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Opera Wii Browser - Review
Written by Phil Thompson

Nintendo have spoken of accessibility, simplicity and ease of use. Sure, the console ticks all these boxes, but we can say without a doubt, the Wii Internet Browser (Trial Version) most certainly doesn’t. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the severely lacking Nintendo DS Browser would have taught Opera a few lessons on console development, however this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Opera Wii
Nintendo DS

The UI is easy to use, however saying that navigating websites using the browser is “a bit awkward” is like saying “PS3 is ‘a bit’ expensive”. To begin with, the page itself is displayed at 70% zoom, or thereabouts. This makes browsing very difficult on screens under 17”, and awkward on larger screens. This wouldn’t be much of an issue if the zoom was user dictated, but tragically, is isn’t. There are two levels of zoom in the Trial- “Too Small” and “Too Big”. Both look horrible, and both are difficult to manipulate.

We’re also surprised to see no tabbed browsing- one of the things that Opera do very, very well. The Nintendo DS Browser lacks this feature, and suffers greatly as a result. Considering that Wii is nearly ten times as powerful as the DS, it’s hard to understand why Opera would leave out such a vital feature. Speaking of vital features, we’re pretty damn sure that browsers are meant to have user-selected Home pages, and for some reason, Opera saw fit to leave it out of the Trial Version altogether. We are not amused.

Also, anybody who has ever used the Wii keyboard will know how horribly awkward it is. Because the browser is quite heavilly dependent on the keyboard, not having access to one in real time is slightly daunting, if not alienating.

Load speeds are impressive, and an obvious step up from the DS’ offering. Pages usually load within a few seconds. IGN’s main page loaded in about eight seconds. Flash also displays well, however Flash 7 is about as much as you’re getting at this stage.

So overall, we’re not too thrilled with the new browser. As it stands, I certainly won’t be using it much. Hell, I’ll likely use my DS Browser more frequently. If Nintendo want people to browse the internet on their consoles, there’s a few things they need to iron out. And by a few, we mean quite a few. As in, loads. First off, we’d like a Home page. We would also appreciate being able to read text on webpages. User-dictated zoom would be nice, too.

The verdict:

It's quick, but it's crap. Hopefully we'll be able
to see what we're doing in the final release.


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