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Nintendo Wii U

£N/A
graphics
features
performance
games

4.2

5

Overall

For Nintendo geeks and young families, the Wii U is another great addition to your home, even if it is a bit pricey for what you get. The main selling point is just one word - fun.

User Rating (36 votes)

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Amanda MacDonald

12th May 2014

By Amanda MacDonald

Mum of 1 with another on the way


Having had various consoles over the years, I was interested in purchasing a next generation console. I have a young child and was naturally drawn to fun aspect from Nintendo with the Wii U. I bought the premium 32GB bundle with which out of the box contains the console itself with the usual cables for power and to connect to your TV, the gamepad again with the expected charging cable and docking station, sensor bar and user manual.

When first turning on the console and completing the various settings, it is worth noting that once the internet settings were complete there was a fairly lengthy process to perform a system update to obtain the latest firmware. I would recommend this is done before giving as a gift to a child in particular, as they will quickly become bored of the wait.

Nintendo wii U

I expected that the gamepad may be quite cumbersome; however it is very light and sits comfortably in my hands. The joystick, directional pad, triggers and buttons are all within simple reach and feel natural whilst using the pad. A stylus is slotted at the top for ease of use and to save it becoming easily misplaced. The gamepad itself can be used to turn on the console and I think a key selling point to the Wii U is that the gamepad with its 6.2" touchscreen can be fully used to play compatible games without needing the TV, which the console is attached to, turned on. You do have to be close enough for the gamepad to detect the console but in a few rooms in my house I have yet found this to be a problem. However the games I’ve played on my HD TV look good for what this device can do.

This console is aimed for those who want fun rather than serious gaming as some would put it. There are plenty of games on the market and soon to be released that are well renowned within the Nintendo franchise. However there are limited third party games. I have currently played Super Mario 3D World and Just Dance 2014. I believe that Mario Kart 8 will be a big game for the console and a reason for many purchasing it. The initial launch price seemed a bit expensive considering that it does not have the capability of either an Xbox One or PS4, however its current price is fair for what it can offer gamers.

Nintendo wii U

A big plus for this console is its large backward compatibility. This is helpful if you already own a Wii as personally I find it frustrating when you spend a huge amount on games and then a new console is not compatible with these. The feature that will not work on these Wii games is using the gamepad to play these without the TV, as this was not a feature designed when these games were made. However, the main reason for purchasing a Wii U is to use the TV, the use the gamepad alone is an aside for me as the DS would still be the natural choice for that. A question I initially had was, was this worth buying since I already own a Wii and 3DS. The Wii U graphics are HD and significantly better than the Wii. The gamepad screen is larger than my 3DS and so I have found this more enjoyable to play.

The various games available are very family orientated in general and allows you all to play together and have fun. Young and old can pick up a remote/gamepad and quickly navigate the system. It is a simple pick up and play device that can give hours of family or individual entertainment.

Mark Byrne

12th May 2014

By Mark Byrne

Doctoral student and gadget lover


We're a Nintendo family! My siblings and I spent many wintry childhood days huddled in front of the living room television playing Nintendo games. We had a blast playing classic games like Duck Hunt, Super Mario Brothers, Mega Man, Zelda and Donkey Kong. We saved up our pocket money to get new cartridges and borrowed, loaned and swapped them in the schoolyard. I've owned pretty much every Nintendo console made since.

I'll admit up front that I don't play games all the time these days. I can quite happily go for quite a while without playing any games at all, but every now and again, I will blow the dust off the controller and spend days on end trying to complete a game from start to finish.

Grab a bargain

You can buy the console on its own without a game or choose from a range of bundles, which include a game. I bought the Mario and Luigi bundle. You could grab an amazing bargain as the price of the console has fallen dramatically since its release in December 2012.

Nintendo Wii U Box

What's in the box?

The box contains the main console unit with two plastic holders for optionally mounting it on its side, the Wii U controller with a built in rechargeable battery, a plastic stylus, a sensor bar, charging and power cables, instructions and various leaflets, an HDMI cable for connecting to a TV and a charging cradle for the controller.

My box also contained the Super Mario Brothers Wii U game disc. Some of the other bundles do not include a physical copy of a game, but instead include a code to allow you to download the game to your console form the Nintendo E-Shop.

The Wii U controller

The new controller looks like a handheld console in its own right. It's big, at just over 25 centimetres wide, and just over under 14 centimetres tall. It's only 2.5 centimetres thick at its thickest point and weighs less than 500 grams. It feels very comfortable to hold. It has a 15.7 centimetre 16:9 touch sensitive screen, a built-in microphone and accelerometer (allowing you to control games by moving the pad), a D-pad button, two analogue joy stick controllers, four standard controller buttons on the front, two shoulder buttons and two trigger buttons underneath. There are several other buttons, including the home button, which allows you to return to the main menu at any time.

Nintendo Wii U Controller

The Wii controller is unlike anything else available on the market. It's truly ahead of its time, but this has turned out to be a problem, as game developers have struggled to make use of its full potential.

Most games don't really seem to know what to do with the second screen and it is often simply mirroring the game play from the TV. There are exceptions though, such as Nintendo Land, which features lots of clever uses for the controller, such as throwing ninja stars or shooting arrows at targets.

Nintendo has promised that future games will really show off the controller's potential.

The main console unit

After the button-fest that is the controller, it's a relief to find that the main console only has three buttons on the front: a power button, a disc eject button and a controller sync button.

Nintendo Wii U console

The only other features on the front of the unit are the game disc slot and, behind a little door, an SD card slot and 2 USB 2.0 ports. Unlike the original Wii, there are no other controller slots on the sides. The unit has an attractive, curved profile. It weighs more than the original Wii and is quite a bit longer, but sitting underneath your TV, it won't look any bigger at all. You'll find two more USB 2.0 ports and various other connections on the back.

Games

The console has been around for almost a year and a half, so there are lots of really great games available, including two Mario games, Donkey Kong Country, Zelda: the Wind Waker HD, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends.

At the time of writing, we are only weeks away from the release of the first ever HD Mario Kart game. The next instalment of the popular Super Smash Brothers series is expected before the end of the year and Nintendo has also promised one or two big surprises. Nintendo games are famously family friendly, so your little darlings aren't going to be traumatised by anything they see in a Mario game.

Wii U games are not generally cheap, costing around £50 when newly released. Disappointingly, there is little or no discount to be gained from downloading the game from that e-shop instead of buying a physical copy.

The great news is that if you wait until a game has been out for a month or two and you keep an eye on price comparison sites like revooly.com, you can usually find great deals. I recently bought the latest Mario game for only £25 on special offer from Tesco Direct.

More third party, multi console games may soon be available as Nintendo has recently developed a new software system that allows games to be more easily converted for the Wii U.

You can also play all of your original Wii game discs using 'Wii mode'. The 'Virtual console' feature allows you to play classic games form a range of old consoles, downloaded form the e-shop. I found that it was a bit of a nuisance having to reboot the console in Wii mode to play my Wii discs.

I also found it inconvenient that you can't use the Wii U controller to play Wii games. Instead, you need to dig out your original Wii remotes or the separately available classic controller. Unlike the original Wii, you can't play Game Cube discs on this console.

Nintendo Wii U

What's good

  • There are lots of great new and classic games available, many at a bargain price.
  • Crystal clear HD picture quality.
  • The Wii U controller is truly ahead of its time.
  • You can play with your old Wii remotes.
  • Nintendo games are still consistently great and they are a family-friendly brand.
  • You can't play Nintendo games on any other console.
  • More multi-console games may soon be available.
  • Kids can continue playing games on the controller even when adults watch something else on the TV.
  • The price of the console has fallen dramatically since it was released.
  • There's plenty of space for saving games and it's easy to connect an external hard drive or memory stick by USB.
  • You can use it to watch movies and TV shows via streaming services such as 'Netflix'.

What's not so good

  • Sales of the Wii U have been catastrophically bad since it's release. If Nintendo can't reverse this trend, and many analysts believe they can, there is a small possibility that they may abandon the console.
  • Re-booting in Wii mode every time you want to play a Wii disc can be annoying.
  • You can't play Game Cube discs on this console, so you might want to hold on to your Wii or Game Cube console if you own lots of game discs.

Matthew King

28th March 2014

By Matthew King

Meatloaf look-a-like with a love for non-Meatloaf music


As with other households around the time, when the original Wii was released there were many game nights in my house based around the revolutionary Nintendo console. Although others (most notably the X Box Kinect) have since improved upon the premise, this was the first to get the gamer physically involved.

I was interested to see what the new version, the Wii U, had to offer in terms of improvement. It's hard to see how it could fight back against its more illustrious rivals. The main thing I've found is that it still retains that fun element that can be lost with an XBox One or Playstation 4.

Hardware and Lack of Games

As with the original offering from Nintendo, the Wii U console is small when compared with other consoles and you really won't struggle to find space with it. It is also very easy to set-up and it won't take long before you're playing with the family.

The gamepad is easy to use once you've had a play around with it for a short time, but the battery life isn't the best. Having the choice to use the original Wii controls or the new gamepad is a good thing, as it makes it feel more like a 'normal' console. The gamepad also works as a TV remote control, which is an excellent novelty addition to your purchase.

One of the biggest problems the Wii U faces is that there just isn't the wide range of games available as there will be on the XBox One and Playstation 4. This can't be avoided unfortunately. If you're a Nintendo aficionado then this might not be much of a problem. You can while away the hours playing Mario and Zelda to your heart's content - and to be fair they are pretty epic and amazing versions of the classics on the Wii U.

For the Family or a Gamer?

With the lack of games being developed and the way the original Wii made it into the homes of millions of families, it has been hard for Nintendo to shake that family image (if they actually want to). If you are a hard core gamer then the Wii U won't be for you.

The Apps Outstrip the Games

The Nintendo forums that you can access for apps and discussion within the Nintendo universe is pretty nifty and you can flick from your Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, syncing the two together, which is important to the modern gamer with more than one device in play.

A massive improvement from the Wii to the Wii U is that browsing the internet is really easy on the gamepad provided. It also has all the Apps that you would expect on any console, so you can catch up on all of your On Demand television and watch Netflix just the same. As consoles are now central hubs of entertainment in the home this is an important aspect - especially as Nintendo has a more family oriented audience.

The fact that they have catered for media streaming capabilities doesn't disguise one of the major problems - there is still no way of playing DVDs or Blu Rays - something that would have opened up the Wii U to a much wider catchment.

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To read more on this model, check out the Nintendo Wii U homepage here (opens new window).

Images

  • CPU: IBM PowerⓇ-based multi-core microprocessor.
  • GPU: AMD Radeon™-based High Definition GPU.
  • Storage: The Premium Pack console has 32GB of internal flash memory, and the Basic Pack console has 8GB. (Click here for more details about Wii U storage). In addition to the internal flash memory, external USB storage can be used to increase maximum storage capacity.
  • SD Card support: SD Memory Cards up to 2GB and SDHC Cards up to 32GB are supported.
  • Supported Media: Wii U and Wii optical discs.
  • Networking: Wii U can access the Internet via 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 (sold separately).
  • Wii Compatibility: Nearly all Wii software and accessories can be used with Wii U. Please note: Nintendo GameCube software and accessories are not supported.
  • Audio Output: Uses six-channel PCM linear output via HDMI port, or analogue output via the AV Multi Out connector.
  • Video Output: Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, Wii Component Video, Wii RGB and Wii AV.
  • Controllers: 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.

Model

CPU

GPU

RAM (gb)

Storage (gb)

Rating

Price

Microsoft Xbox 360

Xenon-3core

ATI Xenos

.512

4

£389.99

Microsoft Xbox One

AMD 8 Core

1.23 TFLOPS

8

500

£189.99

Microsoft Xbox One X

Custom CPU @ 2.30 GHz 8 Cores

Custom GPU @ 1.172 GHz 40 CUs Polaris Features 6.0 TFLOPS

12 GB GDDR5 @ 326 GB/s

£415.00

Nintendo 2DS

Dual-core

PICA200

.125

4

£N/A

Nintendo 2DS XL

4x VFPv2 Co-Processor

804 MHz ARM11 MPCore Quad-core

256

4GB MicroSD Included (replaceable)

£110.00

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo ARM

Digital Media Professionals PICA2000

.128

2

£144.99

Nintendo Classic Mini SNES

-

-

-

-

£45.99

Nintendo Switch

Nvidia "customised" Tegra X1

-

4

32 + MicroSD

£279.00

Nintendo Wii U

Multi-Core

AMD Radeon

2

8

£N/A

Nvidia Shield Tablet

ARM Cortex A15 CPU

K1 192 Core Kepler GPU

2

16

£N/A

Playstation TV

N/A

N/A

N/A

1

£35.99

Playstation Vita Slim

Quadcore

SGX543MP4+

0.125

0.5

£N/A

Sony Playstation 3 Slim

Cell Broadband EngineTM

RSX

0.256

500

£N/A

Sony PlayStation 4

AMD 8 Core

1.84 TFLOPS

8

500

£449.50


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