In 2004, Nintendo released the original Nintendo DS. Just two years later, the Nintendo DS Lite debuted and was better than the original by far. Since its original release, the Nintendo DS has gone on to sell more than 100 million units worldwide. With sales numbers like that, why would Nintendo need to release another revamp of their prized handheld? More than that, are the new features worth picking up if you have a DS Lite or if you still have an original DS? Well, it can be, but if you're perfectly content with your original DS or your DS Lite there's nothing wrong with that, and you don't have to buy it. That's not to say it would be a bad investment. For some it might be worth it.
Certainly if you still have the original DS, it is worth investing in this newer update. There are quite a few new things about the Nintendo DSi that can make it worth buying. One of the first changes that is obvious from the moment you see it is that it's slightly smaller and designed a little differently. The power button has been moved and now doubles as a reset button. The screen is also slightly bigger and brighter than the DS Lite. When turning it on, there is also a notable difference in the interface which has been completely reworked all together. It's been made a bit easier to use.
Perhaps the biggest and most notable difference is that the DSi no longer has a slot to play Gameboy Advance games. If you're still playing your GBA games a lot, this is probably a pretty big subtraction when it comes to the DSi, no matter how much it includes. If you're someone who hasn't used your DS for playing GBA games in a while, it's probably not a big deal, but I would've gladly taken a slightly thicker handheld just to maintain the GBA slot. There is, however, a slot for an SD card to store more data. The first of these is the wi-fi service which you can get on and download some downloadable games for the DSi. Much like the Wii, you'll spend points (100 points is equal to one dollar) to buy games. There's also the built in web browser, but this is not something to jump up and down over really, as it isn't a very good web browser.
The camera is a nice addition, allowing you to customize and mess around with the pictures you take. They don't look good on anything but the DSi screen, however, but you can store them on an SD card or the DSi's internal memory. You can take quite a bit of photos, and mess around with them in interesting ways, such as drawing on them or manipulating faces. It can be fun to mess around with.
While the new additions are nice the more expensive price is a bit much for those who are already carrying a DS Lite. There are some new features but there isn't too much done here to enhance the gaming experience itself outside of a larger screen. However, that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. The download service in particular can be very worthwhile in the future. The games on the download service also aren't too expensive. In short, even DS Lite owners might find it worth the extra money after a while.
Another big hit to the DSi is that the battery life just isn't as long as the previous incarnations. For those wanting to use it primarily for gaming, it might surprise you that the DSi will need to be charged a lot more frequently, as the battery last five hours shorter than that of the DS Lite. It takes a bit shorter to charge as a result, but you'll find yourself charging it quite a bit, especially if you play with the screen on the brightest settings.
In the end some may wonder if the upgrade is worth it. It's a bit more expensive than the DS Lite and doesn't have a GBA slot and a shorter battery life. However, you are getting some nice extra features, and with Nintendo planning to implement them in some of their games in the future, it's at least worth consideration. DS Lite owners may not need to upgrade immediately, but in the future it might be worth considering. If you don't own a DS at all, the DSi is probably the best bet.
The Nintendo DSi is a nice step in the evolution of Nintendo's handheld. It has a lot of new features that can go a long way. Even DS Lite owners might want to consider updating at some point, but it still stands: if you're content with your DS Lite or original DS you don't have to get it. It's certainly worth considering, though.