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THE SUPERSIZED Nintendo DSi XL review, the best just got bigger and louder!
Written: Mar 31, 2010
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:4.2” LCD, Doubles as E-Reader, extra long battery life, preinstalled games, WIFI connectivity and browsing
Cons:Availability, large size could hinder portability, cannot move DSiWare games, the oversized stylus?
The Bottom Line: The Nintendo DSi XL only offers bigger screens and louder internal speakers, but for the legions of loyal gamers and DSiWare fans that is all we ever really wanted!
Gaming on the Nintendo DSi XL is easier now with the bigger screens and the full size, easy-to-hold stylus. Fully rendered 3D games like Electroplankton, Ninjatown and Disgaea DS really are a pleasure to play now because you can finally appreciate the graphics quality of these titles. Of course all games are going to benefit in some part for the increased detail that this super sized gaming console can offer. To round out the experience, the speakers are now noticeably louder than those on the Nintendo DSi. Yes, this is a complete package that will increase the thrill of portable gaming for many people, young or old.
I have patiently waited since October, 2009 to get the chance to write a review of the Nintendo DSi XL! Now that I finally have it my hands, all I can say is WOW! The screens are massive compared to my somewhat older Nintendo DSi and the extra display area really helps to increase the overall brightness of the images as well.
Purchasing And Shipping
Ordering my Nintendo DSi XL has been a long process that led to me building a higher level of trust for Amazon.com. I first contacted GameStop.com for preordering this cool new gadget because they have a store right down the street from me. After several attempts, once North American release date was announced, to contact GameStop.com about preordering, I was forced to buy from Amazon.com. Amazon.com shipped my package on March 27, 2010 via FedEx Next Day Shipping. I used the tracking number on the FedEx website to see the progress over the next few days.
What’s In The Nintendo DSi XL Box?
Nintendo has always been good at packaging their products in boxes that are reusable. For example, the product box has a folding latch to keep it closed while in storage even. Once you open the latch a removable cardboard try has a think instruction manual in several languages along with several advertisement papers. After this is removed, underneath you will find a large stylus pen, the power adapter and the Nintendo DSi XL itself. Each of these items are wrapped in plastic covers that can be removed but since they are open and loose fitting, you can place the products back in at anytime.
Measuring in at 6.34 inches wide by 3.6 inches deep by 0.83 inch high, the XL actually makes the DSi look tiny. The gaming console fits comfortably in your hand with the control pad and buttons easily accessed by my hands. On the front, you will find a headphone jack and on the back is the power port with the game cartridge slot in the middle.
The ultimate test has been whether I can sneak this into my pants pocket for true portable gaming. I am happy to report that I was able to take this with me to the store and comfortably walk around without it getting in my way.
The Massive Dual Screens Of The Nintendo DSi XL
The handheld gaming console has dual 4.2-inch screens which are a whopping 93 percent larger than those found in the DS Lite. Compared to the Apple iPhone, the Nintendo DSi XL not only offers big screens but also has two of them! As an added benefit the screens have a readily apparent, wider viewing angle so your friends can cheat on you while playing Custom Robo Arena DS. Taking and viewing photos with these larger screens is also much more easier to do now. I do wish they would have upgraded the cameras to 1.3 MP but I still contend that the photos look much better on Facebook. You can easily upload your photos taken with the Nintendo DSi XL directly to Facebook.
The Integrated Speakers
One often overlooked feature of this gaming device is its vastly improved speakers. The previous generation, the Nintendo DSi, had decent speakers but the new XL version has larger speakers which make blasting out the sounds from games like Starship Patrol for DSiware. You will not be able to hear deep bass lines, but you can still hear more dynamic mid-range sound than before.
When you first power up your new Nintendo DSi XL, you are going to have to input the customary user information. Choose your language, country, date, time, user name, a personal message, birthday, favorite color and option to set parental controls all using the stylus driven touch screen interface. Make sure you answer these questions honestly, since they are used by many of the games to personalize your experience.
As follows are my experiences with some popular and a few of my favorite games on the Nintendo DSi XL:
Mario Kart DS
3D video games come to life on the Nintendo DSi XL and Mario Kart DS is no exception. Ever since its release in November 2005, this expertly developed racing game has been my benchmark for gaming performance on the DS line of handheld consoles. Nothing else on the market today can reach the level of detail that the Nintendo DSi XL offers. To test it out, I started a multiplayer game with three friends Monday afternoon and oddly enough the friend who had the XL won all three races. Proof or conjecture, yet again that bigger is better!
This game is vastly improved on the larger screens. You can now easily see the busy battles that your ninjas get into while saving their valuable cookie recipes. In fact, as soon as my father saw it, he borrowed my Nintendo DSi XL for the remainder of the week! Battle On Ninjas!
Custom Robo Arena
A true hidden gem for the Nintendo DS, Custom Robo Arena uses full 3D animation in its battle scenes that feature some of the most pulse pounding gameplay that I have ever experienced on the handheld. I threw myself into the fray one more time and was greeted with full screen explosions that seemed to leap off the screen. After nearly shattering my teeth from tension, I realized that I was just not cut out for this kind of intense graphics on my Nintendo DSi XL. Try this 3D extravaganza… if you dare!
The first thing you will notice is that the in-game menus no longer require you to squint your eyes to read the text. Even though I am 32 years old now, I still have 20/20 vision but even I could not play this game easily on my older handheld consoles. The battle maps are much more enjoyable now as well. The 3D perspectives on the large screens are a very immersive experience. Almost like being there yourself, I can play the game without having to use the zoom features just to see the enemy NPC statistics. The special effects for the player spells are still pixilated but are going to be must more enjoyable to view than on the Sony PSP version of the game.
SDHC Memory Card Support
To handle the storage of your digital photos or to simply backup all those downloaded DSiWare games, the game system has an integrated SDHC memory card slot. The SDHC slot is a great way to transfer files for backup or pictures to your friends. I use my card slot to move digital photos take with the Nintendo DSi XL to my ASUS 1005HA netbook all the time.
Some companies like BestBuy.com are falsely selling products that claim you must buy their DSi memory cards for this console. This is completely false because I have been able to use the following memory cards to take photos with no problem at all: 4Gb Transcend SDHC Card, Kingston Elite Pro (1 GB) SD Card (SD/1GB-SKR), Transcend (TS2GSD133) 133x (2 GB) SD Card, Kingston (SDC2/16GB-2ADP) 4x MicroSD Card
What about the free stuff with Nintendo DSi XL?
Yes, you are going to get a whole suite of free Nintendo DSiWare games with your new Nintendo DSi XL. The freebies come in the form of DSiWare games, I guess to make up for not giving us $20 in points like they did with their last hardware console release. We get Photo Clock, Brain Age Express Arts And Letters, Brain Age Express Math. While the entertainment value of these games is rather minimal, they are still fun to play from time to time.
Battery Life Of The Nintendo DSi XL
With screen brightness set to 4 and playing the game Ninjatown, the Nintendo DSi XL ran for 6 hours 45 minutes on battery power and recharged in 3 hours 25 minutes. The battery life has definitely improved with this handheld console and seems to better than any other Nintendo handheld that I currently own.
Nintendo DSiWare, The Next Era Of Gaming
The Nintendo DSi XL places the company firmly into competition with the fixed gaming consoles of the market today because users can download DSiWare games and play them on the go with the easily read dual screens. In fact, the handheld console’s screens are now so large that Nintendo has plans to unveil an E-Reader style library of downloadable books. No fixed gaming console like the Sony Playstation 3 or Microsoft XBOX 360 can do this because no one wants to read a book on television. Instead users are going to be more inclined to take their E-Reader outside or into a comfortable chair. To highlight all of these cool DSiWare games, here is a list of games that I have enjoyed playing since they were released and downloaded effortlessly from the comfort of my couch: Starship Patrol, Flight Control, Viking Invasion and FieldRunners.
My biggest complaint about DSiWare is that you cannot transfer it between consoles. I tried my best but could not get it move because a message appeared every time I tried to move some copied games into system memory. Also, I was a little disappointed that the Nintendo DSi XL does not come with 2000 points like the previous Nintendo DSi did but you just cannot have it all!
The Drawbacks Of The Nintendo DSi XL
Of course, as with anything there are some problems. You cannot use Action Replay DS with the Nintendo DSi XL.
You cannot put old cartridge style, Gameboy Advance games in this new generation device. To get around the Action Replay DS problem, I just put my game in a Nintendo DS Lite to cheat and save. Then I put the game back into my DSi XL and play.
Hardware Specifications Of The Nintendo DSi XL
Model: Nintendo DSi XL
LCD Display 2 x 4.2” TFT LCD screens
CPU Speed: 2 x 133Mhz processors
Internal Flash Memory: 256Mb
Digital Cameras: 2 x 0.3 MP (640 x 480 resolution)
An internal 802.11 wireless connection
Audio: 2 integrated speakers and a headphone jack
Memory Card Support: Supports SD and SDHC memory cards; Non-Nintendo cards do work!
The Realities Behind The 3DS Rumors
Some recent news has come out, on March 24, 2010, that says Nintendo has announced a 3DS version of the popular handheld console line. The 3DS will revolutionize the gaming industry because it does not need glasses to project 3D imagery. Nintendo announced that the 3DS will be released during the first quarter of 2011 in Japan. People are already second guessing the purchase of a Nintendo DSi XL as a result of this news. You must not be discouraged by the announcing of newer hardware by Nintendo. They always do this prior to a North American release and I think it is done to reinforce their technological dominance of the handheld gaming industry.
You should know that Nintendo has already managed to announce the release of their next portable handheld called the 3DS but it will not be released in Japan until first quarter 2011. Until then, the Nintendo DSi XL is in my opinion the best handheld gaming option on the market today. Take pictures on the go, play wirelessly downloaded games, browse the internet and play Nintendo DS game all from the comfort of your couch. Go get yourself one today and begin downloading all those great DSiWare titles today!
In all I give the Nintendo DSi XL two big thumbs up.
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