Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Taking the new DSi XL for a spin

Correction - the DSi XL will be available on Sunday, March 28th.

Let's get one thing straight - there wasn't a huge sandwich delivered to the Houston Chronicle with the DSi XL. If Nintendo did bless us with a deli treat like that, it was gone by the time I made it into the office.

Now, back to our DSi XL preview, already in progress.

The DSi XL, which hits Sunday, is the newest DS handheld in the Nintendo stable. It boast a 93 percent bigger screen than the DS Lite - you can see the difference in the photo above - and offers a slew of features to get interested parties up and running without having to buy games.

The first thing you'll notice is the box size. It's much, much bigger than the DSi and DS Lite box. Next, you'll be greeted by the handheld manual. Underneath that, you'll see the stylus pen - the same size as a real pen - the DSi XL and the bigger, yet lighter power supply.

Right off the bat, you will notice the new DSis, available in Burgundy and Bronze, are slick, shiny and BIG. You'll also notice the interface - it's much, much easier to navigate than the original DS Lite. You'll also notice you have three games already installed on the XL. Two of the titles are Brain Age related: One is Express Math, the other is Express Arts & Letters. There's also a Photo Clock title included as well.

The XL also has a Web browser, two cameras and an audio editor that is likely to be a hit with the younger gamers.

The cameras can upload pictures to Facebook, if you have Web access and an account on the site. Be forewarned - though this is the size of a mini Netbook, it no doubt lacks the processing power of a Netbook and can't handle an ad-hog site like Facebook or Myspace. I'll touch on that more in my upcoming review.

If you own a DS Lite or DSi, you can play your games on the XL.

There's also an SD card slot to upload music and photos to play around with on the XL.

You can also go online with the XL and download titles from the DS shop. A version of Solitaire is just 200 points and calling my name. Hmmm.

Overall, this is a huge step from the DS Lite. If you want to go big, this could be your handheld.

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