Nintendo DSi XL: One month to go

It’s just one calendar month until the supersized Nintendo DSi XL hits UK stores, so what better time to take a look at the new system? Priced at £159.99 – that’s not far off the RRP of a Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360 Elite by the way – the DSi XL features dual screens a whopping 93 per cent larger than those on a Nintendo DSi and sports a wider viewing angle than that available on previous consoles. Of course the DSi XL isn’t the only device of late to have gone the macro route of course – you only have to look at the recently announced iPad to see that the ‘bigger is better’ mantra is back in vogue – so why have Nintendo decided to go large?

Well, Nintendo seem confident in their belief that solo players will buy the system to enjoy gaming on a larger scale, while couples and families will splash out in order to take advantage of the wider viewing angle and gather around their system to enjoy puzzle games such as Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box together. Maybe Nintendo will be proved right, goodness knows they’ve been proven right before, but surely if family play is what they’re after then a better alternative would have been a connection to allow the DS and DSi to be hooked up to the household television.

At least the DSi XL remains portable, albeit at 161 x 91.4 x 21.2 mm at a size which no longer comfortably slots into the average trouser pocket. It also comes equipped with the DSi’s standard issue web browser, ability to play AAC encoded music files, two 0.3 megapixel cameras and connectivity to Nintendo’s DSi Ware online store via wi-fi. A new edition of sorts, and certainly another benefit of the resize, is the addition of a larger stylus for interacting with the touch screen. DS Lite stalwarts will no doubt have experienced what can only be lovingly referred to as ‘Stylus claw’ after long stints and a more comfortable stylus should provide some welcome relief to long-term sufferers.

So, is the Nintendo DSi XL an essential first day purchase? For existing DSi owners the lack of any improvements other than the larger screens and stylus might suggest not. For those yet to upgrade to the DSi from previous models, the extra function on top of the increased screen size might just tip the balance – better get saving those pennies for the 5 March release date.