Nintendo DSi


Integration with the online DSi Shop will make downloading new games easier, more affordable, and increases functionality.

Slightly larger and brighter screen.

Additional applications allows unit to be used for more than just playing video games.

More files can be stored with SD card.


Currently only available in two colors in the United States: black and baby blue. The DS Lite is available in many different colors including red, pink, and green just to name a few.

The DSi has a shorter battery life than the DS Lite.

You no longer have the option to play Gameboy Advance games on the DSi. The extra card slot is used for the SD card instead.

Web browser lacks functionality.

Only supports AAC-format song files, not MP3.

Full Review

Since the new Nintendo DSi was released to the United States in April 2009 there's been a bit of a buzz in the gaming industry. Apparently some serious gamers are labeling the third generation DS console a "downgrade" because of some its features and capabilities. Whether or not you consider the DSi a disappointment really depends on what you plan on using the console for.

There's a few things that make the new DSi different from its predecessor--the Nintendo DS Lite. However, in terms of video game play the units are very similar. The DSi screen is a little brighter and larger but that brigtness and extra size comes with a trade off. The battery life is shorter. GameBoy Advance games cannot be played on the DSi. This probably won't be a big deal to you unless you're a fan of Guitar Hero. Apparently, despite protests from hard core gamers, Nintendo is ready to leave the GameBoy system behind.

What makes the DSi different from the Nintendo DS Lite is mostly the additional applications like the digital camera, voice recorder, sound player, web browser, and DSiWare shop. If you're mostly interested in playing video games the DSi Shop is probably the only thing that will interest you. Similar to the Wii shop, the DSi shop lets you download games online using pre-paid points. Currently the DSi shop only has a handful of games but this should improve as times goes on. So far most games are going for between 200 and 800 points. As an added bonus until March 2010, Nintendo will give you 1,000 free points just for signing up. You can also download an Opera web browser that has been modified for the DSi from the DSi shop at no cost.

I'm not sure how convenient it will be to use the DSi for web browsing since most reviewers say the interface is a bit too clunky and unpredictable. The digital camera is also a nice feature but don't expect high-quality photos. The DSi also comes with an application that lets you manipulate and draw on your digital photos. You also have the ability to play music and record sounds but the DSi only supports AAC files. MP3 files will need to be converted if you want to listen to them on the DSi. The DSi has more storage space than the DS Lite and you also have the option of storing your photos and music files on a SD card.

In Closing

To sum it up, if you don't already own a portable Nintendo DS player you're probably better off purchasing the DSi for the long term benefits associated with using the DSi shop. Otherwise, if you already own a DS Lite it doesn't make much sense to upgrade, especially if all you care about is playing video games. Kids will probably have fun with the additional features but serious gamers find them a waste of memory and valuable battery life. You probably won't find too many DSi deals online since the unit was just released a short time ago. A new console will set you back about $170.