News Article

Your Wii U GamePad May Be More Responsive Than Your HDTV

Posted by Damien McFerran

Latency tests show that Nintendo's streaming tech is rock solid

One of the first things many people will question when picking up the Wii U GamePad for the first time is the quality of the streaming. With no wired connection between the console and controller, many make the assumption that the delay must be greater than when playing on a standard television.

However, Eurogamer has conducted some latency tests and discovered that the streaming tech Nintendo is using is so robust that the screen on the GamePad is actually more responsive than some LCD televisions - TVs which are known to use technology that suffers from a certain amount of processing latency.

You can read the full investigation here - as well as view video evidence - but we couldn't resist reproducing the section of the report that matters:

The GamePad's video streaming offers excellent, low latency results with rock-solid performance. Bearing in mind that many HDTVs operate with far higher levels of lag, this is a significant achievement. Indeed, for many people, using the GamePad screen will provide a marginally more responsive experience than playing on their regular display.

Have you been impressed by the GamePad's low latency streaming? Drop us a comment to share your thoughts.


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User Comments (25)



6ch6ris6 said:

impressive, but i 2 weeks ago or so i read an article saying the gamepad latency is slightly (very very slightly tiny little) higher than the latency on a tv

now i am confused



RupeeClock said:

It took a lot of fiddling around, but eventually I got the picture on my Samsung HDTV to look nearly as good as on my Gamepad.
I can't say there are any latency issues at all though, HDMI is a very nice perk.

I've taken to playing rounds of New Super Mario Bros. U on just the GamePad whilst web browsing, like having a long YouTube video up, it's great!



Shiryu said:

That explains why I hear the sounds from "New Super Mario BrosU" a tiny few milliseconds before the sound comes on TV.



Kreegs07 said:

Does the lag on the LCD TV explain why there is a slight lag in Punch Out on the VC?



Wonder_Ideal said:

"the GamePad is actually more responsive than some LCD televisions"
@Damo - I believe that this phrase needs "more" in there. Otherwise, really cool article.



BJQ1972 said:

They picked a display that has very low latency for this test, so in reality it is even better than most HDTVs.

For people who are having lag issues, make sure that the input your console is connected to is set to 'Game' mode - on some TVs it makes a significant difference. Sorry if your granny already knows etc.



Chunky_Droid said:

i've had 3 different HDTVs (and seen plenty more) and I seriously can't see the latency in any of them.

Is this generally regarded as a #firstworldproblem?



ArcanaXVI said:

The GamePad is indeed a wonder. Now to start fiddling with the TV so its color matches the GamePad's more closely...



Dr_42o said:

The only problem i have found with my gamepad is that is better looking than the tv... Just kidding.. i don't have a Wii U yet.. bahhh




2nd paragrpah there is a typo. Should read " actually MORE responsive than blah blah blah Nintendo is the best."



Drawdler said:

Nibelilt wrote:

I was playing Skylanders: Giants on my GamePad the good majority of today- and there was not one spot of lag or performance drop. Considering that the Portal has to stream to the console which has to then stream to the GamePad I would say this thing is pretty freaking powerful with all things considered,

I'm impressed. And I don't say that often.
It did freeze once, but this happened with both the Wii version and the first game so this was probably a one-off due to the game anyway.
Seriously, though, very impressive.



alLabouTandroiD said:

I think they should let you calibrate when stuff will happen on your GamePad. Like your can calibrate it in the Guitar Hero / Rock Band games. Especially Nintendo can not expect people to have the best HDTV's ever made.



meppi said:

That's darn impressive actually how a wireless connection like this can be quicker than a wired one in certain circumstances.
I'm glad I got a Panasonic plasma when I did mainly for issues such as this, so it doesn't affect me. And on top of it, classic games still look very nice on it as well.



Doge said:

Another reason to get da Wii U peoples, and i am quite impressed



Sean_Aaron said:

My ancient (circa 2007) Philips plasma is right in sync; it could also do all resolutions over component so I've never experienced problems displaying VC content on my Wii. I guess even a budget plasma is superior to LCD...



WaveGhoul said:

Thank god i've been doing my research for years now on this enormous HDTV input lag ordeal. I've got the best plasma period in terms of having the lowet input lag. I finally picked up my 60" Panasonic '2011' S30 Plasma(The ST30 is the other 1 frame/16ms capable 1080p set that has 3D and an anti glare filtre) on Craigs List. These sets are extremely tough to find online in canada, thank goody' for craigs list, not to mention i got a great deal on it.Too bad the 1 frame of lag is just through component cables. 'HDMI' raises the lag by a bit, but it's still MUCH better than what the 2012 panasonic plasma's are dishing out...

Just a heads up, the best LED/LCD's to game on when it comes to the lowest input lag >

Panasonic X1 720p 2009 LCD (only 6ms of lag at the most)
Panasonic S1 1080p 2009 LCD (A little less than 16ms of lag)
Panasonic E3 1080p 2010 LED (1 frame/16ms)

I found the S1 online, but they don't ship to canada. I don't need it anyways, but i was considering it just to have a smaller 32"-37" TV on the side for kicks. They're also 'IPS Alpha panels' meaning, they deliver better motion, blacks, lower input lag and superior viewing angles than the typical LED/LED norm. Anyways! This 60" Plasma makes gaming and watching movies absolutely amazing.
As long as the contrast and sharpness for wii games are set to max/100. While the screen aspect ratio is set to 4:3/Full screen to get that proper super crisp/sharp/clear 640x480p picture and of course in 480'p' via component cables. Metroid Prime 3 is blowing me away, along with SSB Brawl, Klonoa and Super Mario Galaxy. Time to unbox the Wii U in a couple more days once i finally get everything properly set up tee hee.

And if the GamePad Latency was anymore than 1 frame i'd be a little ticked, but as it sonds great!



kobe1724 said:

That's good to hear. I've always had problems with input lag on our HDTV, which makes me really worry about playing a Wii U. It's hard to play a game (like NSMBU) that requires quick precision button pressing when there's always this REALLY annoying input lag. I've tried to fix it, but I can't. There's no "Game" mode to switch it to or anything. @anybody Just out of curiosity, does HDMI lower the amount of input lag, compared to, for example, the HD cords that you use for an Xbox 360?



Sun said:

That is not really true. On modern LCD TVs you can change the view mode to GAME and the latency is reduced to zero.



SCAR said:

This old news, and just for those of you who doubt it, just go play your Wii U, and notice the lag of sound/visuals on the TV vs. the gamepad. It is possible to tell without a computer telling you... Maybe game mode on displays changes it, but Wii U is still going to be putting images/audio on the gamepad first vs. the TV no matter what. Wii U's controller needs to be in perfect sync with the console.

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