Nintendo DSi review: Nintendo DSi

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent

Average User Rating

4 stars 3 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Plays DS and DS Lite games; capable of AAC music playback; larger screens than the DS Lite.

The Bad Doesn't play MP3 audio files; reduced battery life; camera function is gimmicky.

The Bottom Line The Nintendo DSi is great if you're looking for a new handheld games console, but there's very little point buying one if you already own a DS Lite. It's merely mediocre as an audio player, its VGA cameras are poor and under-utilised, and its battery life is significantly lower than its predecessor's

Editors' Top PicksSee All

The DSi is the third iteration of Nintendo's popular dual-screen handheld gaming system. It boasts a number of new features -- twin cameras and audio playback, for example -- that make it more of a personal entertainment device than a mere handheld games machine.

It's available now for around £150.

Design
On first inspection, the DSi looks almost identical to the DS Lite, but there are several key differences. Although slightly longer and wider than the Lite, the DSi is 12 per cent thinner. It also trades the Lite's glossy black finish (the Lite and DSi are also available in white) for a grainy, matte black that virtually eliminates fingerprint smudging and gives it an almost retro aesthetic.

The DSi sports two cameras. The first of these lives on the outside of the clamshell lid, facing away from the user, while the other lives on the hinge, facing the user. The left side of the device boasts a couple of digital volume adjuster switches, while the right sports an SD card reader. Gone is the Game Boy Advance cartridge slot that lives on the bottom of the Lite.


The outer lid plays host to one of two 0.3-megapixel cameras. The other lives on the inside, along the hinge

The speaker grilles on the Lite, which consist of six small holes on either side of the uppermost screen, now take the form of two single, oval-shaped openings, which help to deliver louder, clearer sound. The DSi's twin screens are 83mm (3.25 inches) across the diagonal -- an improvement on the 76mm (3-inch) displays on the Lite.

Features
The DSi sports a new, improved menu system, reminiscent of Apple's Cover Flow interface on the iPod touch and iPhone. The lower display shows a series of horizontally grouped icons -- each representing an application -- and a speech bubble above the centre-most icon, explaining its function. Icons can be browsed by swiping a finger, or the stylus, horizontally across the display.

The most useful icon will probably be the one for running whatever game you've inserted into the console's main slot, but other applications -- specifically designed for and pre-installed on the DSi -- will catch your eye long before you've launched any games.


The status LEDs have been repositioned to the far left-hand side of the hinge

The first of these, DSi Sound, allows you to record audio with the built-in microphone and then -- if it pleases you -- modify the speed and pitch of the recording until it either sounds like a chipmunk or a Dalek with a sore throat. It's utterly pointless.



Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

Nintendo DSi

Part Number: CNETNintendo DSi

Typical Price: £150.00

See manufacturer website for availability.