Prior to the release of the Nintendo 3DS (*Est. $170) and the Sony PlayStation Vita (*Est. $250), the Nintendo DSi held the title of the best handheld game system available. Though it might have been knocked down a peg or two, the DSi still remains a top choice, especially for younger game players and those looking for a handheld video game console that's a little less pricey than the 3DS but just as much fun if you don't care about 3D. Features include dual 3.25-inch screens, two cameras, an SD card slot and access to online game downloads. Reviewers are impressed with the features and huge game selection -- albeit one that's more likely to appeal to kids and teens rather than serious gamers.
There are some negatives, however. The graphics don't wow, and battery life is only about four hours. The biggest downside for some is that the Nintendo DSi is not compatible with Game Boy Advance titles -- for that you'll need to turn to the older and less capable, though also less expensive, Nintendo DS Lite (*Est. $100). If you want bigger screens (4.2 inches each), the Nintendo DSi XL (*Est. $170) might be a consideration, but the two handheld game systems are otherwise identical. Reviewers say that for most people there's little reason to choose the DSi XL over the DSi.
Most professional reviews of the Nintendo DSi are now a bit older -- not surprising since the handheld gaming console was released in 2009. Still, CNET, PC World, TrustedReviews.com and ArsTechnica.com provide detailed and still relevant coverage. CNET's review, in particular, is helpful because it provides an overall rating and a clear list of pros and cons. The site also offers a series of head-to-head video reviews against competing gaming options. Owner reviews provide a more up-to-date look at how well the Nintendo DSi satisfies, and you can find a ton of those at Amazon.com.
Jeff Bakalar calls the Nintendo DSi an "ambitious and solidly designed portable gaming system." Although he notes that a lack of backward compatibility with Game Boy Advance titles and a shorter battery life are downsides, Bakalar gives it a very good rating overall.
Review: Nintendo DSi (Black), Jeff Bakalar, April 3, 2009
CNET pits the Nintendo DSi against two Sony portable gaming systems and the Apple iPod touch in installments of its popular "prizefight" video series, which pits competing products against each other in head-to-head evaluations of features, design, performance and more. The DSi prevails against the iPod touch and loses against the Sony PSP-3000, but the margins are close in both comparisons. The third prizefight compares the Nintendo DSi to the discontinued Sony PSP Go.
Review: DSi Prizefights, Brian Tong
Stuart Andrews says he thinks some of the Nintendo DSi's features are more gimmicky than useful. Although he's impressed with some aspects of the console, Andrews says current Nintendo DS Lite users have few reasons to upgrade.
Review: Nintendo DSi Handheld Games Console Review, Stuart Andrews, April 4, 2009
4. PC World
The Nintendo DSi isn't rated in this review, but the write-up offers some helpful details. Darren Gladstone says he has mixed feelings about the console because of the limited internal storage and support for AAC music files only.
Review: Nintendo DSi Review: Slimmer, More Multimedia-Savvy, Darren Gladstone, April 1, 2009
Ben Kuchera says the online game store DSiWare is the biggest selling point for the Nintendo DSi. Although some of the new features may be a little gimmicky, Kuchera says he likes the console overall.
Review: The Toy That Roared: Ars Reviews the DSi, Ben Kuchera, April 2009
6. Choice magazine
Choice magazine, the Australian version of ConsumerReports.org, enlists the help of a 10-year-old boy to test out the Nintendo DSi. Overall, the console gets 4 stars out of 5. Choice says the Nintendo DSi is not an essential upgrade if you already have a DS Lite.
Review: Nintendo DSi, Editors of Choice, June 23, 2009
Daniel S. Evans has a detailed look at the Nintendo DSi, complete with helpful testing details on battery life and other areas. Although he says the Nintendo DSi is a fun handheld console, Evans says it won't satisfy serious gamers.
Review: Nintendo DSi, Daniel S. Evans, April 6, 2009
The Nintendo DSi is called a "welcome upgrade." The online game shop and new multimedia options are listed as highlights. However, Damon Brown says the lack of Game Boy Advance support and the weak cameras are downsides.
Review: Nintendo DSi Review, Damon Brown, April 8, 2009
Mark Wilson says the Nintendo DSi is far more comfortable to hold than its predecessor, and he finds the interface easier to use. While he says most DS Lite owners won't need to upgrade, he prefers the DSi overall.
Review: Nintendo DSi Review, Mark Wilson, April 3, 2009
More than 450 owner reviews combine to give the Nintendo DSi a very strong overall rating. Most users say the handheld game system is fun and has a great selection of games, but others say the DS Lite is a better value.
Review: Nintendo DSi, Contributors to Amazon.com
Roughly 575 users give the Nintendo DSi an overall rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Some reviews are posted here, and others come from retailer websites. Many parents post reviews, saying their kids love the handheld console. A few critics complain of poor graphics.
Review: Nintendo Handheld Game System, Contributors to Buzzillions.com