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Nintendo DSi review

Should you spend $169 for the Nintendo DSi? Or will your current DS or DS Lite still do the trick? (Even better: Maybe you can win one. Click here to enter our drawing.)


ds1-200x148The new handheld console is slightly smaller and lighter than the DS and DS Lite. It doesn’t come in a rainbow of colors (yet), just blue and black. The surface is matte, slightly grainy, not soft and smooth. That’s supposed to prevent fingerprints.

But it doesn’t look as sleek as, say, a white DS Lite with a glossy finish. The LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen is a bit larger (by a quarter inch) and much sharper, too. You’ll notice that improvement right away.

That brightness comes at a bit of a price. While the battery lasts between nine and 14 hours, it doesn’t give you as much playing time as the DS Lite, which has up to 19 hours of battery power. Your DSi battery will last through about 500 full charges.


If you need a handheld device that does more than play games, this could be a good buy for you. First, you can use it as an MP3 player by loading one of those tiny SD (Secure Digital) cards in a slot on the right side. You can play tons of your favorite music—up to 32 gigabytes worth. But only iTunes type music and nothing else.

The small speakers are crisper and clearer than before. But they’re not that powerful. So use your headphones for the best experience.

By finding a WiFi hotspot and downloading a free Web browser, you can surf online. Unfortunately, the speed is pretty slow. Plus, you can’t view videos or play online games, at least right now. But it sure is useful for checking e-mail and news.


The DSi sports two 0.3 megapixel cameras. The one on the outside of the case lets the DSi act like a camera for outings, travel and candid snapshots. The second camera, visible when you open the device, is used more for funny apps and playing games. Sure, the camera is fun. But couldn’t Nintendo have added at least the standard 1.3 megapixels to one of the two? What they’ve given you in camera resolution is so ’90s.

The system comes with a couple of software apps that let you change your photo in kooky ways. By manipulating the picture with your stylus, you can make your face funny, like you’re viewing it in one of those fun-house mirrors. You can also make the photo into kaleidoscope. Then, you can share it with your friends who have DSis. Another neat aspect of the photos is the ability to upload them wirelessly to the Wii Photo Channel.


You’ll also use the camera in small, inexpensive games in the DSi Shop online, in particular during a $5 Wario game. These are like the WiiWare games you might have purchased already via your Wii. They download in a minute or two. You’ll hear some pleasant music and watch Mario and Princess Peach fill a glass of water while you wait. There’s a lot more storage space in the DSi for games, too, four times as much as the DS Lite, a very nice 16 megabytes.

The DSi comes with 1,000 free points, which you can use in the shop for two or three games that range from 200 to 800 points each. When you buy points, 100 points equal $1. No game is over $10.


Right now, the games are O.K. or above average. Aqua is like Tetris with an underwater diver theme. But you don’t use the touch screen to play. It’s definitely sweet, but the instructions are kind of hard to find.

WarioWare: Snapped looks like the best so far. It makes use of the DSi camera. The problem here is that my face wasn’t recognized by the camera because my walls are white, the same color as my face. When I tried this against a green wall, it also failed. Hmmm.


The one huge negative about the DSi is that there’s no slot for your Guitar Hero World Tour peripheral, which used the Game Boy slot. It also means you can’t play old Game Boy games. That means no Pokemon, a big loss for gamers.

Nintendo feels that the old games aren’t being played as much anymore. If you still want that option, you’ll have to hang on to your DS Lite or DS. My guess is that Nintendo will begin re-releasing the old Game Boy games as DSi Ware so they can make more money on them.

While the DSi has a lot of enjoyable bells and whistles, you might already have some of these in your MP3 player or cell phone. The Internet and online options for the DSi are the true selling points of this system.

Maybe by the holidays, there will be a greater variety of DSi Shop games that work better than they do now. Unless you’re the kind of person who needs the newest thing right now — or unless you win a DSi from a cool Website like — the holidays might be a better time to consider buying the DSi.

50 Comments on Nintendo DSi review

  1. DSLiteisbetter // April 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm // Reply

    I do not really want one, because are two things I do not like about the DSi. I know you can use cameras, listen to music, and use the Web browser.But I do not want to spend $169.99 (I know you can trade in a DS Lite for it, but I am not doing that). I also want to play Game Boy Advance on it (Although, I know that you cannot).

  2. I think I’ll wait until the price drops. It doesn’t seem worth $169.

  3. super mario // April 28, 2009 at 3:26 pm // Reply

    I don’t know if I should get it. Mabye when my DS Lite gets too old, or if it breaks

  4. pac-o-tron // April 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm // Reply

    my friend got one. I glitches up A TON more (its true, my mom has the DS and it has never glitched up. not one time. the DSi on the other hand………………. yeh.) but why go one the internet with it? just use a computer (if you have one. if not, THEN use the DSi) plus it is odd what you can do with the photos.

  5. I do not get why you should by a dsi. they seem so awful!

  6. I just got one!!! They are totally worth it. The DSi Shop will get alot better soon.

  7. seems better than a ds

  8. random guy // April 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm // Reply

    after reading this I’d still rather keep my ipod touch than get this even though it has internet, you’d look pretty weird sitting in panera bread searching google or standing on the beach taking a picture with a DS

  9. random guy // April 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm // Reply

    Metallica are you sure? did you have to like put mini solar panels on your DS or something?

  10. drbywinnr101 // April 27, 2009 at 3:50 pm // Reply

    It sounds Ok, but I would get the DS.

  11. video game dad // April 27, 2009 at 2:47 am // Reply

    the i refers to iTunes, the only format songs you can put on the additional SD card, which also has a space limit. The online store is just another way to make you spend money to (slowly) download games you don’t want to play, and yes, it plays DS games, but not anything older (like GBA or GBA SP) cartridges, only the small square shaped ones from the DS and DS Lite. My boys play DSLites, I enjoy my PSP (Darth Vader edition). Can’t take a big console and tons of games on the road TO a camping trip, and the handhelds are easy to leave in the trunk DURING campouts.

  12. I am probaly going to get one when my DS breaks

  13. my friend has this.

  14. bam boomer // April 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm // Reply


  15. I was looking at my friends DSI and the camera was TERRIBLE and I really like playing my old Game Boy games.

  16. whiteysdad3 // April 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm // Reply

    my DS is better…….

  17. I was never totally into portable games. I have limited electronics time, and I would rather spend it on a Wii rather than a small screened gizmo.

  18. I think the camara sounds cool

  19. It’s $169 jman44.

  20. I want one but I should probably get a DS Lite too.

  21. i read some and thought about getting it but then i read the whole thing and i don’t think i want one now. i hope they come out with a better one.

  22. It’s useless geting one because the battery power and no gameboy games i would stay with your normal ds or ds lite.

  23. whats the big deal? its WORSE than the lite! 14 hours? no GBA? RIP OFF! so what mp3,picture modifier?! how long would that be fun!

  24. I’m a hard-core Pokemon fan so no Gameboy slot is a big upset. But it’s sleeker and more versatile.

  25. Civil War Freak // April 25, 2009 at 2:21 pm // Reply

    I like it that you don’t have to go out and buy a 40$ game and can just get it from the shop on the DSI.

  26. jman44 it cost as psp $170

  27. I like the idea of a camera. Does any body think that?

  28. How much does it cost?

  29. i do want one it seems like a cool game

  30. nintendo made their own version of the psp.

  31. can someone tell me can you put ds games in it?

  32. It is like nintendo’s of the Black Berry. It is really cool but not as good as the PS3.

  33. i do not want 1

  34. there is no point to this. the DSI just dose not have the power needed to run any good games (like halo). in a device like the DSI or any other hand held game system you cant put powerful electronics like high end processor or graphics cards because the DSI dose not have the battery power to power it, and two cameras are entirely redundant because nether of them have even a descent resolution.

  35. Xterminator // April 24, 2009 at 11:30 am // Reply

    @ bam bam,

    the ‘i’ has two meanings. First, it’s i, as in eye, as in the two cameras. Second, it’s i, as in I, me, myself. Like the i in iPod.

  36. 00,3 megas on camreras come on

  37. I can,t get one because my mother says: you cant get
    it because your behaveyour.
    it STINKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. Mr.Mustash // April 24, 2009 at 8:26 am // Reply

    Whats the big deal its the same thing without a gameboy slot.

  39. Its wwwaaayyy overated

  40. I love it! I’ts wicked!

  41. this handheld is off the hook! I just bought the wii and it could be fun to carry around a similar console at hand, who needs a camera or a music player? GO DSi!

  42. the only gba game that i wish i could play on my dsi is the sims
    other than that i can just use my ds lite

  43. i think the dsi i is a good portable but id get a ps3 or a wii

  44. 1. You are able to buy SOME gameboy games through the DSi shop channel. They aren’t totally gone. 😀
    2. With a good SD card, you can basically have an ipod on your DSi!

    I’m not sure if I’m gonna get one, though. I like all my GBA games.

  45. yoshi fanatic // April 23, 2009 at 1:29 pm // Reply

    I’ll just wait until they make it better it kinda stinks right now it seems like…

  46. The DSI sounds really cool, but geting rid of the GB advance games just dosn’t seem worth it. I think I’ll stick with my DS Light.

  47. i like my DS lite better

  48. I found a guide online that allowed me to make my DS lite solar powered. I have never run out of battery since. I bet that will solve the problem with the DSi.

  49. the one huge down side is that theirs a good chances a better one will come out be for to long.

  50. it sounds ok. psp are better

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