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DSi Hands-on

November 3rd, 2008 by

Although the DSi may not be the revolutionary leap that investors or gamers could hope, 1up has posted a hands-on evaluation of the Japan release of the new handheld. It’s pretty long as a 30-minute video, but we’ve detailed the novel highlights below (check here for the old stuff).

Smoother Experience: Owners of the original DS and the DS Lite make constant use of the power switch. Any time you change settings, swap game cartridges, or use the download play function, you have to power the system down to return to the main menu. The DSi will function more like the Xbox 360 dashboard, and rarely requires a restart. Functions are hot-swappable, and the power button now functions as a reset button as well. It’s not a huge change, but it makes the device more useable overall.

Real-time Camera Work: The DSi’s camera might not be particularly impressive as an image capture tool, but it’s a surprisingly smart image distortion tool. The DSi’s image manipulation software operates on the digital information stream before you capture any images. Unlike, say, Photoshop, where you edit static information to correct artifacts, the DSi’s image manipulation software lets you do your tweaking so that you start with the best image possible. Of course, the tools aren’t terribly powerful, but it’s a spiffy inversion of the way things are normally done.

Face Facts: The camera is also good at picking out faces and facial features. Even in poor light and unfavorable angles, the camera can accurately tack a pair of cartoon sunglasses over your eyes or a pair of wax lips over your mouth. Although that’ll be interesting for about seven seconds, it does mean the the DSi stands a good chance of being a successful EyeToy clone. Better still, its portability may make it the life of the public-embarrassment party!

The Incredible Shrinking DS: Losing the GBA slot seems to have made a difference, because the DSi appears to be even lighter than the Lite. This is good news for your carpal tunnel, but bad news in case of a strong breeze.

It’s still not looking like it’ll be worth swapping your existing lite for a new DSi (unless you’re made of disposable income), but the improved usability and possible new gameplay may well justify it as the preferred alternative for fresh purchases.

Edit: Oof, it looks like the battery life has taken a hit that’s measured in hours, though. There’s a portable caveat for you.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kathleen Nov 3, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Formatting is screwed up in my Bloglines preview. All the paragraph endings are gone.

  • 2 pixelsocks Nov 5, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve set my web-monkey on the problem.