Nintendo's DSi XL has arrived (at least for us, the system hits retail stores March 28), and while we expect to post a full review within the next 24 hours, here are some candid shots of the unit in action, as well as our initial hands-on impressions of the final retail version.
The first thing we noticed about the DSi XL is its extremely glossy top lid. We have the burgundy version (it also comes in bronze), and the top of the unit was so glossy, we at first thought there was one of those disposable protective plastic sheets over it that you sometimes find on out-of-the-box laptop lids. Naturally, it's a fingerprint magnet, and our review unit was significantly smudgy within moments. The bottom and interior, however, have a matte finish.
The twin displays measure 4.2-inches diagonally, which Nintendo says provides 93-percent more surface area than the 3-inch displays on the original. The bigger screens on the DSi XL even dwarfed an iPhone display, and as promised by Nintendo, the viewing angles were excellent, with the screen clearly visible even viewed from nearly 180-degrees.
Side by side with a classic DS Lite, the new DSi XL really does look like someone just zapped Nintendo's older handheld with a super-size ray. The footprint is 6.3 x 3.6 inches, versus 2.9 x 5.2 inches for the DS Lite, but both are about 0.8-inches thick.
At 0.7 pounds, it feels hefty in the hand, but is still in an entirely different category than a large-screen handheld device such as a Kindle, iPad, or even a Netbook. The visual impression is still more a slightly up-sized DS handheld than some sort of crossover multi-function device.