Nintendo Details Wii U Tech Specs, GamePad Battery Life
Nintendo has gone under the hood of its next-gen Wii U console, releasing the finalized tech specs for the upcoming system. The company had released previous specs late last year to select retailers, and while these specs do not appear to differ much from before, they have been confirmed as the finalized Wii U product.
The console is approximately 1.8 inches high, 10.5 inches deep, and 6.8 inches long, and weighs about 3.4 pounds. It'll feature an IBM Power-based multi-core CPU and an AMD Radeon-based HD GPU. The system will run up to 1080p high definition video output, and nearly all Wii input and output cables will be compatible with the new console. It will also feature four USB connectors.
As far as saves go, the Wii U uses an internal flash memory, while supporting SD memory cards and external USB storage. Games will continue to run on optical discs, and the system will be backwards compatible, supporting old Wii discs along with new Wii U ones. In fact, the specs note that "nearly all Wii software and accessories can be used with Wii U," including up to four Wii Remote and/or Wii Remote Plus (or Wii U Pro) controllers, the Nunchuk, Classic Controller, and the Wii Balance Board.
The Wii U GamePad controller features the much-touted 6.2-inch LCD touchscreen, the expected assortment of buttons, motion control (with an accelerometer, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensor), a front-facing camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, rumble features, a sensor bar, and an included stylus. It will feature a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that takes around 2.5 hours to fully charge, while the controller battery alone lasts around 3-5 hours. Not exactly impressive, but it would appear that such is the price of essentially having a tablet inside a controller.
As previously mentioned, the Wii U will support up to two GamePads on one console. However, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata tweeted yesterday that, if using dual GamePads on one console, the system's frame rate will drop to 30 frames per second. Again, that's something of a disappointment.
In addition to all the technical mumbo jumbo, Nintendo also released a handful of details on some of the Wii U's major non-gaming features. Particular highlights there include the GamePad's ability to function as an infrared TV remote; the controller's Near Field Communication functionality, which will allow the GamePad to scan certain objects into certain games; the fact that Nintendo eShop will be available for Wii U buyers from day one; and the GamePad's video chat capability.
For the most part things look fairly impressive, save for a couple of GamePad design snafus. Now that that's out of the way, though, we can all get back to wondering where that promised new Super Smash Bros. game went this year.
By Jeff Dunn