The Nintendo DSi I have sent away for have finally received in the mail. While North America have to wait several months to obtain one, the Nintendo DSi was released late last year in Japan. Nintendo DSi meant as a successor of the Nintendo DS Lite with new features including a bigger screen, two cameras, Wireless G and also WPA security compatibility, ability to use SD cards, plays and records sounds, and also buy downloadable games off the Nintendo DSi Store.
If you want a DSi, I suggest not getting rid of your old DS since it doesn’t have a GBA slot (so no more transferring Pokemon from your GBA games to your DS games)
Warning, rest of the review is image heavy.
Unboxing and Impressions
Unlike the older systems, the Nintendo DSi presents you a menu after you turn it on. From there, you can change the settings, play your DS games, access the Camera and also Audio and also the DSi Store. Also, you do not have to restart your DSi after changing the settings and you can swap your DS games without needing to turn off the system like you have to in the older systems.
Unlike the older models, the DSi now sports a matte finish, so you don’t have to worry about getting fingerprints all over the case. Also, the power button reverted to the one on the old DS. Also, the volume controller is now replaced with a button opposed to a sliding controller. Also, the DSi is lighter and even thinner than the previous models since they removed the GBA slot (mentioned earlier) and supposed to have a battery life up to 14 hours, which is a little bit shorter than the DS Lite. This is due to a bigger screen. DSi comes in Black and Light Blue in North America and it doesn’t have the cracked hinge problem which was a problem with the DS Lite (yes, it happened to me).
The DSi also features a web browser which uses the Opera rendering engine. Unlike the Opera Browser for the DS, the Opera Browser on DSi is alot faster and more responsive.
The DSi Browser loads the page fine, but it’s a bit slower than other browsers on other mobile devices such as the iPod Touch/iPhone’s Safari browser which takes a few seconds to load the page over Wifi. This is because the DSi have a slower processor opposed to the iPhone/iPod Touch although the DSi have 2 processors. Also note that there is no Flash support, so you won’t be able to play any Youtube videos… Despite the drawbacks, it’s a okay casual browser to just for light web browsing on the go.
The DSi Browser can be downloaded for free on the DSi Store.
The DSi features two cameras which can be used to take pictures. Also these cameras can be used in certain games that will come out in the future… You can also use special effects in taking your pictures and also edit them after you take them. Pictures can also be stored in the optional SD card slot and be transfered on a computer. Also the DSi gives you the ability to upload pictures to Facebook, but not yet to other services like Flickr.
While most people expect that the images that the DSi takes is good quality… However, it’s not since the DSi only have cameras that are VGA resolution (640×480) which is even worse than iPhone’s 2.1 MP camera (or with the iPhone 3GS, 3.0 MP) or any other cellphone cameras. Here is a comparison of the pictures taken with a DSi, iPhone 3G and a Nikon Coolpix S51:
Overall, it’s just best to take pictures using a regular digital camera or a Smartphone opposed to using the DSi cameras.
Other Stuff on the DSi
In addition to the web browser, camera application, the DSi includes a DSi Store and a Sound application. The DSi Store allows you to download games to your DSi and additional applications (at the moment, the only DSiWare is the Web Browser). The DSi Store gives you 1,000 DSi points for free for the first time connecting to the store.
The Sound Application allows you to record and playback your sounds you have recorded and stored. Also, you can play your stored music files on the SD Card, but it only supports AAC files (meaning, no MP3s, FLACs, OGG audio files although all your iTunes DRM-free music can play on the DSi). While playing music, you can change the virtualizer, adjust the pitch and speed and add special sound effects (such as radio, remove vocals, 8-bit Video Game and echo).
In a future release, the DSi will add a application for Facebook (this is already out in Japan).
Should I go out and buy a DSi?
For most DS Lite users, there is currently no compelling reason yet to get one… but if you own a original DS or your DS Lite hinge broke, a DSi would be a bit more compelling since it’s not much more than the DS Lite and it does more. If you get a DSi, you shouldn’t get rid of your old DS since you will lose your GBA slot which is required in some games, so it’s best to keep it if you need the GBA slot.
Eventually, games in the future will require a DSi with the advent of DSi Enhanced Games which will make it more of a compelling reason to get one in the future… but not yet.
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