News Article

Talking Point: How Does The DSi LL Compare To Rival Handhelds?

Posted by Damien McFerran


Nintendo's surprise confirmation of the DSi LL is proof that the company is willing to change the way it operates; normally, such a launch would be hyped to high heaven, but here's a machine that we knew little about yesterday - other than rumours - and it's going to be with Japanese gamers in less than a month.

However, this isn't the only way in which the DSi LL bucks current trends. As this list published by Kotaku shows, it's going to be the heaviest portable console of this generation - which rather goes against the philosophy that mobile devices should be as lightweight as possible.

Here's how the DSi LL compares to other machines in its class:

158g - PSPgo
189g - PSP-2000
189g - PSP-3000
214g - DSi
218g - DS Lite
275g - Nintendo DS
280g - PSP-1000
314g - DSi LL

Oof! As you can see, it's twice the weight of Sony's recently released PSPgo. Ouch.

Naturally, it has bigger displays but the sticking point here is going to be resolution. The DS screen res is 256 x 192 pixels, while the PSP boasts a 480 x 272 pixel display. Those pixels are going to look a little blocky when they're blown up to 4.2 inches, we suspect.

Here are the all-important figures (thanks to Kotaku) for a quick comparison to other consoles in the DS range:

Screen Size

  • DSi LL: 4.2 inches
  • DSi: 3.2 inches
  • DS Lite: 3 inches

Hardware Size

  • DSi LL (across): 161mm
  • DSi (across): 137mm
  • DS Lite (across): 133mm
  • DSi LL (front to back): 94.4mm
  • DSi (front to back): 74.9mm
  • DS Lite (front to back): 73.9mm
  • DSi LL (thickness): 21.2mm
  • DSi (thickness): 18.9mm
  • DS Lite (thickness): 21.5mm

Touch Pen Size

  • DSi LL (short pen): 96mm
    DSi LL (long pen): 129.3mm
  • DSi: 92mm
  • DS Lite: 87.5mm


  • DSi LL (including Battery Pack, short Touch Pen): 314g
  • DSi (including Battery Pack, Touch Pen): 214g
  • DS Lite (including Battery Pack, Touch Pen, GBA Cover): 218g

Charging Time

  • DSi LL: 3 hours
  • DSi: 2 hours 30 mins.
  • DS Lite: 3 hours

Battery Life

  • DSi LL (Lowest Brightness): 13~17 hours
  • DSi (Lowest Brightness): 9~14 hours
  • DS Lite (Lowest Brightness): 15~19 hours
  • DSi LL (Second Lowest Brightness): 11~14 hours
  • DSi (Second Lowest Brightness): 8~12 hours
  • DS Lite (Second Lowest Brightness): 10~15 hours
  • DSi LL (Middle Brightness): 9~11 hours
  • DSi (Middle Brightness): 6~9 hours
  • DS Lite (Middle Brightness): No such setting exists on DS Lite
  • DSi LL (Second Highest Brightness): 6~8 hours
  • DSi (Second Highest Brightness): 4~6 hours
  • DS Lite (Second Highest Brightness): 7~11 hours
  • DSi LL (Highest Brightness): 4~5 hours
  • DSi (Highest Brightness): 3~5 hours
  • DS Lite (Highest Brightness): 5~8 hours

Supported Software

  • DSi LL: Nintendo DS, DSi, DSiWare
  • DSi: Nintendo DS, DSi, DSiWare
  • DS Lite: Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance

Input/Output Slots

  • DSi LL: DS Card Slot, SD Memory Card Slot, AC Adaptor, Headphones, Mic
  • DSi: DS Card Slot, SD Memory Card Slot, AC Adaptor, Headphones, Mic
  • DS Lite: DS Card Slot, Game Boy Advance Slot, AC Adaptor, Headphones, Mic

So what are your thoughts on this new hardware launch? Is Nintendo making a mistake updating the DSi concept so soon after it was released? Are you a DSi owner who is more than a little annoyed at having your latest console superseded so swiftly? Let us know by leaving a comment below.


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User Comments (78)



JayArr said:

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I would really want a bigger screen. On the other hand I just upgraded and it seems foolish to throw out more money and that stylus is awful. Hmmmm.. Well PSP owners kinda just went through the same thing.



TanookiMike said:

I really can't believe I'm saying this, but...I should've just stuck my DS Lite...;_;



Kirk said:

It's for the older more mature gamers out there, like grannies and granddads, and as long as there is no conflict with the other people who own or are planning on buying a DS then it should be ok.

I most certainly would not want that brick however.



Cipher said:

Thinking about it, I'd still be happy to get a DSi because of the fact that this is aimed at older gamers. Might get one of these for my Dad for his next birthday, though, he might enjoy it.



skywake said:

Well there goes my very short lived thought that just maybe they might have put the GBA slot back in now its a bigger console again.



warioswoods said:

I don't believe this means much of anything, it's just a niche alternate version of the DSi for those who need a bigger display. It doesn't change their strategy regarding the DSi, their software plans, or anything whatsoever. It's thoroughly insignificant to everyone except the few who might prefer having everything blown up to a larger size.



Raylax said:

It's actually heavier than the original DS? Jesus. Does it come with a coffee table to sit it on when playing?



drdark said:

I could be proven wrong, but I didn't think it'd be economically sound to make yet another DS redesign. I also haven't seen that many old people complaining about DSi size, but maybe it's different in Japan.

I also find some of the various website reports confusing as apart from the "bigger screens for older people" argument some list "web browsing" and "music playing" as other advantages in the DSi LL.
Really?! Usually the smaller the music player, the better (unless this has a built in radio?) and I'm guessing still no MP3 support?
As for web browsing, while I'm perfectly happy just checking Facebook's mobile page on my DSi, I can't see it being taken seriously unless they've at least doubled the RAM yet again.

I can't help feeling they're somehow hoping to compete with netbooks (yes I know, blue ocean strategy doesn't compete, blah blah blah, whatever), but in that regard it still falls short.

Plus of course the screen res issue which everyone's talking about.



Golgo said: stand-by for the exciting raft of different colour options that will shortly be available.



LinktotheFuture said:

This sucks, because this seems a lot better than the current DSi. But if I buy this one the first day it comes out, will they just announce another version in 6 months?



Denkou said:

hm. seems to have an advantage or two over the normal dsi, but nothing to extrordinary. i think i will stick with my current dsi



Token_Girl said:

Was ticked originally that they were redesigning already, but this does just seem to be niche for older people who want larger screens/bigger stylus. I think the DSI has a good balance between size and screen size.



y2josh said:

The actual new handheld console from Nintendo is looking further away or closer, I am really not sure lol



Stuffgamer1 said:

@LinktotheFuture: You seem to be in a minority with that "a lot better than the current DSi" statement. I think the thing is absolutely useless to me. I mean come on, it's heavier than a PSP 1000! Youch! The pixels will be blown up to insane proportions, and the touch screen controls will suddenly require WAY too large movements for games programed with smaller screens in mind.

Also, the article had the regular DSi's screen size slightly off. It's 3.25", not 3.2".



mjc0961 said:

"So what are your thoughts on this new hardware launch?"

"Is Nintendo making a mistake updating the DSi concept so soon after it was released?"
Big time.

"Are you a DSi owner who is more than a little annoyed at having your latest console superseded so swiftly?"
Not really. It's just the same thing as the DSi except larger. It also makes it less portable so yeah, not interested. Also, say hello to ugly graphics.

Shame that Nintendo didn't take the chance to fail as hard as the PSP Go by removing the DS card slot from this model.



thewiirocks said:

I'm getting this odd impression that Nintendo is trying to make the LL into a more professional device that goes beyond gaming. Possibly with more useful apps that would make executives want to whip one out and use it at odd moments. (Note how the stylus now looks like a pen and how it is photographed on a business desk.)

Unfortunately, I can't see that strategy working anywhere except Japan. Nintendo has relied far too heavily on their classic namesakes to make a professional want to use this. i.e. Can you really see a guy in a powersuit whipping out Mario Calculator to crunch some numbers? Neither can I. Doesn't quite jive with his Mercedes or BMW.

IMHO, Nintendo is entering somewhat dangerous territory here. Until now Nintendo has enjoyed a somewhat walled off gaming market that neither the PSP or even the iPhone could disrupt. If they attempt to enter the market that the iPhone current manages, they're going to get squashed. Even if for no other reason than the fact that the DSi lacks the always-on networking of a cellphone.



maka said:

Well, with it's current screen size, the screen resolution is 80 points per inch, which would drop to 60 with the new size. Considering that computer displays usually have 72 (although that might have changed for some people with higher end displays) that doesn't seem so bad.

Still, I'd wait and see before buying this... If games look blocky because the pixels are too big then I'd rather keep my DSi. The issue of transfering your DSiWare purchases is also key...



V8_Ninja said:

To me, Nintendo is just trying to suck more money out of people's wallets. I feel like this may be the start of the end of the nice Nintendo we knew.



maka said:

BTW, aspect ratio seems to be the same, so no black borders or anything of the sort. Seems like the screen will be 100% compatible with existing games.

And, it's funny. The screen resolution of the DS is exactly the same as the ZX Spectrum... No wonder the ZX Spectrum emulator looks so good on the DS..



Odnetnin said:

The weight of my handheld system is actually a big deal to me. So I'd get the regular DSi even if both versions were available when I went to buy mine.
That's going a bit far saying the DSi LL 'supersedes' the regular ol' DSi.




Will the screen size effect the graphics of a game? Maybe negatively

Will the price of the regular DSi go down? Maybe, I already have one though.

Just bigger screen and different stylus? ..and some minor pre-loaded ware...

Conclusion: No thanks. Will save money for game purchases. I see this as a different version of the DSi rather than an upgrade like the DSi was compared to the DS.

I have a Lite and a DSi already, that's enough ffs. You can't even transfer your DSiware to this in all probability!



thewiirocks said:

@maka - 72 points per inch is a standard that was developed way back in the early days of graphics and printers. While there were once devices that matches this spec, most modern devices significantly exceed this figure. An average computer monitor tends to be 98 points per inch, and printers go from 300 - 1000 points.

Which actually bolsters your point. 60 dpi is pretty awful by modern standards.



blank_user_1 said:

Well, this is my third comment on it, but for once, I have something positive to say.

The web browsing is going to be a lot better when it isn't so cramped. Oh wait, I forgot this isn't a real upgrade, so the weak processor will still be unable to move at modern speeds. I tried.



Objection said:

Now Nintendo AND Sony have made foolish versions of their beloved handhelds. Congratulations. (Although the LL has more useful upgrades IMO, its flooding the market more.)



PhillaLoup said:

I think if it is really THAT much bigger it should have the GBA slots back there and more space for DSiWare games...



wanderlustwarrior said:

I can understand getting breaking news from Kotaku, but just taking 3 in a row in the same order? without even condensing it? COME ON,GUYS.



Stuffgamer1 said:

I can't help but notice that the external look of the speakers is back to the DS Lite's rather than the DSi's. Does that mean the quality of them is dropping back down, too?

@roro44: Worse, the screens won't actually be any less CRAMPED at all, they'll just look an inch bigger.



thewiirocks said:

@roro44 - The processor is almost the least of the problems. Without a boost in screen resolution, the web browsing experience would be just as cramped. Bigger, but still cramped. If you want to understand how, try setting your computer monitor to 640x480 and surf the internet. As big as your monitor may be, that's painful.

@GonzoMontana - I have to agree. I still can't believe Nintendo gave the DSi only 256MB of internal flash. The fact that they aren't taking this opportunity to correct that oversight, even in some small way, is shocking.

It does seem like Nintendo is thrashing a bit, doesn't it? Perhaps this has something to do with it:

Guardian: Nintendo profits plunge as Wii sales slump



Ren said:

I don't understand all the fuss. Nothing is really different here but the screen/stylus size. It's really only another option for us based on your preference. They're otherwise the same machine, They actually should have just released them together, though.
I still have my big ol' clamshell, so when I go to get a new one, one day, I can just look down and say, "hmm do I want a little one for the bus, or a big ol' screen since I play more indoors?" it's as simple as that. It would be different if, like, it had a gamecube drive, or some unfair upgrade for those that ran out and bought a DSi right away, but it's not; It's the SAME THING. just a big screen; choose one. or enjoy your little one. You're all acting like it's a new machine or something and you've been ripped off by not being asked if you want one first.
I, for one will use my big clam until this one gets here. Can't wait to play some Grand Theft: Chinatown on it, it was really begging for bigger screens. I'm guessing they're also ramping up for more adult themed "apps". It's just another tactic to lure in Casual gamers, I don't think it hurts anyone.



gameking23 said:

I do not think that this DSi LL will be worth upgrading to. I guess I'll just get a regular DSi.



thewiirocks said:

@Ren sez... hmm do I want a little one for the bus, or a big ol' screen since I play more indoors?

Keep in mind that these are DSi systems. Games are locked to the system. You're going to be deciding which one to play based on the games each system has, not the size.



BlueBandanaJake said:

I think it's kinda funny that half of the people are upset because this is "useless" and the other half is upset because they already have a DSi, it'd be a waste to buy this new model (despite being "useless").

I agree with Ren, to me this is nothing more than another option to be considered when purchasing a DSi unit, no different than choosing what color system you like except now there's a little practicallity to your decision.



NinjaTendo said:

Is anybody else getting flashbacks of what happened to the GameBoy brand near the end of its life? Four different versions of the GBA alone: Original wide GBA, 1st gen clamshell with frontlighting, GameBoy Micro, and the 2nd gen clamshell with backlighting. Nintendo is all about small, incremental upgrades to its systems. Remember how small of a leap the original GameBoy was to the GameBoy Color? Personally, I'm hoping they'll bring back the "third pillar" of the company, the GameBoy, maybe with a high-resolution display (ala iPhone and PSP) and much greater horsepower. Theoretically, I think it could co-exist with its dual-screen brother, as long as they gear the GameBoy towards hard-core gamers, maybe to compete better against the PSP and iTouch/iPhone. Plus, the GameBoy name would resonate more with those 20 to 30-something gamers who grew up with a GameBoy in their hands.



theblackdragon said:

My DSi is hard enough to carry around in my pocket without being heavier and dimensionally larger. Who are they trying to sell this to, again? I'll be interested to see their marketing campaign.



Ren said:

@ thewiirocks
not really, the same games will be available for both. Sure I get that you won't be able to yank your downloaded games out of one to play on the other, but thats a specific, and arguably limited problem. I'm hardly shedding any tears for those that have to buy both and swap games between the two. If you can afford to do that, than you can probably afford to buy some more games that live on the system. Actual DS carts, though, will always be swappable. Just buy the size you want and stick with it.
To your point, though, if someone got the current DSi, and prefers the bigger one, thats kinda sucky if you've downloaded a lot, maybe they'll be smarter than Sony and find a solution. but once they're both out, just choose one and stick with it.



Cheezy said:

I think its nice, but it was really dumb of them to announce it so soon after the DSi. Unless it comes out late 2010 or 2011, dumb move...



moomoo said:

Seems cool, but can you play imported games. I want to play some Jump: Ultimate Stars on it.



Junkface said:

Obviously there is a size and weight difference. I already own a Dsi so I was wondering if there are any improvements to the hardware? Will there be a difference in performance? Are the cameras, microphone or speakers any better? Does it have any added gimicks that the Dsi does not? (besides bigger screens?) Will there be exclusive games for the XL?



Knux said:

Nintendo just made their biggest mistake ever. This is even worse than the PSP Go. A heavy handheld is not going to appeal to people. I'm not buying this worthless DSi LL, and you shouldn't either.



Rhansley64 said:

I personally don't care cause i'm a collector and the fact is coming next Year to US in EU probably at the 1 Year anniversary of the DSi, the real question is will the US and EU version come with a GBA slot and Exclusive Content such as more DSi cam stuff like a luigi hat and nose frame similar to Mario hat nose frame.



AVahne said:

the DSi LL will still be the same price as the regular DSi, so why not get a bigger system?even if it IS heavier



OldBoy said:

IMO these are not aimed at current gamers at all ,this is just another way in which to entice even more people to buy a DS,probably older people or those who only want to use it at home etc. I think it's good that Nintendo is catering to everyone and still actively seeking out fresh custom.For all you people complaining about having just bought a DSi ,I understand your perspective but this is an insignificant upgrade and after the initial 5 min wow factor of the larger screens it would not make any difference to your playing experience except tired wrists . I just hope that this dosen't mean that a superpowered DS is now futher away than I was expecting, I hope not.



SwerdMurd said:

Has anyone ever heard of the Gameboy Micro?

...didn't think so . Come on Nintendo, you've made this mistake already.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Swerd_Murd: No, this is that mistake, but the opposite; too big instead of too small. Apparently, Nintendo feels the need to make this count as a SEPARATE strike.



Slapshot said:

I really think its funny when everone here was ranting and raving about the PSP Go and you can't even get your games youve already bought on UMD on your Go. Well guess what Nintendo just did the same thing. Why would a DSi owner even consider a LL when you will have to rebuy all your DSiWare? Im not, its taken 6 months for DSiWare to be good enough for the DSi to even be worth having and that is with games that aren't even out yet. Sorry Nintendo but to screwed up again with this one. I hope this kinda stuff isn't what we will continue getting from you guys. You are the #1 Company in the WORLD.



super-nintendo said:

PSP Go! and PS3 will run Japan this holiday with Final Fantasy XIII. Ninty had to try and stop the bumrush.



Mr_DSi said:

Why get this if you can get a regular DSi? The DSi is WAAAAAAY better.
It's weird how instead of making the DSi smaller, which is what Sony did with the PSP, Nintendo decided to go bigger.



Ren said:

For one thing I think the gameboy micro was really cool. Cheap and tiny and fantastic for the casual 30 something crowd that really wants a short travel fix. Why was that a mistake? Do you think they lost money by offering another option?
Same thing here. There is really no comparison here with the PSPgo unless they removed the DS gamecard slot. It's obvious that the DSIware alone is not what sells the DSi, it's just added functionality of more tiny games, but cannot replace the retail games as the PSP has intended with no backwards compatibility to the discs while still selling discs.
I think it's brilliant to offer such a huge screen. I mean the retail games I play are really on par with the best of Super nintendo and N64 games; adventures that are really meant to be played sitting down. It's not really that huge, but big enough to really satisfy the great games that I only end up playing at home or on a long distance train. I don't see why this is any kind of mistake, its silly to suggest that. Anyone (and believe me there are lots of them) that wants to upgrade from a DSlite will see that and wonder, "how small do I really need this to be to call it portable if I'm a dedicated player?" The big screens with good battery life are a fantastic option to have. I'd always wanted to play some of my favorites on a TV but the touch screen makes that impossible, this is the exactly the fix I wanted.
Sure they should have waited but it's not meant to be an upgrade from a DSi, it's an alternate option. DSiware games are cheap. If you want the same 'ware' games, keep your DSi, if you want a bigger screen get the new one and sell your DSi with the price of your games included, and get them again. You guys are so delusional. It's not like they're going to lose any money over it.



Veritas said:

I literally JUST got my DSi. What the heck Nintendo?! I'm not buying it. (but i still love the dsi!)



Trevor_Fox said:

Well, I'm okay with the bigger size. I still got a DS from when they first came out. But if people are upset about the size and weight, then...okay? If you're not going to get one anyway I don't really see how this is bothersome.
Anyway, if I'm ever able to pick up a DSi, then I'll probably go with the original. It's screens are larger than the one on my current DS, so it seems to be the right way to go for me personally. I'm sure there are people who'd enjoy a bigger screen, though.
It's kinda funny; everyone wants a bigger HDTV to display their games on, but smaller handhelds. (I understand why; it's just humorous to think about).



Raylax said:

@33. thewiirocks: That article is all out of whack. Typical newspapers. OK, so compared to last year, Nintendo's profits have dropped. But they're still raking in the cash by anyone's standard. A better comparison? The Gamecube sold almost 22 million units worldwide in its full 6 years of production. The Wii is expected to shift another 20 million units within this 12 months alone. And the DS is expected to shift about another 30 million units. I'd hardly call that a slump. A drop compared to last year, aye. But Nintendo is hardly going to have to go looking for a loan anytime soon, I doubt they're panicking about the sales drop. They've been far, far lower than this.



RyuZebian said:

1DS -->2Lite-->3DSi-->4DSi LL-->5Next-gen DS?

There's my tactics, folks! Feel free to copy it, I own no rights or such!



thewiirocks said:

@Raylax - I'm well aware of Nintendo's situation. However, their executive staff is likely to be looking for ways to reinvigorate the growth they had. Nintendo remembers their slow decline to last place. I imagine it's not an event they wish to repeat.



JimJam707 said:

But the games will look, pixely.
Animal Crossing already looks a little funky on a DSi.
On this it would be crap.



CanisWolfred said:

Well, it's not a replacement, just an adjacent model, much like the PSP Go.

The DSiLL is too big for me. The Phat is already a heavy-weight, and apparently this one is supposed to be heavier? No thanks!



pitkun said:

Why does the "bring the gameboy slot back" thing always come up? I mean, I hate playing gameboy games on the ds, there's one huge screen wasted, its so much more fun to play on my gameboy sp, or even the old gameboy colour, and it feels much more authentic to play it on the console it was released on. Thats just what I think, since the graphics don't really look that much better on a ds.



Feld0 said:

I'd consider it if they found a way to upscale DS games to double their resolution, so they wouldn't be pixelated on the XL's screen. But knowing the actual software and hardware architecture of the DS systems, that would be impossible with the current hardware unless they could use software emulation or a second GPU performing postprocessing on the frames from the first one. But the first option is inpalpable due to the relatively limited power of the DSi (let alone Lite and Phat) and the second one would provide a somewhat fuzzy image and cause the cost of the system to skyrocket.

Hoping for the nVidia contract to go through soon. The extra horsepower they'd get from nVidia hardware could be used for great things, such as a centralized OS, rather than a simple "boot menu" like the current DSi.

Warning: the next section of this post is likely to get very technical:

No current DS games actually rely on an operating system (OS) to run. Theoretically speaking, if you could put a DSiWare game on a cartridge, remove the system lock from it, and stick it into a Lite/Phat, it should work. The reason for this is that all DS games (DSiWare, DSi, DSi-enhanced, or standard DS Phat/Lite alike) run themselves directly on the system's hardware. This leads to the lack of software-based multi-tasking support (no custom music during games!, a la iPhone/iPod Touch), no possible patches or updates to a game, unless it's contained in flash memory or EEPROM (no WPA(2) support for already-released games, which could've been added with an OS-based structure)(the Wi-Fi stacks/drivers/whatever you want to call them are contained on each cartridge that uses Wi-Fi for anything. The only thing loaded out of the DS itself is your network preferences, as well as your system's Nintendo WFC info and MAC address.) The OS-based approach would also improve the general performance of the system. Eer noticed the load times when "opening" the system settings or an app on the DSi? That's because it has to quit out of the menu and then start the app (yes, even the settings are a separate app, as far as I know). An OS would minimize these times significantly, as long as the system has enough RAM and CPU power to handle it.

Jeez, what a post. Just trying to state my ideas here for the successor to the DS lineup!

*starts to fantasize about technical specs of the successor...



srkelley said:

@45. b_willers

We'll still call the original the DS Phat, this one will be known as the DS Phati, pronounced as "fatty". Lol



KittyCat55 said:

(: loveeeee it ::;xx getting it as soon as it comes out hope it comes out in blue which i doubt P: ;;;:::xXx

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