DSi XL – Impressions

My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to get myself a Bronze DSi XL the other day. The system didn’t look too big when I first took it out of the box, but when I opened it up the size of the screens was a bit of a shock. It’s like two mini TVs in there. After booting it up, I wasn’t too impressed with the image quality in the menu, despite the immense brightness of the screens, things looked a bit blocky.

However, my fears were put to rest after putting some actual games in it, they all look fantastic. Pokemon, Zelda, GTA, Another Code, all shining brightly and majestically. There were no problems at all reading text or with image stretching, in fact it all somehow looks better. Animal Crossing was one game that blew me away, it suddenly felt a lot more playable and the colours shone through very nicely.

The touch screen felt much better too, the bigger size allows more accuracy and makes it easier not only when playing games, but when writing and drawing. My writing looked much better than on a regular sized DS, I don’t know how but it’s almost as if the pixels weren’t there, it was very smooth and natural looking.

Despite it’s large size I found it very easy to hold upright and play games that require the dpad and buttons. The extra weight is countered with extra comfort, and it’s easier to get a firm grip of.

I did however, still have an issue with extended play. The big screens and their big pixels were quite taxing on my eyes after even 5 minutes of play. I found myself trying to hold the screen further away the more I played. I’m sure everyone’s experience with this will vary, but my eyes weren’t too happy.

I also got a defective unit. The top screen had a noticeable yellow tint while the bottom was bright white, and both screens had issues with the backlight bleeding into the screen. This was particularly noticeable when things go black in a game, like almost every scene in a CING game. The white light around the edge of the screen actually leaks onto the pixels displaying the game. It’s very distracting. Looking around the net, it seems almost everyone with an XL has this issue too, although in varying degrees. Perhaps it’s a fault with the design. Not very impressive.

I went back to playing the same games on DS Lite after this to see the comparison, and they didn’t look any worse, in fact I was relieved to see things smaller and sharper. After this I decided not to exchange the DSi XL, but return it. Overall the system has its advantages, and certainly has its audience. Anyone who thinks the DS screen is too small will like it, but I’m not one of them.

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