Is the Nintendo DSi Worth Buying?

Now that the new Nintendo DSi has been out for a while a lot of people are asking new owners if it’s really worth buying. The third generation handheld Nintendo DS console is definitely different than its older counterparts, but many are questioning if the differences are worth the extra price. Right now you can purchase a new DS Lite for around $129 or less while a new DSi will cost you $169 or more.

Before you run out and buy a new DSi just because it’s the latest and greatest gadget there’s a few things you should know. This newest version of the DS console is slightly larger (yes, larger) than the DS Lite. The dimensions are a few millimeters wider. However, Nintendo did manage to knock almost 8 oz. (half-pound) off the weight by making the console thinner which is noticeable. The screen is also larger but only by 1/4 inch. The only way you would probably notice is if you’re a nerd like me and decided to pull out your ruler to check. The screen is brighter but unfortunately the pretty display also drains more life from the battery. The highest brightness setting on the DSi will give you 3-4 hours of play time while the highest brightness setting on the DS Lite can keep you playing Mario Kart for 5-8 hours.

The main differences you’ll find between the Nintendo DS Lite and the DSi has to do with the software and input/output capabilities. Probably the biggest perk to owning the new DSi is the DSiWare software which enables you to download new games and applications via a wireless Internet connection. Similar to WiiWare for the Nintendo Wii console, you can purchase points which later can be redeemed online at the Nintendo DSi shop.

Other DSi perks include a web browser for surfing the Internet, two digital cameras (one on the inside and one on the outside), a VGA web cam, and the ability to play AAC sound files (MP3 capabilities would have been better). The Nintendo DSi also has a SD memory card slot which can be used for saving photos and sound files. However, this also means that you can no longer play GameBoy Advance games on the DSi console. This is probably not a big deal unless you’re a big Guitar Hero fan.

Most serious gamers find the new Nintendo DSi less than inspiring due to the shorter battery life, lack of GBA slot, and same-old design for game play. If it made phone calls you might be able to call the DSi a smart phone which is a real turnoff for some. However, if you like the idea of using your DS for more than just playing video games and don’t already own a DS console it might be worth the extra money. The DSiWare alone will probably be worth more in the long run than the cheesy photo or sound applications. On the other hand, if you already own a DS Lite and are happy using it as a pure gaming machine you might be better off waiting for the next latest and greatest handheld gadget from Nintendo.