Nintendo DSi – Solid portable gaming system

Handheld ConsolesOn June 18, 2010 at 4:19 am



It is been around four and half years since the release of Nintendo DS and that console sold like hot cakes in the market with about hundred million units sold worldwide. Some argue that Sony’s PSP is much more popular than the Nintendo’s product but stats reveal that it has sold just 50 million units. Nintendo DSi is the third installment of DS which we first saw in November 2004. DS Lite came in June 2006 the company did lots of changes to the console, including the design. Performance too is significantly better.

There were rumors around that Nintendo would be coming out with another iteration soon and these were proved to be true, as they brought in Nintendo DSi to the market. For this new version, you get two cameras having a small resolution, SD card slot and bigger screen size. You lose the Game Boy Advance slot which was there in both the previous versions. If you already own DL Lite, I won’t recommend you to upgrade. DSi does have lots of cool media features and it also comes with online functionality which might make your drool. But if you have the just the original DS, then get this system, it is much better.

If you have used DL Lite before, the first thing you will notice about this new device is the sturdiness. DSi is more robust as compared to its predecessor. Fortunately, there is no increase in weight. DS Lite was wrapped with shinny plastic clothing where as DSi is matte covered with rubber exterior. I didn’t put the Nintendo DSi through a hard time in my labs but this gadget looks like it will attract scratches easily. In terms of size, the DSi is four mm thinner and five mm wider as compared to the Lite.

Other than that, there is not much difference between the Nintendo DSi and the previous model. The latter had 2 LED glowing lights on the right hinge and on the DSi, they have been shifted to the left. The Y, B, A, X keys are not that deep and hence won’t have to press them too much. The same holds true for the R and L buttons, they are now bouncier and thus don’t require a lot of effort to press. For the D-pad, the click responsiveness was similar. DL Lite’s D-pad was Wii remote rip off.

On the touch screen’s left, there is a power button. Long press powers the Nintendo DSi on/off where as the short press will reset the device. This was not available in earlier models. Placement of the microphone has not been changed but the internal camera is now put along with the mic on the right. The screens are now a bit bigger which gives you more real estate for gaming. But I wished there were some improvements in color performance or overall brightness. There are speakers on the two sides of the display and its size is toned down.

On the Nintendo DSi’s exteriors, there are a few changes. Firstly, the Game Boy Advance slot is moved to the left and it is converted in to push button format. The control movement is fine but I would have preferred a slider instead of buttons. For muting the device, you just slide the thumb. On the predecessor, you had to long press the button. The card slot is put on the right.

Nintendo DSi has two 0.3 mega pixel cameras. One is located on the inner hinge and the other is on the lid. When the later camera is active, you will see a glowing pink LED light. The stylus compartment is moved on the back and the manufacturer gives you a spare stylus. The size of the stylus is increased to four mm.

Apart from the inclusion of camera, the biggest feature on the Nintendo DSi is the firmware which is now updated. Also note that you cannot upgrade previous iterations to this new interface. The new firmware gives you lots of online and media applications which let you interact with music and photos. The layout is pretty much similar to Nintendo Wii; you can scroll through or move around the different applications and channels. There are some blank spaces too; this is for putting in downloaded applications and games that you’ll purchase from DSi shop. Nintendo DSi has 256 MB internal memory and you can use this space to store your photos.

Pros

Adds 2 bigger screens, thinner design, two 0.3 megapixel cameras, DSi Shop can be accessed for downloading applications and games

Cons

Doesn’t support Game Boy Advance games, battery life is lower, settings for Internet security are a bit confusing

Outcome

I won’t recommend you to upgrade to this console if you already have a DS or DS Lite. But if you don’t own one, then get this. It is better than its predecessors.

Specifications
  • Nintendo DSi
  • 5.4 inches wide, 0.7 inch deep, 2.9 inches high, and 7.5 oz weight
  • Media type – SD Memory Card and Cartridge
  • Features – 2 VGA cameras, built in mic, AAC playback
  • ARM9 134 MHz processor
  • 3.25 inches TFT LCD display, 260000 colors supported
  • 2nd display – 3.25 inches color touch screen
  • Stereo speakers
  • Expansion slots – SD memory card, Nintendo DS cartridge slot
  • 840 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery
  • Rated life of 14 hours
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    1 Comment

  • vareeja says:

    Nintendo DSi is a great gaming console!

    Aesthetic and highly functional, the DSi has more extensive multimedia features than previous DS models, and it allows users to export pictures, downloaded software and some AAC audio files to SD cards.

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