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Nintendo Wii U - game console - 32 GB flash

Posted

Pros: game pad, small footprint, actually has power, more 1080p games, Nintendo exclusives, great versions of 3rd party titles, Miiverse, eShop

Cons: limited 3rd party support, no online multiplayer for certain Nintendo games, no Blu-ray playback, needs more classic and indie games on the eShop

I somewhat recently purchased a Nintendo Wii U in September after the price drop. I really wanted to check the system out before then, but couldn't find a compelling reason to do so. Getting it for $300 with a pack in game made the decision much easier. Although I'm glad I paid less than I would have a year ago, I'm really sorry I didn't get this system before. While I don't yet own a PS4 or Xbox One, I do own a 360 and a PS3. I can genuinely say that the Wii U is my favorite system to game on. I seriously haven't had this much fun with a Nintendo system since the Super Nintendo. I'm now at the point that if I can get a game for all three of those consoles, I will choose the Wii U version when possible. Enough of the intro though. Let me talk specifics.

Features

First, the Wii U plays GAMES and it plays them well. Disc and downloaded games all load just as fast as any other system I own. Plus, I have yet to encounter any buggy issues with my 3rd party games. I honestly can't say the same about some of the 3rd party games I've played on the 360. The Wii U supports full 1080p resolution and 60 fps. I realize that not every game runs at that on the Wii U, but the system can definitely support it. It actually has more 1080p games than any other system right now. Your mileage may vary depending on the publisher. However, the Wii U supports full HD and looks great on my Samsung LED LCD. I've played great first and third party games on the Wii U. Many of the standouts have been Nintendo titles. However, Mass Effect 3 and Arkham City really shine on the Wii U compared to the 360 versions, at least in my opinion. I'm disappointed at the lack of 3rd part support overall though. I'm sure Nintendo is owed some blame here, but it's also up to the publishers to put out some good content. Companies can't expect to port older games to a new system and have everyone falling over themselves to pick them up. I've read conflicting things on Nintendo’s power under the console hood. However, as far as I can tell, the Wii U is more powerful than the PS3 and Xbox 360. I'm sure people will argue on both sides of this, but I can honestly say I'm not disappointed in the look of games on my Wii U. I really wish more 3rd party companies would jump on board. I certainly buy the Wii U version of a game when possible.

The game pad on the Wii U comes off as a gimmick to some at first. However, it can really be an amazing asset. There are Mario games that require you to blow into the mic to move platforms or touch the game pad's touchscreen to complete certain actions. That's all fine, but I am not too concerned about that. Where the game pad shines to me is in having easy and fast access to your game menus without stopping play. It's really handy and it genuinely does improve the experience of playing a game with a map or lots of menu items to deal with. Also, I REALLY use the off screen play from the game pad when I'm playing less menu/map-oriented games. It's another great feature. I can be anywhere in my living room or kitchen playing a game while the TV is on something else. My wife can play Skyrim, or we can watch TV without giving up my game time or putting the system in another room.

The Wii U can stream online content like Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc... I don't often use that, but it's there and it works without issue for me. Nintendo TVii is another feature that would probably be more useful for someone that has cable and watches lots of channels. Personally, I don't use it much. It was quite easy to setup and I'll occasionally switch channels and adjust volume with the game pad. It does not play Blu-ray movies. I know you are supposed to buy a system to play games, but that would have been a nice touch. I've already got a BD player, so it isn't a big deal to me.

All Wii remotes and Wii games are supported by the Wii U and it has a sensor bar for above the TV. Additionally, there is on integrated into the game pad too. I don't own a Wii, but that might be of note to some migrating over.

Also, the eShop is great for picking up old games and new indie titles. I've had lots of fun with indie games like Runner 2, Mighty Switch Force 2, etc... I'm hoping Nintendo keeps encouraging the indie relationship.

Setup

Setup on the Wii was pretty easy. I have a Samsung LED LCD TV and small surround system. No issues for me. It took just a bit longer than other systems because I needed to calibrate the sensor bar and setup Nintendo TVii. I think some people had an issue with downloading an update when the console first launched. That wasn't an issue for me though. I needed no updates to get going. Pretty painless as far as setups go.

User Interface

Again, the game pad is great! I love being able to use it to navigate the menus by touch. The controller is surprisingly light and comfortable. I also have the pro controller that is more traditionally shaped. Honestly, I prefer the game pad because it is a bit wider. The pro controller is very comfortable though. Again, the control setup for the Wii U is even more comfortable for me than my 360 or PS3. The menu system is a series of tiles that can be accessed by touch or with a controller. I usually do it by touch on the game pad. No issues for me here. It's nice having almost everything laid out in front of you and not paging through lots of sub-menus. If you run out of space on the main screen, new tiles are automatically added to another page though.

Performance

I've partially addressed this already. My games load as quickly or faster than my other systems. The system is much quieter than my Xbox 360 and a little quieter than the PS3. It seems to run cooler as well, but I've never done a scientific measurement. All of the games I've played have had very sharp 1080p graphics. Again, no issues there and I prefer the Wii U versions of games now whenever possible. I haven't noted any lag online or from the TV to the game pad. The game pad's lack of lag is astonishing. It really does make the experience flawless. There aren't many online games for the Wii U that take advantage of multiplayer, so I don't feel I'm qualified to speak on that end.

The game pad really makes things special on the Wii U. I can navigate quickly through game menus, utilize it for novel mechanics in games like Super Mario 3D world, or seamlessly transition to off screen play and free up my TV for something else. Having the Wii U gives me the pros of a console and some of the pros from a handheld system. Range is limited on the game pad though. I couldn't go into my basement or on the complete other side of my house to play.

Sound is immersive on the games I've played so far. Again, the game pad also has sound. For some games, it is a mirror image of what the TV outputs. In others, you'll hear sound just coming from the game pad that isn't played on TV. This isn't a bug. It is intentional. An example would be in Arkham City, radio surveillance can be heard on the game pad like it is a radio while the action on the TV is normal game sound.

Streaming playback has been great although I rarely use it. You can watch Netflix/Hulu solely on the game pad if you want too. The console does not play Blu-ray movies or DVD's, so that could be a deal breaker if you don't already have a DVD or BD player and want something to do it all.

Conclusion

I really found this to be an underrated system. I initially purchased it so I could play some Mario and Zelda. However, it's quickly become my favorite over the past 5 months. I'd like to see a few more 3rd party titles, but Nintendo has so many good 1st party titles and indie games that I've been staying busy after finishing Mass Effect and Arkham City. If you were even remotely considering a Wii U purchase, I would jump on it. It really has been the most pleasant surprise of any system I've purchased since the PS2 or Super Nintendo.

Posted

Pros: Pro Controller, comfort, exclusive franchises, dual screen

Cons: Default storage size, software, online features

The Deluxe edition of the system comes bundled with 32 GB of internal storage, the basic set only supports 8GB. The storage can be extended using an SD card or an external Hard Drive. In the box you have all the necessary cables such as HDMI, two power AC adapters, one for the console and one for the WIi U Game Pad, a Sensor bar which is the same tech as the Wii, a Wii U console stand so it can be stood up on it's side, a Wii U game pad charging cradle that can connect to the AC adapter, and finally a Wii U game pad stand.

The system supports HDMI 1.4 @ 1080p resolution, and PCM surround audio or Stereo. It has built in WiFi and uses Bluetooth for communication. So if you're thinking universal remote, you have to use one that supports Bluetooth. The Wii U uses a proprietary Optical Disc format designed specifically for the Wii U, and it is similar in design to the Blu-ray discs, however you are not able to play back any Blu-ray movies on it.

The first thing one notices about the console when unpacking it is that it comes with a fairly large controller which comes bundled with a touch screen LCD display. Nintendo had been doing the dual screen thing since the Game Cube and Game Boy advance days, my first experience with this was Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, but I digress. The large controller is very comfortable, and light, so there should be no fatigue holding it up during gaming. Due to addition of the LCD screen on the game pad most games can be played without having the television turned on, and instead the console streams the video to the Wii U game pad. This also applies to apps such as Netflix. The game pad is NFC capable, has two built in speakers, a microphone, a front facing camera, and a stylus pen. As far as the range is concerned you've got maybe at most about 40 feet before the signal starts to break up, so you have to remain fairly close to the console if you're doing your gaming primarily on the Wii U game pad. Another thing I noticed about the video stream on the pad during gaming, is that once in a while it stutters I'd say maybe once every 20 minutes or so. The stutter is not very noticeable, and only lasts for about half a second, but it can be enough to interfere with game play.

The Wii U is backwards compatible with Wii games, and emulates the Wii system to do so. In the Wii U main menu there is a Wii application which needs to be launched if a Wii game is to be played.
All Wii controllers can also be used on the Wii U game system, such as the Wii Remote, Wii Remote Plus, the Classic controller, Wii Zapper, Wii Wheel, and so forth.
In addition to all these controllers Nintendo also added the Wii U Pro Controller to it's line up. This is by far the most ergonomic and comfortable gaming controller I have ever used. It very close to perfection actually. The analog sticks are placed in a very comfortable and logical position, and the layout just makes sense. Microsoft's Xbox and Xbox One controller comes in a close second, and the PS3/PS4 controller dead last, as far as comfort and ergonomics are concerned. The only downfall of the Wii U Pro controller is that the analog sticks are convex and not concave, if it wasn't for that it would be the perfect controller.

During testing the Deluxe Wii U system was connected to a Pioneer VSX-1123-K receiver and a LG 3D Cinema LED Display (LA6900). A 5.1 surround sound set up with JBL Loft speakers. With the upgraded HDMI port and GPU processing power of the Wii U it looks and sounds beautiful on a home theater system.
The system is really easy to hook up and once the system is booted you're greeted with the initial system setup. The setup is quick and painless provided you are not customizing your Mii. Past the setup the Wii U menu is an array of squares or rather applications which is very similar to the Wii menu, with multiple pages of potential applications. In the top left corner of the screen is the users created Mii which allows one to switch users on the fly. The low level system menus are also very easy to navigate and are very user friendly.
Since the Wii U sports dual screens, on the secondary screen the user is able to see some Miiverse interactions from other online gamers. In the system main menu the content which is displayed on the TV and Wii U game pad can be swapped between the two screens if desired. Miiverse is the Nintendo social networking service which allows you to post and be silly online. In addition to Miiverse there is Nintendo TVii, which is a free program that allows users to find Television programming across video services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and the users cable cable network. I'm not sure if You Tube is a part of this as well.
The Wii U is also equipped with a comprehensive web browser, and for the most part it renders all the web pages correctly. It can be used on either the Wii U Game Pad or the television screen. The browser can be used while there is another application running in the background. So if you're playing a game and you're stuck, you can launch the Web Browser and search for the solution on the web, close the browser and continue with the game. The browser also supports HTML 5 and can be used on YouTube and other HTML 5 supported sites. Then there is Wii U Chat, this is a video chat solution from Nintendo. The performance is rather good, works very well without any noticeable lag.

The games mostly run at 60 fps, some run at 1080p resolution and others 720p. There are a few games that run at 30 fps and lower resolution than 720p, but they are very few titles and mostly comprise to ports to the Wii U. The graphical capabilities of the Wii U are similar to that of the X360 and PS3, with the Wii U having a slightly better GPU than both of them. Or at least this is the evidence when cross platform games are compared. The games boot quickly and there is very little wait time, between launching a title and being able to play it. Not the same can be said about the boot time of the system from stand by though, I was surprised how long it takes the Wii U to boot to the main menu.

Playing games on this system is a real treat. Nintendo is known for their exclusive franchises, colorful, bright, and fun games. The gaming experience on Nintendo systems is completely different from what the competition offers. Nintendo games are a lot of fun and with the use of the LCD touch screen it adds another dimension to the game play. That's not to say that the competition doesn't have fun games, it's just that the competitions game concepts much like Nintendo game franchises, are recycled. With Nintendo you get fun and engaging games, with the competition you get a lot of Racers, First Person shooters, and third person adventure type games. That's not to say that they are not enjoyable.
On the Wii U with games such as Super Mario 3d World, Wonderful 101, Zelda, Pikmin, Mario Kart, and the likes of Nintendo Land, this gaming system offers an experience that can not be rivaled by any other. A lot of original concepts have come out from this company, and hopefully many more.

Unfortunately at the moment the Wii U is somewhat lacking in the software department, and they are not getting any love from the major third party developers either. It's a shame really, because the hardware is nice and takes a unique approach to gaming. The games that are available on the system are mostly A+ titles and have a lot of re playability.

The online system could also use a major facelift. It is lacking in online interactions and is very limited. Nintendo should take notes from the likes of Microsoft and what they have done with Xbox Live. The online system is limited and doesn't really offer much of a experience at the moment. Perhaps with the release of Mario Kart 8 we will see this change.

All in all this is a really great gaming system. At the moment it is going through some growing pains but this should be remedied by Nintendo throwing some money at the problem. With games such as Mario Kart, Zelda on the horizon things will get better for the Wii U.

Features: Dual screens, which allow you to play on the TV or just the Wii U gamepad. The gamepad offers a different way to play games with the touch screen integration using your finger or the stylus pen. The gamepad integrates a front facing camera, microphone, NFC sensor, and tilt sensors. 1080P gaming system with 5.1 surround via HDMI. A sensor bar to support the Wii/Wii U Plus motion controllers.

Value: This is purely a gaming system and the consumer gets a lot of value for $299. Backwards compatibility with the Wii and Wii controllers. A steaming device for Netflix, Hulu Plus, You Tube and Amazon video all in HD. A free online gaming service with a social media. A competent web browser. Free video chat service. Online eShop where games can be purchased and downloaded directly to the gaming system. Expandable storage either via SD card or external Hard Drive. And finally a library of fun and unique games only offered by Nintendo.

Design: The small form factor of the system itself, fits well into any entertainment unit. On the flip site you will have to find a spot for the bit Wii U game pad, it is somewhat awkward and big. Also with the peripherals such as the sensor bar, proprietary Wii U gamepad charger you'll need to run a couple extra power and connection cables.

The OS is an array of squares each representing an app, with multiple pages of potential applications. In the top left corner of the main screen is the users Mii, selecting it allows one to switch users on the fly and edit the Mii settings. The low level system menus are very easy to navigate and are very user friendly. The entire interface is very basic and easy to navigate, it's really snappy and responsive.
The Wii U has a dual screen user interface, on the secondary screen the user is able to see Miiverse interactions from other online gamers. The system main menu content which is displayed on both the TV and Wii U game pad can be swapped between the two screens if desired by clicking a swap icon on the Wii U gamepad touch screen.

Video quality: 1080p @ 60 frames per second(fps) is what the system strives to achieve, and it mostly succeeds. Some games run at 720p @ 60 fps, and even fewer below that resolution and frame rate. Detail and clarity in games is sharp and crisp, the video graphics capability from the previous Nintendo generation is most welcome. It's too bad that the Wii games are not upscales on the Wii U. Online video services are competent in HD and the hardware stands up to any other devices capable of streaming Netflix or the likes in Super HD.

Remote: The remotes use Bluetooth for communication. The Wii U gamepad is very comfortable, light, and somewhat ergonomic. Hours of gaming should not be a problem with it. If you prefer, the Wii U Pro controller is one of the most comfortable and ergonomic controllers I've ever held in my hands, it is a real treat to game with.

Audio quality: PCM 5.1 surround or Stereo is all that the system is capable of. Since this device lacks any physical video format support PCM 5.1 should be more than sufficient for most people.

Posted

Pros: Unique gameplay using the gamepad. Nintendo's first HD console--games finally in 1080p. MiiVerse, Nintendo TVii, eShop, Off-TV Play

Cons: Lacks 3rd party support, Virtual Console should be amped up

Features

The Wii U’s crowning feature is—not the HD—but the gamepad. No other system has such a feature like Nintendo. The 6.2 inch touch-screen includes motion sensitivity, a camera, stereo speakers, and two clickable analog sticks.  The gamepad knows when you have it pointed at the screen or when it’s parallel to the floor. This comes in handy for games like in Wii Fit U where you use the controller like it’s a tray of food—you must balance the items on the screen (and TV) by the way you hold it. It’s also useful for asymmetrical gaming. In Nintendo Land, one player has an individualized experience on the gamepad while the other players play on the TV. 

 

One great feature is that the system can play all the old Wii titles. You can even play them through the gamepad (used only as a screen). The gamepad has a Wii remote bar built into is to you can even point at the gamepad, just as if it were your TV screen.

 

For single players, the gamepad can often be used for off-TV gaming. This means that you can continue the game even when others want to watch TV. However, it must stay within range of the system. Depending on how thick the walls are in your house, you may be able to play in a different room.

But what if you don’t like the gamepad? Owners can buy a special Pro-controller designed with core gamers in mind. Its button interface is just like the gamepad but without the screen. However, games have to support this controller. The Wii U also uses the old Wiimotes from the previous console—a little too much if you ask me, as I never did care for them. I like a solid controller and the gamepad helps bring that back.

 

The Wii U also supports several new things. MiiVerse is an interactive online community where you can post screenshots of games, ask questions, draw, and flaunt achievements. One app, called Art Academy: Sketchpad, allows users to create masterpieces that resemble just about any type of medium: chalk, pencil, paint, etc. Nintendo TVii uses a feature called TV Tag, where you can follow along with a show and comment with other users. The eShop allows users to download games and includes the Virtual Console, a place where users can buy NES and SNES titles.  Nintendo has such a great back-catalogue of games it’s odd that this feature hasn’t been focused on more. It could easily attract buyers if it became a main selling point.

 

Although the system cannot play DVDs or blu-rays, it’s really not necessary as most homeowners can access that through other devices. The system does include the usual for video applications: Youtube, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus. Using the internet through the gamepad is really easy and enjoyable.

 

Setup and User Interface

The Wii U is easy to set up right out of the box. Back in 2013, it required a long download upon starting the machine for the first time. I suspect this is now already completed in systems today. Turning on the system each time is a little slower than expected. Nintendo has improved the start-up and promise to make a quick start in the summer of 2014. This will allow users to skip the main menu and go directly to their favorite apps and games.

 

The menu sports a communal area of Miis congregating around game titles. Messages from them pop up and you can interact with them through MiiVerse if you like. The apps are all located on the gamepad but can be toggled up to the TV if you’d rather use the Wiimote to point at them. Otherwise, using the touch screen to navigate through games and apps is easy and intuitive.

 

Performance

The Wii U has been criticized in the past for not being “next gen” enough. It’s true that the power seems to be lacking a bit in the performance department and that might be in part why 3rd party companies have snubbed the system. But the games that I have seen all run excellently on the system—I really couldn’t ask for more. At times the gamepad does get confused and loses signal but usually it’s when the battery is too low. Probably what’s the most amazing is that the gamepad is in sync with the TV. At times you can notice a slight lag on the gamepad but it’s usually not there.

 

Overall, this is a great system for old and new alike. It brought me back after taking a break during the Wii years—I just didn’t like it. But the Wii U offers so much uniqueness and clever games that it shouldn’t be forgotten. You just have to try it out.

Nintendo Wii U - game console - 32 GB flash
Description:

Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set WUPSKAFB Video Game Consoles

Details:
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BrandNintendo
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Item Height11.75 inches
Item Length14 inches
Item Width5.5 inches
LabelNintendo
ManufacturerNintendo
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NumberOfItems1
Package Height5.3 inches
Package Length14 inches
Package Weight9.2 pounds
Package Width11.6 inches
PackageQuantity1
PartNumberGNIN-880866
ProductGroupVideo Games
ProductTypeNameVIDEO_GAME_HARDWARE
PublisherNintendo
StudioNintendo
TitleNintendo Wii U Console - 32GB Black Deluxe Set
UPC045496880866
UPCList - UPCListElement045496880866
Item Weight9.1 pounds
CatalogNumberList - CatalogNumberListElementWUPSKAFB
IsAutographed0
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ModelWUPSKAFB
Colorblk n wht
PlatformNintendo Wii U
WarrantyWarranty is from Manufacturer.
ReleaseDate2012-11-18
FormatDVD-ROM
OperatingSystemNintendo Wii U
HardwarePlatformNintendo Wii U
EditionDeluxe Set
ESRBAgeRatingRating Pending
Genreaction-games
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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