Wii U’s GamePad is certainly unique in the world of gaming. Sure we have tablets but any games on those are for the casual audience. The Wii U’s GamePad is deeply rooted in the Nintendo DS, as seen by the stylus, touchscreen, and the microphone at the bottom. The resolution (854×480/16:9 Ratio) is much better though. There is a front facing camera, two thumbsticks which are reminiscence of the Wii’s nunchuk, and the plus and minus buttons which replace start and select. Replacing the start and select buttons sure does seem to be the trend with this generation of consoles. There is a volume slider at the top, a four button layout similar to the SNES (along with good shoulder buttons), a new Home button to jump back to the main Wii U menu, and whenever a red battery light pops up, you better get to charging! Battery life is the GamePads major let down. It lasts about 3-5 hours which is unusually short even for tablets and terrible cell phones. However, the GamePad is lightweight, weighing only a little bit over 1 pound. The layout of buttons combined with the light weight of the Pad make holding the Wii U’s GamePad comfortable. You might be surprised to know that the GamePad is almost the size of the console! However, the Wii U is considerably smaller than the PS4 and petite in comparison to the overly large Xbox One.
Did you know you can control your TV with your Wii U GamePad? Anyone who owns the system knows this but with how Microsoft touted their TV functionality, you would of thought they were the only ones who integrated TV at all. At the start up of the Wii U, the system has you set up the GamePad as a remote control for the TV. This is optional for those of you who do not want to do this. This makes playing games on your GamePad while watching TV a breeze and is a fairly awesome option to have.
Which brings me to the best part of the GamePad… Using it as a replacement screen for the TV. You can play your Wii U and never have to turn on the TV or touch the actual Wii U. Just grab the GamePad off of the charging cradle and hit the power button then BOOM! You are good to go with some Mario. This feature alone is a system seller along with Nintendo’s first party games and makes multitasking a breeze. You can play up to 25 feet away from the console, so take that as you will. One thing of note is that the GamePad has a glossy coat that shows where your hands have touched and will make any OCD person go insane with wanting to clean it.
Overall I am loving the GamePad and I hope to see it made better with improved battery life and a different coating. Now excuse me as I get back to Super Mario 3D World…
The Bottom Line