After the Nintendo DS Phat and the Nintendo DS Lite, we now also know the Nintendo DSi. The Nintendo DS Lite was mainly about aesthetic changes, but this time other kinds of changes were made as well. You can read in this review what these changes are and whether they have worked well.

Rumors of a Nintendo DS2 have been circulating for some time now. After the Nintendo DS Lite as a kind of intermediate step, fans thought it was time for a really new handheld, of course with the possibility to play old Nintendo DS games. There was much speculation about possible changes and new features. In the end it turned out to be an update again and not a Nintendo DS2, just like the Nintendo DS Lite.

While the update from Nintendo DS to Nintendo DS Lite was mainly about making everything nicer, flatter and smaller, this is not the case with the update from Nintendo DS Lite to Nintendo DSi. The handheld itself is slightly longer, which is because the screens are about seventeen percent larger. So you would actually expect the image to be slightly stretched, but fortunately this is not the case, or at least it is not visible. In fact, the image seems to be even nicer than on the Nintendo DS Lite.

The sound has also been slightly improved. This is also necessary, as the Nintendo DSi has a built-in program to play with music by editing it. A fun pastime, but unfortunately you can’t save your edited songs. You should also keep in mind that songs you want to play on your DSi must be in AAC format and not in the more common MP3 format.

DSiWare

An important software component of the Nintendo DSi is the DSiWare. These are games and programs that you can download via your DSi in exchange for DSi points, which you can buy in the store just like Wii points. However, you should keep in mind that points cannot be exchanged between your Wii and your DSi.

Currently, the aaDSiWare offer consists of games such as Paper Plane, Art Style: AQUIA and Wario Ware: Snapped! and the Nintendo DSi browser. The latter can be downloaded for free, for the others you have to pay two hundred five hundred or eight hundred DSi points. Quite a few other DSiWare games are already planned and although it’s not officially confirmed yet, we’ve already heard that some GameBoy, GameBoy Color and GameBoy Advance games are likely to be released as DSiWare.

The latter is very useful, since the GameBoy Advance slot is missing on the Nintendo DSi, so that GameBoy Advance games can no longer be played, just like Nintendo DS games that use this slot, such as Guitar Hero: On Tour. So if you sell your old Nintendo DS Phat or Nintendo DS Lite, this is something to take into account, especially if you own a few GameBoy Advance games. One possible option is to purchase a GameBoy Micro for your old GameBoy Advance games, since the GameBoy Micro is handy and relatively inexpensive.

The DSiWare is initially stored in the system memory, which of course has a limited capacity. For more capacity, you can purchase an SD card, on which you can also store music and photos. You can quite easily transfer games from your system memory to your SD card and vice versa, but if DSiWare is on the SD card you won’t be able to play them. You have to put it on the system memory first before you can play it. If you have a lot of DSiWare this can be inconvenient, but transferring the SD card to the system memory doesn’t take much time.

Appearance

As mentioned before, with the update from Nintendo DS Lite to Nintendo DSi, the focus was not purely on the appearance of the new device. However, this does not mean that the appearance has not changed, on the contrary. Earlier I mentioned that the Nintendo DSi is slightly longer and that the GameBoy Advance slot is missing, but those are not the only external differences. The Nintendo DS Lite had a glossy lacquer finish while the Nintendo DSi has a nice matte finish. This gives the device a much more mature look, something that is enhanced by the built-in cameras.

Although you might not quite expect it, the Nintendo DSi has not one camera but two, one clearly visible on the outside and the other slightly concealed on the inside. Using the photo program on your Nintendo DSi, you can not only take photos, but also edit them with all kinds of distorting lenses and fun effects. You can save these edited images, in contrast to edited sound fragments.

Conclusion

All in all, the Nintendo DSi has become a fairly mature device that has been well thought out. It’s a shame that the GameBoy Advance slot is missing, but this is more than made up for by the larger screen, the DSiWare and of course the built-in cameras.

The big question is, of course, whether or not you should buy the Nintendo DSi. If you already own a Nintendo DS Lite then the Nintendo DSi is not good value for money unless you are really into the DSiWare. However, if you still have a Nintendo DS Phat or no Nintendo DS at all, then the Nintendo DSi is definitely recommended, because the difference between the Nintendo DS Phat and the Nintendo DSi is quite significant. If you don’t have a Nintendo DS yet and want to buy one, I would definitely recommend the Nintendo DSi, also because it, unlike the Nintendo DS Phat and the Nintendo DS Lite, does know how to handle WPA and WPA2-secured networks .

The Nintendo DSi retails for €169.99 and is available in both white and black. Nintendo DSi Points to buy DSiWare costs €1 per hundred points, but if you visit the DSiWare store before October, you’ll get the first thousand points for free.

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