We just snagged a brand-new Nintendo DSi from our colleagues on GameSpot -- they fell for the old "Look! It's the Goodyear blimp!" trick, the suckers -- and before they find out we're taking it for a spin. It's the latest revision of the DS handheld console, and although not entirely new, does offer some hot new features.
Depending on what your priorities are, there are two major new features that could be considered the biggest deal. The first is the inclusion of two digital cameras -- one on the back for taking photos of other people, one on the inside for taking photos of yourself.
Both take decent 640x480-pixel images (check out our pictures later on for examples), but we can only speculate on what Nintendo will end up using these for in the long run.
The other big new feature is the SD card slot, which also signals the eradication of the dated Gameboy Advance cartridge port. When the DSi launches, Nintendo will offer an online store for downloading content and add-ons directly to the console over Wi-Fi.
A new music player lets you play some tunes, but only those in AAC format, including downloads from the iTunes Plus store. MP3s are not supported. Instead, you can use the shoulder buttons to insert claps, drum beats and Mario sound effects over the top of your favourite songs. It's like losing your virginity: fun for a few seconds, then bitterly disappointing.
Good things that have been obliterated include the glossy jacket the DS Lite wore -- the DSi is coated with a matte finish, which caused our aortic pumps to skip several beats upon rubbing. The twin screens are slightly larger, as is the console itself, but the pixel resolution remains the same, and so do the graphics.
We played a little Tomb Raider: Underworld as we mucked around with the new console, and took enough photos to fill the empty void inside that Miss Teen South Carolina chick's head -- even if they were printed on really massive pieces of paper. Check them out over the next few pages.
The DSi will be on sale in April for £149, alongside the existing model, which will sell for £89. Whether two cameras, a music player and downloadable content is worth the £60 premium will depend on how good this download store is -- the DSi costs even more than an Xbox 360 Arcade version, for crying out loud.
We'll let you know our final opinion closer to the time the store launches.
The DSi opened up like the legs of an heiress.
And now closed.
From the left-hand side.
The twin screens are marginally larger than those on the DS Lite.
Here's the rear-facing camera.
The back of the DSi, minus the GBA cartridge shot. Boo! We liked that little hole.
The new SD card slot.
Oh hai! This photo was taken with the front-facing camera, and is almost full-resolution here.