Last Sunday I went down to GameStop and took advantage of their DSi trade-up offer. What they’re doing is allowing you to trade in your DS Lite for a DSi and knocking $70 off the price tag. That discount brings the cost of trading from a DS Lite to a DSi only $100. Before making the trade I did a little bit of research and found that the biggest concern was the lost of the GBA slot. While the GBA slot is gone, I don’t regret trading and feel like the benefits of the DSi outweigh the loss of a GBA slot (especially when GameBoy Advance SPs can be had for under $35 these days).
Let’s start with some hard facts and then I’ll move onto my own opinions about the two.
The DSi comes equipped with:
- Matte outer finish
- 3.25″ Screens
- A size of 137mm x 74.9mm x 18.9mm
- A weight of 214g
- A battery life of 9-14 hours
- DS cart slot
- SDHC card slot
On the other hand, the DS Lite comes equipped with:
- Glossy outer finish
- 3.00″ Screens
- A size of 133mm x 73.9mm x 21.5mm
- A weight of 218g
- A battery life of 15-19 hours
- DS cart slot
- GBA cart slot
Along with the above specs the DSi adds a music player (capable of playing AAC audio files) with some bad ass nintendo-inspired visualizers, two cameras (front camera: 3MP, inside camera: .3MP), the Opera browser, a beefed up internal memory capacity, and access to WPA secured networks.
The DSi doesn’t have a GBA slot:
I know, I was initially upset about this too! When I really, really thought about it I came to a conclusion. The only GBA games I play are import games from Japan. I have to play those games at home anyway since I need guides and translation help during gameplay. Remembering that I had the GBA add-on for my GameCube, I was no longer bummed about giving up my beloved GBA slot. Sorry Mother 3!
The DSi has a shorter battery life than the DS Lite:
Okay, so the DSi gets 9-14 hours of play on the lowest brightness setting as opposed to the DS Lite’s 15-19. I’ve had my DSi almost a week and played it every day. Thursday it finally died and I had to charge it which means I got 5 days of gaming in before I had to stop to recharge the battery. If you play your DS a ridiculous amount then it’s no more of a hassle than it is to charge your cell phone every night. Hell, my DSi gets better battery life than my Blackberry Pearl! One plus to the lower capacity battery is that it takes less time to charge so you’re back to gaming quicker. On a side note, both the DS Lite and DSi have a better play time than the PSPgo, 3 to 6 hours of gameplay are you kidding me?
Aside from the two points hit above I think the DSi beats the DS Lite hands down. The larger, brighter screen is immediately noticeable and the camera is actually fun to use whether you’re playing the WarioWare game that uses the DSi’s camera (available in the DSiWare Store) or simply using the camera itself. The PSP previously had the DS beat in online capabilities and general usefulness, but Nintendo has more than answered that with the DSi. The DSi provides an interface and capabilities that transform it into a living, breathing, online-enabled device and there is a lot of new hope for the DS’s online community. The DSiWare store, while sparse at the moment, actually houses worthwhile games (and some apps, most of the apps are sad excuses for apps. Why do I want a simple calculator or a skinned clock anyway?). The XBOX 360 Marketplace has tons of products and very few I actually want. Opposed to that, the DSiWare store has a small catalog for the time being, but I want like half of the products in the store.
I seriously hope Nintendo takes the right steps with the DSi and transforms it into the fully online-enabled gaming experience that it has the potential to be. With my DS Lite I think I used the wifi capability once or twice, but with the DSi I am constantly connected to wifi networks while browsing the net or checking out the store. The functionalities have made me more aware of when my DSi is on or off line and has left me with no possible reason as to why all future multiplayer games will not be wifi compatible.