Nintendo Switch vs. Wii U: How Do They Compare?

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Having been on sale for a couple of weeks now, the Nintendo Switch has proven to be an early hit for the Japanese tech giant. Over the first weekend of sales, it managed to sell enough to break long-standing records made by previous Nintendo devices. However, if you were not one of those who rushed out to buy one and still want to know why you should. Here’s a quick and precise breakdown of how the Switch compares to its direct predecessor the Wii U.

Nintendo Switch vs. Wii U

When considering purchasing a new gaming device no doubt the first question on your mind is going to be the price. Now, where the Wii U and Switch are concerned unless you purchase a 2nd hand device, it cannot be purchased new. Why? Because Nintendo discontinued it to make way for the Switch. However, when it was available, it retailed for between $300 and $350 USD. As for the Switch, you can pick one up with either gray or blue/red Joy-Con controllers. However, unlike the Wii U, no game is bundled as standard.

Size and Weight

Unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Wii U was not a stand-alone handheld device which could be placed into a dock and work with a TV. Instead, you had to use the handheld part of it within the vicinity of its console. This as you would think means that with many of its important components inside the main body of the device, it would be small. However, when compared to the Switch, that is not the case, more than likely due to the advancements in technology since 2012.

Now before we tell you what’s different, here’s what remains the same. Surprisingly, the screen size on the Wii U handheld controller and that of the Switch are both 6.2-inches, and both have an aspect ratio of 16.9. However, that is where the similarities end. Because, as we mentioned earlier the Wii U is much larger than 2017’s device.

Measuring 135mm x 259mm x 23mm it dwarfs the Switch at 102mm x 239mm x 14mm. What’s surprising about that is, the Switch is an entirely self-contained device. Additionally, and quite obviously, the Switch is also the lighter of the two devices weighing in at 279 grams compared to 491 grams.

Specs and Performance

During the year before the launch of the Nintendo’s latest device, many had called for it to enter the race with Sony and Microsoft. They wanted and speculated about a device that could take on the graphical powers of the PS4 and Xbox One. Has that happened? No, it hasn’t!

In fact, even with a powerful Nvidia chipset with similarities to GeForce graphics cards, performance is almost identical to the Wii U’s. Additionally, as was with the previous, the Switch is only capable of 1080p output via a TV. When used in a handheld configuration this drops to 900p which is seen with Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Moving onto storage, both consoles come with an unusually small amount out of the box. The Switch comes with 32GB as standard whereas the Wii U had either 8GB or 32GB. Fortunately, this capacity is expandable via microSD, SDHC, or SDXC cards up to a maximum of 2TB.

Finally, there’s also Bluetooth connectivity and 802.11ac WiFi., are these enough to convince you to upgrade?

Games and Software

If backward compatibility is important to you, don’t upgrade to the Nintendo Switch. Why? Nintendo has chosen to switch (pardon the pun) to cartridges meaning the physical discs used by the Wii U are not compatible.

Also, while the Switch is a new, the Wii U was around for four years and amassed a few titles. Meaning, that right now, Nintendo’s latest is devoid of a worthy range of games. However, unlike its predecessor, it could be the Nintendo platform which receives third-party developer support with many titles already promised.

It’s expected that in-house titles such as Mario Kart 8 will arrive in April. As for others, the likes of Splatoon 2 in the summer and Super Mario Odyssey being readied for Christmas.

Moving onto the operating system, the Nintendo Switch offer a fast and intuitive UI. However, some much-needed features are lacking. Such as the ability to save between the console and Micro SD card 9 (which is a shocking oversight). Furthermore, there’s a significant lack of online features, they have been promised but will likely come via a smartphone application. All of which means, the Switch doesn’t come with popular streaming apps that users can have on the Wii U.

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