How Wii U hardware improves upon the original Wii beyond graphics

Many of the improvements made to the Wii U hardware over the original Wii are quite obvious. But ignoring the system's new HD graphics and snazzy GamePad tablet controller, what else has Nintendo done to enhance the user experience?

There are a number of minor details that Nintendo fans will certainly appreciate. For example, the cover for the expansion slot on the Wii U goes in, instead of out. The sync button is no longer a puzzle to figure out--it's right on the outside of the console, making it easier to connect peripherals to the console.

Wii U also has additional USB ports. Whereas the Wii only had the ports in the back, Nintendo's new console has them on both the front and back. (It's something we wish Sony would learn one of these days...)

Nintendo's Ko Shiota also notes that every system comes with an HDMI cable as a standard accessory. "We want as many people as possible to enjoy HD images," he said when asked by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.

"Not many devices out there come with an HDMI cable yet," Iwata points out. But if you don't have an HDTV yet, Iwata does point out that "you can use the cable that came with the original Wii, but that wouldn't make the most of the Wii U's capabilities."