One of the capabilities that the Wii U has is its Internet browser. The web browser was shown off during the presentation of the console months ago, and just reinforces that having the GamePad controller was a smart direction for Nintendo. After the initial internet set up period, which might cause you some trouble based on your connection, it can be accessed right from the main Wii U menu as well as the HOME button menu. By having it available in the HOME Menu, players will can access the internet browser without needing to turn off the running application.
The Internet Browser will always show up on the GamePad, and the player can toggle having the paused game screen on their TV or to have the page they are looking at appear instead. It’s pretty cool, because a theatre curtain opens and closes the screen when you toggle for the game screen to show. I kept pressing the button to see which colors it would turn next.
You can read some more of my impressions and comments after a quick jump.
For the most part, whenever I play a game on a console and want to check up something on the Internet, I have to have my laptop to the side as well. It’s just much faster, and typing in web addresses and searches is easier on a computer or through my phone. With the Wii U though, I don’t think it will be necessary.
The keyboard on the GamePad controller is simple and easy to use. The included stylus can help those whose fingers are a bit more clumsy than mine, and it actually can be used as a main tool for browsing the Internet. But that’s not the only control method to available. If I want to, I can just use the button and stick controls on the Wii U GamePad and not the touch screen. But I can also zoom in and out, select links, or close tabs without needing to tap an on-screen button.
From the browser on the GamePad I can perform tasks by pressing on buttons on the bottom of the screen. I can zoom in and out, perform searches through either Google or Yahoo depending on my preferences, open new tabs and do other convenient tasks. There is a bookmark button in the bottom left that displays your selected Nintendo ID Mii, which means each ID can have different bookmarks. I have already added GenGAME to my list of bookmarks.
The top of the GamePad screen has the web URL and a refresh button, as well as a menu-like button to the left. By pressing on the symbol, I can view the date and time as well as my bookmarks. The manual can also be accessed, which allows people who are new to a tool like this to learn how to use it.
Parents are also able to use parental controls to protect their children from the dangers of the Internet. It can be blocked entirely from the main parental controls. I don’t have much to worry about there, but I’m sure many parents will be relieved at the capability.
Wii U sets a new bar for Internet browsers on home consoles: it’s simple and easy to use, with smooth and familiar controls, and is actually pretty fast. If a player gets stuck in a game, they can search how to get through it without needing to leave their seat… or even put down their controller.