final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Game library You have access to all of your old Wii games in addition to the new Wii U and indie titles. great!
  • Graphics The HD graphics are a definite improvement over the older system. great!
  • Controller(s) The battery life on the GamePad is the only thing that is worrying me a little. The Wiimotes are the same as for the Wii. good
  • Design and form factor Only thing that might have been better would to make the GamePad a little lighter. But over all well done. great!
  • Other features (media, online, etc.) Only issue really is its new and they haven't rolled out all the online features. good
  • Noise The system is very quiet. The most noise I heard from it was when it was switching into Wii mode. great!
Detailed review
Being the gadget geek who wants the latest and greatest I started looking for a Wii U. I didn't do a pre-order so I started searching a couple stores after it was released on Sunday and put my name on a wait list at GameStop last night. This afternoon I got a call saying my unit was available so I picked it up this evening on the way home from work. Being able to get it so quickly had me wondering if this was going to be a bad choice or if I was just plain lucky.

I got the unit unpacked and setup. The unit can be connected using Wii compatible cables for video/audio and sensor bar. But I opted to setup a second sensor (so I could keep my Wii connected too) and to use the HDMI port instead of a Nintendo video cable. Made it easy to get things connected quickly.

Once everything was connected the real fun started. The system booted, had me do some basic setup for video, audio and wifi then it was off to make an account to login with. Then came the system update download... the 5GB download that took over an hour to download (even stopped a couple of times but gracefully started over for me when lost connection to their over tasked servers). Once it applied I was able to login and get to the Wii U Menu.

Before starting to poking around the system I started the process of transferring my Miis and some of the save games from the Wii. The process is multi-step and definite way more complicated than it should be. They should have come up with a way to do it all over the network if you could have both the Wii and Wii U on at the same time. But after jumping through the hoops to copy the data I wanted to save onto a SD card it was loaded onto the Wii U.

So a couple hours after starting the unit for the first time we were able to play. Overall the current games are very similar to what you would expect from a Wii game. Family friendly, Wiimote controlled and good for a party. But where they differ.... much better graphics and the GamePad offered some interesting twists. We was playing hide and seek type games where one player with the GamePad was running away from the other players who were using Wiimotes and viewing their views on the TV. Will have to play more of NintendoLand and Super Mario Brothers U over the holiday weekend.

Overall I think its a neat system and shows they are trying to catchup to the Xbox360/PS3. But the real question will be what will happen next year when the next generation of the other consoles are released.