Wednesday, April 8, 2009
The Nintendo DSi gets its first non-gaming application at launch. But does this DSi Browser prove its practicality, or does it fall short like Nintendo's previous attempt at getting the DS online?
This was my first download from the Nintendo DSi Shop, and as a process, it was pretty simple to download; and with my wifi network the download was a breeze. I wasn't really sure what to expect of the browser though, having heard a lot of negative remarks regarding the previous Nintendo DS Browser; but it seems Opera got there act together this time around.
Plus, that last browser was $35 and was a DS game card and a GBA slot expansion cart; kind of a hassle when you just want to check a web page. This time around though, the DSi Browser is a easy to download file, and best of all it's free with no mention of having to pay for it yet (unlike the Wii's Internet Channel, which was free but now costs 500 Nintendo Points).
Gameplay ... er, not really
It's really hard to judge an application as opposed to judging a game, but I'll try my best. Once downloaded, accessing the browser is as simple as selecting the icon on your DSi Menu; and if the browser was the last thing you opened, it'll be selected for you as soon as you turn your system on. After just a few seconds, you'll be brought to the home screen which allows you to enter a web page, search (either with Google or Yahoo), or check the Help, Settings, and History menus. So it pretty much works like the Internet Channel, just condensed.
I cannot really speak for everyone here, but for me, the pages downloaded pretty fast on account of me using my DSi just a few feet from my router. It's just about as fast as the Internet Channel, however due to the DSi's memory shortcomings, sites that use Flash media or things like video players will fail to load. But, if you are on the go, with your DSi, the browser certainly proves it's use as a means to check your RSS feeds, or even be able to check your favorite site: View From Heaven (sorry, I had too).
Control-wise, the DSi Browser is pretty simple. You have two methods: you can have the full image on the top screen, while you only see a close-up portion on the bottom screen; or you can have it swapped, with the full screen on the bottom and the selected spot on top. Personally, I prefer the former as it allows me to click links with the touch screen, where as the other method I feel is too zoomed out for me to do that properly. As for typing, it's as easy as using an on-screen keyboard... because it is an on-screen keyboard. I happen to like the DSi's type method better than the Wii's because you can't really get more accurate than tapping exactly what you want, instead of being at the mercy of a shaky arm.
For what it's worth, the Nintendo DSi Browser is a pretty useful application. Sure it won't be able to get you onto YouTube, and it may not be presented on the most hi-res of screens. But, at the end of the day, it'll allow you to do anything else on the internet with precise controls and an easy to use interface; and depending on your connection, it's a fast easy way to get online. And did I also mention it's free? You have no reason not to download this, even if you just plan on deleting it later.
Overall Score: 8/10