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Page last updated at 06:31 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 07:31 UK
Nintendo upgrades the DS console

By Andy Brownstone
Newsbeat reporter

Nintendo DSI

Nintendo has just brought out the DSi, the next iteration of its popular handheld console that has sold over 100 million worldwide.

First of all, let's look at the DSi's vital statistics.

It's 12% thinner than the DS Lite and the screen is 8% bigger and slightly brighter.

The matt finish makes it look more of a serious unit than its predecessor.

You can add your own music library via SD card, but it only supports the AAC format, not MP3s.

The Gameboy Advance slot has gone, so you can't play old skool games.

And reports say the battery life isn't as good as the DS Lite.

But Nintendo has added two cameras, one that faces the user like a webcam, and one on the back of the console, like a mobile camera.

In the days of camera phones having upwards of 2 megapixels, you might be surprised that those on the DSi are only 0.3mp.

But as with most things Nintendo, it's about being fun, and getting creative, rather than technical excellence.

Ok, so the photos you take might not be good enough quality to print out.

Nintendo DSI
The DSI lets you get creative with your photos

But the applications that let you put hearts round people's faces and create kaleidoscopes of your snaps have the potential to keep you occupied for hours.

Likewise with the sound recorder where you can play around with samples.

And play seems to be the operative word.

Nintendo has fitted the DSi out with stuff that's fun to play with.

It's not trying to compete with the Sony PSP for serious gaming, with the Nokia N95 for a camera, or an iPhone for getting online.

It's doing what Nintendo has been very good at over the last few years, and creating something that opens out gaming to a wider audience.

The console also boasts WiFi so you can download games, like the Wii, and play other people online.

Is it worth the £150 price tag?

Gamers who own the DS Lite are unlikely to upgrade but if you don't have a handheld, this is certainly an option if you like Nintendo's style of play.

But for serious gamers, it's worth bearing in mind that you can now get a PSP for as little as £110 online.

And as more mobiles come with games the competition is only going to get greater.

The iPod touch and the iPhone both double as neat handheld consoles with plenty of downloadable games to choose from.

Nintendo will have to fight off rival handheld consoles as well as the developing mobile games market if it wants to stay ahead of the pack.



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