Nintendo’s Wii U is a console that boasts innovative designs and a killer library of some of the hottest games. The Nintendo NES was introduced way back in 1985, and was an instant hit. The current generation Wii U improves upon all the classics and introduces a new era of family fun. It’s evident that the Wii U has become a system that is sought out for its experience and games. I will be reviewing the Wii U and show you what you can expect from this modern day system. Let’s see how this system stands against the growing market of home entertainment systems.
Wii U hardware
The new Wii U™ console introduces the Wii U™ GamePad, a controller with a 6.2-inch touch screen that redefines how people interact with their games, their entertainment and one another.
The specifications are as follows:
- Launched -November 18, 2012
- Price- $299.99 *MSRP for Deluxe Set
- Size- Approximately 1.8 inches high, 10.6 inches deep and 6.75 inches long.
- Weight- Approximately 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)
Wii U™ GamePad
The Wii U GamePad controller removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world.
It also offers a new way for viewers to engage with their favorite entertainment. The GamePad incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio LCD touch screen, as well as traditional button controls and two analog sticks. Inputs include a +Control Pad, L/R sticks, L/R stick buttons, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons, ZL/ZR buttons, Power button, HOME button, -/SELECT button, +/START button, and TV CONTROL button.
The GamePad also includes motion control (powered by an accelerometer, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensor), a front-facing camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, rumble features, a sensor bar, an included stylus and support for Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality.
It is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and weighs approximately 1.1 pounds (500 g).
The Wii U console is capable of supporting two Wii U GamePad controllers, up to four Wii Remote™ (or Wii Remote™ Plus) controllers or Wii U™ Pro Controllers, and Wii™ accessories such as the Nunchuk™, Classic Controller™ and Wii Balance Board™.
Wii Remote PlusWii U Pro Controllers
- Appearance – The new console features a compact design that will make it a natural addition to any home entertainment setup.
- CPU- IBM Power®-based multi-core processor setup.
- GPU- AMD Radeon™-based High Definition GPU.
- Storage- Wii U uses an internal flash memory (8 GB with the Basic Set: 32 GB with the Deluxe Set) for data storage. It also supports external USB storage.
- Media- Wii U and Wii optical discs.
- Networking- Wii U can be connected to the Internet via a wireless (IEEE 802.11b/g/n) connection. The console features four USB 2.0 connectors – two in the front and two in the rear – that support Wii LAN Adapters.
- Video output- Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI™, Wii Component Video, Wii S-Video Stereo AV and Wii AV.
- Audio output- Uses six-channel PCM linear output via HDMI connector, or analog output via the AV Multi Out connector.
- Wii compatibility- Nearly all Wii software and accessories can be used with Wii U.
- Energy efficiency- Wii U utilizes specially designed power-saving features to lower its energy consumption.
- Open source software- The Wii U console includes open source software. For more information, click here.
I will be specifically reviewing the Mario maker Wii U bundle. The box art was designed really well to catch the attention of the Wii Us best features. You can see the anniversary edition of the Mario Amiibo displayed right on the front of the box.
The accessories included are:
- Wii U and Gamepad
- Power brick for Wii U
- Charging stand and cable for Wii U remote
- Vertical stands for Wii U
- Install Guide and warranty info
- Anniversary Mario Amiibo
- Download code for Mario Maker and Mario maker Design guide
Everything is laid out in an organized fashion making it easy to unbox the contents. The install guide is a little lacking but provided me no issues during first time set up. The one thing I love about Nintendo is how it take advantage of setting things up with humor.
Design / GamePad
The Wii U is a compact system that is easy to fit under your TV or in compact spaces. I really enjoy the consoles black finish as it provides a stylish look to fit in with other devices. The storage offered for this unit is 32GB and is the pro model. They offer a smaller 8GB basic version. You can add more storage if desired in the form of SDHC or SD cards, and external USB 2.0 drives.
The Wii U sports a 1.24GHz multi-core CPU, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 550MHz custom GPU. The Wii U does stand up against the XBOX ONE and PlayStation4 in terms of performance, but does only offer 720p at 60fps. This doesn’t mean the graphics are bad or the games are any less fun. Look at Mario Kart 8 at a stunning 60fps it runs extremely smooth with no lag.
The Wii U GamePad is packed with every Wii U. Its revolutionary design allows a second window into your gaming world. This controller/second screen features a 16-cm (6.2-inch) touchscreen display that offers a crisp and clear image. The controller is one of the major selling points of the Wii U, and provides extra fun for younger children. The controller is prone to some fingerprints, but is easily cleaned with a micro fiber cloth.
The Wii U GamePad can be used as a second screen to play your games if someone in the house wants to watch TV at the same time. Range does seem to be a bit of concern for this controller, but does allow a small distance. This controller is the best controller on the market right now as far as features. It supports dual thumb sticks, has built in speakers, internal gyroscope, headphone jack, and NFC support for Amiibos. It does require you to charge it frequently to maintain its battery life.
Setup / Software
The first thing I did when setting up my Wii U was placement, and plugging in the HDMI cable.
I then made sure to plug in the power brick and AC cord to power the device.
Next I made sure to set up the sensor bar right below my TV and plugged it into the appropriate spot on the back of the Wii U.
After you have the console situated your going to want to set your Wii U charging stand for the GamePad.
The last thing to do is to power on your Wii U and go through the interface and setup process.
The setup process is pretty straight forward from here. You will have to use the GamePad mostly during setup, but it doesn’t come charged, so you will need to sit near the console to go through the steps. Luckily by the time your done setting it up there will be a decent charge for the GamePad.
The Wii U’s interface is clean and fun. You have quick access to built in software and features. You will want to make sure you have the unit connected during the setup process to your home WIFI for downloading content, and make sure you have your Display correctly set for HD. When you turn on your Wii U you will be greeted by Mii characters from around the world. You can easily launch or access any software from the Wii U GamePad at any time.
The Nintendo eShop is very easy to navigate and your portal to all the content you could desire. You can download purchased games or classic Nintendo titles. This is the strong suite of this console allowing nostalgia to set in. I absolutely love the Virtual console titles, and can not wait for the release of the classic NES classic edition this November.
If you previously had a Wii, you can transfer your information and purchases to your new Wii U but it does require a bit of work. You can find out more about this here. The Wii U does offer backwards compatibility with the Wii virtual console built into the Wii U’s dashboard. You can also link old Wii controllers and GamePads to the console as well. Nintendo is really good at allowing old software and devices to be backwards compatible with their current generation of hardware.
The Wii U also offers an entire selection of media options like major current consoles do. You have access to Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
One of the best reasons to own a Wii U is for its game selection. Between some of the hottest titles like Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, Super Mario 3D World, Super Smash Bros, and Mario maker are just some of the excellent titles the Wii U offers. Mario Maker is included with this bundle, and allows you download it free from the eStore. For the future I am most excited about the future of Zelda with The legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This game features a large world of discovery and will break the boundaries of traditional Zelda games.
The Wii U may not be the biggest kid on the block compared to current generation of consoles, but it packs a heavy punch through software and design features. This console is the best device for the whole family to enjoy. You can communicate with fellow Wii U players and friends, Browse the Internet, and play some of the best game lineups of all time. It even offers you to bring your current Wii games with you making it a great value system. I definitely recommend the Wii U as a family fun device.