendo Dsi XL|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||21.2 X 161 X 91.4 mm|
|Display||LCD TFT (Active Matrix) With Touchscreen|
|Display size||4.2 inch screens|
|Available Enclosure Colours and Designs||Dark Brown, Wine Red , Natural White, Black and Blue|
|Stylus||1 x 96mm internal stylus
1 x 129.3mm pen style stylus
|Compatibility||Plays DS games and new DSi games
(Does not play GBA games)
|Camera||2 VGA (0.3) Megapixel cameras|
|Included Games||Brain Age Express:Math, Brain Age Express:Arts and Letters|
|Sound||3.5mm stereo headphone plug|
|Controls||built in triggers and action buttons|
|CPU||ARM9 133 MHz processor|
|Memory||16 MB RAM and built in 256 MB memory|
|External Connectors||Headphone jack only|
|Wireless Support||The DSi and DSi XL support WEP, WPA (AES/TKIP)
and WPA2 (AES/TKIP) wireless encryption.
Supported speeds 1 or 2 Mbps
|Capacity||1050 mAh – 19 hours|
|Package Particulars||AC Adapter Battery Pack|
|Manufacture Warranty||One year limited warranty|