Review: Nintendo launches new DSi console with impressive larger screens

Rating: 4 Star Rating

It seems that every year brings a new Nintendo handheld console, and 2010 is no different.

The  Nintendo DSi XL - which is a souped up large-screen version of their popular DS Lite - hits the shops today priced around £150. It is the fourth DS console in as many years.

The main selling point of the XL is its 4.2" dual touchscreens, which are 93 per cent larger than those of its predecessor.

Enlarge   Nintendo xl

Little and large: The new Nintendo XL has 4.2" dual screens, which are 93% bigger than the Nintendo DSi

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said: 'You do not have to peek closely into the monitor of another player's video game to get a good view anymore.

'It is going to offer a new play style, where those who are surrounding the game player can share the experience.'

Whether you want to spend hours watching someone else play a computer game is debatable, but the larger screen undoubtedly makes gaming a more enjoyable experience.

To compliment the bigger screen, the XL has a larger pen-like stylus, although this doesn't slot into the console.

However, the extra screen size comes at a cost. The 6"x3.5" console is no longer 'pocket-sized' and it weighs a hefty 314g - 100g more than previous editions. However, it is just about portable in a handbag or rucksack.

Only available in a sober dark brown or a murky red, the XL is clearly targeted at grown-up gamers and has all the bells and whistles of the 2009 DSi.

Nintendo XL

The Nintendo DSi XL, which weighs a hefty 314g, and comes with a larger stylus to compliment the 4.3" screens

It therefore features a microphone, for recording and messing about with different sounds and two motion-detecting cameras.

There still isn't any sign of a snazzy motion-based game that takes advantage of this feature. Instead the cameras take decent close-up images, which can be customised with one of the 11 amusing lens effects.

You can slot in an SD card to backup your pictures or listen to music via the DSi sound application.

The console comes with built-in educational software including Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: Arts Edition and a 'Dictionary', which is actually more of a six-language translator tool.

XL owners can also download games online via the Nintendo DSi Shop. They can access the internet using the DSi Browser wherever a wireless internet connection is available. However, it can be a tricky process to connect to a protected Wi-Fi network.

The handheld DS console is Europe's best-selling games console and has sold more than 40 million units since its launch in the UK in 2005.

While the XL doesn't offer many new features, the larger screen is probably just enough on an incentive to attract a host of new fans.

How the bigger handheld consoles compare:

SONY PSP 3000 (Slim & Lite)
Screen size
Dual 4.2" touchscreens
One 4.3" non-touch screen
Screen resolution
256 x 192 pixels
480 x 272 pixels
6 x 3.4 x 0.75 inches
6.7 x 2.9 x 0.7 inches
Brown, wine red
Two integrated, 0.3MP
Optional add-on
Improved speakers
Built in stereo speakers
Wi-Fi, USB 2.0
Wi-Fi, USB 2.0
16MB Ram
64MB Ram
Four hours +
Four hours +

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