Hot on the heels of its announcement of its next handheld the 3DS, Nintendo released the Nintendo DSi XL in North America.
On store shelves now for $189.99, it's basically exactly what it sounds like -- a DSi, but bigger. I've had a chance to play with a DSi XL for about a week, putting it through its paces to see if bigger is indeed better. Hit the jump for a look at the ups and the downs of Nintendo's massive new handheld.
My, that's a big handheld you've got there
But from a purely selfish standpoint, there's really nothing like basking in the massive screens while playing a single player game. There hasn't really been a portable with a screen this big on the market before, and it just makes everything smaller look inferior and almost unacceptable.
The unit does come with a more standard DS stylus, which slides nicely into the side of the unit, and is only 4mm longer than the standard DSi stylus. It just would have been nice if Nintendo didn't try to trick me with something that looks like a pen; I'm always looking for pens around my house, and this is just confusing.
It's not a huge deal -- it moves very slightly -- and in an extremely informal Twitter poll I ran, I'm the only person who's had this issue after a week's worth of light usage. I tried to grab a video of the floppy hinge in action, but it's pretty hard to pick up on camera, a testament to the fact that it's a) an incredibly small problem and b) maybe I'm just sensitive to floppy hinges.
So do you need one of these things or what?
This is a tricky question, and it really depends on your situation. If you're currently DSi-less, and you're not too concerned with picking up Nintendo's upcoming (and backwards compatible) 3D handheld (tentatively called the 3DS) at launch next year, the DSi XL seems an obvious choice. If you're in the market for a DSi, then the additional $20 (the DSi retails for $169.99, the XL for $189.99) is well worth it for the extra size and battery life.
But if you already own a DSi, than the XL is a bit of a hard sell. Even if you're someone that simply must have it all, the fact that you can't transfer your DSiWare games or points to your new unit will probably be a deal breaker for most. On top of that, the lack of any additional functionality means you're really just shelling out additional cash for more of the same.
On its own and with over a year to go before Nintendo launches the 3DS, the DSi XL is the choice handheld on the market right now. It's solid hardware backed by an already solid and every-growing library of titles. If you're a gamer and you don't own a DS, you're doing it wrong. Now with the DSi XL, you can just do it bigger than ever before.
[Hey, where's the score? We don't score hardware reviews. But hey, there's a lot of text up there that should be able to help you understand what we think about the DSi XL. Why not read it if you haven't already?]
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