If you don't have a Nintendo DSi and you're looking to fill that wind-swept void, the DSi XL should be your model of choice. Its big screens and pack-in software are pleasant bonuses on top of downloadable DSiWare, two cameras, an improved menu interface, and photo editing software.
But if you have a Nintendo DSi, aren't an avid collector, and don't have any problems with your eyesight, there's no outstanding reason to abandon ship for the larger vessel.
NINTENDO DSI XL PROS:
Pack-in Games: Brain Age Express: Math and Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters come pre-loaded with the Nintendo DSi XL, as does the Photo Clock application and Flipnote Studio. The Brain Age games have maintained popularity for a reason: They're lighthearted titles that take the boredom and intimidation out of grammar and math lessons.
Bigger Stylus:: The Nintendo DSi XL comes with a standard stylus, but it also includes a separate pen-size stylus that's ideal for drawing and coloring.
Wider Viewing Angle: Friends can comfortably watch you play your Nintendo DSi XL from any angle and cheer you on (or berate you) almost as easily as they might with a console game. If you don't think this is a big deal, you've never had to deal with five people breathing down your neck as you take on an epic end-game boss.
It's Durable: The Nintendo DSi XL is a solid little thing that will hang around long after similar handheld tech has called it quits. The trademark clamshell design is still present, and welcome in an age where the PSP, iPad, and iPhone bare their sensitive screens to the harsh environment of the outside world.
NINTENDO DSI XL CONS:
The Cameras are Noticeably Low-Resolution: Like the Nintendo DSi, the Nintendo DSi XL has two cameras: An interior 0.3 megapixel camera, and an external 3 megapixel camera. That's approximately the kind of performance you'd expect from an average cell phone camera. However, cell phone cameras take pictures for small screens. When you take a picture with the Nintendo DSi XL and it pops up on the large screens, it becomes apparent just how low-res the cameras actually are. Photos look somewhat chunky and washed-out.
The Nintendo DSi XL Costs More Than the DSi: The Nintendo DSi costs $169.99 USD. The Nintendo DSi XL costs $189.99 USD. The price difference is small, but significant if you're on a tight budget.
But $189.99 is a lot of money to dish out if you already have large Nintendo DS family. Moreover, the Nintendo DSi XL is the next evolution of the Nintendo DSi, and both lack backwards compatibility with the Game Boy Advance. There's also the matter of the Nintendo 3DS. You might consider saving your money for the Nintendo DS's true successor instead of raiding your penny jar for a system that's admittedly an upgrade.
If, however, you're in the market for a Nintendo DSi, spending a little extra for the larger screes and pre-loaded software is a good call. The Nintendo DSi XL doesn't tout itself as a miracle handheld that will prepare dinner and do tricks. Its emphasis has always been on its larger screens and wider viewing angle, and both are very welcome additions in a world that's in love with palm-sized game consoles.