If you’re a heavy DS user, don’t particularly care for portability, and don’t mind reselling outdated gadgets to subsidize new purchases, the Nintendo DSi XL is for you. For everyone else, it’s a pass. Except for maybe anyone who has yet to buy a DS.
Upon turning on the XL for the first time, it struck me how massive, bright, and colorful the screens are. They’re lovely. In fact, I’ve never really noticed the top screen like I do on the XL, as the bottom screen is where most the action is. As a result, game animation pops on the XL. The screens are just too hard too miss. And I quickly found myself reaching for old games, just to see how they’d look on the XL. It’s not HD, but the oversized screens serve bite-size games very well, enough so to encourage new play throughs.
In terms of extras, the “bigger is better” is the sole draw here. Oh, and the pen-size stylus, I guess. While the on-screen action looks fantastic on the near PSP size screens, it’s hard to swallow the XL’s $190 price tag, provided you already own a DS, DS Lite, or DSi.
For non-DSi owners, however, the larger screens plus the option to download the still small but increasing number of good DSiWare games make the XL more appealing. And non-collectors willing to trade in their old DS for $60-70 will surely appreciated the adjusted $120-130 price in exchange for super-charged screens.
Overall though, it’s hard to give the XL an unconditional two thumbs up, despite its attractiveness. Especially since Nintendo is releasing the 3DS handheld on or before March of next year (perhaps as soon as this holiday). Think twice before buying.
Fun fact: The XL user manual is ginormous, perfect for grandpa.
Review based on retail copy of DSi XL provided by Nintendo.