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Nintendo DSi vs Sony PSP Go. Which is right for your child this christmas?


Sony PSP Go                                                     Nintendo DSi

Your kids want one, but which one is right?

There are a few factors which dictate my answer.  Age is the primary one

This will not be a comprehensive look at the different specs such as weight, this will be a pros/cons look at which one is right for your child.  If you want a breakdown on specs, an excellent article can be found here: .

Both are owned and used in this house so this is a hands on look.  Lets discuss functionality.  The Nintendo DSi has wifi play that does not include in game chat.  That eliminates any worries about chatting on the internet.  Nintendo has a massive library of games suited for children of all ages.  Mario titles are usually the most popular and most fun.  Nintendo has one huge advantage over Sony in that some games that offer multiplayer do not require every ds linked to have the individual game cart.  This quite obviously has its monetary advantages.  The older DS lite has backwards compatibility in that you can play your old Game Boy Advance games too, meaning you do not have to toss out your existing library of GBA games.  The newer DSi did away with the GBA cart slot in favor of 2 digital cameras (although they aren't much better than a cell phone).  The DSi has the ability to go on the web with a built in Opera web browser, again similar to a cell phone.  The biggest factor is the price for most and the DSi retails for $169 and the DS lite for $129.  Not bad for what you get.  Be warned though that the games (carts) are very small, about the size of a SD card, so think about getting a carrying case for your child to store them in as they will not put them back in their case.  In short the DSi wins for the title for young children up to teenagers for its price, limited internet funtionality and game library.  

Sony PSP Go (or older PSP) wins the teenage market primarily for its wider internet abilities, game library and true online play.  The browser has similarly limited capabilites though so don't use web browsing as a factor in a choice for either.  IPhones have better web browsers.  The graphics are the primary reason to buy this handheld.  Without getting too technical the PSP is basically like a handheld version of a Playstation 2.  The new PSP Go has one big advantage over the older PSP, no game slots.  This is a download only machine, meaning that if you want games for this system, you have to log onto the Playstation network via the PSP and buy/download whatever game you want.  Plus what kid wouldnt want the abilty to choose his own game?  You can buy prepaid playstation network cards at retailers similar to prepaid cell phone cards.  Prices range on these from cheap to expensive.  You are not going to save money versus buying the games on UMD for the older PSPs as the games in the stores are about the same price.  The biggest pro for this is two-fold, your child cannot lose the game or get it scratched.  If the memory stick gets damaged you can lose it but that is rare.  Biggest con for this system is price. It retails for $249.  A Playstation 3 is now only $299 so thats way pricey.  The older psp  goes for $199 so its closer to the DSi in that respect.

As this Christmas season winds up I want to enlighten you that all retailers charge the same for every system (if you want it new).  If availability becomes an issue, don't think you might save a buck going down the road.  The video game manufacturers learned a long time ago to fix the price of the systems, as that eliminated people fighting over them (literaly and figuratively).  Where you might see differences in price is with the bundles, various retailers will put together to lure you in.  Games, starter packs and other things like that retailers have the ability to play with pricing so watch your ads.  If it's just the system you want remember they all charge the same.

The bottom line is for kids from preschool to around puberty the DSi wins for game library and limits on web activities.  For teenagers (especially males) the PSP wins for graphics, gameplay and titles. So as you can see its not really a right or wrong answer as your child may not fit into the stereotypical age group, likes or dislikes but as a general rule if you don't know, the guidelines listed may help.

For more info: I've included a link to a site that does a breakdown on the specs for each system if you require that.