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Nintendo DSi :: Hardware Review

Reviewed by on May 05, 2009
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Watch out world! The Nintendo DSi has got you in its sights! Complete with cameras, a music player and downloadable games, the next generation of DS is looking to make an impact.

When the Nintendo DS first came out, it didn't do too well. The first generation, called DS Phat by fans, was big and bulky. The screen was prone to scratches and the the lid didn't close completely, meaning things like coins and dust could easily get in and do more damage to the screens.

It came as no surprise, then, that the DS Lite enjoyed a significantly larger following. The second generation handheld console was a complete redesign that worked wonderfully. Besides being smaller and having better lids and screens, it also had better battery life and screen brightness.

However, while the DS Lite was an obvious redesign, the DSi is a bit of a mystery. There is no real public outcry for a third generation of the DS. Then again, Nintendo has always seemed to know what people want before they know it themselves.

Brand Spanking New

The "i" in DSi represents the two cameras that act as the "eyes" of the new DS. There are two 0.3 megapixel cameras, one that faces the player and the other that face outwards. To take a picture, the user can tap the touch screen or click the L or R button like a regular camera.

You can do funny things with the pictures you take, such as distorting the pictures or adding graffiti and borders around the image. You can even take a picture of two people and the DSi will calculate how much they resemble each other and gauge their relationship from Unrelated to Twins.

The camera mode is a part of several DSi Channels that work similarly to the Wii Channels. There is also a DSi shop for downloadable games and a music player with an awesome visualizer that can show your music as an ExciteBike race track or a trail of coins for Mario to pick up.

The Ups

  • Bigger Screens
  • Thinner Case
  • Better Button Arrangement (Power Button Works Better)
  • Better Volume and Screen Brightness Control
  • Downloads and Wi-Fi
  • More Storage and SD Card Slot
  • Better Technology (RAM is 4x previous models)

  • The Downs

  • No GBA Slot (Bad for Pokemon and Guitar Hero: on Tour Players)
  • Lower Battery Life (9-14 hours of gameplay vs 15-19 hours with previous models)
  • Music Player Format is Limited (Doesn't play mp3)
  • Camera quality is Low and Face Recognition is Not Great

  • Is DSi "It"?

    While there are not many differences between the DS Lite and DSi, the improvements are noticeable. Trade in deals with stores like GameStop and Nintendo's offer of 1,000 free DSi Points for the online store is helping the DSi sell very well. As well, some future games may be exclusive to the DSi, or offer some added bonus features for DSi users. However, these games are not out yet so, if your DS Lite is not broken, you may want to wait a bit before trading in.


    Price: $169.99

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