Nintendo Wii U review roundup
The Nintendo Wii U launched over the weekend, and while critics generally like the new Nintendo machine, a few key features fall short.
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The device comes in two versions: a standard edition, with 8 gigabytes of storage, for $299; and a "deluxe" package, with 32 gigabytes of storage and the Nintendo Land game, for $349. The big selling points on the Wii U are the HD graphics – the original Wii lagged woefully behind the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation 3 in this regard – and the touchscreen GamePad controller.
So how does the Wii U stack up to other competitors in the console market? Well, let's go to the reviews.
First up, the controller. It's big, admits David Pierce of The Verge, but it actually handles pretty well.
"[T]hanks to ridges underneath your fingers in the back is quite comfortable to hold as long as it's in both hands – it's a little awkward in one hand, especially when you hold it in portrait mode," Pierce writes, adding that "the whole thing feels a little cheap and flimsy (a common occurrence with Nintendo consoles) though it's plenty sturdy in use. The build quality is one of many sacrifices Nintendo seems to make in the name of creating a lighter, smaller GamePad."
And after a little bit of use, writes Kyle Orland of Ars Technica, the thing only gets better.
"The GamePad's tilt sensitivity precision is probably its most surprising feature," Orland writes."This is best put to use in conjunction with the built-in screen to give you direct control of a first-person camera. Moving the GamePad around and seeing the image on the screen change perspective instantly (and accurately) is like looking through a portal to another world, creating a seamless bit of augmented reality that just isn’t possible on other systems."
With the GamePad, of course, comes the same sort of mobile OS you'd see on a touchscreen smartphone. And surprisingly, notes Kyle Wagner of Gizmodo, for something not made by Apple or Google, the experience is not half-bad.
"Navigating around on the gamepad is more responsive than you expect from a console OS, as are touch events and sensitivity," Wagner writes. "It's not to the level of, say, iOS or Android, but it's miles better than using the touchscreen on a [Nintendo 3DS handheld]. That's all undercut, though, but interminable load times you encounter while switching apps. Maybe that'll be fixed with an early patch (Amazon's Kindle Fire HD had enormous load times for movies and apps just a few days before it launched, but fixed them in time), but for now, it's infuriating."