What are the differences between a Nintendo Wii and a Nintendo Wii U?


Nintendo is one of those companies that always seem to stay one step ahead of the competition, ushering in new ages of gaming and console design as they go.

So when they launch a new product, I tend to get pretty excited, and was hugely anticipating the late 2012 launch of the Nintendo Wii U, the first of the 8th generation of computer games consoles.

But is this new console really worth getting excited about? And what are the real differences between the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo Wii U?

The Price

The difference in price is probably the first thing that you’ll notice when you compare the two, and as the new, flashy kid on the block, the Wii U is inevitably a fair bit pricier, so let’s see if it’s worth it.

The Gamepad

One of the main selling points of the Wii U is its Gamepad. Containing a fully integrated touchscreen, the Gamepad is the primary controller for the console.

The screen can be used to supplement the game being played on the big screen, or you can use it to play on when someone else commandeers the TV – a feature which should help to quell arguments, allowing the kids keep playing while parents watch the latest installment of Downton Abbey.

Apart from this function, the gamepad is still a great controller. Although perhaps not as easy to use as the revolutionary controllers of the original Wii, it’s still fairly straightforward, and lends the whole console a nostalgic, retro feel.

The Graphics

The other huge leap between the Wii and Wii U are the images, as the Wii U is the first Nintendo to support high definition graphics.

This makes games look amazing on a big HD screen, and although your old Wii games won’t automatically convert, the console comes ready-loaded with some games so you can test out the HD straight away.


Like the Nintendo Wii, the Wii U can stream Netflix and Lovefilm so you can watch movies on the big screen, but it still doesn’t play Blu-ray discs or DVDs.

So in that respect the connectivity and functions of the console haven’t improved dramatically from the older model, and it still doesn’t really compete with the impressive living room experience of an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

The verdict

So, with the HD capability, gamepad and connectivity, would I sell my Nintendo Wii and swap it for a Wii U? Well, probably not just yet.

The Wii U is undoubtedly impressive, but you do get the feeling that it will be outdated fairly soon, so it may well be worth hanging on for a few months to see what other revolutionary devices hit the market.

Hello, I’m Rasmus Lefers, a keen gamer and follower of all the latest gadget trends. When I’m not helping Mario get to the next level, I’m normally writing, reading or talking about all things video game related. From reviewing the latest games to providing advice on selling old games consoles, you’ll find plenty of gaming knowledge tucked away here.


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