Nintendo DSi XL review

Nintendo relaunches the DS handheld in super-size form

Nintendo DSi XL review
Nintendo DSi XL has a larger screen than any DS before it

Our Verdict

A bigger screen and wider viewing angle make this a solid improvement on 2009's DSi, with everything that makes the DS family of handhelds so enjoyable to play.

For

  • Easier to use
  • Bigger screen
  • Larger stylus

Against

  • Fiddly Wi-Fi
  • Less portable
  • The colour!
3DS Family

Since the first Nintendo DS model released in 2004, there have been various iterations on the dual-screen console. The Nintendo DSi XL reviewed here has since been usurped by the flagship New Nintendo 3DS XL – though those not fussed about 3D can check out the 2D-only New Nintendo 2DS XL or even cheaper sibling, the wedge-shaped Nintendo 2DS.

For those after a single-screen handheld that can truly play AAA games, head to our Nintendo Switch review.

Update: Welcome, Nintendo fans! This DS model has been discontinued since we first published this review. Check out the box on the right for some newer, alternative DS models you can still get your hands on, or read on below for our original Nintendo DSi XL review, which was first published in 2010.

Say hello to the new Nintendo DSi XL. The new handheld arrives with us one year after 2009's popular DSi, but the new model brings something different, including a notable larger screen and wider viewing angle – but the added size isn't just for show.

The Japanese gaming giant's top brass – CEO Satoru Iwata and game design genius Shigeru Miyamoto – have made a lot of noise in Japan about how the new extra-large DS should appeal to everyone, but it's been designed for older gamers in particular.

Especially those consumers that buy up the latest brain-training games and are more likely to spend money on ebooks and other types of non-gaming software for the device.

But all of that marketing strategy talk aside, the true Nintendo fan really only wants to know one thing: 'Is this sufficiently better than the handheld I bought last year to enjoy Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Wario and all the other classic first party Nintendo games that gamers buy the DS for?'

Nintendo DSi XL review

COMPARE: A comparison of the DSi XL with the DSi

We know that Nintendo fans who like to have the latest tech have spent a fair bit over the last five years on DS consoles, from that first 'phat' grey Nintendo DS that launched (to widespread confusion on the part of Nintendo fans at the time) at E3 way back in June 2004 through to last year's DSi.

The original model was followed by the DS Lite in 2006 with its glossy white casing, slimmer form factor and four levels of LCD screen brightness, and then came the aforementioned DSi, which launched early 2009 in the UK and was again even thinner, with a slightly larger screen (and saw the end of GBA cartridge-support in favour of an SD card slot, AAC playback capability, and two cameras).

Nintendo DSi XL review

MATT UNDERSIDE: The stickiness of the DSi XL's underside is a bonus

Having spent the best part of a fortnight playing through Zelda: Spirit Tracks on the new machine there is no question that it is Nintendo's finest handheld gaming console to date. The question as to whether it is £160 better than your current DS Phat or DS Lite or DSi, however, still remains…

3DS Family

Since the first Nintendo DS model released in 2004, there have been various iterations on the dual-screen console. The Nintendo DSi reviewed here has since been usurped by the flagship New Nintendo 3DS XL – though those not fussed about 3D can check out the 2D-only New Nintendo 2DS XL or even cheaper sibling, the wedge-shaped Nintendo 2DS.

For those after a single-screen handheld that can truly play AAA games, head to our Nintendo Switch review.