Nintendo DSi Handheld Games Console - Nintendo DSi

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


The European store has only just opened, and at the moment there isn't really a lot to get excited about. The free Web browser, based on Opera, is surprisingly usable and functional, but game-wise we're limited to a range of very, very simple puzzle and arcade games and one, sole 'keystone' release, WarioWare Snapped. The latter, which features camera controls similar to a cut-down EyeToy game, is an interesting experiment, but the controls aren't particularly effective and the impression is of a game that's high on novelty value, but low on long-term appeal. This isn't a disaster given that all these games are cheap (even WarioWare Snapped is 500 Wii points, or less than £5), but at the moment it's difficult to get a real feel for the DSi experience, as Nintendo envisages it.

That's why it's hard to come up with a definitive verdict on the DSi at this stage. At this exact moment, it's hard to justify upgrading from a DS to a DSi or buying a DSi instead of a DS just to mess around with some low-resolution images, particularly given the £50 difference in price. It's also unlikely that Nintendo will move its biggest hitters - Brain Training, Mario, Zelda - to the DSi and risk alienating the huge existing DS userbase. DSi owners will get enhanced versions of the DS games, but whether these enhancements will be major or minor it's impossible to say at this stage of the game. Finally, it's worth remembering that the £150 price point puts it in contention with Apple's iPod touch. While the DS still has the better games overall, the touch/iPhone platform now has a handful of excellent titles, a wider range of alternative apps, better audio and video features plus support from industry heavyweights like Electronic Arts and Konami. This just can't be ignored.

Given these things, it's tempting to write off the DSi. However, in six months time Nintendo might just release something that makes the DSi feel utterly essential, and me feel silly for ever doubting it. The new Zelda or a new Mario game might appear with features that will make the DS version feel like half the experience, or something of the quality of LostWinds or World of Goo might appear in the DSi shop. Personally, I'd hold off for now until that happens, but if you want a new handheld and feel like taking a small risk, then the DSi is a very interesting little beast indeed.


Right now, the DSi doesn't feel like an essential upgrade over the existing DS Lite, but with the cameras, the extra CPU horsepower and the DSi Shop, there's potential for that situation to change. Don't write it off.

Overall Score



April 4, 2009, 7:43 am

Was that a review? I felt I was just getting a list of specs and other information that I could have garnered from Nintendo's press site. How about images of the DSi actually in use with a game for instance. Or a video review, which this hardware would be perfect for.

I'd have expected a mention about build quality, differences between the ds lite screen and the new screen, and whether for instance, the image looks stretched to accomodate the larger screen, or simply that it's not a concern.


April 4, 2009, 3:44 pm

What irks me about it is the price more than anything. They could have dropped the DS Lite to 䀆 and this to 𧴰/𧴺 I would have bought it straight away. The 𧵎 just seems like a lot too much money, dearer than a PSP and an xbox 360!

Do you know if the extra processing power would make current games that have slowdown run more smoothly or is it not that simple?

Ben 3

April 4, 2009, 4:15 pm

Does the DSi support WPA for it's WiFi connection?


April 4, 2009, 5:43 pm

I like the concept of the DS. Like the Wii, Nintendo seems to have a knack for fooling everyone with a gleeful disregard for raw horsepower, and then coming out in poll position with the actual games.

But my big criticism remains the same as last time - it just looks so old fashioned. Now it's a nasty dated old grey box to replace that cheap plasticky white one. Shallow maybe, but at 150 quid a pop, looks count.


April 4, 2009, 8:19 pm

Would be interested to know how much time Stuart spent with the device prior to writing the review. Would hope a pre-release device was provided as I don't think its fair to write a review after 1 day. On the otherhand it would explain, as per darkspark88's comment, why this reads like a manual re-write rather than a review.


April 4, 2009, 10:24 pm

I haven't bought a DS in any form yet but have been seriously considering it lately. I was hoping one of two things would happen - the DSi would have been cheaper and/or it would push the price of the DS Lite down. I guess time will tell on the later...


April 5, 2009, 12:04 am

Looks? These are just fine. Conservative, but all the way trusted gray, simple buttons. Just as perfect as DS can be.


April 5, 2009, 12:31 pm

I just don't see why I should upgrade from my DS Lite to the DSi. Maybe a case can be made if I didn't already have a DS but really, the DS Lite is very good and plays more games because of the GBA slot.


April 5, 2009, 8:37 pm

To answer the questions, I've had the device for several weeks now. I actually think I did cover aspects like the differences between the DS Lite and the DSi in terms of build and screen quality (see the start of page 2), but the general picture is that the screen is a little bigger and a little better, but not the sort of thing that's worth an extra 㿞 over the DS Lite. There's certainly no sign of stretching, mostly because it's running at exactly the same resolution.

The usual approach I'd take to writing a console review is to look at the hardware and the initial batch of software, but the problem with the DSi is that the only software it's launching with is on the DSi Shop, and that this only opened on Friday (I have been checking daily since I first had the handheld in my paws). It's also important to remember that this is really early days, so the stuff on there at the moment isn't (hopefully) representative of what will be on there in a few months time. That's partly why I tried to give an overview of the device, the differences, and where it all fits in with what seems to be Nintendo's current strategy for the DS Lite, DSi and Wii. As I tried to make clear in the review, I think there is currently very little reason at all to buy a DSi over a DS Lite, but that's something that could easily change in six months time. After all, if somebody had told me five years ago that I'd be playing with a DS on a regular basis while my PSP would spend most of its time gathering dust, I'd have been gobsmacked.



April 5, 2009, 8:48 pm

Apologies. Two more points to clear up. Firstly, the DSi does include WPA support, but apparently it only works with DSi specific software, meaning it's still WEP only if you're playing existing DS games. Secondly, my understanding on the CPU is that it's actually throttled back when running DS games, so it's doubtful that you'll see much improvement in slow-running titles. Certainly, nothing I've seen makes me believe that demanding DS games will run any faster on the DSi.


April 6, 2009, 3:08 am

Ummm... the screens' resolutions are 256 × 192, not 320 × 240.

Also, another reason to keep the DS Lite over the DSi is that you can no longer run homebrew on it - a casualty of Nintendo's war on the pirates (that and the fact that the tremendous rumble pak has lost it's home - the GBA slot).


April 6, 2009, 3:20 pm

Nicely spotted, Ryan - I jotted down the wrong figure from my notes. I'll ask Hugo if he can change the review to save me further embarrassment.

Needless to say, Nintendo's hardline stance on homebrew with the DSi is a good reason not to buy it if you're into that scene. However, that's exactly the way they want it. For them, the homebrew scene and piracy are too closely linked, and I believe that they hope the DSi Shop will provide a legitimate outlet for that sort of thing.


April 6, 2009, 3:25 pm

Thanks Ryan - fixed.


April 8, 2009, 5:07 pm

abit of a rip of if u ask me.

im not paying an extra 㿞 for two 0.3 megapixel camerea haha

DSI!! WOO lol ha


September 18, 2010, 2:40 am

All the talk of specs is interesting but! The real test is the users. I've watched a child working their way around the DSlite and they attack the thing in a way I never could. Same child on a DSi and it's a different ball park, from just this observation the DSi is a far more versatile piece of kit and as Stuart says the idea is fun!

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