The Nintendo Wii can't compete with Sony and Microsoft when it comes to serious gaming, but experts say it's a great choice for younger kids and families thanks to its huge selection of fun, family-friendly titles.
Low rez, high fun. The Nintendo Wii isn't known for high-octane gaming or realistic graphics, and it only outputs in standard definition. That leads reviewers to say that serious gamers should look to the Sony PlayStation 3 Slim (250 GB) (*Est. $270) or Microsoft Xbox 360 Slim (250 GB) (*Est. $300) instead. Still, owners say the Wii is fun, easy to use and a great way to spend time with friends or family. The Nintendo Wii was the first to bring motion control to gaming, and early complaints about its accuracy have been answered with improvements to the technology. However, critics say that Sony's PlayStation Move technology is still more precise.
The Nintendo Wii has a huge selection of games, but most are geared toward younger gamers. Both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have more adult-oriented games. Earlier versions of the Wii were backward compatible with older Nintendo GameCube games, but that capability has been removed in the current model.
A new -- and very different -- Nintendo Wii, the Wii U, is slated just in time for the 2012 holiday shopping season. However, that is aimed at a more sophisticated gaming audience, with technological horsepower and a price tag to match. Once it's available, and reviewers and users have had their turn with it, we'll be posting a review of the Wii U.
Limited streaming, but not much else. While the Xbox 360 can play back DVDs and CDs, and the PlayStation 3 can play back those plus Blu-ray Discs, the Wii cannot play back any type of pre-recorded discs -- the drive just handles the console's proprietary disc format.
The Wii can stream content, but the number of partners is limited with only Netflix and Hulu Plus represented among the major providers. The Wii is not DLNA certified, but you can stream content from your PC if you have the appropriate media server software (PlayOn or TVersity, for example) installed on it.
It's a family affair. In 2011, Nintendo joined the refresh parade by offering a slightly spiffed up version of the Wii. Referred to as the Wii Family Edition, the console now sits horizontally rather than vertically and sports a slightly trimmed down case. The console is currently offered only in black.
For families, it's still the one. The Wii has seen its price drop since first introduced, and that's helped keep its value pretty reasonable for its intended audience -- kids and families. For others, however, even though the Wii costs less than consoles from Microsoft and Sony -- and the new Wii U -- the level of gaming sophistication could disappoint.
Review Credibility: Very Good CNET has an extensive editorial review of the current Nintendo Wii, albeit as part of a bundle that's now discontinued. Author Scott Stein's thorough analysis pegs the Wii as a solid value for families and those who enjoy casual games. However, he cautions that it's also the most dated console.
Review: Nintendo Wii Mario Kart Wii Pack Review (Black), Scott Stein, Aug. 23, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good Since few professional reviewers have looked at the Wii in recent years, owner feedback is even more helpful than usual in evaluating the gaming console. The majority of the more than 120 that weigh in at BestBuy.com seem pleased, with 90 percent saying that they would recommend the Nintendo Wii to a friend.
Review: Nintendo - Nintendo Wii Console (Black), Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Nearly 100 owners weigh in on the current Nintendo Wii here, but give the console a split decision. A large amount of the negative feedback is based on the fact that the Wii is no longer compatible with GameCube games.
Review: Wii Black Console, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good Ben Gottesman says that the Nintendo Wii is showing its age based on its current ratings, finishing behind both the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 in this survey of user satisfaction. It trails the field in most categories save reliability, where it finishes in a tie with the Xbox 360.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2012, Ben Gottesman, Sept. 17, 2012
5. PC World
Review Credibility: Good Kyle Monson at PCMag.com has a detailed look at the Nintendo Wii, although this review is a bit dated. Monson says that although the Wii is a good choice for nongamers, families with small children or those who want a game system for party fun, adults will be better served by an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
Review: Nintendo Wii (Fall 2008), Kyle Monson, Nov. 17, 2008
Review Credibility: Good ArsTechnica.com has the longest and most detailed review of the Nintendo Wii. Although it is rather dated and deals with the previous version, much of the information is still valid. Ben Kuchera takes potential Wii users through the setup process, the hardware ergonomics and the games. He's enthusiastic about the innovation and backward compatibility; less so about the speaker and graphics quality.
Review: Nintendo Wii: the Ars Technica Review, Ben Kuchera, Nov. 27, 2006
The Nintendo Wii bundle gets better ratings at BestBuy.com, though after quite a bit less feedback. Still, owners have few complaints, and nearly every one thus far says that they would recommend the console to a friend.
Review: Nintendo -- Nintendo Wii Console (Black) w/Mario Kart Wii Bundle and Wii Remote Plus, Contributors to BestBuy.com