MCV’s guide to DSi

The device has enhanced sound and volume quality for those using either headphones or playing with audio for all to hear. Users can also use the DSi as a music playback device – although it supports AAC files rather than MP3s. The DSi Sound software (for more details see ‘Built-in Microphone’) lets players edit and manipulate their music files.


Via the DSi Shop – accessed over wi-fi – users can download both games and non-games software. Examples given by Nintendo include a web browser, an application which enables users to make animated cartoons or mini-movies, or a new download-exclusive Wario Ware title. Games can be stored in on-board 256MB flash memory. Users can personalise the device dashboard to show their favourite apps at-a-glance.

A tiny change, but all important says Nintendo. Consumer research showed that gamers wanted this not outside on the edge of the device, as it was on the Lite, says Yarnton, but inside as it was on the original DS. It also serves a slightly different function than before – instead of just switching it on and off, hit this while a game is loaded and you are taken back to the device’s dashboard, meaning users don’t have to reset it to change games or access the installed software.

When closed, the DSi is 12 per cent thinner than the already-dinky DS Lite, and weighs a few grams less as well. That means, much like the longer stylus, it’s a perfect opportunity for sales of new carry cases, skins and the like too.

Like to boast about length? The DSi’s stylus is about half a centimetre longer than the DS Lite’s. Better stock up on some third-party spares to sell, then.

And read all over if you’ve got Nintendo’s 100 Classic Books playing on there, ho ho ho. In seriousness, it’s available in Europe in black or white. US colours are black or blue. The chances of Nintendo deciding to release different coloured versions in the lifespan of the device – as it has with every other handheld it has ever made – are very high. But that’s probably jumping the gun a little.

To make sure the new media functions such as photos and music playback work, Nintendo has put a speedier CPU under the hood. It still plays titles for the DS’ established back catalogue of 1,000 games, but these added functions do mean there will be DSi-exclusive games on the way.

The storage space on the device is expandable with SD cards so players can save photos or use the device to play back AAC music files (but not MP3). Yet another opportunity the DSi represents for retailers to see incremental add-on sales from pocket money friendly and widely-available (and thus competitively priced) memory add-ons, as they have with the Wii, PSP and PS3.

As with the other DS handhelds, the on-board mic can be used in gameplay (and has already been used in a variety of ways). The Nintendo DSi Sound software – installed on all DSi units – lets players change the pitch, speed and even apply effects to sound files that are recorded with the mic or played back on the console.

The twin screens are both now 3.25 inches in size (as opposed to the DS Lite’s 3 inch display) and are bigger and brighter.

The cameras are also able to detect facial features and flailing limbs – Nintendo says this means developers can make motion-sensing titles by using the lenses as input devices.

Cameras are mounted both on the outside lid (not pictured) and here, visible when the DSi is open. On board DSi Camera software comes loaded with special effects and image editing functions. Although not of the highest quality, users can still share their snaps over wi-fi or save them onto the SD card and upload them to their PC or Wii.

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