Monday, October 23, 2006

DS Browser Review

Well since I've had a couple of days to play around with it here is my review of the Nintendo DS Browser.



























The memory expansion (10mb) and the expander you get with it to make it fit in the packaging.














How the memory expansion shows up (click image for better view)

Pros
One of the main reasons I brought this browser was because I didn't want to have to wait for my computer to start up if I wanted to quickly check something like my email or look something up on dictionary.com or wikipedia. In this respect the browser does its job as it is very quick to start up and connect to my network. Related to that fact is that you can log into web based email like gmail, yahoo and hotmail and they all work fine.

You can also control who has access to the browser by setting a password that must be entered before you can use the browser. This could be useful if you have young children and want to control when they can use it.














No password no access to the browser

The interface for the browser is good and takes hardly anytime to get used to. It has a simple layout but can sometimes take a while to respond if you are loading a page. The choice between SSR and overview are nice with SSR being suited to text heavy pages while overview is suited to image heavy pages.














Virtual keyboard














Controls along the bottom from left to right:

Back, Forward, Stop/reload, History, URL, Bookmark, Search, Settings, Help, Switch display mode, Images on/off, zoom, swap screens (overview mode)/top to bottom of page (SSR mode)














Handwriting Area














Nintendo UK site is Overview mode














Nintendo UK site in SSR Mode

Cons

First off there is a lot of things the browser doesn't support, this shouldn't be a surprise considering overal it has 100Mhz processor and 14mb of RAM to work with. The list of things is:

  • flash (that means no Youtube)
  • movie files
  • sound files
  • pdf files (if you make them appear in a google search it can read them as html)
  • java (so no online games like runescape)
  • downloading of files

There is also some stuff it doesn't support like digging stories on digg and google rss reader and calender don't seem to work.

There is also quite a few things they could of done to make the user experince better:

  • allow copying and pasting
  • let the user view any picture on a website by itself (for example if firefox you right click and view image)
  • allow tabs (ok this might not be possible with the RAM aviable but it still would of been nice)
  • save the cookies when the machine turns off so you don't have to keep signing back in
  • allow the user to set the homepage (you can say what links you want on it but you can't tell it to automatically load google.com for example)
Speed

The time is from me pressing the enter button to the browser reporting it had finished loading. For each test I loaded the homepage of each site and didn't try and do anything while it was loading. Times are in minutes:seconds.

Sites Pictures No Pics
amazon.co.uk 01:36 00:19
apple.com 00:31 00:21
cnet.com 02:09 02:10
digg.com 01:49 01:11
engadget.com 01:58 01:02
gamespot.com 06:58 05:17
gexnintendo.blogspot.com 01:52 00:47
gonintendo.com 01:20 00:46
google.com 00:04 00:03
joystiq.com 02:24 01:11
myspace.com 00:57 00:31
nintendo.com 01:20 00:36
nintendo.co.uk 01:04 00:53
penny-arcade.com 01:08 00:17
wikipedia.com 00:56 00:46
yahoo.com 01:28 01:07

Overall

If your using the browser for simple things like checking email and looking things up on wikipedia then it works fine just dont expect it to be anywhere near as fast as your computer. Overal for the current price of £30 (if your looking to import check out lik-sang) I'm not sure its worth it considering how few things are supported and how slow it is. Heres hoping the Wii version is better.

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