Update: Nintendo started its trend of 'extra-large' DS models with the DSi XL back in 2010, turning an already incredible portable console into a larger, smarter, more accessible iteration. The 2DS XL and 3DS XL live on as its successors today, though we've kept our original impression of the impressive DSi XL below...
Say hello to the new Nintendo DSi XL. Coming one year after 2009's popular version of the company's handheld gaming console, the DSi, the new model features 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 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?'
After all we, most probably like you, have spent a good wedge 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).
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…
- The 22 best Nintendo DS games: all the titles you absolutely need to revisit