Nintendo DSi XL Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by Another World, May 7, 2010.

May 7, 2010

Nintendo DSi XL Review by Another World at 7:19 AM (29,505 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. Another World
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    Former Staff Another World Emulate the Planet!

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    <font color="red">GBAtemp.net "mini" review of the...</font>

    <font size="5"><font color="#000080"><b>Nintendo DSi XL</b></font></font> <img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/00_review_logo.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    Also Known As: DSiXL, NDSiXL, DSi2, DSi LL, XL
    Manufactured by: <a href="http://www.nintendodsi.com/" target="_blank">Nintendo</a>

    Review written by Another World 5/6/2010

    <b>Review Contents & Index:</b><ul><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#a">Introduction</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#a1">- Official Description</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#b">Contents and Packaging</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#c">Unit Design and Build</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d">Hands-on Impressions</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#e">Final Thoughts</a></li></ul><div class="reviewbreak"><a name="a"></a>Introduction</div>
    Welcome to the GBATemp “mini” review of the Nintendo DSi XL. This review will focus on the system itself and including hands-on impressions from a first time DSi user. There will be no compatibility testing of any sort; this is simply a review of the system.

    Nintendo has been pushing a family orientated environment in regards to their recent software, games, and system advertisements. The DSi XL may finally bridge the gap and encourage the older non-gaming generation family members to try out a handheld video game system. Adults should welcome the bigger form factor, 93% larger LCD screens, and pen sized stylus. Downloadable software, a Web browser, and parental controls may further entice most adult gamers or non-gamers to at least consider this system.

    <a name="a1"></a><b>Official Description:</b>
    The Nintendo DSi XL is a high-powered handheld video-game system with an extra large, wide viewing angle screen, and a full size, easy to hold stylus. It comes loaded with features like touch-screen control for a unique gaming experience. Snap photos with the built-in camera edit and send them to friends, play back your music with Nintendo DSi Sound, or browse the Internet with the Nintendo DSi Browser. From playing games to just playing around, the Nintendo DSi XL does it all.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="b"></a>Contents and Packaging</div>
    <b>Contents:</b><ul><li>1x Nintendo DSi XL system</li><li>1x Pen-sized stylus</li><li>1x Normal small stylus</li><li>1x Power Adapter</li><li>3x Quick-Start Guides (each in 1 of 3 languages)</li><li>1x Operations Manual (in 3 languages)</li><li>1x DSi Ware booklet</li><li>1x Health and Safety Precautions Booklet</li><li>1x WIFI pamphlet</li><li>1x Join Club Nintendo advertisement</li><li>1x Nintendo Power advertisement</li></ul><b>Packaging:</b>
    The DSi XL ships in a medium-thick wax coated cardboard box. The box measures approximately 9 inches wide by 7 and ¾ inches high by 2 inches deep. The box folds into itself and closes securely at the top. The interior of the box contains a cardboard insert which will effectively and securely hold all contents in place.

    <div align="center"><a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/02_dsixl_box_front.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/02_dsixl_box_front-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/03_dsixl_box_back.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/03_dsixl_box_back-small_b.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/04_dsixl_box_open.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/04_dsixl_box_open-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/05_dsixl_box_interior.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/05_dsixl_box_interior-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a></div>
    Each item is individually wrapped to secure its safe transport. The DSi XL comes in a soft foam bag, the stylus and power adapter are packaged in separate clear plastic bags. The manuals, pamphlets, and documentation supplements come packaged together in their own clear plastic bag. After everything is unwrapped the items of interest are the DSi XL, power adapter, and pen-sized stylus.

    <div align="center"><a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/06_contents.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/06_contents_small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/07_contents_and_box.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/07_contents_and_box-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a></div>
    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="c"></a>Unit Design and Build</div>
    The DSi XL contains the same interior hardware specs as the original DSi. The major difference between the two is that the XL has a bigger form factor. Comparing it to the DS Lite the unit is 1 and 2/8th inches wider by ½ of an inch taller. Both units are approximately the same depth, although the XL appears to be about 1 mm deeper than the DS Lite. The DS Lite, with an internal stylus and a Flash Kit in Slot-1 and Slot-2, weighs approximately 7.7 ounces. The DSi XL, with an internal stylus, a 2 GB SD card, and a Flash Kit in Slot-1, weighs approximately 11.2 ounces. As reported by Nintendo the screen size of the DSi XL is 93% larger than that of the DS Lite. The Slot-2 insertion area has been removed, as with the DSi, making the DSi XL backwards compatible with only DS/DSi games and applications.

    <div align="center"><a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/08_lite_xl_ontop.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/08_lite_xl_ontop-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/09_lite_xl_sidebyside.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/09_lite_xl_sidebyside-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/10_lite_xl_open.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/10_lite_xl_open-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a></div>
    The DSi XL is available in a choice of 2 colors, Burgundy or Bronze. The review unit was the Bronze color. The top of the shell is flat Black in color with a heavy clear finish. The finish feels a little bit thicker than the DS Lite’s finish. The left, right, front, and bottom are a flat Bronze color in a matte finish. The interior of the unit has the same matte finish but once again uses the flat Black color. Calling this unit a Bronze and Black two-tone might have been a more honest choice of phrasing. The paint feels professionally done and is smooth to the touch. The matte finish remains graspable even with sweaty hands. The clear finish picks up smudges and finger prints almost instantly. However, it is easy to clean with a single wipe from a cotton rag.

    <div align="center"><a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/11_xl_top.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/11_xl_top-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/12_xl_bottom.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/12_xl_bottom-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/13_xl_side.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/13_xl_side-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a></div>
    The pen-sized stylus is a nice addition to the Nintendo official lineup. It fits perfectly in an adult hand and has the same tip as the normal DS stylus. The pen-sized stylus comes themed in a flat Black and Bronze two-tone plastic case, complete with a fake pocket clip. The internal stylus is approximately 3 and ¾ inches long, ¼ of an inch longer than the DS Lite internal stylus. The extra length does not make it any easier to hold, it still falls just short of where one would expect a pen to rest while writing. The pen-size stylus will more than likely be the one adult gamers use. However, as there is no way to secure it to the DSi XL it must be carried separately.

    <div align="center"><a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/14_stylus_sidebyside.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/14_stylus_sidebyside-small_b.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a></div>
    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="d"></a>Hands-on Impressions</div>
    Taking the unit out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the difference in size. The first few times I held it in my hand it felt massive compared to the DS Lite I have used for the past 2 years. My hand quickly grew accustomed to the larger shell as I felt the smoothness of the matte finish.

    The unit boots up with a press of a small power button. Unlike the switch on the DS Lite, this button feels solid and responsive. Nintendo recommends that users charge the unit before using it the 1st time and after not using it for 6 months. I was too eager to play with this new toy and let it run on the initial charge.

    The display came set to the 5th level of brightness. According to the manual users should expect to get 4-5 hours of up time at this level. I lowered the brightness to the 3rd level and ran through the initialization set-up process.

    Once the DSi XL was set-up I started to play with the included software. The DSi XL ships with Flipnote studio, Nintendo DSi Sound, Nintendo DSi Browser, Photo Clock, Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters, and Brain Age Express: Math. Users can copy any of these items to the SD card in order to free up blocks for more DSi Ware. I quickly moved off the Brain Age games and experienced my first disappointment.

    The DSi’s built in camera and photo application can access the SD card directly. The DSi’s copy and paste routines can also access the SD card directly. The DSi sound application can access the SD card as well. From my testing, none of the other default software can make use of the SD card. I had expected that I would still be able to run the Brain Age games from the SD card, while freeing up the internal memory for more downloadable DSi Ware. This, however, is not the case. Once something is placed on the SD card it remains in storage until it is copied back into the DSi’s internal memory. Why they elected to do this makes absolutely no sense to me.

    My second problem with the DSi is in regards to music. Using the DSi sound application users can play back audio files, but only AAC compatible files are supported. I have to question how difficult it would have been to support an array of files or in the very least the MP3 and FLAC formats.

    As for the Brain Age games, I would have preferred the 1600 points to spend on other software I was interested in and not be forced into these two titles. I personally find no joy in testing my math, reading, and comprehension skills. Thankfully I have enjoyed the other included DSi Ware titles, they were just enough to keep me entertained until my Acekard 2i arrived.

    I spent a great deal of time playing with a few retail carts that I own. I found the DSi XL buttons and shoulder buttons to be extremely responsive. The D-Pad feels very solid and responsive to movement. The whole system does have a rather unique press-button sound, one that is a precise clicking noise. The sound does annoy me at times and I would have preferred silent button and d-pad implementation. Going from the NDS Lite to the DSi XL I found the button placement to be higher than I would have expected. However, I quickly grew accustomed to it and now prefer their placement. The location allows me to have a fuller grip with the back of the unit, where as the Lite required me to use my pinkies as a support shelf.

    The DSi firmware is very pretty, well organized, and contains “mood” music during various stages of interaction. This firmware is a step in the right direction and I feel as though Nintendo really did their design homework. Adding DSi Ware to the unit is as simple as launching a built-in WIFI application. The steps to playing games, changing system options, and purchasing new DSi Ware are well written and easy to follow.

    The best parts about the DSi XL are the 93% larger screens. I had not known what to expect as all user speculation was that they would be blurry or pixilated. However, I feel that the larger screens are simply allowing users to see the slight imperfections they may have missed before. For example, while booting AKAIO on the XL the first time I noticed that the fonts were not anti-aliased. This was an interesting shock to my eyes that I quickly grew accustomed too.

    In all honestly, DS games look and feel just like they did on the DS Lite. The larger screen’s identical resolution does not cause any issues in regards to gaming. DPG video playback is clear and much more enjoyable at this size. A few games of DSDoom, DSPack, and NesDS quickly reminded me why I wanted the DSi XL. Homebrew is so incredibly enjoyable on the larger screens. This is the way these games, emulators, and applications should be played. ScummVMDS never looked as good as this on any handheld that I have used!

    Audio is crisper, cleaner, and louder on the DSi XL, thanks to the inclusion of the IC Codec. I find that the highest volume setting is actually too much at times, where on the DS Lite it was not enough.

    The DSi XL is heavier than the DS Lite, as a result my new favorite gaming position is with my feet up and the unit on my lap. It is not so heavy that I can not game traditionally, but users will notice the weight of this unit.

    The built in cameras have been fun to play with. I’ve used them to keep a log file of sorts of my DSi XL user experience. I have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of these tiny cameras. They take a half way decent photo that is good enough for saving memories or a quick e-mail.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="e"></a>Final Thoughts</div>
    I would recommend this unit to anyone with large hands or poor eye sight. Any cramping I experienced with the DS Lite is nonexistent with the XL. Anyone into Homebrew will find this system a real treat. The unit is rather large and while it fits in my pocket it does not fit comfortably. I personally find gaming more enjoyable on the larger screen and noticed that small objects are much easier to see. If you already have a DSi then you are only gaining the larger screens. I think that anyone who skipped the DSi, while hoping for a Flash Kit that ran in something other than DS Mode, would truly enjoy this unit.

    I would easily award this Golden status, but as this was a “mini” review I do not feel a grade should be included based on impressions alone. With that said here is a brief list of pros and cons I experienced while testing for this "mini" review.

    <b><font color="green">Pros:</font></b>
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Bigger form factor
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> 93% larger LCD screens
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Improved audio performance
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Pen-sized stylus
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> DSi Ware
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Organized DSi Firmware
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> SD card can be used as secondary storage
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> micro SDHC support via an adapter

    <b><font color="red">Cons:</font></b>
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Most applications can not access the SD card directly
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Limited to AAC compatible sound files
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> No user choice for which "free" games are included
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> DSi Ware downloads require WIFI
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Pen-sized stylus' pocket clip is fake, can not be used

    <div class="reviewbreak"></div>
    <b>Links:</b>
    <a href="http://www.nintendodsi.com/" target="_blank">Official Nintendo DSi Site</a>
    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_DSi" target="_blank">DSi WIKI Article</a>
    <a href="http://dsiware.nintendolife.com/games" target="_blank">DSi Ware Reviews</a>

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    Special thanks to Shaunj66, Costello, Spikey, and the #acekard crew. Without all of you this "mini" review would not have been possible.

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