While Nintendo is known for making hardware that is quite literally bombproof, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need any extra protection from the wear and tear of daily life. That’s especially true for the GamePad, which is designed to be both a game controller and a pretty nifty universal TV remote, so it’s likely to get a lot of use. While accessories for Nintendo’s new console have been pretty slow to arrive on the retail scene, I review two of them below and have also found two others protective case options for the GamePad. No matter which option you choose, your GamePad will be protected and ready to go when you are.
The first option is the Wii U GamePad Nerf Armor Kit from PDP. The kit includes a sturdy protective sleeve for your GamePad that is made of slightly nubby Nerf material. The case is stiff, but still very easy to put on your GamePad. It provides excellent protection while still allowing you to access all of the necessary ports and still charge the GamePad in Nintendo’s charging cradle. While it adds some bulk to the already somewhat large GamePad, I still found it comfortable to hold and not too large.
I like the “biggie stylus” that comes with the set even more. It’s much larger than the rather small stylus that comes with the GamePad, and made out of the same slightly squishy Nerf material of the GamePad case. I found it to be easier and more comfortable to use, and imagine that it would also work quite well for little kid hands as well. The only negative is that it does tend to roll on uneven surfaces, but that’s a minor complaint that won’t affect you unless your coffee table is on a seriously uneven floor.
You can get the Nerf Armor Kit for $19.99 in your choice of pink, blue, or orange accent color; the blue color choice is a pretty good match for the color used in the Wii U’s official branding. It is now available for preorder at Amazon with a release date of December 3, but you shouldn’t have any trouble at all getting it sooner than that; I purchased my case at my local GameStop a week ago. (If you order at GameStop.com, however, you will not be able to choose the color you wish to receive.)
The second is the eForCity Silicone Skin Case. Made of a good quality silicone, the case is thin enough that it doesn’t add much bulk to the GamePad but thick enough to hold its shape well and stand up to everyday use. It is very easy to put on your GamePad and covers only a small portion of the front edge. It has all of the appropriate cutouts for the volume slider and stylus on the right and the headphone jack and AC adapter on the left. On the bottom you’ll find a larger cutout designed to allow the GamePad to sit comfortably in the charging cradle that comes with the deluxe version of the Wii U console.
At just $4.35 plus $2.98 shipping from Amazon, the price simply can’t be beat. The eForCity Silicone Skin Case is available now in your choice of black, white, pink, green, blue, or orange–though for some strange reason the black and pink options will cost you an extra 94 cents.
If you want something that covers more of the face of the Wii U GamePad, check out the Wii U Silicone Protector from Hori. The company makes products of excellent quality, so I can still recommend it even though I haven’t yet seen it in person. It’s officially licensed by Nintendo, but the downside is that the Hori case will not allow you to charge the GamePad in Nintendo’s own charging cradle; you’ll have to plug the AC adapter directly into the port on the top edge of the GamePad. It will be available on December 17th and is currently available for preorder from Amazon for $14.99.
The last option is for the gamer who wants it all in one convenient bundle. The Official Gamer Essentials Kit for Wii U includes a protective carrying case, a GamePad Glove (silicone case), two replacement stylii, and a cleaning cloth. The bundle is rather pricey at $39.99, and even worse is on backorder for two to four weeks so it isn’t likely to arrive by Christmas. You can order it now in your choice of black, blue, or pink at Amazon or you can try to find it in a local store; I’ve seen this bundle at Wal-Mart.
Whichever case you prefer, you’ll probably want to pick something to protect your Wii U GamePad, and make it more comfortable to hold during long gaming sessions. Fortunately there are several affordable options in a variety of colors, so there should be something for every gamer on your list.