The DSi XL isn't as portable as some would like. Its bulky size won't let you store it practically in a pocket, so, wherever you go, it'll most probably need to be kept in a backpack or purse. It wouldn't surprise us if the DSi XL becomes more of a portable system for use in the home than something you'd travel daily with.
Three free games
Our DSi XL shipped with firmware version 1.4U, which includes all the various media and online applications that we saw on the DSi. Bundled in with the DSi XL are a few software bonuses, including the DSi Web Browser and Photo Clock. Three games have also been preinstalled: Brain Age Express: Math, Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters, and Flipnote Studio. You have access to the DSi Shop too, where you can download different games and applications for the system.
The DSi XL camera application allows you to take pictures via either camera (there's one mounted on the front and one on the internal hinge). You can keep them on the unit's internal 256MB of storage or on an SD card. Although the DSi XL supports SDHC cards of up to 32GB, we would have liked an upgrade to the internal storage, given that you still can't play a DSiWare game directly off a flash card (they must be copied over to the system). For folks going from the DSi to the DSi XL, there's no way to correctly transfer your games over to your new system. As it currently stands, you'll actually need to repurchase games for the DSi XL.
Just like the DSi, the DSi XL has the ability to connect to any 802.11b or g Wi-Fi router or hotspot. Download speeds remained the same on the DSi XL as on the DSi, and we noticed heavy Internet activity definitely had the most impact on battery life.
The DSi XL is similar to the DSi under the hood. It uses the same 133MHz processor and 16MB of RAM, so don't expect any increases in overall performance.
The most notable internal hardware change has to be the new battery inside the DSi XL. On the lowest brightness setting, the DSi delivers 9 to 14 hours of play, but the DSi XL boasts an outstanding 13 to 17 hours.
Before seeing the DSi XL, we were concerned about pixellation, because of the larger screens and unchanged resolution. Playing Mario Kart DS resulted in a blur-free gaming experience, however. It's in text-focused games like the pre-installed Brain Age titles that the sharpness suffers. Such games are by no means unplayable, but those transitioning from the DS Lite may notice the change. Even in the system's menus, text appears slightly blurred, as when you put your nose too close to an LCD monitor.