The recommended range for using the pointer is 3-8 feet, though it can be used up to 15 feet away without too many problems. A lot of games, however, don’t use the pointer and these can be played from a very significant distance – further than you’d ever need at least. The Wii Remote uses Bluetooth to communicate with the console and, though there’s no word on what class of Bluetooth it uses, the remote can certainly be used over 10 metres away and still work. So, unless your living room is indecently large, you shouldn’t encounter any issues in this regard.
Internally, the remote also contains force feedback and a small amount of flash memory that can be used for storing Mii’s – more on which later – for use on other consoles. The force feedback is pretty good, with a comfortable level of rumble that isn’t too loud or distracting. It does, however, pose a slight issue when it comes to battery consumption.
Nintendo states that good quality alkaline batteries should last, during normal operation, for around 35 hours and this is generally the case. This does, however, vary considerably depending on the game and Zelda, which uses a large number of the Wii Remote functions simultaneously, can reduce this battery life to as little as 15 hours.
If this is a problem for you there are options available to you. If you press the Home button and select ‘Wii Remote Settings’ you can reduce the volume of the speaker, and turn off the rumble features entirely. This will make a significant difference to battery life, though you will of course miss out much of the Wii experience.
Alternatively, you can use rechargeable NiMH batteries that, although discouraged in the manual, are deemed sufficient on Nintendo’s website. In either set of events, it’s important to use high quality branded batteries as skimping on cheap ones will certainly reduce performance significantly.
”’At E3 Nintendo showed off multi-coloured Wii Remotes”’
Connecting to the bottom of the remote is the Nunchuk unit, which is rather like a prong from a GameCube controller, albeit slightly larger. Featuring an analogue control stick, Z trigger, C button – it’s a rather more functional unit compared to the remote and is noticeably lighter. Again, though, it sits very comfortably in the hand and serves its purpose admirably. Though the Nunchuk is the first extension for the remote, Nintendo has already demoed concepts for further add-ons and there’s plenty of potential for more unique add-ons.
No review of the Nintendo Wii would be complete without mentioning the now infamous Wii Remote wrist strap. Though the strap is certainly thin, I, and every other Wii owner I know, have yet to encounter any problems and the true scale of the ‘problem’ is inconclusive at best. Regardless of this doubt, Nintendo has promised to replace all wrist straps, faulty or otherwise, for no charge with all future Wii Remote’s featuring the new thicker straps. In which case, whatever problem there may have been is of little concern.