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What is the difference between Wii U Models?

Updated on February 12, 2013

Nintendo's Wii U has already created a growing sense of excitement amongst the gaming community. The latest evolution of Nintendo's Wii brand, this touch-pad enabled gaming system will be Nintendo's first major attempt to cater to both the hardcore gamer and the "casual" gaming crowd.

The question on many Wii U buyer's minds is: which Wii U model should I buy? At launch, Nintendo is launching a Basic Wii U model alongside the more feature-friendly Wii U Deluxe model. Read on to find out what you can expect to get in your Wii U packages alongside a careful critique of which is the better value.

The Wii U GamePad tablet is included with the console
The Wii U GamePad tablet is included with the console
The Wii U Pro Controller is sold separately but is a good investment.
The Wii U Pro Controller is sold separately but is a good investment.

What All Wii U Models Include

All versions of the Wii U will launch with the following

  • A Wii U Console
  • One Wii U GamePad
  • 1 Sensor Bar
  • HDMI cables
  • Wii U GamePad Charger
  • An AC adaptor

In many ways, the Wii U's unique GamePad is the major draw of Nintendo's latest console. Featuring a fully functional touch screen, motion sensor, and microphone, this tablet controller is one of a kind inf the world of console gaming.

Although the Wii U only comes with one GamePad, the console can support up to two. The Wii U is also compatible with the older Nintendo Wii nunchucks, the Wii Fit pad, and the brand new WiiU Pro controllers.

The Pro controllers very closely resemble an Xbox 360 controller. Featuring a traditional cross-shaped directional button, two analog controllers, and four primary face buttons, they are ideal for playing cross-platform titles without having to significantly change the gameplay experience to match a motion controller.

Anyone looking for Wii U GamePad's, take note: Nintendo is currently only offering GamePad's directly. Although the Pro controller and the Nunchucks are available through big box retail stores like, you will need to contact Nintendo to purchase a second GamePad.

Now that you know the similarities between Wii U consoles, read on to find out what the differences between the Wii U packages are.

The Nintendo Deluxe Wii U Set
The Nintendo Deluxe Wii U Set

The Wii U Deluxe: Your Best Bet

The major difference between Wii U models lies in what is included in the Wii U Deluxe. In addition to all of the above comes with a number of additional bonuses and features that make it a much better purchase than the basic model.

First and foremost are the hardware differences between the Wii U Basic and the Wii U Deluxe. The Wii U Deluxe comes with four times the storage of the Basic. With 32 GB of hard drive space to the Basic's 8 GB, it is already well ahead. With Nintendo's increased focus of online gaming, this extra hard drive space will be a huge bonus when gaming with your new Wii U.

The Wii U Deluxe will also come standard with a console stand that allows for gamers to more carefully position their expensive new piece of hardware. The premium edition will also include a charging dock for the Wii U GamePad. While the tablet controller will still be able to be charged without this additional item, it makes it easier and safer to charge your GamePad.

The biggest difference between the Wii U Basic versus the Deluxe is pack-in games and services. The Wii U Deluxe will come with a free copy of the party game Nintendo Land plus free membership to Nintendo's online services through to December of 2014.

How Do I Tell The Difference Between The Basic Wii U and the Deluxe?

Telling whether you're looking at a Deluxe Wii you or a Basic Wii U is simple! The Basic version was produced only in white while the premium edition was manufactured with a black chassis. Even if you're buying a used Wii U, you can instantly tell which version you're looking at by the color.

The Wii U Basic Vs Premium Chart

Wii U Basic Package
Wii U Deluxe Package
Console Style
Hard Drive Space
8 GB
32 GB
HDMI Cables
Pack-In Game
Nintendo Land
Nintendo Premium Subscription
Full Year Free
Console Stand
GamePad Charging Dock

Are you going to buy a Wii U?

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Help! I can't find a Wii U!

The bad news is that it is looking to be very difficult to find a Wii U on launch date. If you're unable to find a Wii U Console through a retailer like Best Buy, GameStop, Target, you may have to find a different method. Third party sellers are probably your best bet. runs a number of different user-based shops which will likely have a variety of Wii u consoles available.

eBay is also a good bet to find a Wii U during the frantic period after the initial launch. However, it is extremely important to read the fine print when shopping on eBay. Many users will try to sell you pre-order slips instead of actual consoles or overcharge shipping to try and make a buck off of desperate buyers.The Wii U is an awesome gaming system, but it isn't worth being fooled over.

Amazon's more stringent policies are probably your best bet to getting a legitimate system.

Follow the link for a comparison between how the Wii U handles games vs. tablet competitor the iPad


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    • Skylanders profile image

      Suzanne Kirkhope 4 years ago from California

      We got the Wii U Deluxe for my son for Christmas this year. He loves video games and already has a Wii and XBox 360. We were worried that the Wii U would not be worth the extra money. However we were pleasantly surprised. We really enjoy being able to play as a family, and having the person use the Wii U controller with a pen to help out in Super Mario Brothers is great. We now want Just Dance 4!

    • RetroBrothers profile image

      Martin Allan 5 years ago from Sunny Scotland

      Great Hub - I will be getting one of these. My kids love the Wii (I prefer PC gaming) but the Wii is great for a bit of a laugh with friends and family.

      One thing about Nintendo - they always do things a little differently from everyone else