2009-04-19

Nintendo DSi - First Impressions

I gave in and bought a new DSi when EmuBoards posted a news item about a new, DSi-compatible version of the R4, the SDHC-capable R4 Upgrade. As soon as it turns up I’ll be able to play with Woopsi on the new hardware.

A big part of the reason for buying it is the current state of my DS Lite. The hinge has cracked (good design, Nintendo!), it’s got a dead pixel on one of the screens (good job, Nintendo!) and the touch screen is becoming increasingly inaccurate (well done all around, Nintendo!). The other reason is the DSiWare shop, which would be great for homebrewers if only Nintendo would open it up in the same way that Microsoft did with the XBLA Community Games system.

Anyhoo, some first impressions. The new wireless capabilities are great. The DSi works with my Airport Extreme, which is nice, but only with DSi titles, which is a bit crap. Getting it connected to the online store was more difficult than it should have been. To connect for the first time, the DSi needs to download a system update, which refuses to download with the default internet settings - the DSi throws a 034310 error and switches off. The cause turned out to be the MTU setting, which is set to 1400 but should be set to 576.

The screen is bigger than the Lite’s, but the DSi’s resolution has remained the same. The bigger screen is definitely appreciated, but it looks like an LCD monitor or laptop set to the wrong resolution. All of the pixels seem to be blurred or filtered to stretch them. EDIT: Now that I can test the DSi with Woopsi, it seems that this isn’t the case. I was misled by the initial bootup screen, which now has antialiasing applied.

Reboots can now be performed by tapping the power button, which is great. The Start and Select buttons are larger and easier to push.

Lastly, I had a quick play with the DSi Browser. I bought the original, which was painfully slow and essentially useless; it was really just a curiosity. The DSi version, though, takes advantage of the new hardware features and is actually - or so it seems, after a few minutes of playing with it - a usable, useful browser.