With its third hardware revision in five years, Nintendo is continuing its tradition of continually improving its portables. The Nintendo DSi, which goes on sale April 5 for $169.99 in North America, comes with a number of additions, both for the core gamer and casual fan alike.There is no denying the fact that the Nintendo DS has a very wide range of appeal. The DSi is aiming to open that up even more with two 0.3 Megapixel (640x480) cameras and software applications (not games) from both Nintendo and third parties. The DSi comes with built-in photo editing and sound manipulation software. Japan already has some productivity apps, so it is only a matter of time before we see similar offerings here.HardwareThe DSi packs a number of upgrades since the DS Lite, but has a couple drawbacks, too. The first thing you notice is the matte finish, so no more fingerprints like the clam shell design from the DS Lite. The dual screens are slightly bigger, but not much – 3.25 inches instead of the 3.00 inches of previous models.
The DSi is lighter and thinner than the DS Lite, but a little longer. Although the unit does not have the same curved edges, prolonged playing does not cramp the fingers. Playing Peggle
is just as comfortable on the DSi. The shell is a simple design, with the power switch moved to a button inside the unit, next to the touch screen.On the left of the DSi is a volume switch, and on the right is a cover for a SD card, one of the other major upgrades the DSi has. You can save photos taken from the two cameras to SD, and transfer these photos to the Wii Photo Channel. Just like the latest update to the Wii, the DSi only supports AAC files, which you can manipulate and play in the DSi Sound application.The D-pad and A, B, X, Y buttons are not raised as high, so they don’t have as much “push” to them, this is a nice improvement from the Lite. Another difference is the L and R triggers, which are now slightly raised, but these changes do not amount to much.You will also hear a difference on the DSi, with its improved speakers. The increase in volume is welcome for those who do not carry around a pair of headphones everywhere. Other improvements include a much faster primary CPU at 133 Mhz and four times the RAM at 16 MB. I am sure these changes will come in to play with the DSiWare for the system.DSi Menu and Software
Just like the Wii, the DSi has a menu for storing your games and applications. Unlike earlier Nintendo handhelds, the DSi supports software upgrades. I personally hope they support MP3 in a future software upgrade, and not just use it as a way to thwart piracy.