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Comparison of Features: Nintendo 3DS XL & 3DS, DSi XL vs DSi, DS Lite, DS Phat

Author: DarkKnightH20
Also be sure to see the following if interested in handheld devices: Sony PSP-3000 VS. the PSP Go. I personally like the Nintendo handhelds better, but that’s just me!

Fantastic Amazon Nintendo 3DS Deal!

Nintendo 3DS Handheld
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The Nintendo 3DS is about to be released and Amazon is celebrating by offering an awesome deal: Order a Nintendo 3DS, Get a $25 3DS Game Credit!

Just a FYI for those who are interested. I plan on getting one ASAP myself and thought others may be interested since you get a game credit 🙂 Amazon delivers fast and you can get both their Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black Nintendo 3DS models with this deal. And such games like The Sims 3 or even an awesome fighting / bralwing game such as the beloved Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition qualify for the game credit. If there is a game out there though that I personally am waiting to play on the 3DS, it’s the new Zelda: Ocarina of Time game port, which features 3D elements among better game graphics.


Back on Topic: I thought I’d make a gaming article about the comparison of features between all the DS handhelds just to clarify any questions people had about them, namely the newest models: the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DSi XL (also called the Nintendo DSi LL). The DSi XL isn’t as different from the normal DSi as people may be thinking. In fact…

The primary difference is … the Size! (that was obvious!)

Nintendo DSi VS DSi XL / DSi LLWho would have guessed that, huh? When it comes to size, we are mostly interested in the LCD screen size in comparison to the standard DSi. In comparison, the LCD screen size for the standard Nintendo DSi is 3.25″, whereas the DSi XL screen size is a whopping 4.2″ on both screens. This means that the DSi XL screens are 93% larger than that of the Nintendo DS Lite’s LCD screens, which are only 3.0″. That is a very substantial increase of a whole 1.25″, making the DSi LL / XL sound like a mammoth in comparison! Makes you wonder if Nintendo will release a Nintendo 3DS XL version.

DSi vs DSi XL - Size Comparison

To make use of the larger screens for this DS that looks as if it’s on steroids, a larger stylus was also created. It is more like a pen than the previous design and feels very nice in your hands. Something worth also noting is that the battery life of the DSi XL is actually considerably longer than that of the normal DSi, which wouldn’t be obvious right away because of the large screen size. The DSi XL uses a 1050 mAh battery while the standard DSi uses a 840 mAh battery. The DS Lite on the other hand uses a 1000 mAh battery and the original DS, the DS Phat, uses a 850 mAh battery.

Excluding the normal apps that come with the DSi regular, the Nintendo DSi XL comes bundled with the following games and applications–

Games Bundled With DSi XL / LL
Brain Age Express: Math – Train your brain with lots of new and familiar activities in this math-focused edition of the popular Brain Age series.

Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters – Enjoy another round of training your brain in minutes a day with this artistically focused Brain Age title!

Photo Clock – Use images taken with the Nintendo DSi Camera application as the background for a clock!

The DSi XL handles WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) instead of just WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) on 802.11 wireless connections. This was a big problem in the previous DS versions, and I’m glad it was fixed. That’s not say that the DSi regular doesn’t have WPA, which it does! (*thanks trumpet-205)

Here’s a very easy-to-read table comparing the different sizes of the Nintendo DS Phat, Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi, and Nintendo DSi XL / LL, as each varies from from a little to a lot in size:

Device Screen size Total Size Stylus Size Battery Life Weight
3DS 3.53″ 134.0 X 74 X 21mm 100mm 3-5 hours (3D)
1300 mAh
DSi XL 4.2″ 161.0 X 91.4 X 21.2mm 129.3mm 13-17 hours
1050 mAh
DSi 3.25″ 137.0 X 74.9 X 18.9mm 92mm 9-14 hours
840 mAh
DS Lite 3.0″ 133.0 X 73.9 X 21.5mm 87.5mm 15-19 hours
1000 mAh
DS Phat 3.0″ 149 X 84.7 X 28.9mm 75mm 10-14 hours
850 mAh

To get a better idea of what the comparison between the DSi and DSi XL actually looks like, take a look at these images:

Nintendo DSi Compared to DSi XL / LL

A Layered Comparison of the DSi and DSi XL / LL and Their Styluses

The above picture gives a great comparison of the DSi and DSi XL. Also, note how different in size the DSi stylus is in comparison to the DSi LL / XL pen.

DSi vs DSi XL / LL LCD Screen

Comparison of LCD Screens During Gaming

I like the above picture because it really helps you see the difference in how the picture will look on a Nintendo DSi XL in comparison to the smaller screen of a normal Nintendo DSi. You can use Mario for scale — notice how much bigger he is on the DSi XL?

If you’re hungry for yet even more information, here’s one more table comparing additional features across the Nintendo DS (Phat), Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi, and Nintendo DSi LL / XL:

Feature DS (Phat) DS Lite DSi DSi XL 3DS
Screen Size 3″ 3″ 3.2″ 4.2″ 3.53″
Special Stylus No No No Yes Yes
Built-in Games No No No Yes Yes
Wide Viewing Angle No No No Yes No
Cameras No No Yes Yes Yes
Web Browser No No Yes Yes Yes
SD Memory Card Slot No No Yes Yes Yes
Demo Download No No Yes Yes Yes
Music Playback No No Yes Yes Yes
Internal Storage No No Yes Yes Yes
DSiShop No No Yes Yes eShop
Sleek Design No Yes Yes Yes Yes
GBA Compatible Yes Yes No No No
Weight 300g 218g 214g 314g 230g
Battery Life (hours) 10-14 15-19 9-14 13-17 3-5 (3D)
5-8 (no 3D)

Chart based off of this table but modified accordingly

Hopefully this comparison has been useful to some of you! As you can see, the Nintendo DS has gone a long way. What does the next generation of DS hold for us in the future? We already have 3D now from the 3DS so what’s next?

I really do suggest getting a case to protect your DSi XL, as well as a screen protector. Some pretty well-rated ones can be found on

However, if you’re still rocking on the Nintendo DSi…
Then I suggest using the Nerf Armor cases which are the best cases ever! They can take a beating and unlike other cases, they seem to actually absorb the impact completely. That’s good to have since you’re probably going to hold on to your money until the Nintendo 3DS comes out. An accessory that is also awesome and available only for the DSi regular, is the attachable sound system speakers. They really increase your volume output, which is cool because some games have good music. I myself like Mega Man music…But that’s a different story.

Just some information on the Screen Resolution. The screen resolution of all the Nintendo DS models (included the DSi and DSi XL) are 256×192 with 260,000 colors. On the DSi XL, the games are resized to fit the screen. While this sounds terrible, it does not destroy the game being played and make it look “blocky” so to speak. The games still look great.

I hope this information helped those who were wondering about the differences between the Nintendo DSi, DSi XL, and DS Lite + Phat. The Nintendo 3DS will be the next hand-held to join the comparison.

Nintendo 3DS Size

Nintendo 3DS Specifications

The spec (specification) sheets were released by Nintendo recently. Now more information is known about the Nintendo 3DS! Currently, these are the specs for it:

On-screen 3D images which can be viewed with no special glasses, just the naked eye
Stereoscopic 3D volumes and also 2D support

Input interface pads, motion sensors, gyro sensors, microphone, cameras

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Wireless / WiFi
Bidirectional data for wireless gaming
WEP, WPA and WPA2 support
IEEE802.11b / g compatible
Internet Browser (available as built-in software)

Inside Camera AND Outside Camera resolution: 640 × 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Lens focal length / image sensor: CMOS / Effective pixels: 300,000 pixels

Product Dimensions
Horizontal length 134mm × 74mm × thickness 21mm (when folded)
Weight: 235g / grams (this includes a SD card and stylus + battery)

Top Screen
Wide LCD Autostereoscopic function (16.7 million colors)
3.53″ (76.8mm × side length 46.08mm)
800 dots horizontal × 240 vertical dots (three-dimensional can be assigned for each of 400 x 800 dots)

Bottom Screen
LCD, touch input capabilities (16.7 million colors available)
3.02″ Type (horizontal length 61.44mm × 46.08mm) / 320 dots horizontal × 240 vertical dots

Battery Life
There are a lot of settings that can effect your total battery life for this. Turning the 3D on/off or messing with brightness or WiFi can very much effect how things go.

Minimum: 3 hours 30 minute / 3.5 hours
Average: 5 hours
Maximum: 8 hours

So there was a pretty big hit to battery life with the addition of the 3D technology, but that’s to be expected.

There has also been a change to the actual cards itself. The 3DS cartridges look different than the normal DSi / DS cartridges.


  1. Comments  Tamara   |  Friday, 06 August 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Thank you! Very helpful!

  2. Comments  LOL   |  Wednesday, 18 August 2010 at 12:12 PM


  3. Comments  LOL   |  Wednesday, 18 August 2010 at 12:12 PM


  4. Comments  DarkKnightH20   |  Wednesday, 18 August 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Thanks! Hope it helped! I hope to do a similar comparison to the Nintendo 3DS when it comes out. Hopefully it’ll live up to the hype. After all, who wouldn’t love jumping on Goombas while playing Mario in 3d?

  5. Comments  trumpet-205   |  Thursday, 02 September 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Several errors on your post.

    First, DS Lite has 3.12 inch for both screen.
    Second, DS Phat weighs about 300g, not 275g.
    Third, DSi handles WPA as well.

    There is no enhancement on DSi XL besides larger screens and better sound quality.

    WPA only works for DSi enhanced, exclusive games, and DSi Shop. Regular DS Games can only use WEP, even on DSi XL.

  6. Comments  SSsam   |  Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 6:31 PM


  7. Comments  DarkKnightH20   |  Sunday, 19 September 2010 at 12:03 AM

    Thanks Trumpet. I actually had 300g for the weight of the DS Phat on the first table, but 275g listed in the second table by accident. Wasn’t sure about the WPA part so thanks for clarifying that.

    As for the screen size, I’ve seen a lot of conflicting information. While Wikipedia lists it as 3.12″, all other sources I’ve seen list it as 3″–

    That’s not to say that Wikipedia is wrong and those sources are correct, but that’s just what I’ve noticed.

  8. Comments  Anonymous   |  Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 12:00 PM

    What is the resolution of the screens? If
    they’ve only increased the screen size without increasing the resolution, then I’m not certain it’s a good thing.

  9. Comments  Gnolaum   |  Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 12:00 PM

    What is the resolution of the screens? If
    they’ve only increased the screen size without increasing the resolution, then I’m not certain it’s a good thing.

  10. Comments  DarkKnightH20   |  Thursday, 21 October 2010 at 5:23 AM

    Sorry for late response! The resolution has not increased as far as I’m aware. The games are simply resized to fit the screen and retain their 256 x 192 resolution

  11. Comments  :/   |  Monday, 08 November 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Thanks, helpful!

  12. Comments  MrsOz   |  Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 9:31 AM

    Can the DSi and the DSi XL play the older DS games, or do I need to get an adapter for this? (be nice… haha I am a non-techno mom here)

  13. Comments  smkrueger   |  Thursday, 18 November 2010 at 9:11 PM

    while this has been very helpful, i’m still not sure which to get my 5 yr for xmas. i’m on the fence with the dsi or the dsi xl. which would you truely buy for a kindergarnder? he’s played with some of his friends and they all have either the lites or the dsi’s. i was thinking the xl but after reading this i’m not sure. i need help!

  14. Comments  Naota   |  Thursday, 18 November 2010 at 9:17 PM

    Hi there. Check back with us shortly. I am forwarding your question to the author of this article. While I am at it I will consult with another individual.

  15. Comments  DarkKnightH20   |  Thursday, 18 November 2010 at 9:24 PM

    Greetings smkrueger!

    I have a 4 year old daughter and she just loves playing my Nintendo DS Lite. She doesn’t need the extras of the DSi or even DSi XL to get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

    For a 5 year old, I’d say go with the normal DS Lite. The DSi has bonus functions, but someone who is 5 doesn’t really need them 🙂

  16. Comments  SD   |  Sunday, 21 November 2010 at 8:36 PM

    smkruegar, I was looking for the same answer you are. After reading this article I’m going to go with the XL. Its only $20 more or so, and bigger is better, right?

    And keep in mind the 5 year old will quickly grow into a 6 year old. While they don’t really need them, once they see all the cool features on their friends new XLs, they will be dissappointed that thier Lite doesn’t do the same.

  17. Comments  another mom   |  Monday, 22 November 2010 at 12:12 PM

    We got the DS Lite for our son when he was 4. It was perfect and it was well worth the money. It was perfect for his age the last few years although I’m amazed it surprised it has survived. They are rugged enough to handle young kids treatment. We are upgrading this year to the DSi for his 7th birthday. Most of the 5 and 6 year olds have the DS Lite, the older kids are getting the DSi’s now.

  18. Comments  Amazon Nintendo DSi Sale – Geek Montage   |  Wednesday, 24 November 2010 at 7:54 AM

    […] of you who liked our DSi vs DSi XL article and have not decided yet may be intrigued by this special Amazon sale of the DSi. I have added the […]

  19. Comments  is a loser   |  Sunday, 12 December 2010 at 1:02 PM

    this is truly helpful!now i know what i am going to spend my $240 dollars on from schristmas!thabks

  20. Comments  Elizabeth   |  Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Thank you so much. My son wanted a dsi for his birthday and I was thouroghly confused until I read your article. I can see that for the money- the dsixl is definitley the way to go. Thanks again 🙂

  21. Comments  KP   |  Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 5:56 PM

    awesome comparison dude!!!!

  22. Comments  castle   |  Sunday, 30 January 2011 at 8:22 PM

    Your detail is very good.That’s help me for know deep information about Nintendo ds. Thank.

  23. Comments  Anonymous   |  Friday, 04 February 2011 at 7:25 PM

    its hepful

  24. Comments  Dearma   |  Saturday, 05 February 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Thanks, this was very helpful

  25. Comments  Comparision: Nintendo 3DS Specifications / Features VS Dsi XL, DSi, DS Lite, Phat | Geek Montage   |  Sunday, 13 February 2011 at 6:01 PM

    […] Nintendo guide that compares all the different Nintendo DS models has been updated to include the newest […]

  26. Comments  thatoneguy   |  Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at 10:45 AM

    i have bad eye sight so the xl is sweet but i cant play on a tiny screen even if it is in 3D hopefully they will make a 3ds xl for us blind folks

  27. Comments  DarkKnightH20   |  Friday, 11 March 2011 at 9:18 AM

    I agree, it would be very nice to have a XL version of the 3DS. Fortunately, the top screen is bigger than the average DS / DSi so that’ll help a tad.

  28. Comments  Nintendo 3DS vs DSi XL, DSi, DS Lite – Updated | Geek Montage   |  Friday, 11 March 2011 at 9:34 AM

    […] = 90; Nintendo 3DS vs DSi XL, DSi, DS Lite – UpdatedI've decided to update the Nintendo 3DS vs DSi XL / DSi, DS Lite article yet again! The tables have been updated and more features were mentioned than previously. I […]

  29. Comments  Differences Between Nintendo 3DS and DSi / XL / LL / Lite –   |  Friday, 11 March 2011 at 9:52 AM

    […] wonder what the Nintendo 3DS and DSi differences are, as well as the other DS versions? Well, how fortunate for you that I created a nice comparison […]

  30. Comments  mario fan   |  Saturday, 10 September 2011 at 1:12 PM

    i <3 Mario on 3D :):):):):)

  31. Comments  Anonymous   |  Thursday, 29 September 2011 at 11:40 PM

    Does the 3ds have pictochat and is pictochat compatable across the board?

  32. Comments  Anonymous   |  Friday, 02 December 2011 at 11:25 AM

    hi i need help, do i go for the dsi xl or the 3ds for children 5yrs and 7yrs

  33. Comments  Rebecca   |  Monday, 05 December 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Just wondering which would be better for my 4 , adsi xl or the new 3ds. I read some feature comparsions and said that the 3ds only has 3-5 hours battery life, where the dsi xl has 14-17 hours. Need a little help deciding which is better before christmas. Thanks

  34. Comments  DarkKnightH20   |  Tuesday, 06 December 2011 at 12:37 PM

    The Nintendo 3DS is pretty neat with its features and is not that much more in terms of price than the previous versions of the DS. It takes a toll on the eyes though for those who do over a couple hours of gaming in one sitting.

  35. Comments  ticcy   |  Friday, 09 December 2011 at 8:45 AM

    The dsi xl is great looking with the bigger screens but it is not as clear as the old ds lite,as the pixels have not increased.Instead the picture is just stretched.I got them but am returning them. I’m not sure about changing to the 3ds now as the battery life is so low.May just stick with the Lites.

  36. Comments  myshabi   |  Saturday, 24 December 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Good info and comparison. Returning DSi and foing for XL (as not sure about 3DS!!)

  37. Comments  sierra   |  Monday, 02 January 2012 at 10:32 AM

    i had a dsixl for a year and a few monts.ples get dsi for mor will engoy geting a dsi or a dsixl.i can donlod games and mor.

  38. Comments  Shahran   |  Tuesday, 21 February 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Thank you for taking the time to make such an in-depth comparison. I’m probably going to trade in my dsi XL for a 3ds now (also after looking into some other forums and websites) … besides, all the new games are for 3ds anyway so best get started towards that one =)

  39. Comments  nicholas edmund   |  Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 8:41 AM

    i think the biggest deal there is dsixl mines the best. is that it ?

  40. Comments  james braselton   |  Sunday, 08 July 2012 at 10:40 AM

    hi there yeah forgot too mention the new 3ds xl with a 4.88 inch 3d screen and a 4.2 inch 2d screen at the bottom comming out august 19 for $199 nintendo anounced 3ds xl at e-3

  41. Comments  tina   |  Sunday, 22 July 2012 at 10:31 PM

    is the dsi xl sold in black?

  42. Comments  DarkKnightH20   |  Sunday, 22 July 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Unfortunately not — but you can purchase a case for it that would turn it black without adding much bulk to it.

  43. Comments  Anna   |  Tuesday, 04 September 2012 at 4:23 PM

    All I can say is.. I’m just so grateful I didn’t get a 3DS..although I was tempted after trying it at a store..I almost knew 3dsxl will come out, but I just couldn’t wait to get DSi XL for eye I’ve been thinking over it for a few months so when the metallic rose one came out I just couldn’t hold it any longer. I do regret getting DSi XL, but then there are a few things which don’t make me regret as much, including the battery life (DSi XL has considerably longer battery life compared to 3dsxl), and the eye fatigue during playing 3d games (because the initial purpose of getting a DSi XL was to reduce it), and the color of the consoles (I’ll be having it for a while before I sell it, so I might as well get the perfect color). I’m just so bummed out they already released 3dsXL because it hasn’t been long since I got my DSi XL (about a year..still doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, and that was already my second Nintendo console purchase. NDSL was already quite an investment for me, and I intended to use it forever), and DSi XL was already an upgrade for me from NDSL. Seriously I think they could have made 3DSXL in the first place instead of making separate 3DS and 3DSXL. Thank goodness I didnt get 3DS.

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