To all gadget loving people out there you’ll be excited to hear that there is a new addition to Nintendo’s much loved collection of DSi’s, the Nintendo DSi XL. And, I was lucky enough to go to its official launch. By Anna Hager

It started off at Toko in Surry Hills in Sydney, where we enjoyed some sushi whilst briefly being introduced to the new product, which I really couldn’t wait to use – Of course I was anxious to find out whether the new one would be better than my much loved DS lite, which was safely tucked away in my bag for comparative purposes.

After we filled our bellies, Nintendo treated us, a bunch of journalists and media people, to a very unusual experience: we went on an exclusive celebrity bus tour with some of Sydney’s most acclaimed gossip hunters and celebrity photographers.

We enjoyed a pristine Sydney autumn day, whilst being driven through the famed territories of Sydney’s celebrities. We visited Surry Hills and Kings Cross, Bondi and Circular Quay, passed through Double Bay and enjoyed drinks and canapés at Catalina’s in Rose Bay, whilst getting up to speed on Sydney’s celebrities’ hotspots, their dentists and favourite cafes. During the bus tour we were given small challenges involving the DSi XL, which gave us the opportunity to use the new console and even win some prizes.

If you’re now wondering what all this splurging has to do with a gaming console, you’re in much the same position I was on this air-conditioned and wifi-enabled bus. On a number of occasions I asked myself: “What does all this have to do with Nintendo?”

But after having a quick play with the XL on the bus, it quickly dawned on me why this launch was not about explaining the product. It’s a Nintendo. And the nice thing about it is that it’s just as easy to use as all the previous ones. So why talk much about it? The best way to find out about whether you like it or not is to get your hands on one and have a play.

What’s it about?

Amazingly, much against recent trends of making things as tiny as possible, they’ve gone the other way. The super sized, fourth generation Nintendo DSi XL is significantly bigger than the previous version. It’s almost an inch wider, features a 4.25-inch screen, and is also a bit thicker, but it’s still what I would call a portable gaming console.

The best things about the new XL are definitely the large dual screens, which are roughly an inch bigger than on the DSi.

Due to the improved viewing angle these screens provide, not only one person will find it easier to see what’s happening on the screens, but you can also share it with a number of people at a time, without anybody getting screen envy.

Amazingly, much against recent trends of making things as tiny as possible, they’ve gone the other way. The super sized, fourth generation Nintendo DSi XL is significantly bigger than the previous version. It’s almost and inch wider, features a 4.25-inch screen and it’s also a bit thicker, but it’s still what I would call a portable gaming console.

Heather Murphy from Nintendo says that this is definitely an advantage to previous generations of the Nintendo. “It makes it easier to see, especially when you go online and for photos, which I use it for all the time.” 

In terms of usage, it’s just like riding a bike; once you’re used to a Nintendo they’re all pretty much the same to operate and the XL is no exception.

Another good thing about the XL is that the power button is next to the screen and not on the side of the console anymore. So, if you get lost in the system, you can always press it and it will get you back to the main menu. Still on the topic of power, the XL also has longer battery life than other Nintendos. I’ve even heard rumours that the battery lasts for an amazing 17 hours.

But, there’s more. The XL has an awesome dual camera (one pointing at you, the other installed on the outside), which features 11 lenses. They’re a lot of fun and even easier to use with the larger size stylus that comes with the device (don’t worry, the smaller stylus is still inserted on the right hand side of the console as well).

You can let your creative juices flow with options to distort or manipulate images, change colours or add funny comments to your photos.

This newest Nintendo also comes with pre-installed software. As soon as you turn it on for the first time you can enjoy a round of Clubhouse Games, Express Card Classics, or a little bit of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, or maybe you just want to go and browse the internet.

My verdict:

So what do we think about it? It’s a bit bigger than the older one, it comes in nice colours (bronze and burgundy) and the best things are definitely the bigger screens and internet accessibility (wifi enabled).

It’s clear that Nintendo wants its product not only to be used by kids, but also by their parents and possibly grandparents. A lot of reviews say that the Nintendo Wii can do a lot more than this new gadget, but I’ve never seen someone try to fit a Wii into their pocket. It’s a great, still little, travel companion and will keep you and/or your kids occupied for hours.


In Summary the Nintendo DSi XL features:

• 93% larger screens
• 3 pre-installed titles: Brain Age Express: Math, Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters & Photo Clock
• Longer battery life
• Built in Internet browser
• Full size, easy-to-hold stylus
• Plus, all the functions of the original Nintendo DSi system

Check out www.nintendo.com.au for more info.