Please note: this information was current as of June 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
CHOICE enlisted the most expert tester available – a 10-year-old schoolboy – to evaluate Nintendo’s latest handheld gaming console and discover what’s new with one of the most popular gaming devices on the planet.
The DSi is slightly smaller and lighter than the previous DS, although it has larger twin-screens. New features in the DSi include an SD card slot for listening to music (AAC format), an improved Wi-Fi setup with onboard web browser, and two cameras – one on the outer shell to capture friends and one in the internal hinge for self portraits. A combination of stylus to control the touch screen at the bottom and a directional pad and buttons make game play and selections just as simple as the previous DS.
The 0.3 Megapixel camera doesn’t produce great quality images, but this may not matter as the first thing your kids are likely to do when using the DSi is either manipulate and distort a face into a weird carnival mirror shape, or compare two faces to determine whether the DSi thinks the two people are cousins or brother and sister.
You can then share these altered images either online, using your wireless internet connection, or save them onto an SD removable flash card. You can also manipulate music files and your own voice to create some interesting results. Our tester was impressed with the ability to make your voice sound like a robot or budgie and noted the overall sound levels were higher than on the previous DS model.
For older users, original Nintendo DS games such as the Brain Training series and cookbooks will still work with the DSi. You can also purchase games that let you take care of a virtual dog or cat, and you can play Sudoku. The DSi also has an inbuilt online application that allows you to download games using a wireless internet connection. However, if your kids have a large collection of Game Boy Advance games these cartridges won‘t work with the DSi.
If you want your kids to have the latest and greatest console to make their friends jealous, the Nintendo DSi should do the trick. However, if your kids already have a DS, particularly with a large collection of Game Boy Advance games, the DSi’s additions may not be enough to justify the investment.