Once you do get the console setup – preferably in its vertical position – it’s easy to admire the pure aesthetics of the machine itself. Nintendo has been on something of an Apple bend of late and the elegant shiny white finish, the blue glow of the front-loading disc drive and small form factor continue this trend.
Sat next to an Xbox 360 the difference is quite startling, with its chunky design and matt white finish made to look cheap and nasty in comparison. In short, Wii looks comfortable, stylish and won’t draw unwanted attention to itself. Better yet, it runs practically whisper quiet during all operation and doesn’t kick out a whole load of heat either.
It’s already fairly well documented that Wii is no graphical powerhouse. Nintendo has never released the official clock speeds of either the CPU or GPU, but most reports suggest them to be roughly twice as high as those found in the GameCube; making it on paper slightly more powerful than the original Xbox.
Put simply, though, to judge Wii on graphical prowess is missing the point entirely. If you can’t live without the very best graphics on offer then Wii may not be for you, though you’ll be missing out on a number of the unique benefits only found on this system.
Memory cards have long been the bane of gamers and though Wii doesn’t feature a hard drive like its rivals, it does include 512MB of internal flash memory for storing game saves, downloaded channels and Virtual Console titles. This is supplemented by an SD Memory Card slot, located under a flap on the front of the console, with a capacity of up to 2GB. Good though this is, it’s tarnished somewhat by the fact that game saves and Virtual Console games must be transferred to the main internal memory to be used.
The optical drive has a smart front-loading slot mechanism, and is surrounded by enchanting blue lighting around the slot. It’ll accept both GameCube discs, in their mini-DVD format, and Wii Discs which are essentially the standard DVD discs we’ve all become accustomed to with 4.7GB of single layer capacity and 8.5GB on a double layer disc.
Connection wise Wii isn’t overloaded, though it isn’t missing anything it actually needs either. Under flaps on the top of the console – or left side if sitting horizontally – are four GameCube controller ports and two GameCube memory card slots. Since Wii is based on GameCube hardware it’s 100 per cent backward compatible with that system, and all the games I’ve tried have worked faultlessly.
On the back of the console you’ll find the DC Input Connector, AV Multi Out, Sensor Bar port and two USB ports. The upcoming LAN Adapter will use the USB ports, though Nintendo has yet to announce any other peripherals that will utilise them.
Also located at the rear is a small air vent, which is complemented by an air intake located at the bottom of the console when in its vertical position. This makes it essential to use the stand provided when placing Wii in the vertical position, since it allows for sufficient air flow.
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.