With an industry that has, for the last several years, been attempting to make technology smaller and smaller, now one company in the entertainment industry has done the opposite, turning a tried and true formula into something larger in the form of the Nintendo DSi XL.
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For decades, the hardware industry has strived to make new technology smaller and more powerful than the last generation of hardware. That has been true from the era of 45-minutes of arduously recorded music heard on portable cassette players through the modern day of several days of effortlessly and intricately organized entertainment on thumb-sized MP3 players. Somewhere around the time of the credit card sized iPod Nano, it seemed like smaller was not always better, so some companies decided to innovate with larger technology instead of continuing in the other direction. First were the iPod Touch and the iPhone with screens significantly larger than any previous portable media player and forthcoming from the same company is the book-sized iPad.
Now Nintendo is trying a move in the same direction with the DSi XL, a new dual-screen device with 93% more screen real estate on both screens. Not only have the screens grown, but so has the stylus, with the DSi XL adding a fully pen-sized stylus. Also on the list of boasts for the new system are bundled software and extended battery life.
For comparison’s sake, here’s a spec by spec breakdown of the new sizes:
Dimensions: 137mm x 74.9mm x 18.9mm
New DSi XL
Dimensions: 161mm x 91.4mm x 21.2mm
Stylus: 96mm or 129.3mm
Just looking at the length and width of closed DSi next to a closed DSi XL, the XL is 143% the size of the DSi and 146.7% the weight of the old system. These aren’t large absolute numbers, at only 161mm wide and 314g for the larger system, but the percent comparison is fairly sizeable especially considering that every previous new system has been smaller than its predecessors.
Is this a step in the right direction or a disastrous move for the king of portable gaming? I haven’t held or used one myself yet, so the jury is still out, but time and sales will tell. The DSi Xl was released in Japan on November 21st, 2009 and March 5th, 2010 in Europe and just came out on March 28th, 2010 in North America.