Nintendo DSi XL

The Nintendo DS is Living Large With the New XL Version

What It Is

Nintendo continues to update and improve it’s popular handheld gaming system—the Nintendo DS—so before we talk about the latest version lets take a quick look at the history of the DS. The first DS was launched in 2004 as a successor to Nintendo’s popular Game Boy series. It was a clam-shell device with WiFi, a microphone and two screens, one of which was a touch-screen allowing people to play games without using buttons. Two years later, the DS Lite—a slimmer, lighter and brighter DS—arrived. In 2008, the DS received another makeover with the introduction of DSi. This iteration continued with the dual-screen display and contained all of the features from the earlier DS units, including WiFi and a mic, however now the DS had a built-in camera with two lenses and several pre-installed applications.

Now that we are all up to speed on our DS history, lets take a look at the latest version, the DSi XL. The XL includes all of the features from the DSi—two screens, two camera lenses, WiFi, mic, etc.—but packs them into a larger device with 4.2-inch screens. In addition to the larger screens, the XL features enhanced side-viewing displays that makes the screens easier to look at from distances and angles (more on this later), new applications and pre-loaded games.

Why It’s Fun

The XL comes with the two applications that made the DSi so much fun. The first is a photo editing app that allows you to manipulate the pictures you take with the device then save them or upload them to Facebook. The second app is a similar editing program for recording, distorting and playing back sounds and music. The new apps include Flipnote Studio, a creative way to draw and animate your own doodlings, and Photo Clock, which displays the time and calender over a wallpaper that cycles through your pictures.

Beyond all these included goodies there is an endless supply of games that you can play anywhere because the XL fits in your hand. You don’t even have to go to a store to purchase games because the built-in WiFi feature allows you to buy, download and start playing games without leaving the house.

Back to those enhanced side-viewing displays that I mentioned earlier. The enhanced displays makes it possible for people to gather around one DS and watch what the user is doing, which opens this handheld device to group activities. For example, part of the fun of manipulating your own pictures is having others watch and join in the fun with their suggestions and ideas to create something really crazy.

Who’s Going To Love It

Nintendo’s strategy is all about creating game experiences for everyone and the XL fits that mission nicely. On the one hand, older gamers (like the grandparents) and anyone with poor eye-sight will enjoy the large crisp screens. At the same time adventure, RPG and games with vibrant graphics look great on the larger screens, which might attract more hard-core gamers to the DS brand.

What To Be Aware Of

The pre-installed games are Brain Age Express: Math and Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters.

The XL is a great choice for anyone planning on purchasing a handheld game system, however, if you already have a perfectly working DSi, it isn’t necessary for you to run out and replace it with the XL.

The larger screens also mean a larger device overall, which has both positive and negative results. On the negative side, the XL isn’t going to fit in your pants’ pockets like the DSi does. On the plus side, in addition to the larger screens, the device’s larger size makes it easier to play without holding it but placing it on a desk or table instead. Also, there are rumors floating around that Netflix wants to start streaming movies to the DS, obviously it would be much more enjoyable to watch any type of video on the larger screens of the XL.

Fun Scale

5 out of 5

It has to be fun or it wouldn’t be on Time to Play. But some games are more fun than others so here’s our scale: 1 is fun, 2 is a lot of fun, 3 is great, 4 is awesome and 5 is out-of-this-world!

Video Game Information

Nintendo DSi XL
Publisher: Nintendo
Rated: Everyone

System/Brand: DS
Genre: Portable Game System

SRP: $189.99
Available: Now, at most major retail, toy, gaming specialty shops and many online e-commerce sites.
Launch Date: March 28, 2010
Date of Review: April 1, 2010

*Rating determined by the ESRB


What do you think about Nintendo DSi XL?

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