164 of 191 people found the following review helpful
Great hardware but software and setup need a little improvement,
This review is from: Nintendo Wii U Console 8GB Basic Set - White (Video Game)
Plenty of people have given lengthy reviews on everything you want to know about the Wii U, so I won't rehash the basics here. I'll just share my initial reactions after unboxing my Wii U Basic last night.
The box for the Wii U contains an owners manual and "Quick Start" guides in English, French, and Spanish. There's also a card advertising Club Nintendo; you'll get a hefty 160 points for linking your Wii U to your Club Nintendo account, which is more than halfway to Gold Status (you'll get a calendar or some other crappy gift if you hit 300 points in a year). Nintendo giveth and taketh away; unlike previous systems there's no warranty extension for registering a Wii U with Club Nintendo.
You'll get an AC adapter for the Wii U console, as well as a charger for the GamePad. You'll also get an HDMI cable to attach to a TV (if you prefer to use your old component (YPbPr) cable or composite (RCA) cables from your Wii, you can do that as well). Finally, you get a new Wii sensor, but no Wii remotes. The Wii sensor is the same as on the Wii, so if you it set up for your Wii already, you can just swap your old one out and swap this one in (you can save the sensor in the box in case you need a replacement or you want to resell it).
The Wii U itself is sleeker than the Wii, with rounded corners and a slightly longer body. It's still much, much lighter and more compact than either the Xbox or the PS3. The unit has four USB ports and an SD card slot. A lot of people are decrying the fact that 8GB won't hold a lot, but you can effectively expand the memory by using USB jump drives, SD cards, or even USB hard drives that you probably already have for your camera or PC. From that sense, I didn't see the memory size as as much as a downside as others.
I wasn't sure what to expect from the GamePad, but my first impressions were very good. It's comfortable to hold, and the joysticks and buttons are easily accessible by your thumbs. I was impressed by the crystal clear picture quality, and the surprisingly loud and clear sound coming out of the two stereo speakers. There's a little slider on the back of the unit where you can adjust the volume, and there's a headphone jack. Something I missed at first was the stylus at the top of the unit that pops in and out of it like on a DS. While you can use either your finger or the stylus for most touchscreen interaction, the stylus does keep the screen free of fingerprints, plus it gives better precision on certain games.
There's also a camera and a microphone built in--a clever differentiating move considering that Xbox and PS3 cameras are usually on the other side of the room. It'll be interesting to see what applications developers come up with for these. Nintendo has already released a small handful of cool applications that make use of the camera such as Video Chat and the ability to make a Mii from your real face (similar to the 3DS). One of the most anticipated features of the GamePad will be the ability to use it as a TV remote. RIght now you can turn your TV on and off, but in the future the TVii app (which will be a free download in December) promises to let you control your TV from your GamePad; if this means the end of confusing, esoteric universal remote controls, I'll welcome it.
Setting up the hardware was pretty simple, just plug in the AC adapter to the console, plug in your HDMI cable to the TV, and plug in either your existing or your new Wii sensor.
I wish I could say the software setup was as simple. Let's put it this way: I started the process at about midnight, thinking it'd take about 5 minutes. I ended up going to bed at 3 AM. It's not a terribly complex process (you actually get your first taste of "two screen action" as you use the GamePad to make your choices, while detailed instructions can be read on the TV), but it does drag on and has a few awkward moments. But it's critical to make sure the process completes without interruption; some people are reporting their units are getting bricked if they power down in the middle of the update.
You start out by syncing the GamePad to the console, which is simply a matter of pressing the red "sync" button on front of the console and the same kind of button on the back of the GamePad. Once you do this, you'll be able to control the console from the GamePad (including turning it on and off).
You start by setting the time and date, which was disappointing to me; it's the 21st century, and there's no reason they couldn't have put the Wi-Fi setup up front so the system could pull this from the Internet. You then confirm the resolution of your TV, which read a glorious 1080i. You can configure your GamePad to turn your TV on and off (I decided to hold off until TVii becomes available), and then as with the Wii you designate the position of your sensor bar. You, of course, have to accept the obligatory legal stuff, and then you get to the Wi-Fi setup.
Wi-Fi setup was a snap. The system found my Wi-Fi network right away, and unlike other devices I could walk my GamePad over to my router and key in the WEP key without running back and forth or using up Post-It notes. You do all your typing on the GamePad; the digital keyboard was a little small for my fingers, but I made do.
The next step is when the system asks you to connect to the Internet and check for updates. It took, I kid you not, a full hour for it to download the latest update and install it. So if you're giving the Wii U as a gift, you might want to open the box and set it up for your recipients first if you plan to play it with them.
The next step is setting up your user accounts. I found this part very, very confusing, but I figured it out. Basically, you have to create your personal account on your console first, including creating a new Mii with a nickname and month and date of birth. Once you're done with that, you'll have the option of linking that account to what's called a "Nintendo Network ID", which is a completely separate process where you set up a username, full date of birth, and e-mail address, and you have to confirm the account via e-mail. The Nintendo Network ID is optional and not required to play most games, but to get the most out of the online experience, as well as be able to download apps and make purchases, you'll need to sign up for it.
Now the burning question I had, which I couldn't find an answer to easily, is how can I get my Mii from my old Wii? After all, I spent a long, long time getting him perfect and I've grown quite attached to him (I tried to re-create him on the Wii U but it didn't quite look the same, and when I tried to create a Mii from my photo, it was a cool process but a little too lifelike for my taste :P). The good news is that it's possible to grab your Mii's from your old Wii, but the bad news is that it's a pretty convoluted process. You basically have to go to the "Wii menu", go to the Wii Shop Channel, download a Channel called "System Transfer", and follow some pretty complicated steps to transfer your old system data to a SD card (512K or greater) with both consoles attached to the Internet. I ended up doing this a few days later and it took yet another hour, which I wasn't thrilled with.
Which brings me to the second thing I found a little off, which was the fact that there's a "Wii U menu" and a "Wii menu". My guess is that they're trying to relegate all the gaming related stuff to the "Wii menu" and start positioning the "Wii U menu" as more of a general entertainment console (there are already pre-installed icons for NetFlix, Amazon Video, YouTube, and Hulu Plus). But I wasn't thrilled at having to deal with two menus and figuring out what goes where. Surprising, as Nintendo has usually been pretty good at user interface design.
One other annoyance is that there are times that the system will appear to hang for many seconds, even minutes at a time, particularly when going from Channels or games back to the Wii U menu. At first I thought it was something I was doing, but many others appear to be experiencing the same thing. Hopefully Nintendo is working on a fix, as this behavior can get really annoying really fast.
Since this review is on the console and not the games (which I'll post reviews for separately), I'm basing my review on my impressions of the hardware, the software, and the setup process. The hardware easily gets 5 out of 5 stars from me; you can see right away that the GamePad was an impressive feat of engineering, although there is a part of me that is disappointed that they didn't see fit to improve their motion controls (the MotionPlus is evidently the most advanced they'll take the Wiimotes for a while). My initial thoughts with the two-screen approach is that it's going to take some getting used to (I found myself fixated on the GamePad for most of the setup process and ignoring the TV), but they've proven with the DS that it can enhance gameplay.
The setup process and the user interface, on the other hand, could have been improved. Not to say that features are missing, but the interface is just a little confusing for my tastes, and since I work with user experience for a living, I think I have a higher tolerance than most. The good news is that since these flaws are in software and not in hardware, they're certainly things that Nintendo can improve over time.
A lot of people might be wondering whether to get the Basic unit, or to splurge and get the Deluxe unit for an extra $50. With the Deluxe unit, you get more built-in memory, the Nintendo Land game, and a charging stand for the GamePad. As I mentioned, you can easily expand the Wii U Basic with USB drives or SD cards at very low cost to meet or exceed 32GB, so that's not a huge deal. A lot of people are saying that New Super Mario Bros U is by far a better "showcase" game for the Wii U than Nintendo Land is, so I don't think missing that is a huge deal breaker either (especially considering that in a few months the secondary market will likely be flooded with used copies of Nintendo Land). And finally, a charging stand is a nice thing to have, but certainly not necessary. So at the end of the day for me, it came down to color: did I prefer white or black?
To sum up, I'll give the system in itself a solid four stars--it didn't give me the knock-my-socks-off experience that unboxing the original Wii gave me, but I see a ton of potential if game developers can truly use the new features that the GamePad (combined with other peripherals like the Balance Board and Wiimotes) offer. I will definitely be a fan.
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Showing 1-10 of 30 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 20, 2012 1:37:14 PM PST
A. Dayton says:
Does it only include the game pad, or does it also have a regular controller?
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 1:50:57 PM PST
Both the Basic and Deluxe models only come with the GamePad.
The system is compatible with the Wii-motes, Balance Board, and new Pro (handheld) Controller, but all those need to be purchased separately.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 1:53:45 PM PST
A. Dayton says:
Good to know, thanks for the reply. I'm glad the Wii-motes work with it. I think this will be my Christmas present this year.
Posted on Nov 20, 2012 5:34:05 PM PST
Thank you for taking the time to pen such a detailed and informative review. We are thinking of buying the unit and you answered many of the questions that factors into our decision. So what color did you get -- the black or the white? :-)
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 9:20:58 PM PST
I ended up getting both :) Specifically, I got the white as a gift to my nephew and nieces when I visit them on Thanksgiving (as I mentioned in the review, I'm glad I opened it and did the long system update first!). But I got the black for myself, mainly because it matches all the other things in my entertainment center :)
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2012 10:20:57 AM PST
Sorta Saint Gertrude says:
None of the black ones I saw on the first day had the Nintendo Land game with it. Is that somewhere special?
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2012 7:15:43 PM PST
No, the only "official" way to get the black one is by purchasing the Nintendo Wii U Console - 32GB Black Deluxe Set, which by definition should have Nintendo Land bundled with it everywhere it's sold right now.
If you're buying from a less-than-scrupulous reseller, it's possible that they may be removing the Nintendo Land game and try to sell it separately. But if you get a factory sealed box, the game will be in there.
Posted on Nov 22, 2012 6:47:47 AM PST
Great review ! I appreciate you leaving out the usual endless droning people tend to get into that can make all reviews similar for the same product :)
Posted on Nov 23, 2012 6:34:44 PM PST
L. Crocco says:
I'm purchasing a Wii for the first time for my neice and nephew. They are not techies. I am trying to decide between Wii and WiiU. My neice wants Dance games and my nephew is 3. Can anyone offer feedback as to if it is worth getting the WiiU?