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VINE VOICEon April 5, 2009

+Bigger and slightly brighter screen
+New interface is easy to navigate
+DSi Ware is a nice implementation
+Digital camera to take photos with
+Internal memory and SD card slot are nice for storing data
+Downloaded games are inexpensive and the service has a lot of potential


-Photos taken on camera only really look good on the DSi screen
-Shorter battery life
-Web browser isn't the greatest
-The lack of a GBA slot means you can't play GBA games, use some of the DS Lite's accessories (such as a rumble pack) and makes some games like Guitar Hero World Tour virtually unplayable

In 2004, Nintendo released the original Nintendo DS. Just two years later, the Nintendo DS Lite debuted and was better than the original by far. Since its original release, the Nintendo DS has gone on to sell more than 100 million units worldwide. With sales numbers like that, why would Nintendo need to release another revamp of their prized handheld? More than that, are the new features worth picking up if you have a DS Lite or if you still have an original DS? Well, it can be, but if you're perfectly content with your original DS or your DS Lite there's nothing wrong with that, and you don't have to buy it. That's not to say it would be a bad investment. For some it might be worth it.

Certainly if you still have the original DS, it is worth investing in this newer update. There are quite a few new things about the Nintendo DSi that can make it worth buying. One of the first changes that is obvious from the moment you see it is that it's slightly smaller and designed a little differently. The power button has been moved and now doubles as a reset button. The screen is also slightly bigger and brighter than the DS Lite. When turning it on, there is also a notable difference in the interface which has been completely reworked all together. It's been made a bit easier to use.

Perhaps the biggest and most notable difference is that the DSi no longer has a slot to play Gameboy Advance games. If you're still playing your GBA games a lot, this is probably a pretty big subtraction when it comes to the DSi, no matter how much it includes. If you're someone who hasn't used your DS for playing GBA games in a while, it's probably not a big deal, but I would've gladly taken a slightly thicker handheld just to maintain the GBA slot. There is, however, a slot for an SD card to store more data. The first of these is the wi-fi service which you can get on and download some downloadable games for the DSi. Much like the Wii, you'll spend points (100 points is equal to one dollar) to buy games. There's also the built in web browser, but this is not something to jump up and down over really, as it isn't a very good web browser.

The camera is a nice addition, allowing you to customize and mess around with the pictures you take. They don't look good on anything but the DSi screen, however, but you can store them on an SD card or the DSi's internal memory. You can take quite a bit of photos, and mess around with them in interesting ways, such as drawing on them or manipulating faces. It can be fun to mess around with.

While the new additions are nice the more expensive price is a bit much for those who are already carrying a DS Lite. There are some new features but there isn't too much done here to enhance the gaming experience itself outside of a larger screen. However, that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. The download service in particular can be very worthwhile in the future. The games on the download service also aren't too expensive. In short, even DS Lite owners might find it worth the extra money after a while.

Another big hit to the DSi is that the battery life just isn't as long as the previous incarnations. For those wanting to use it primarily for gaming, it might surprise you that the DSi will need to be charged a lot more frequently, as the battery last five hours shorter than that of the DS Lite. It takes a bit shorter to charge as a result, but you'll find yourself charging it quite a bit, especially if you play with the screen on the brightest settings.

In the end some may wonder if the upgrade is worth it. It's a bit more expensive than the DS Lite and doesn't have a GBA slot and a shorter battery life. However, you are getting some nice extra features, and with Nintendo planning to implement them in some of their games in the future, it's at least worth consideration. DS Lite owners may not need to upgrade immediately, but in the future it might be worth considering. If you don't own a DS at all, the DSi is probably the best bet.

The Nintendo DSi is a nice step in the evolution of Nintendo's handheld. It has a lot of new features that can go a long way. Even DS Lite owners might want to consider updating at some point, but it still stands: if you're content with your DS Lite or original DS you don't have to get it. It's certainly worth considering, though.
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I was getting this system, as an adult gamer, with the intention of playing games, and to use this as a browser for when I am away from home. I do not play Game Boy Advance games, although my daughter does. I have to warn parents looking into this system that there is no slot for Game Boy Advance (GBA, for short) or the Guitar Hero interface. This system is by no means a major upgrade with the exception of being able to download games or take photographs.


Two styli

Taking this item out, I proceeded to protect the screen with a screen protector. I purchased a DSi Starter Kit to give me cases for cartridges, extra styli and a carrying case.


The Nintendo DSi comes in a matte finish with a smooth texture. The touch screen measures 2.5 inches. An internal microphone is placed in the center just under the top screen. A rubber cover secures the port for the SD card. A slot for the DS games is in the same spot, as previous generations. Volume control is by a +/- switch, unlike the sliding volume switch of the DS phat. An LED indicator notifies you that the WiFi radio is on.

The keypad buttons feel firm not mushy.

The power button also serves as a reset button. This is convenient when switching from one cartridge to the next or when switching from the internet to the main menu. The directional buttons, X, Y, A, B, and L, R are in the similar neighborhood as prior generations.

The matte finish is fingerprint-proof but I have a feeling it is not scratch proof. The screens are very glossy and may create a perceptible glare in bright lights or outdoor settings. The case opens up to nearly flat.

I was disappointed that the plug was not a matching black color. It was more of a grayish white.


I set up the DSi with the pre-existing charge from the factory to enter my name, a phrase, the parental controls with a PIN, accessed my Club Nintendo account, and downloaded the Opera Browser.

The DSi recognizes handwriting (not really "Doctor's Handwriting", like mine) or uses the keyboard. The handwriting boxes give a choice of what you are trying to write but it is slow. Typing is faster but cumbersome.

Setting up the browser is hidden in the Tools Menu. You can toggle the WiFi radio on or off. When you set up the internet, it is a matter of choosing what type of encryption your router uses. I use WEP so I entered the "Hexadecimal" key which was quite long - no paraphrasing is allowed. Once my information was entered, it connected rather quickly. When I logged into Club Nintendo, I had to read the `license agreement', agree and then the firmware was upgraded. That took about 2-3 minutes and then the system had to be restarted. As soon as the technicalities were completed, I was ready to download the Free Opera Browser.

When you link your DSi account with the online Club Nintendo account, you get 160 coins that can be applied to acquiring products.


When compared to the DS, the battery life is less. When you factor in the wireless capability, it is even shorter in life. So, if you are not in a `hotspot' or have access to a wireless network, then shut it off to conserve battery life.


The 0.3 megapixel cameras are toggled by the touchpad's `switch' button. When you take a photograph, you can edit it with the various programs and save it to your album. I find it fun to edit photos and allow morphing (from the adult perspective) and I will likely use my photo for an avatar for various websites. For casual photography, this will not be too useful given the low resolution. Its purpose is solely for entertainment and DSi-type photo-editing.

Photos can be shared only 2 ways, wirelessly to other DSi units within 65 feet or by the SD/SDHC Card. It cannot be emailed through your browser.

No video can be recorded.


AAC is Advanced Audio Coding unlike the iPods which are MP-3 players (Motion Pictures Expert Group, Layer 3). AAC is a lossy compression format, that some experts say may have better sound quality than an MP3. To me, they sound virtually identical. How do you convert to AAC? If you use iTunes:

Highlight the songs to convert (Control and Left Mouse Click)
Click Advanced
Select "Create AAC Version".

I would recommend highlighting the song and renaming it "Song A AAC" so you can search for AAC version on iTunes, utilizing the finder bar. I select/highlight the songs in iTunes, and then "pasted" them into my SDHC card. The DSi automatically finds the `music' files but I was able to listen to the audio portion of my videos that I recorded from my HD Camcorder.

Sound quality from native speakers is quite good and it has `stereo sound'. Will I find myself using this as a music player? Unlikely. You can alter the music to play fast/slow or high/low pitch. Another fun thing is to choose `visualizations' while listening to music - which can be toggled with the `ring on a string icon'. Lastly, there are `percussion effects' that are activated by your Left and Right keys: Clapping, tambourines, drums, Dog/cat sounds, etc.

You can also record 10 second 'sound clips' which can be stored on a memory card. It cannot be assigned to a photograph.


Default is on a setting of 4, which is brighter than the DS Phat (which is what my daughter uses). The size of the screen is larger and the subjective quality of the graphics looks better to me. I don't personally think it does anything for gameplay, aside from aesthetics. However, I do like the larger screen.


Download time of the browser was 2 minutes.

With regards to a Wii Points card, if it is unused, it can be used in the DSi shop. However, it cannot be transferred back to the Wii, so be careful. There is not a lot in terms of choices of DSiWare to download, at this time. You can have a maximum of 20,000 points on your account. Points can be added by a pre-paid card or using a credit card ($10 for 1000 points, $20 for 2000 points and $50 for 5000 points).

The choices are below (I chose none of them):

500 points

200 points
Bird and Beans
Master of Illusion Express: Funny Face

800 points
Brain Age Express: Math

Limitations of the browser:

No Flash, Animations, Sound, Video, PDFs or anything requiring a plug-in
Video playback

Use of the browser:

Like conventional browsers, you can set up your home page, add favorites or enter your URL. There are shortcut keys like "WWW" or ".COM" to make it less painful. There is an overview setting or `column view' setting, as well as navigation or zoom view. I was actually able to load my Amazon profile, although it took nearly 45 seconds. I found that conventional websites can be viewed, albeit slowly, when compared to a PC. It is about average for a handheld (like my old Palm Tungsten C PDA). Realistically, you can check movie times, email, news and weather. Beyond any of those functions, loading times of websites would make the tasks cumbersome.

A bit of advice for you, do a Google search for "Mobile Friendly" websites that have limited graphics which are suited to browsing with items such as the DSi, Pocket PCs, Palms, or "Smartphones" (for example, eboogie, phonefavs or gahtan are a few sites that have that capability). With sites like these, you can check a lot more information quickly and efficiently. Loading time is a fraction of the full featured sites.

Parental controls:

Parental controls can be set by a 4 digit PIN. If you forget your PIN, you can get a `secret question' to unlock this unit. This can control many parameters including the following: Access to Nintendo DSi Exclusive and Compatible Software (ESRB Ratings), PictoChat, DS Download Play, Nintendo DSi Browser, Nintendo DSi Shop, Photo Exchange, and User-Generated Content. You don't want your child to download games, use the internet or chat, you can toggle what features to enable or disable. Very nice!


The DSi can recognize up to 2 GB on an SD card and 32 GB on an SDHC card. No SD or SDHC card is included with this system.

Games cannot be played from the SDHC cards but they can be stored. Aside from that, photos and audio can be stored onto the cards.


Faster processor and more RAM than the DS Lite (for improved future applications)
Bigger Screen than the DS Lite
Digital Camera
Records audio clips
SDHC Card capability up to 32 GB
Faster internet browsing than prior generations of DS (per report)
Downloadable gaming capability
1000 DS Points, included until October 2009
Supports Firmware updates
Better sound than its predecessors


Shorter battery life than its predecessor, the DS Lite (less if the WiFi radio is on)
No Gameboy Advance Slot
Higher cost than the DS Lite
As of April 2009, there are only 6 applications to download (but more are coming)
No DSi specific titles with the release of the DSi platform


Older children, 8 and above, given the size of DS cartridges and fragility of the touch screen


If you already have a DS Lite, don't bother upgrading, for now. This is not worth the $60 depreciation for trade in and you lose your ability to play Guitar Hero and other Game Boy Advance Games.

If you don't have a gaming console, this is a solid platform to play games, listen to music (casual basis), make Avatars for your discussion groups/forums and use a somewhat functional web-browsing experience (especially, away from home, as in a free public "Hotspot").

If you do casual surfing on the net for news, weather, or email, this can do this function fairly well (especially if you use PDA/Mobile Friendly websites). This function, alone, is worth the $169 to me since it is like a little "Netbook" with regards to internet functions (no word processing or other PC functions).

The larger screen and improved sound (compared to the 1st generation DS Phat), is up by leaps and bounds. The future ability to download applications, will further secure its place in the pantheon of modern gaming.

UPDATE 4/14/2009

You cannot log onto Webkinz World (my daughter wanted to know).

UPDATE 5/9/2009

I tried using the WIFI on the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL and the network connection did not work (using internet set up).

UPDATE: 5/12/2009

Well, I finally found a game that I was interested in getting with my 'free points'. I bought Real Soccer 2009 which is quite detailed. The download took about 4 to 5 minutes. I am glad I didn't settle for the other games, since they weren't inspiring.
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on April 5, 2009
Overall, I really like the DSi and think it is a huge improvement over the DS & DS Lite, however, I wish they had released the device with more games and applications that take into account the new camera system. We also own a DS Lite and my kids are playing with the new version more than they ever did with the older version.

First, the device feels great to hold. I bought the black version and the brushed surface gives the DSi a textured feel that is very comfortable to hold and makes you feel confident you won't drop it.

Setup could not have been easier. The DSi connected with my wireless network on the first try, upgraded the software with no problems, and then downloaded the Opera browser and the WarioWare Snapped game immediately. No problems using my 1 GB SD card (I will be installing a larger SD card soon).

The screen on the DSi is .25 inches bigger than the DS lite. Overall the colors on the screen seem a bit crisper to me and "pop" a little more on the DSi.

The Opera Browser works great, though the screen is pretty cramped and they don't appear to have released a flash player for it yet, so forget streaming YouTube or similar video at this time. The Wii also did not have the Flash Player when it was released, so we can hope that flash will be arriving soon for the DSi as it did for the Wii.

I only wish they had released the game with more titles that take advantage of the camera system. The WarioWare: Snapped is a nice game, but a bit cantankerous. Make certain you use it against a high contrast wall. It's a simple game, but entertaining. Still, I would have hoped for a couple more games that used the camera system to better effect. Hopefully soon.

The applications for the camera and the recording applications are great fun and my son is having a great time playing with them. Still, I wish they had released the device with more overlays and templates; I am guessing more will released in the near future. Nevertheless, my kids really like playing with the sound and video gadgets and have had a great time with them...need to remember to get them headphones... ;-)

So, overall, I highly recommend this game system, but advise patience while Nintendo releases more games and applications for it. There are still plenty of DS Lites on the shelves, but I'd advise getting this system unless you really want to be able to play your older GBA titles which do not play on the new system.

I also highly recommend getting the Dsi Nerf Armor - Blue/Black to protect the system. Works great if you can find it, otherwise try Nintendo DSi Thrustmaster Metal Case-Ocean Blue which fits nicely, but is PLASTIC not metal as advertised.

Week of 13 April Update: Nintendo released two more titles to the DSi shop that are available for download. Have to admit some disappointment so far in this aspect of the game system. So far, nothing available that evokes much excitement. Still, I'm optimistic that the game titles will follow soon.

To date (04 JAN 2010), the following downloads are available:

1. DSi Opera Browser -Free
2. Birds & Beans - 200pts
3. Brain Age Express: Math - 800pts
4. Master of Illusion: Funny Face - 200pts
5. Maters of Illusion: Shuffle Games -500 pts
6. Aquia - 500pts
7. Warioware: Snapped - 500 pts
8. Mixed Messages - 500 pts
9. Dr Mario Express - 500 pts
10. Master of Illusion Express: Deep Psyche - 200 pts
11. Clubhouse Games Express: Card Classics - 500pts
12. Paper Airplane Chase - 200 pts
13. Animal Crossing Clock (not a game) - 200 pts
14. Animal Crossing Calculator (not a game) - 200 pts
15. Real Soccer 2009 - 800 pts {looks like a good one/ 1-4 players, customize aspects of the game using the DSi camera.
16. Art Style(tm): PiCTOBiTS(tm) -500 pts (looks like another good one)
17. Photo Clock -200 points
18. American Popstar: Road to Celebrity - 800 pts
19. Mighty Flip Champs! - 800 DSi Points {this looks like fun!!)
20. Mario vs. Donkey Kong(tm): Minis March Again! - 800 pts
21. Mario Calculator - 200 pts
22. Mario Clock - 200 pts
23. BOXLIFE - 500 pts
24. SUDOKU MASTER - 500 pts
25. Art Style: BASE 10 - 500 pts
26. Brain Challenge (48 mini-games) - 800 pts
27. ZENGAGE (a puzzle game) - 500 pts
28. Sudoku Student - 200 pts
29. Art Style: precipice(tm) - 500 pts
30. Facebook Connect -- FREE!!! {Facebook integration}
31. Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters - 800 pts
32. Brain Age Express: Sudoku - 500 pts
33. Guitar Rock Tour - 500 pts
34. Pop Solo -500 pts
35. Puzzle League Express - 500 pts
36. Clubhouse Games Express: Family Favorites - 500pts
37. Art Academy(tm): First Semester - 800pts
38. Oscar in Toyland - 800pts
39. MySims Camera - 200 pts
40. Clubhouse Games Express: Strategy Pack - 500 pts
41. Art Academy: Second Semester - 800 pts
42. Dragon Quest Wars - 500 pts
43. Thorium Wars - 1000 pts
44. Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon(tm) - 500pts
45. Crash-Course Domo - 200 pts
46. Hard-Hat Domo - 200 pts
47. Pro-Putt Domo - 200 pts
48. Rock-N-Roll Domo - 200 pts
49. White Water Domo - 200 pts
50. The Royal Bluff - 500 pts
51. Sudoku - 200 pts
52. Sparkle Snaphots - 500 pts (uses camera)
53. Viking Invasion - 800 pts
54. Battle of Giants: Dragons - Bronze Edition - 800 pts
(NOVEMBER 9, 2009)
55. Electroplankton - Trapy, Hanenbow, Red-Rec, Nanocarp, and Beatnes - 200 pts each
56. Bomberman Blitz - 500 pts
(NOVEMBER 16, 2009)
57. Art Style(tm): DIGIDRIVE - 500 pts
58. Arcade Bowling - 200 pts
59. Robot Rescue - 200 pts
(NOVEMBER 23, 2009)
60. Castle Of Magic - 500 pts
61. myNotebook: Blue - 200 pts
62. Electroplankton Luminarrow - 200 pts
63. Electroplankton Sun-Animalcule - 200 pts
64. Electroplankton Lumiloop - 200 pts
65. Electroplankton Marine-Crystals - 200 pts
66. Electroplankton Varvoice - 200 pts
(1 December)
67. EA's Foto Face: The Face Stealer Strikes - 800 pts (uses camera!!)
68. Master of Illusion Express: Mind Probe - 200 pts
69. Sudoku Challenge! - 500 pts
70. Bookworm - 500 pts
(7 December)
71. Rayman - 800pts (hooray!!)
72. Ball Fighter - 500 pts
73. Pop Island - 500 pts
74. Army Defender - 200 pts
75. myNotebook: Red - 200 pts
(14 December)
76. Littlest Pet Shop - 800 pts
77. Miami Nights - 800 pts
78. Bejeweled Twist(tm) - 500 pts
79. Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam - 500 pts
80. Master of Illusion(tm) Express: Matchmaker - 200 pts
(21 December)
81. UNO - 800 pts
82. Dragon's Lair - 800 pts
83. Hot and Cold: A 3D Hidden Object Adventure - 800 pts
84. High Stakes: Texas Hold'Em - 500 pts
85. myNotebook: Green(tm) - 200 pts
(28 December)
86. The Oregon Trail - 800 pts
87. SUDOKU SENSEI - 500 pts
88. Glow Artisan - 500 pts
89. Master of Illusion(tm) Express: Psychic Camera - 200 pts
90. Arcade Hoops Basketball - 200 pts
(04 Jan 2010)
91. Trajectile - 500 pts
92. Animal Puzzle Adventure - 500 pts
93. Hell's Kitchen Vs - 800 pts
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on April 5, 2009
I bought a DS Lite two weeks ago. It was a hasty purchase, and after I bought the device I later read about the DSi coming out. I read ALL OVER the internet about this thing. I evaluated all pros and cons. Yes, I would like to play GBA games - but I have a GBA. Yes, I would like more battery life - but there are more brightness settings. The main selling points that finally got me were the slightly bigger screens, the matte finish, and the DSi shop. Therefore, I ended up returning my DS Lite a couple of days later for only a half-refund (Gamestop I love you) and signed up for the DSi pre-order. I bought the DSi during the midnight launch party at my local Gamestop.

After getting the DSi - I feel confident I made the right decision. The black matte finish is very nice. I actually prefer it over the shiny finish because you leave less fingerprints everywhere and the texture is nice. ALSO, the new menu format for the DSi is a vast improvement over the DS Lite. Although only slightly larger, I am definitely happier with the larger screens. Sure the battery life may not be as long as the Lite, but DSi brightness settings are amazing. The brightest setting on the DSi stumps the Lite's brightest setting.

I am an adult gamer and the cameras and music interactivity of this device do not really excite me - but they are nice features. Do not expect to start a professional photo studio with pictures taken from cameras. They are for fun and not professional photos - the resolution is comparable to cell phones of 5 years past.

I am mainly excited about the DSi shop. There are rumours floating everywhere about a virtual console being released and the DSi shop providing "classic" GBA and even GB games in the future (and maybe more systems?!). This would more than justify the lost GBA slot. Nonetheless, the DSiWare games and apps will be coming out every week - and I am sure some great things will come out of this.

The SD/SDHC slot is another great feature on this device. I can see this slot being very useful down the road when more and more games and apps are made available at the DSi shop. The internal storage of the DSi is pretty slim - so this is well needed.

I did my research. There are pros and cons for buying the DSi over the Lite. I weighed them, and then weighed them again. The verdict: PROS = 70, CONS = 30. This is based on the lost GBA slot, the battery life, the expensive price tag. If you are new to the DS community like I am, it would only make sense to jump right in with a DSi. If you are a diehard Lite fan with a tight budget, you may want to wait a couple of months and see if the DSi shop starts a virtual console. Overall though - I am very happy with this little guy.
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on April 12, 2009
Nintendo knows how to make money. The DS Lite is moving 550,000 units each month (this has been going on for 4 years now) and the Wii is going strong with 750,000 units each month, and after it's two and a half year life, it's still hard to find. By now, Nintendo knows whatever they make from here on is automatically gold. This is how the DSI was born (or as I call it, the DS Lite 1.5).

Right now, there's no need for a DSI. for 40 dollars more than a DS Lite, the DSI brings you a shoddy digital camera, high end microphone, which right now, has no use until someone acutally makes a game that uses it's functionality. It also has it's own version of WiiWare (of course your Wii virtual money is not compatable the DSI virtual money), a slightly larger screen and is slightly slimmer in size than it's predicessor. As of right now, there's no use for a DSI, because no games (except for it's dismal DSI Shop titles) are going to be using the functionality for a while, except for the cheapy, gimmicky games that are looking to make a quick buck (remeber Wii launch games? Think of that minus Zelda).

If you have a DS (lite) and are thinking about trading in, wait until you hear of a game that will use the functionalities of the DSI. If you are a first time buyer of a DS, and are contimplating a DSI or Lite, pony up for the DSI because eventually, youi'll need one.
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on October 10, 2010
While waiting for the 3DS to be released, I thought I'd make a review.

I don't know how I could have lived without Nintendo DS system before. I had DS Lite (metallic rose) for a year before it was stolen from my bag. Then I had a hard time deciding which version to buy to replace the stolen one because I'm a DS addict and simply could not live without a DS anymore- either the DS Lite or DSi. I was skeptical with DSi at that time because I didn't think the upgrade matters much and thought the slightly bigger screen wouldn't make a difference ...boy was I so wrong. After surveying, researching and testing the console at game stores, I found that bigger screen does make a difference! That would also mean the upgrade (DSi XL/LL) would look so much better. I decided to get a pink DSi. I was going to get the red one because I thought pink is too striking & ugly but boy was I wrong again. The actual pink color is much more beautiful than in the picture here.

I fell in love with the bigger and brighter screen compared to the slightly smaller & dimmer DS Lite. The buttons have changed too. I wish the volume control was retained like the old one, because now you can't mute your DS before turning the system on. I couldn't secretly turn it on during a boring lecture class before without hearing the beeping during the warning screen but not a huge problem for me. The matte feel is great too and no longer attracts ugly fingerprints. The location of the turn on button also is better as I used to always turn it off accidentally. Longer stylus is also a plus because the DS Lite's one is too small and actually hurts the fingers if you play games such as Elite Beat Agents or Taiko no Tatsujin series.

Also you can switch games without turning the system off first unlike DS Lite. The wii-like menu is a huge improvement from the old dull interface.

Contrary to beliefs, the DS system can be a GREAT way to learn. There's a lot of educational titles for as young as 2 to as old as 100 years old, seriously. You can give to young kids to start with their development before preschool. They can learn ABC, think creatively, learn numbers etc all in fun ways. For teens, there's a lot of preparation titles for SAT, etc. For adults, don't let your brain become rusty. There are a lot of brain training games so you can improve your brain, boost your memory just like it used to be during school days. Of course there are also good games and bad games. If you happen to buy shovelwares (crap games), don't blame the system. Blame the game makers. There are also simulation games like taking care of virtual babies and pets to love simulation for adults where you can have your own virtual girlfriend (Love Plus+). Also for the business minded, you can play tycoon games, for stress reliever some time management or puzzle games or for those serious gamers, you can go for serious titles like Final Fantasy, Harvest Moon, Zelda, Pokemon, etc. Basically it has every type of games for every individual. It's also an awesome tool for learning language..mainly Japanese! I'm into Japanese language and I found DS is a great way to have fun while learning at the same time.. (have you seen how cute Japanese learning games are?!?!)

++~*THE PROS & CONS*~++
There are a few things you need to be aware off and take into consideration before buying:

1. The camera quality isn't that great. It looks great in the DS, it looks ok on computer but under dark or fluorescent lighting, pictures will turn out horrendous. But it's fun as it has many camera setting and you can use the stylus to draw/decorate your pictures. I also love the facebook feature where you can straight away upload your edited pictures to your facebook from your DSi.

2. DSiwares are region locked. So are DSi exclusive games. So beware of this before buying. All DSiwares you buy in the store are locked to your system. So if your DSi dies, the DSiwares goes with it. If you want to sell your console for a new one yet keep your purchased apps, you'd have to send it to Nintendo for them to transfer it to new system. I find this a major flaw. It's not a smart move to make them nontransferable. Should your DSi die or get stolen, you're the one at lost. However currently, I heard a rumor that this is no longer applicable for the upcoming 3DS. We'll see.

3. DSi has an improvement in terms of connection. It used to only support WEP encryption but now can support WPA security..however games still retain the WEP so it's a big hassle to keep switching the setting in my router. Also do note that DSi uses WI-FI to connect. So it can connect to wifi hotspots like starbucks. But unfortunately there are some people that somehow could assume you could plug and play the internet connection to DSi with a MODEM. No, you need a router so you could use wifi at home. You could also use the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB connector (discontinued, but you can still find it). Any standard router that allows you to access internet through Wi-Fi is fine.

4. Browser is so-so. You can use it to open facebook but do note that it has no flash support. It also lacks memory, which means you'd constantly get out of memory error and would have to refresh the memory often after loading a few huge sites.

5. Hardcore gamers may want to stick to other consoles such as PSP, PS3 or Xbox. It's well known that graphics on DS aren't impressive due to it's hardware limitations compared to PSP but it is however much more interactive because of the touch screen.

6. No GBA slots so you can keep your GBA games away or stick to DS Lite/Phat. You can't also enjoy games like guitar hero that utilize the GBA slot to play the game with their guitar controller.

7. You can use the SD card to store & play your music HOWEVER only AAC format audio ONLY..which means only mp4, m4a or 3gp format only. It does not support mp3. This can be solved though provided you know how to use google and search. There are also other ways & extensions to let you watch videos & tv on your DS.

8. Battery life is shorter with highest bright setting compared to DS Lite. Roughly around 2 - 3 hours.

9. Camera feature not fully utilized. While there are some DSi enhanced games that uses the camera, it still lack good games that fully utilize it. There are DSi exclusive games but unfortunately, not that good. Still waiting for a revolutionary exclusive games that uses the camera feature fully.


So my advice..

++AGE RANGE & LEARNERS - DS is a great learning tool for kids. You can buy this for you kids or grandkids even under the age of 5 together with educational title to develop their mind. A great product to keep yourself busy and stress free too. I consider DS system more of a learning gadget than a gaming system. VERY useful for language learners too because DS can be used as a pocket dictionary. A real electronic pocket dictionary is much more expensive, and for Japanese learners, it's much easier with the touch screen incorporated to practice writing hiragana/katakana/kanji the correct way (e.g. Tadashii Kanji KakitoriKun teaches you the correct way to write and gives the score of how precise your kana and kanji writing are)

++UPGRADE - If you own a DS Phat, it's wise to upgrade for new added feature. If you own a DS Lite but still plays GBA games, stick with DS Lite. If you prefer bigger screen (especially for older people), go for DSi XL/LL. It makes text reading much easier (especially for novel games & Japanese games). HOWEVER, even though DSi has no GBA slot, you can however buy a flashcart (that's all I can say here). The additional flashcart allows you to play homebrew games created by independent game makers but it also has a feature where you can play downloadable GBA games if you have the original game (not condoning piracy). It's the only way for GBA lovers to still own DSi but still able to play GBA games.

++NEW BUYERS - My honest advice is to wait. While DSi is an awesome system, but 3DS is coming out soon. You can enjoy 3DS games while at the same time enjoy old DS games as it has backward compatibility. Best of both worlds.
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VINE VOICEon April 20, 2009
I've had a DS Lite for YEARS and it was getting pretty beat up so I was ready for an upgrade...was planning to wait until the DSi had been out for a few months, but a great trade-in deal lured me in yesterday. So, here are my first impressions:

BIGGER/BRIGHTER SCREEN: I didn't think this would matter very much, but it actually looks great. My old DS games look brand new, I'm noticing background details that I never paid attention to before. Yes, keeping it super bright will wear out the battery much faster than the DS Lite. BUT, unlike the DS Lite, it is easily adjustable. I sometimes play in a dark room (i.e. before going to bed) and turning down to the darkest setting is easier on the eyes plus wears out the battery much slower.

CAMERA: It's not a powerful camera, it's a toy. Which is fine, I have a camera for taking photos and don't need another one. I like having personal photos to greet me when I open it up to play a game, but I probably won't use the distortion & sticker features. Might be fun for kids, nothing more than a novelty for adults.

SOUND: It definitely has better speakers, which I like for the My Language Coach games and things like Let's Yoga which was hard to hear on the DS Lite (yeah, I can use headphones, I'm just too lazy). I haven't yet tried putting my own music on an SD card and using the DSi as a player; that's why I have an iPod. Could be fun if you don't have another music player though.

INTERNET: Since I don't have a smartphone, this is my first handheld web-surfing device and I LOVE IT. The browser is a FREE download and works better than expected It does not support a flash player so you won't be able to watch any videos, and some websites (Facebook, boo hoo!) are memory hogs that don't load properly. But I've been surprised at the number of sites I can visit! I can check my email, the weather, play online sudoku, shop, twitter, etc. VERY impressed at the interface, it is very easy to use.

DSiWARE SHOP: So far there aren't a ton of options available, but there will be lots games in the future! They are inexpensive and easy to download so far. Through the end of June, Nintendo is giving 1000 points for anyone to use for downloading games (games "cost" anywhere from 200 pts to 800 pts) which is a nice way to try out the current offerings. I downloaded Aquia yesterday and can't put it down; Dr. Mario Express is due out today so I'll be even more obsessed.

MISSING GBA SLOT: I don't have any GBA games so it's not an issue for me, I understand it is an issue for some. Hopefully they will eventually offer some classics in the DSi Shop in the future for all of us to enjoy. I never used it before so I won't miss it now.

I was very hesitant to jump on the upgrade bandwagon too early, but I couldn't be happier with the DSi. It has some great features and great potential, it is a LOT of fun and I just adore it!!! So glad I bought it!
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VINE VOICEon April 10, 2009
When I first heard a new DS was coming out, I was excited. I heard about all the new features and thought "Great! I can't wait to trade in my old DS!" Then I saw the pricetag. While all it's new features are novel and well implemented (for the most part) I just don't feel all the extra perks are worth the extra $40.

That said, if you have the money to burn and absolutely have to be on top of all the latest gadgets and electronics, it does have some fun features.

1. The cameras actually work really well and have plenty of fun ways to play around with the pictures you take. The pictures aren't professional quality, obviously, but clear enough to enjoy viewing on your DSi. Long term it will probably become a rarely used feature, but kids especially will have a lot of fun with this and may replace the need for them having a real camera if they've been pining for one.

2. The new DSi definitely is noticeably lighter and thinner and the screens are visibly larger, albeit by a minimal amount. Overall a nice improvement, but nothing that will knock your socks off.

3. DSiWare is a nice addition for those who like to have an assortment of "mini game" titles on their DS, but those who like more in-depth games may find the selection lacking. As the titles available for download expand to include games from other systems, this will be much more viable and will hopefully somewhat make up for the missing GBA port as those titles become available for download.

4. SDHC card adds a lot of new capabilities to your DSi that wouldn't be possible without it. You can browse photos from your camera, listen to your favorite music, browse the net and play your games all in the same unit. The built in memory is also decent, able to house 412 pictures (taken with the DSi camera) or roughly 10 DSiWare games. The SD card effectively makes the DSi a nice all-in-one device at a decent price.

5. The browser is better implemented than I was anticipating considering how poorly done PSP's browser is. Scrolling is smooth and entering text is quick and easy. My only gripe is the way you have to constantly scroll across the page. The upper screen gives you a preview of the entire page while the bottom screen is used to view a very small portion of that page in an enlarged window. It's rather annoying when you're trying to read something as you have to continually scroll back and forth to read a full line of text. An independent zoom feature would have been much more useful.

Cons: (potentially not cons depending on your preferences)
1. DSiWare could potentially cost you a lot of money you've already spent in those old Gameboy games you used to be able to play on your old DS. With no GBA slot, you'll be forced to pay to download them to your DSi, buy another GBA/DS or not play them at all. I think the removal of the GBA slot was a poor choice given that it was only done to make the unit very slightly smaller and lighter. I'd much rather have my GBA slot, but it may not be an issue for new gamers without any GBA games and no interest in purchasing any.

2. While listening to your music via the SD card is great, the DSi only supports AAC format. If your music files are not in this format, you could spend quite a bit of time converting your files over for use on the DS. If you already have a large collection of music, you probably already have an MP3 player anyway. If your files are already in AAC format, lucky you!

3. Browser doesn't support flash or cookies, just like the Wii and PSP browsers. While casual surfing is fine, a lot of users will be frustrated by this no frills browser. If you have no other portable browser, it is handy to have for quickly checking the weather or finding where bids are at on your ebay watch list, but you won't be able to log in to check e-mail, log into forums, make purchases, pay your bills, etc, any of the other things you would normally do online.

Overall, it is a nice improvement to the DS and I wasn't truly disappointed in any way. The browser was as I expected though the cameras did surpass my expectations. If it were the same price as the original DS, there would be no reason for anyone to not have the DSi. Lots of fun!
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on June 28, 2009
I am a 14 year old girl & I got my DSi yesterday.
I'm usually not a big "gamer."
The DSi is the ONLY gaming system I have.
I love it.
So far, I only have one game: New Super Mario Bros.
I have had so many laughs already with the distorting tool on the camera. The camera takes really great pictures.
I love the blue color of the DSi.
I love the texture of it too.

So far, I have no complaints. I love it. I'm so glad I got it, and would reccomend it to anyone, and any age.

Good job Nintendo (:
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on May 30, 2010
I'll preface my review by mentioning I've long been a Nintendo fan. With the exception of the Virtual Boy, I've owned and played games on every console or handheld system they've released. Over the past several years, my gaming tastes have changed. I prefer handheld systems much more these days due to their portability and near-infinite library of games. Most of these games cost less than console games and aren't as drawn out -- it's rare I think a portable game has gone on for too long. My portable game library has grown exponentially compared to my console game library. I might have five to 10 games for any given console system and three to four times that many on a portable system. With this in mind, I already owned a Game Boy Advance SP and DS Lite when I decided to invest in a DSi.

Why buy a DSi if I already own a DS Lite? I had previous expectations for the system because of other Nintendo handhelds I had bought in the past. If you're a first-time buyer, this shouldn't affect your decision to buy a DSi. My reasons, however, revolved around what the DS Lite didn't have: a sleeker appearance, a camera, Internet access and downloadable games.

* Appearance.
The DSi's matte finish is very sleek, and it doesn't have a slightly sticky feeling on my fingers after long hours of play. However, it does scratch easily. Some scratches can be buffed out by rubbing on them with your fingers or a piece of cloth. Other, deeper scratches linger and show. While my DS Lite is always covered in fingerprints, it has never shown any scratches. So, while I was disappointed with the matte finish in this respect, its sleeker, more polished look won me over. Some of the buttons and indicators have moved around on the DSi, but the repositioning shouldn't impact your gameplay experience unless you're really used to the original DS or DS Lite.

* Camera.
Initially, I considered the camera a gimmick to sell more systems, and I still do. You can take pictures in front of you, like you normally would, or you can switch the perspective and take pictures of yourself. You can also tweak and twist the pictures, but this didn't really appeal to me. The photos are not high-quality, and they're a little grainy, but they're still decent. I was pleasantly surprised that some of my pictures came out as well as they did, but then I wasn't expecting much. I can't think of many reasons to use this camera other than goofing off, considering digital cameras are so prevalent now and offer much better quality.

* Internet access.
I loved the idea of a Web browser on a DS -- I could play Nintendo-quality games and surf the Web on one system. Unfortunately the DSi's Web browser is very poor. It's best for text-based websites and takes a while to load even simple Google searches. Since there is no way to install applications on the DSi, it's useless for two of the most prevalent uses of the Web -- watching videos and using instant messenger programs. Bottom line: If you want to use the Internet, get a computer or smart phone.

* Downloadable games.
These are called DSiWare, much like the Wii's WiiWare. Unlike WiiWare's decent list of innovative and engaging titles, however, DSiWare has little to offer -- at least, so far. There are a few promising games on the horizon. The question now is, why bother waiting? Nintendo has announced its as-yet-unnamed "3DS," which will use 3-D technology and should hit U.S. markets this year. If you're interested in new and innovative gameplay quirks, stick with a DS Lite and its long list of great games, then splurge on a 3DS later this year. WiiPoints would be better used for WiiWare, anyway.

I should include an important note here about the chief hardware difference between the DS Lite and the DSi. The DS Lite has a slot that allows you to play old Game Boy Advance games. This feature was removed from the DSi. However, the DSi contains an SD card slot which allows you to save and upload photos, listen to MP3s, and save downloaded DSi titles.

The DSi seems to be Nintendo's attempt to create an all-in-one portable game system/digital camera/MP3 player/Web browser. While the result is admirable, the DSi's capabilities are stretched too thin. Its true strength, the area where it (and its predecessor) truly shines, is handheld gaming. It stands to reason that most people who can afford portable game systems already have a few gadgets at home -- digital camera, smart phone, home PC or laptop, MP3 player, etc. Those would serve your multimedia needs much better than the DSi.

On the other hand, an all-in-one portable game system/digital camera/MP3 player/Web browser, despite its limitations, may be the perfect gift for a child without having to buy several other devices. In that respect, it would be excellent on road trips. However, if you're more interested in portable gaming, get a DS Lite -- or wait a few months and splurge on a 3DS.
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