It was just about a year ago that Nintendo released the DSi handheld system, the next evolutionary iteration of the company's hugely popular DS portable hardware. Boasting two tiny cameras and larger screens, we only recommended the device for those who were new to the world of DS gaming or wanted access to the online DSi Shop.
At a press conference, Nintendo officially unveiled the remaining details about the next DS to hit North America. The DSi XL features even larger screens (93 percent bigger compared with the ) and has a much wider viewing angle. Set to go for $190, we'll see the DSi XL in stores on March 28 in two colors (burgundy and bronze).
We got some hands-on time with the DSi XL earlier this month and were instantly surprised by its weight. It's noticeably heavier than both the DSi Lite and DSi, but we actually enjoyed the sturdiness. Obviously, the most notable detail about the DSi XL is its size, and while our Nintendo rep said it's still "pocketable," we can't imagine a scenario where the DSi XL would fit comfortably in a pair of jeans.
When we first flipped the DSi XL open, we were blown away by the two enormous screens. Even more impressive was the fact that video quality didn't seem to suffer as a result of enlarging games beyond the size of their native aspect. While we had fears about pixilated performance when the XL was first announced, we're happy to report that games look great, as our demo with Mario Kart DS proved.
Nintendo is branding the DSi XL as a "social" device, partly because of the dual screens' generous viewing angle. We tested this claim out with an XL set up on a tabletop and couldn't find a perspective that seemed to dim the display. While this improvement was no doubt exaggerated by having an old DS "fat" nearby to compare to, the screens truly are vibrant, unlike any DS system currently available.
We also really liked the new stylus the XL will ship with that closely resembles a pen or permanent marker. It's by far the most comfortable first-party stylus yet, though it won't snap into the device for storage like those before it. We'll have our full review of the DSi XL in coming weeks, so stay tuned to CNET Reviews for the latest. For now, be sure to check out our First Look at the Nintendo DSi XL in the video player above.