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Avatar ImageDSi Hands On
By: | March 24th, 2009
Exclusive |Feature


We here at Gamer Limit managed to get our hands on the Nintendo DSi. With all of the swirling comments on whether or not this would be worth the upgrade, which let’s be honest, happens every time Nintendo decides to release a new handheld regardless of what it is, we would like to throw our own two cents in.

The first noticeable detail on the DSi is its new, non shiny, matte color and design. Gone is the slippery smooth coating. While this is not a large change, it does make the DSi more rectangular, with sharper corners than the smoothed DS lite. We only managed to try out the black DSi, which looks great. The DSi is 12% thinner and slightly longer than the Lite, but it is not noticeable unless you are holding the two up next to one another.

The power button is no longer a slide on the outside of the unit, now a button near the lower left of the touch screen. The volume slider is also gone, replaced with very unobtrusive up and down buttons along the outer left side. The D-pad and the buttons themselves also feel much nicer than the Lite. They have a nice click to them (though they don’t actually make a click noise). Of course, the GBA Slot is gone, but some of the new features make do make up for it.


Of course, all those features are purely cosmetic, the real differences between the DSi and Lite are whats on the inside. Upon booting up the DSi, you are greeted with the stylish new interface. Gone is the simple play game, pictochat, or options screen. Now we have a brand new interface, similar to the Wii Channel system. Instead of the Wii’s ‘fridge’ appearance, the DSi channels are all along a horizontal bar that you navigate either by sliding it with the stylus or using the d-pad. The system is simple and clean, much more so than the ‘fridge’ layout.

Yes, the interface is nice and all, but that is not what is important. What is important is beyond the shiny… what lies underneath. I am talking about the programming; what Nintendo has to do to make the DSi different from the Lite. The first glaring additions are the cameras and their software. The two 0.3megapixel cameras, one located on the outer shell and one located on the internal hinge, where the microphone is located on the Lite.  The cameras can be switched between by a simple press of the X button while using the software.

As most, I had though that these cameras were nothing more than a useless, low quality addition. After tooling around with them, taking pictures of other attendees, t-shirts, the Nintendo rep, and anything else I felt compelled to snap, I went in and tried out the picture software. The DSi can store over 400 pictures on its internal memory and those can be easily transferred to an SD card (you can see a printed DSi picture amongst the swag). The pictures can be manipulated, contorted, and twisted however you want similar to the old gameboy camera. The imaging software can also zoom in on the picture and still retain a surprising amount of quality.


Music playback support had been previously announced and had not been lauded by all. By denying the universally accepted MP3 format and forcing the AAC format, most gamers, including myself, though that this was a completely useless function. I still feel that this is a useless function, but what I did find interesting was not the playback, but ability to record clips. The DSi contains a simplistic sound recorder that can record up to eighteen seconds by means of the built in microphone. Sure it is not the greatest software, but its a nice little gimmick that could come in handy.

Before we get to the DSi’s main selling point, there are a few features left. As stated earlier, the DSi now has an SD card sot. It can support any standard, meaning not High Capacity, SD cards. In the Lite, when you inserted a game, the system had to be off or restarted in order for it to read the new cartridge. The DSi supports ‘hot-swapping ;’ when you insert your cartridge of choice, and it appears immediately on the menu. The games also boot a bit faster than on the Lite. Of course the best feature is if you simply tap the power button, it returns you to the menu screen instead of just powering down. The DSi also supports five brightness settings and improved speakers. WPA Internet Security is also supported for WiFi connectivity. The only downside to these new features is the lower battery life. The DSi can run between 9-14 hours, compared to the Lite at 15-19 hours. Pictochat and Download play remain unchanged.

We Weren't Supposed to Take Pictures :)

The real selling feature of the DSi is the new DSi Shop channel. We could not actually test out this feature, since the units we had still did not have this enabled. What we did acquire was details. The DSi Shop functions just as the Wii Shop does. You can go on and browse through the DSiWare titles and Virtual Console games. We did receive conformation of retro portable games coming to the DSi Shop channel. The DSi Shop channel will use the newly branded Nintendo Points (previously Wii points) though once you activate points onto a system they cannot be used on the Wii. Similar to the Wii, all DSi Shop products are region locked, but the games on cartridges are still not. If you go on the channel before March 2010, Nintendo will reward you with a free 1000 ($10) points. The DSi Shop channel also ships with a free DSi browser app.

Editor’s Notes:

I, like everyone else, was incredibly skeptical about the DSi. It seemed like another GBA Micro. Thankfully, Nintendo has actually made a decent console. Sure the GBA slot is gone, but I never used it anyways. If I really want to play the old games that won’t be featured on the DSi Shop channel, it is not that big of a deal to me to go get my Lite.

After getting to test out the DSi, I am convinced. Sure myhomebrew flash cart won’t work on the DSi, so I’ll have to get my pocket physics craving still satisfied by the Lite, but I think the DSi Ware will make up for that. The price does seem a bit high, but I’ve come to expect that with Nintendo in light of recent events. I just wish everyone could see what a good system this actually is, only time will tell.

Swag (crap) I Got


Be sure and register at Gamer Limit, as we’ll be attending many more events like this in the near future!

  1. That’s some sweet swag. I’m not digging the “what will you and ‘i’ do” tagline though!

    • avatar Taina

      Generally, you want the hinegs of the storm/screen door on the same side as the hinegs of the entry door, so the two doors open up like a book. Most storm/screen doors are reversible anyway.

  2. Did you get that for free or did you buy it?? ;P

  3. avatar Name (Required)

    I would maybe use it if someone gave me one.

  4. Good stuff here, David. It looks like a neat little piece of machinery, even without the GBA slot.

  5. I have a few things I’m concerned with about this. The biggest one being the power button. I have a DS and a DSLite, I still prefer the original DS for gaming when I’m at home thought. So I’m used to having a power button instead of slide, which is what the DSi has. My question is, how hard to you have to press it for it to click? I’m a left handed gamer and my fear is when using the stylus I’ll put it in a position that will press it, even slightly causing me to return to the home page.
    Another question, when you say it ships with a free DS browser, you mean a web browser I assume? Is it any more useful then the Opera browser that you can by on a cartridge?
    Besides that, I’m glad to hear about the WPA support, the house I’m at most often uses it so I can rarely play my DS games online.
    One last question, what’s region locked mean?
    I think this looks like a pretty good console, and I’ll probably pick one up around Christmas. I’m still kind of concerned that all these features they crammed into it won’t be much use, or will wear off pretty fast after surprising at on our first try. Either way, I still like to play around with knew ideas and technology so I’ll end up with one some day.

    • avatar Achim

      aledraydividedplannedit’sWeapon design, was it used?I don’t know much, you know like, aledray copyrighted and published etc etc? I’ve designed a type of blade weapon for my manga, they are called well Blade simple, right? xDA Blade is into different class and attribute within the Element: Skyblade, Earthblade, Starblade and Nonblade.A Skyblade is able to use the power of sky-attribute elements such as; Lighting, Wind(Storm), Mist, Rain, Snow etc. Each weapon is different and it’s ability depends on it’s class.It’s the same for the Earthblade with uses the power of Fire, Water(it’s almost the same as rain), Ice(snow and ice is different), Earth etc.The Starblade and Nonblade are the rarest Element which uses the power of the Zodiac and constellation, the Zodiac are considered SS class weapons. There are a total of 88 Starblade, they’re also collectors items. Nonblade took forms of animals, they act, feed etc like normal animals and can be treated as pets, depends on the Made, they can de different size, hybrid and abnormal colour. I’ve only came up with 5 designs for Nonblades, a cat, rabbit, fox, bear and sparrow.I’ve only to show a few in my story since it’s impossible to show ALL of them. There are many class and design for only one attribute. And even if they are called Blade s, there are types that shoot like a gun with a special bullet that also cuts through anything in it’s way and long like a spear.I have those designs in my mind for quite some time now, my questions are simple, were they aledray used? I don’t want to get into any copyright trouble, and what do you think of them? Are the Nonblade and non-sword related Blade s too much?By the way fantasy in the modern world which involved mafia and underworld fights. I’ve been tod that I’m much suited for RPG game design but I still like drawing and writing stories better. So I’m not quitting. (: Some suggestions would help. I’ve decided I’m going to study cooking in collage. I’ve always dream of . ^^ Getting published is also a part of my dream, I’m working hard towards it now and studying for my exam at the same time as well.

  6. @Yllier
    Region Locked means that you can’t, for example, buy Japanese games and just play them on your American DS. For reference, the Playstation 3 has no region lock, so you can buy/download any game for it and it will play.

  7. Ok, I’d heard of that before, I just didn’t know it was called region lock, thanks.

  8. Aww, region locking sucks balls. Fuck this.

  9. @Yiller and Chris The power button should not be in the way of your hand at all.

    No the DSi is not region locked, the DSi store is.

    I don’t know much about the browser, I didn’t get to go in the shop or check that out.

  10. The only thing which bugs me is the removal of the ability to play Advance games…Which I DO use,ALOT. Saves me dragging out my SP all the time.

    But I can see that Advance games are dead and having a feature for a new generation that don’t know what the hell they are is usesless and not cost effective. So while I hate the removal of it, I’ll have to bear with it.

    But still-what the hell do you need a camera for?

  11. avatar domo

    lolz i just got mine 1hr ago internet is slow as f*** somone helpz meh out

  12. avatar mikael

    I think the dsi is so awsome because i can listen to music on it.most of the time I listen to music on my computer but now I don’t have to worry about thinking about a song when i am away from home,I will have a dsi with me.I won’t be getting it until mother’s day because that’s will be the only time i’ll be able to spend my 200 or $180

    • avatar Candii

      JT, The building was Salida’s opera house, built in the raariold and mining boom days of the late 1800s. It’s one of the town’s unique architectural treasures, contributing to the integrity of what is often described as Colorado’s largest extant brick historic downtown district. I don’t know enough about the financial side of SalCat’s dealings with Salida to answer those questions, but I’m sure someone else in the community does

  13. avatar mikael

    basically it is just an Iphone(without being able to call someone)

  14. avatar mikael

    even though I will get a nintendo dsi I will still keep my ds lite because i will still be playing gameboy games on it

    • avatar F

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  15. avatar mikael

    what i dont understand is tha they took out the gameboy slot,they didn’t replace anything with it so why did nintendo take it out

  16. avatar mikael

    oh one more thing about the me not getting the dsi until mother’s day and me being able to spend 180 or $200,I am only 12 years old

  17. avatar jarmel

    i love the dsi it’s so cool i’ve seen so many cool things on the dsi & i know a cool secret.

    • avatar Anatoly

      Michelle: Great question. Silicone is poroly researched for toxicity, especially considering the uproar with defective silicone breast implants. Generally, there is little probability of off-gassing from silicone and little probability of penetration through the intact skin. However, if your son eats any of the silicone, the chances of problems could increase slightly. There are several studies reporting silicone immunity system syndrome , but this effect occurs only in some humans and generally after internal body exposure to high amounts of silicone for an extended period of time. I think you are safe in making the purchase. Was this answer helpful?

    • avatar Cerciz

      I’ve been playing tuhgroh DQIX as well, I’m hoping it opens up a bit soon with an airship or something like Final Fantasy. The religious aspect is interesting too in how it tries to draw in the player. YOU are a part of this system, and therefore you are on this quest. Some of it is for personal reasons, of course, but a lot of it comes from an obligation to this system and your place in it. (being vague for those who haven’t played yet, haha)I also think the hyper-Christianity mixed with some Norse mythology really brings the world together into a unique viewpoint alongside the visuals. Characters are super cute, tiny, and almost childlike alongside a religious mishmash that sounds like a kid piecing together a bunch of ideas they’ve heard to explain why bad and good things happen in the world. Oh yeah, and you can dress your characters however you want, much like an MMO. That’s fun. Get this game!

  18. avatar james braselton


  19. avatar cody

    i just used my dsi to send this message. i do have to say, this is an awsome system and in many ways worth it!!!

  20. avatar cody

    Also, could anyone tell me when the next dsi system update is?

    • avatar Tong

      After seeing Josh’s DS Lite and jlouaes that he could play MarioKart on it, I just had to get one myself. I have owned a PSP since the day it was released in the U.S. Needless to say, I wasn’t very impressed with the game playing on it. I have owned the DS Lite for a couple of weeks now and have already played it more than my PSP. Thanks for destroying my social life Josh!

  21. avatar Brooke

    I just got mine, I love it!

    • avatar Khan

      we’reVideo game cafe name/logo ideas?So in DT, designing a model cafe, with a theme. Mine, is video games. Are there any good names and logo’s for it that you can think of?Thanks:)<3

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