Review by KeyBlade999

"Every single DS reviewed. ALL of them."

Author's Note: Apparently, I can't have all DS consoles represented as separate reviews, so all four are here. The original DS is just below here, the DS Lite below it, the DSi below that, and the DSi XL as the last one.

Original DS review
The Nintendo DS, a new handheld made by (you guessed it) Nintendo. The Game Boy Advance's younger brother, Nintendo has highly improved their standards by actually making a game console that may play TWO different game console's video games: the Nintendo DS games, and the Game Boy Advance's games. This radically great system was my second handheld, in general, my first being the Game Boy Advance SP, but in my experience, Nintendo has even improved on the original Nintendo DS released back around 2004. Unusually, I didn't see any commercials then...? (Anyway, I rented it a week or so ago for this review.) Then, in 2006 (or was it 2007?), Nintendo bettered their console, as they usually do. The Nintendo DS Lite. Then, just two months after I got my Nintendo DS Lite, the Nintendo DSi comes out. Although they removed the previous two consoles' Game Boy Advance slots, they had put in a camera, and again changed the Nintendo DS's look. Those major changes kind of balanced out the Nintendo DS Lite and Nintendo DSi. However, out of all three, I strongly believe that the Nintendo DS Lite comes out on top, with the Nintendo DSi coming in second.

But, now, the DSi XL is out. The better version of the DSi is now my favorite and only handheld. It will remain so until I see an even better system. It, like the DSi, features two cameras, a music player, and other things. I will not go into that; go a long way down for that.

All of the Nintendo DS games released over the past six or seven years are all compatible with all four versions of the Nintendo DS. However, the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite both have one thing that the Nintendo DSi and DSi XL do not have - an ability to play Game Boy Advance games, and get potential bonuses, mostly found in the fourth generation Pokemon game (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver). Yes, some video games will get bonuses from the Game Boy Advance games. This allows you to see stuff you wouldn't normally see, especially on the Nintendo DSi/DSi XL, as they do not have a Game Boy Advance slot.

The four different Nintendo DS versions all have one currently unique quality, a quality never seen before. Okay, two unique qualities. The first quality is the fact that it has TWO different screens - both on the same console!!! You remember the days of PlayStation links? You know, two consoles, two games, two TV's? When the Game Boy Advance was released, Nintendo had another unique quality - link cables. Then, you could play a game, sometimes with one game cartridge, with just two or more consoles. Now, Nintendo did it again. The Nintendo DS allows a lot more to happen, features to be put on game that previously could not. For example, you know how the Mario Kart series never gave you a full in-depth map? Well, as gameplay usually only is on one screen, you now got a great map for Mario Kart DS. The same exact thing is also on Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. The other quality - touch sensitive screens, also called the Touch Screen. A feature that was thought to stay on phones has now moved to video game consoles, the first console being the Nintendo DS. This allows you to become more interactive. In fact, the only more interactive system is the Nintendo Wii.

Also, a not-so-unique feature is Wi-Fi, or wireless fidelity. Also on phones and laptops and some handhelds, you can wirelessly communicate, download, and transfer data between many Nintendo DS consoles, the most I have seen being eight on Mario Kart DS and maybe some other video games. Games like Mario Kart no longer will need you to buy a rare $20+ link cable. The Wi-Fi will become a sixty-foot long cable for you. Now, you know how some Game Boy Advance games needed only one cartridge for multiplayer? That feature is now on Nintendo DS games. A few well known ones are Mario Kart DS, New Super Mario Bros. and Scrabble DS. However, also like those Game Boy Advance games, some games require one game per player, such as Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and the fourth generation Pokemon games. Although those that only require one game card are there, you can use multiple game cards for extra features, such as more tracks on Mario Kart DS or leveling up your avatar on Scrabble DS. You can also get a wireless router or Nintendo USB cord to actually play, with the required equipment (broadband Internet, wireless router, Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite or Nintendo DSi or Nintendo DSi XL, and a compatible game), all over our planet! You can beat some game designer in Japan, or your best friend who moved to England. There are fewer games like this, but it is an awesome capability. You can also use this to communicate and get some features from Nintendo Wii games, although all I know of is the Pokemon games.

The graphics will slightly vary from console to console and game to game, but, overall, the graphics are decent. Most games, at absolute worst, have graphics that are slightly blocky and jumpy. Mostly, the game will have great 3-D, if it does. If not, well, all games have colorful and vibrant backgrounds, areas, monsters, and characters. Also a factor is the screen's brightness. An absolute new feature (to handhelds), you can make a screen very bright or very dim. Makes a great flashlight in a power outage. You remember how some Game Boy Advance games had colors with little contrast, or were just flat-out dull? Well, even Game Boy Advance games will get vibrant colors. Yes, a Nintendo DS will be a decent choice if you want great graphics.

The music and sound effects are one thing that varies greatly from game to game. All four Nintendo DS releases have dual speakers. Most TV's have this, too, so you are virtually holding a portable television. I cannot exactly say whether the music is good or bad, as it is just my opinion based on fifteen games, but the dual speakers allow great sound effects. I'll allow you to decide on which game has decent music.

DS Lite review
The Nintendo DS Lite, a new handheld made by (you guessed it) Nintendo. The Game Boy Advance's younger brother, Nintendo has highly improved their standards by actually making a game console that may play TWO different game console's video games the Nintendo DS games, and the Game Boy Advance's games. This radically great system was my second handheld, my first being the Game Boy Advance SP, but in my experience, Nintendo has even improved on the original Nintendo DS released back around 2004. Unusually, I didn't see any commercials then...? Then, in 2006 (or was it 2007?), Nintendo bettered their console, as they usually do. The Nintendo DS Lite had commercials this time. Then, just two months after I got my Nintendo DS Lite, the Nintendo DSi comes out. Although they removed the previous two consoles' Game Boy Advance slots, they had put in a camera, and again changed the Nintendo DS's look. Those major changes kind of balanced out the Nintendo DS Lite and Nintendo DSi. However, out of all three, I strongly believe that the Nintendo DS Lite comes out on top, with the Nintendo DSi coming in second.

All of the Nintendo DS games released over the past six or seven years are all compatible with all three versions of the Nintendo DS. However, the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite both have one thing that the Nintendo DSi does not have - an ability to play Game Boy Advance games, and get potential bonuses, mostly found in the fourth generation Pokemon game (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver). As the Nintendo DS Lite was improved, it eventually was on top. Yes, some video games will get bonuses from the Game Boy Advance games. This allows you to see stuff you wouldn't normally see, especially on the Nintendo DSi, as it does not have a Game Boy Advance slot.

The three different Nintendo DS versions all have one currently unique quality, a quality never seen before. Okay, two unique qualities. The first quality is the fact that it has TWO different screens - both on the same console!!! You remember the days of PlayStation links? You know, two consoles, two games, two TV's? When the Game Boy Advance was released, Nintendo had another unique quality - link cables. Then, you could play a game, sometimes with one game cartridge, with just two or more consoles. Now, Nintendo did it again. The Nintendo DS allows a lot more to happen, features to be put on game that previously could not. For example, you know how the Mario Kart series never gave you a full in-depth map? Well, as gameplay usually only is on one screen, you now got a great map for Mario Kart DS. The same exact thing is also on Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. The other quality - touch sensitive screens, also called the Touch Screen. A feature that was thought to stay on phones has now moved to video game consoles, the first console being the Nintendo DS. This allows you to become more interactive. In fact, the only more interactive system is the Nintendo Wii.

Also, a not-so-unique feature is Wi-Fi, or wireless fidelity. Also on phones and laptops and some handhelds, you can wirelessly communicate, download, and transfer data between many Nintendo DS consoles, the most I have seen being eight on Mario Kart DS and maybe some other video games. Games like Mario Kart no longer will need you to buy a rare $20+ link cable. The Wi-Fi will become a sixty-foot long cable for you. Now, you know how some Game Boy Advance games needed only one cartridge for multiplayer? That feature is now on Nintendo DS games. A few well known ones are Mario Kart DS, New Super Mario Bros. and Scrabble DS. However, also like those Game Boy Advance games, some games require one game per player, such as Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and the fourth generation Pokemon games. Although those that only require one game card are there, you can use multiple game cards for extra features, such as more tracks on Mario Kart DS or leveling up your avatar on Scrabble DS. You can also get a wireless router or Nintendo USB cord to actually play, with the required equipment (broadband Internet, wireless router, Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite or Nintendo DSi, and a compatible game), all over our planet! You can beat some game designer in Japan, or your best friend who moved to England. There are fewer games like this, but it is an awesome capability. You can also use this to communicate and get some features from Nintendo Wii games, although all I know of is the Pokemon games.

The graphics will slightly vary from console to console and game to game, but, overall, the graphics are decent. Most games, at absolute worst, have graphics that are slightly blocky and jumpy. Mostly, the game will have great 3-D, if it does. If not, well, all games have colorful and vibrant backgrounds, areas, monsters, and characters. Also a factor is the screen's brightness. An absolute new feature (to handhelds), you can make a screen very bright or very dim. Makes a great flashlight in a power outage. You remember how some Game Boy Advance games had colors with little contrast, or were just flat-out dull? Well, even Game Boy Advance games will get vibrant colors. Yes, a Nintendo DS Lite will be great if you want great graphics.

The music and sound effects are one thing that varies greatly from game to game. All three Nintendo DS releases have dual speakers. Most TV's have this, too, so you are virtually holding a portable television. (FYI, a Japanese accessory allows access to satellite television). I cannot exactly say whether the music is good or bad, as it is just my opinion based on fifteen games, but the dual speakers allow great sound effects. I'll allow you to decide on which game has decent music.

DSi review
The DS that replaced the DS Lite: The DSi. This console was released around 2008 and was meant to replace the DS and DS Lite, like the PlayStation 2 was meant to replace the Playstation; like the way 3D replaced 2D. Anyways, I rented this for a while to see the major differences between it and the DSi XL. Amazingly, few differences are there. Anyways...

Time a bit of history. The DSi is the second-most recent addition to the Nintendo DS series of handhelds, being released around 2008. Back in 2004, the Nintendo DS was released. It was meant to replace the aging Game Boy Advance systems. Later, in 2006, the Nintendo DS Lite was released, too. It had the best battery life of them all. These two consoles featured GBA backwards compatibility. Around 2008-2009, the DSi was released. It lost the GBA compatibility, but it did get two cameras and the ability to download games right onto it. Then, very recently, the DSi XL was released. This system, unfortunately, doesn't have a GBA slot, but it still has two cameras, Internet downloadables, better battery life than the DSi (and, from experience, the DS Lite) and 93% larger screens than the DS Lite - which is almost the same as the DSi. The DSi XL also features more Wi-Fi compatibility, which means you don't have to buy just WEP routers - you can also buy WPA routers, among others. The 3DS is planned to be released around 2011, but I can't say too much on it. Anyways...

There are cool things you can do on this. The DSi Camera is only for the DSi and DSi XL. It allows you to take and keep pictures, as well as mess around with them. You can distort, color on, or mirror pictures, as well as many other things. There is a Flipnote Studio where you can make your own flipbooks. These are better than the normal ones you make yourself. Why? You can add sound effects and music to them. In addition, of course, it helps you draw much better. You can even share these with people around the world. In addition, you can actually receive some from around the world! There is DSi Sound. This lets you record, mess with, and replay sound effects. You can also put some on here with SD Cards. Another feature is PictoChat. This mode is on all DS's. This allows you to talk, draw, and play games with others with a DS. The DSi and DSi XL have something else that the others do not - a rainbow pen.

The DSi and DSi XL also feature Internet capabilities. What are these capabilities? Well, they include sharing Flipbooks from the Flipbook Studio. You can download games onto your DSi or DSi XL, such as Mini Marios March Again! Also, one thing is still here from the DS and DS Lite - Nintendo WFC. You can play games, such as Pokemon and Mario Kart, with people all over the planet - if you have the correct stuff. You can trade Nintendo Event Pokemon with someone in Japan, or race against your friend in France. There are so many things you can do with that stuff.

There is one last thing I should list. The DSi, as well as the other three DS's, have local wireless multiplayer. What is that? You can play multiplayer games, such as Scrabble and New Super Mario Bros., with the Wi-Fi on the DS. There are some conditions, though. Some games only need one game card to play multiplayer, such as Super Mario 64 DS and Mario Party DS. Others, however, need all of those playing to have it, such as Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Some can have both, such as Mario Kart DS and New Super Mario Bros. Sometimes, it is better playing with everyone having it; sometimes it won't matter. That depends on the game.

The graphics are also amazing. They do fail when put in comparison to the DSi XL, but they almost look the same, actually. When it comes to this, the main difference is screen size.

The DSi also has excellent sound effects. It has two speakers on both sides of the top screen, which mean stereo sound. You can also hook up some earphones to it to hear the sound without hearing everyone else. The Mic, too, is decent. In the games or applications that use it, the recording is great quality. I used the Mic to record some Super Mario All-Stars (SNES) music and when I played the recording, I could have sworn I had that on my DS. We're talking SNES games, which has somewhat muffled graphics. The DS played it amazingly well. You can also put your own music onto the DSi or DSi XL via SD Cards.

DSi XL review
Ahhh... yes, my second handheld - sort of. The Nintendo DS is my second handheld in general. The Nintendo DS Lite was my first of these. Not too long ago - just about a week or two - my Nintendo DS Lite broke. I will not go into why. Anywho, I had cash saved and a new DS was out. Two and two, right? Yep. That DS was the DSi XL, Nintendo's several month old system - kind of. I only saw the commercials a few days before buying it. So, I bought it. I immediately enjoyed it.

Time for history class. The DSi XL is the most recent addition to the Nintendo DS series of handhelds. Back in 2004, the Nintendo DS was released. It was meant to replace the aging Game Boy Advance systems. Later, in 2006, the Nintendo DS Lite was released too. It has the best battery life of them all. These two consoles featured GBA backwards compatibility. Around 2008-2009, the DSi was released. It lost the GBA compatibility. It did get two cameras and the ability to download games right onto it. Then, very recently, the DSi XL was released. This system, unfortunately, doesn't have a GBA slot, but it still has two cameras, Internet downloadables, better battery life than the DSi and DS Lite, and 93% larger screens than the DS Lite - which is almost the same as the DSi. The DSi XL also features more Wi-Fi compatibility, which means you don't have to buy just WEP routers - you can also buy WPA routers, among others. The 3DS is planned to be released around 2011, but I can't say too much on it. Anyways...

There are many ways to play. Included on the DSi XL (at least, the US version) is Brain Age Express Math and Brain Age Express Arts & Letters. These games strength your brain in these areas and - if you're in school - can better your grades. These games are mostly tapping, talking, and writing. On the US release is Photo Clock. It isn't really a game. It is more of an alarm clock - an excellent one, I might add. It shows the pictures taken on the DSi Camera at the top in random order for a bit, and then it goes into power-saving mode. Basically, the DSi XL is off, but on. It uses MUCH less power than normal. That is mainly what sets the DSi XL apart from the DS Lite, because the DS Lite has its lights on, unless in Sleep mode. That is it for included games.

There are also other things on this. The DSi Camera is only for the DSi and DSi XL. It allows you to take and keep pictures, as well as mess around with them. You can distort, color on, or mirror pictures, as well as many other things. The DSi XL can hold over 400 pictures - 400! There is a Flipnote Studio where you can make your own flipbooks. These are better than the normal ones you make yourself. Why? You can add sound effects and music to them. In addition, of course, it helps you draw much better. In addition, you can even share these with people around the world. In addition, you can actually receive some from around the world! There is DSi Sound. This lets you record, mess with, and replay sound effects. You can also put some on here with SD Cards. Another feature is PictoChat. This mode is on all DS's. This allows you to talk, draw, and play games with others with a DS. The DSi and DSi XL have something else that the others do not - a rainbow pen.

The DSi and DSi XL also feature Internet capabilities. What are these capabilities? Well, they include sharing Flipbooks from the Flipbook Studio. You can download games onto your DSi or DSi XL, such as Mini Marios March Again! Also, one thing is still here from the DS and DS Lite - Nintendo WFC. You can play games, such as Pokemon and Mario Kart, with people all over the planet - if you have the correct stuff. You can trade Nintendo Event Pokemon with someone in Japan, or race against your friend in France. There are so many things you can do with that stuff.

There is one last thing I should list. The DSi XL, as well as the other three DS's, have local wireless multiplayer. What is that? You can play multiplayer games, such as Scrabble and New Super Mario Bros., with the Wi-Fi on the DS. There are some conditions, though. Some games only need one game card to play multiplayer, such as Super Mario 64 DS and Mario Party DS. Others, however, need all of those playing to have it, such as Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Some can have both, such as Mario Kart DS and New Super Mario Bros. Sometimes, it is better playing with everyone having it; sometimes it won't matter. That depends on the game.

The DSi XL, as you know, has much larger screens - 93% larger than the DS Lite's. That is about 90% larger than the DSi's! The plainly means more lines of resolution, which means you won't go blind as easily from staying close to it. The larger screens also enhance the graphics. Some games have extremely small text and you need to get up real close to the DS. The larger screens will make the text larger. Of course, all of the games have vibrant and colorful graphics. Some games have a bit of lag, some are jumpy, and some have blocky graphics. However, the graphics are still colorful. If graphics are your thing, you should really buy this!

The DSi XL also has excellent sound effects. It has two speakers on both sides of the top screen, which mean stereo sound. You can also hook up some earphones to it to hear the sound without hearing everyone else. The Mic, too, is decent. In the games or applications that use it, the recording is great quality. I used the Mic to record some Super Mario All-Stars (SNES) music and when I played the recording, I could have sworn I had that on my DS game. We're talking SNES games, which have somewhat muffled graphics. The DS played it amazingly well. You can also put your own music onto the DSi or DSi XL via SD Cards.

Overall
That is your review of the whole Nintendo DS series as one. I really hope you have enjoyed this and figured out which DS is yours. All of these are more adaptive to certain situations. If you like pictures and many games, the DSi or the DSi XL is yours. Want to play GBA games? Get a DS or the DS Lite.

But, overall, my choice would be the DSi XL. The bigger screens are major part of my choice, as is the fact I can download games and other applications. The fact that it has two games and one application on it saved me some money. It can still play my favorite DS games, too. You really should buy it.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/01/10, Updated 04/26/10

Game Release: Nintendo DSi XL Hardware (US, 03/28/10)


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