When the original Wii launched in 2006, it became one of the most popular consoles of all time. The motion-sensing controls and fun, lively aesthetic captivated millions of people. But even the best technology has its flaws, and the Wii was no exception. Without support for HD graphics, you needed an HDMI converter to get the best picture on a newer TV. And without HD graphics, Wii players didn’t have access to many AAA games you could play on other consoles. Despite this limitation, there were still some true classics, including The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Wii Sports. But by 2012, it was time for an upgrade.
That year, Nintendo released the Wii U, their very first HD Console. In addition to HD graphics, the Wii U came with an upgraded control scheme. Along with the traditional Wiimote, the Wii U also uses a GamePad. Depending on the game, this GamePad can serve a variety of functions. It can be a secondary display, a menu screen, or even a touchscreen control. It all depends on what the developers decide to use it for. Like most other modern game controllers, the GamePad relies on battery power. When that battery starts to fail, it needs to be replaced.
Of course, some replacement batteries are better than others. Some have higher capacity than the original, while others are longer-lasting. Unfortunately, some are cheap knockoffs that can damage your GamePad. Today, we’ll help you sort out the best of the bunch. We’ll start by reviewing the Button Masher Wii U Replacement Battery. This is a high-capacity replacement that’s nearly three times as powerful as the original. Next, we’ll look at the LVL99Gear Supercharged Wii U GamePad Battery. This is a straightforward, one-for-one replacement for the original battery. Last, we’ll check out the UCEC Rechargeable Wii U Battery Pack. This is a mid-powered pack with built-in overcharge protection. Let’s see what each of them has to offer!
All About the Wii U GamePad
The GamePad ships with the Wii U, and is the standard controller for most games. That said, other controllers can be used as well. For instance, most classic Wii games and some newer games require the Wiimote’s motion sensing function. The same is true for classic titles that use the balance board and other less common inputs. But even in those cases, you’ll need the GamePad to navigate system menus and change system settings.
First revealed in June, 2012, the GamePad underwent a few minor design changes before its final release. The buttons were moved around a bit, and the prototype’s circle pads were replaced with normal thumbsticks. The heart and soul of the controller remained the same, though. The large touchscreen display is used as a secondary display for many titles. Some games also let you play the game directly on the GamePad, without the use of a TV.
One disadvantage of the GamePad is that you can only connect two at a time. The Wii is known as a social console, and it would be nice to be able to play with four controllers. That said, many games support multiple inputs by using additional Wiimotes or Pro Controllers. So if you want to play Super Smash Bros or Mario Party in four-player mode, just use your old controllers. You can even go crazy and use an old GameCube controller by connecting it via a controller adapter.
The GamePad is region locked, just like the Wii U console. The Japanese, North American, and European versions will only work with their respective consoles. In the US, a GamePad costs almost three times as much as a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller. So when you have a dead battery, it’s well worth replacing. The alternative — replacing the whole controller — is wastefully expensive.
Wii U GamePad Battery Basics
The stock GamePad battery has a capacity of 1,500mAh, slightly more than half the capacity of an iPhone 12. In real-world terms, this works out to three to five hours of playtime. There are a number of variables involved, including the screen brightness. The type of game and amount of vibration are also major factors. A dead battery can be fully recharged in about 2 ½ hours. You can also recharge while you’re playing, but this will take longer. The default power adapter requires an AC outlet, though you can buy third-party chargers that work on USB power.
The battery is rated for 500 charge/discharge cycles. That’s somewhere between 1,500 and 2,500 hours of total playtime. At that point, the total capacity will have been reduced to about 70 percent. Continuing to use the battery will cause the capacity to drop even further. At some point, you’ll only be able to use the GamePad when it’s plugged in. Clearly, a new battery is warranted before you get to that point.
The GamePad’s battery is easily accessible. The only tool you’ll need to replace it is a #00 Phillips screwdriver. These can be found in some glasses kits, or for a few dollars at any home improvement store. You’ll also need a replacement battery. These can either be purchased through a third-party, or directly from Nintendo. Keep in mind that larger replacement batteries will make the GamePad correspondingly heavier.
To replace the Wii U GamePad battery, you’ll first need to power the GamePad off. You’ll also need to disconnect it from the charger. You don’t want to get an electrical shock! With the power turned off, turn the GamePad facedown and remove the two screws in the battery cover. With the screws removed, you’ll be able to easily lift the battery cover and set it aside.
Inside the compartment, you’ll see the battery pack, connected to the GamePad by a heavy black clip. Press down on the connector and pull it towards the back of the unit to remove it. At that point, you can simply pop the battery out and replace it with the new one. Plug in the connector, screw on the battery plate, and plug it in to charge. Keep in mind that batteries ship with only a bare minimum charge. You’ll want to top your new battery off before putting it to the test. Now that we know how to replace them, let’s check out these batteries!
Button Masher Wii U Replacement Battery
The first thing you’ll notice about the Button Masher Wii U Replacement Battery is that it’s fairly large. In fact, it’s nearly twice the size of the original Wii U battery. It’s designed to install sideways, with tabs on the top to keep it properly positioned. This large size makes the GamePad a bit heavier, but only by about two ounces. Along with the battery itself, you get a mini screwdriver for installation. It’s just a cheap #00 Phillips driver, but it’s plenty for changing this one battery.
The advertising for this battery is a bit confusing. Button Masher states that the battery has a capacity of 4,000mAh. However, if you look up the battery model (ARR-002), you’ll see that it’s actually rated for 4,100mAh. Either way, you’re looking at an impressive amount of total capacity. Assuming 4,000mAh, you’re getting anywhere from eight to 13 hours of playtime per charge. This makes the Wii U GamePad much more suitable for travel, since you won’t have to plug in as often. Keep in mind, though, that the charge time will also be longer. It takes about 6 ½ hours to top off this battery.
To back up this capacity, Button Masher provides a 60-day money back guarantee. Admittedly, this isn’t as impressive as a long-term warranty. But it’s enough to take the battery for a test drive and make sure it’s not a dud. There’s literally no risk to giving the Button Masher battery a try.
LVL99Gear Supercharged Wii U GamePad Battery
The LVL99Gear Supercharged Wii U GamePad Battery is as close to the original as you’ll get on the third-party market. With its 1,500mAh capacity, it offers the same three to five hour performance as the OEM battery. However, the LVL99Gear battery incorporates more advanced technology. There’s no memory effect, so the battery will last through more charge cycles before losing capacity. Along with this standard capacity, the LVL99Gear battery has a standard size. It will install in a vertical orientation, just like the original.
LVL99Gear has also incorporated overcharge protection into their battery. It has a built-in microchip that keeps your battery from accepting juice once it’s fully charged. This prevents overheating, and also ensures that the cells remain good as long as possible. We should point out that the GamePad already has overcharge protection, so this shouldn’t really be necessary. That said, protection systems have been known to fail. If you’ve got protection on the battery as well as the GamePad, you’re doubly safe.
One thing that doesn’t come in the LVL99Gear kit is a screwdriver. You’ll have to supply one of those on your own. That said, Philips #00 screwdrivers are a common size, and should be easy to find.
UCEC Rechargeable Wii U Battery Pack
UCEC is a longstanding manufacturer of video game and entertainment accessories. We’ve even reviewed their portable coiled HDMI cable in the past. We liked their cable, so we thought we’d give their battery pack a go!
This is a WUP-002 battery, one of the high-capacity replacements for the GamePad. It has a capacity of 3,600Mah, or more than twice the capacity of the original battery. This works out to enough for about 7 ½ to 12 hours of gameplay. Not bad at all! Of course, this added capacity comes at the cost of some added size and weight. Like the Button Masher battery, it installs sideways, with tabs at the top to keep it in place. Along with the battery, you also get a small screwdriver. It’s a small, cheap tool, but you only need to open two screws and it’s a nice little extra feature.
The UCEC battery comes with built-in overcharge protection, which prevents damage and premature wear. As with the last battery, this is more or less a superfluous feature, since it’s already present in the GamePad itself. Still, a little extra safety never hurt anybody. In addition, UCEC provides 24-hour online technical support. They also offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the battery.
As you can see, the main difference between these batteries is the capacity and the weight. Other differences are present, but less of a concern. For example, some batteries have overcharge protection, but that’s an extra feature, and not strictly necessary. Some batteries also come with a screwdriver for installation. That’s another nice extra touch, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the battery.
The Button Masher Wii U Replacement Battery is the largest and heaviest, with a capacity of 4,000mAh. It also comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. This makes it a great value if you want to maximize your battery life. On the other hand, if you want your GamePad to be as light as possible, you’ll want a smaller battery.
For a more standard, lightweight feel, the LVL99Gear Supercharged Wii U GamePad Battery is best. It has the same 1,500mAh capacity as the original, so you won’t get any extra playtime. That said, it feels just like the original in your hand, ideal if you like the GamePad’s factory balance. In addition, the LVL99Gear battery has some nice added protections. Overcharge protection isn’t really needed, but it’s a nice extra touch.
The UCEC Rechargeable Wii U Battery Pack is a good balance between the previous two options. It has a large capacity and size, but not quite as big as the Button Masher. Conversely, it has the extra safety features of the LVL99Gear battery. If you’re torn between the first two, the UCEC is a solid choice.