Nintendo DSi XL games console review

If you've ever felt that the Nintendo DSi is too small then good news: Nintendo has released the Nintendo DSi XL, a larger version to quench your gaming thirst. But is it worth the bother? We got playing to find out.

Think Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in the film Twins and you get the picture when it comes to size difference. Nintendo aren't joking when they say that this is the XL version.

Aside from the d-pad, the a, b, x, y, and start/select buttons everything else has been expanded while still keeping the emphasis on the same design. It's as if someone has increased the size of the image on the machine that makes the console.

The reason for the size increase isn't to make it more comfortable in the hand, in fact that's probably one of the downsides for your kids, no, the size increase has been to improve the size of the two screens.

Now you get two 4.2-inch displays, one of which is touchscreen, rather than the 3.25-inch screens in the original. As you can imagine that massive size increase automatically changes the way you interact with the console.

To put that into perspective against other devices, the new DSi XL screen is slightly smaller than the Sony PSP (4.3 inches) bigger than the Apple iPhone (3.5 inches).

Instead of reaching for the stylus every time, a large majority of interactions can now be performed by your fingers as the information on the screen has more room to breathe. We found that makes gaming more intuitive and in turn more engaging.

Concerns over screen resolution are, it has to be said, fairly unfounded. Games are automatically re-sized to fit the new screen size and while there is some loss in resolution - the XL features the same 256 x 192 resolution as the smaller screen but with more space to cover - you'll have to look closely to notice the blocky graphics. However as we've yet to see decent graphics on the DSi you won't notice or care anyway.

But it's not just a bigger screen and bigger case that comes in the box. The DSi XL packs the same digital cameras as before (both inside and out) and therefore you'll also get the "crazy" photo app that lets you morph your face in a hundred different ways and then share them with your mates.

A web browser, "Dr Kawashima's: Little Bit of Brain Training: Arts Edition" and "Dictionary 6 in 1 with Camera Function" complete the package. Parents hoping the 6 in 1 dictionary might actually help kids understand the world around them would be wrong. It is in fact translation software that will tell you how to spell key words in 5 other languages by typing or photographing them.

Verdict

The DSi XL will make gaming easier and certainly more interactive with the screen really making this something to shout about. It's more in your face and packs a better punch.

The downside of course is that it's bigger, heavier and therefore less likely to fit in your pocket or bag without filling all the available space.

This isn't a must-go-out-and-buy upgrade, however if you're looking for the experience of the PSP, but wanting to stick with the Nintendo games set, this is a better, bigger, experience that will give you just that.