Quick Take: Nintendo DSi XL

Our Nintendo DSi XL arrived today, and before we give it our final review, let's have another go at some initial impressions.

Jeff Bakalar Editor at Large
Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.
Jeff Bakalar
2 min read
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Our Nintendo DSi XL arrived Tuesday, and before we give it our final review, let's have another go at some initial impressions.

We really can't stress enough how much more this thing weighs over the DSi. Upon unboxing, the initial wow factor remained; the XL's two screens are enormous compared to systems past.

Sure, the larger size is welcome, but after we passed the device around to a few other editors, we all unanimously declared the DSi XL to be unpocketable. That's right; you'll most likely have to carry around your DSi XL in a purse or backpack.

Even if you could manage to squeeze the device into a pair of jeans, we'd imagine walking around with it wouldn't be the most comfortable of activities.

Hands-on with the Nintendo DSi XL

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When we first turned the DSi XL on, we glided through the initial setup screens and found the whole experience to be a carbon copy of what the DSi setup process was. The most noticeable difference between the two is obviously the preinstalled pieces of software: Brain Age Express: Math, Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters, Flipnote Studio, and Photo Clock. The unit also includes a short video about using your DSi XL with the Internet. Almost everything else is exactly the same as the DSi (photo and music programs). We should note that the system shipped with firmware version 1.4U.

A quick run through the DSi XL's system settings seemed exactly the same as the DSi's, which means all the networking compatibility and hidden Wi-Fi settings headaches are all still present here. While playing Mario Kart DS at our demo last month showed much less pixilation than we anticipated, it was the Brain Age games we tried out today that showed us text may suffer the most from the screen enlargement.

Still impressive is the XL's viewing angle, as we've had a few minutes to really compare that with the DSi and DS lite. While this advantage won't really help the person actually playing with the device, it's much more inviting for a friend to watch over your shoulder.

We'll have our final review of the DSi XL within 24 hours along with a more in-depth look at the physical features of the device, a battery life report, and some real-world portability tests.