Like many of our readers, I too suffer from a number of crippling psychological addictions. Chief among those is that I cannot live without the internet. What is normally a simple drain on my productivity posed somewhat of a problem for me a a few weeks ago, as my computer was experiencing issues, thus I had to leave it at the Geek Squad to have it repaired, leaving me without internet for several days.
Now, while I could’ve gone and done something fulfilling or productive with my time, I decided instead that the best possible use of my time without my computer was to attempt surf the internet via the Wii U’s built in internet browser. So, in order to make up for my corresponding absence from Wii U Daily I’m going to be posting a short review of my the Wii U’s Internet Browser.
Let’s just get this out of the way: it’s not quite as satisfying surfing the internet via a traditional computer. No surprise there really. The program itself takes a several seconds to load, which is a lot compared to Firefox or Chrome which open near instantaneously. Likewise individual pages tended to take longer to load than they would have would on my computer, depending on how big the page was. This was only made worse if I tried to load several pages at once. Others tended not to display well, or sometimes not even at all, although reloading the page tended to help. This very site actually tends to display quite well, so should you ever feel the need to check out some Wii U news in the middle of a particularly intense Mario Kart session or something, it works well enough for that! Although only being able to type only one finger would make actually writing for the site somewhat difficult.
On the other hand being able to use the touch screen makes the interface far better than the Wii’s old browser, as it is now much easier to scroll and fill in text fields, because being able to type with a touchscreen is a heck of a lot better than having to use point controls. This also makes it leagues better than the PS3′s, Xbox 360′s and PS4′s clunky controller based interfaces, which make navigating a page a chore and typing absurdly inconvenient. On the other hand the Xbox One’s voice commands give it somewhat of an edge when it comes to searches (“Xbox, Bing: Ryse analysis“), although navigating pages is still a bit clunky. Of course none of them come close to a mouse and keyboard, but if for some reason that’s not available I’d say, of all the consoles, the Wii U probably has the best browser.
The browser of course supports HTML5, so you can play flash games (although why you would want to do that when you have a fully functioning Wii U in your hands is beyond me) or watch YouTube videos. In some ways it’s actually more convenient to watch YouTube videos on the browser than in the Wii U’s actual YouTube app, since the browser allows you to continue browsing on the touch screen while the video plays on the TV, plus this way you’ll be using the more familiar YouTube interface from the website rather than the strange one the app uses.
Honestly, Nintendo’s intent with the browser was likely to give players an easy way if they’re stuck in a game to quickly hop on GameFAQs or something and look up a guide, and for that purpose it works well enough. So while it has it’s flaws, it does its job and while I wouldn’t recommend it for extended surfing sessions, it’s not bad if you feel like taking a break from a game and looking something up real quick. But what do you guys think? Have you used the Wii U’s internet browser before, what were your impressions?