Seriously what is a hardware review? I have read a fair few Wii U “hardware reviews” over the last few weeks and I realise there is no real way to review a console. Especially these days when they’re so dynamic- new features being added and tweaks being made. I thought instead of reviewing, I’d do some revising and see how I feel about some key features of the hardware, having had it in my possession for twelve days now.

. . .

I’m starting to wish I had the white console. The black gamepad is holding on to fingerprints like nothing I’ve ever seen. At least the console won’t get fingerprinty- dusty yes, but wiping down the eject button occasionally is no big deal. The Gamepad though, is beautiful, glossy and shiny but I do have to touch it and so does everyone else in my lounge room. Sexy as it is, it really should have been a matte finish. Lint free cloth to the rescue and I must say, the tiny ridges/grooves all over the Gamepad haven’t filled with lint and crap just yet, the screen is clean and free of “permadirt” that plagues the edges of mobile phone screens after a while. I know if I had the white Gamepad the white thumb sticks will yellow and get dirty quickly, so it’s a trade off. I’ll stop complaining though, after all I own a Wii U.

So shiny

The Pro Controller is one sweet looking piece of plastic. The sticks are solid, it fits well in your hand, buttons are nicely sized and spaced out, and damn it’s nice to look at. I was told the Wii Classic Controller Pro feels better- but I don’t know, I NEVER held one. The battery life is incredible. I have used it heaps and have not recharged it once yet. 80 hours, apparently.

Well built and good looking. Shame it lacks any kind of voice chat support.

Miiverse is charming. Seeing what others are saying about games as soon as you boot up doesn’t look like getting old any time soon. Using the Plaza as the home screen was very smart of Nintendo. Like I said on day one, it’s immediately welcoming. As I get to use and understand Miiverse more, the more I believe Nintendo is onto something big. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Microsoft and Sony copy the idea for their new machines. Wouldn’t blame them either. People are doing some amazing art with the freehand message function. Boggles the mind. Have a look at these amazing examples I found.

My favourite piece of Miiverse art so far

There’s plenty of people on Miiverse. I’ve had heaps of “Yeah’s” already (kind of like a retweet or a like) and plenty of replies to requests for help (finding a gold coin in NSMBU for example). Now that the Japanese have the console there’s even more people on, though you can filter what regions you see which is cool. Love Japan, but can’t read Japanese. People are actually saying useful, smart things, not just ranting and trolling, and the overall feeling of posts across the network is positive- if this is due to Nintendo’s moderation I don’t care- positive is good- go somewhere else to be a prick. Follow me on Miiverse: zinger_AU

App transition is slow. Yeah, look I said on day one it wasn’t that slow, but it’s starting to grate on me now. Why do I have to wait 15 seconds to turn to the Wii U menu from the Home screen? It’s too long. Internet and Miiverse load too slowly. I now think Nintendo should address this as soon as they can.

My Wii U has crashed twice. The first time it got stuck on ZombiU start up screen, I had to pull the plug out of the system as the power button would not work on the machine or the Gamepad. The second time it crashed was returning to the Wii U menu, I had to pull the plug again. Since the second system update downloaded though I haven’t had a crash yet.

The Gamepad battery is pretty bad. People on the net are saying at 2 hours they need to recharge, but I have timed it twice. Once it went from full to completely empty in 3 hours 8 minutes. The second time 3 hours 33 minutes. Played a variety of games during both these times and I have not adjusted the brightness of the screen AT ALL, so it’s still on default brightness. Surely lowering the brightness will help. I think a separate power cord was a good idea from Nintendo, plug it in and play when and where you need to and not be restricted by having to have it charge from the machine.

I’m using the stylus more than I thought. When I first heard the Gamepad would use a stylus I thought “What’s the point? Is it trying to be a DS?”. I couldn’t imagine why I’d need to get the stylus out given the larger touch screen. Not for typing, my mobile phone screen is way smaller and I don’t need a stylus. But it turns out although it isn’t needed, it’s just easier and more comfortable to navigate Miiverse and the internet with the stylus. Also I send most of my Miiverse posts freehand, so the stylus comes out for that too. I have to say I’m surprised how easy and natural it feels to hold the Gamepad in one hand and use the stylus with the other. And I’m left handed which usually makes things difficult. Not so with the Gamepad.

Not as comfy as the 3DS stylus but useful all the same

Youtube is incredibly crisp and clear. Wow the Youtube app is sensational. Easy to navigate, fast, and crystal clear on my big tv. Same goes for the internet browser. I’d heard good things about the browser before launch and it delivers. Really easy to use bookmarks and the whole “hide behind the curtain and reveal” thing has impressed everyone who has seen it so far- but they’re not sure why. I’m not sure either and not really sure when I’ll use the feature- but it’s cool nonetheless. And the curtains change colour!

Wii games look sharper and better through Wii U. So upscaling through HDMI does make a difference. There’s no doubt things look sharper and clearer, but just why that is is best summed up by these guys- Cubed 3 wrote a great article explaining it.

eShop is awesome, but where are the demos? The new eShop is a breeze to navigate and certainly pretty to look at. A relief considering Wii Shop was horrible and the 3DS shop is cumbersome too. Everything is there on Wii U and I’m impressed most retail games are ready to download right now. And for once the Australian eShop is reasonably (just reasonably) priced. But where are the demos? Only FIFA 13 has a demo, which I downloaded. Surely everyone should be getting on board with this. I was promised a Rayman Legends demo before launch day but so far nothing.

 . . .

Any thoughts? What did I miss? Let me know about your early days Wii U experience…

  • sonique

    i found wii sports resort looked worse through the wii u…