Gadget Review: Oyen Digital's MiniPro USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive for Nintendo's Wii U

This compact HDD takes the Wii U’s storage capacity to the next level.

By , Columnist
Anyone who has a Wii U will know that it doesn’t come with much storage space by big console standards. By the time you’ve downloaded a couple of games from the Nintendo eStore, most of the space has been eaten up. While it’s possible to add external storage, that’s a bit of a crap shoot because Nintendo names only a few drives with confirmed compatibility. That’s where Oyen Digital’s MiniPro hard drive for the Wii U comes in.

The MiniPro comes in 1 TB and 2 TB flavors. Hence, even just adding the smaller drive will take you from having minimal storage to having more space than you know what to do with. If you download a lot of games from Nintendo’s eStore, though, this beats buying something and then finding you have nowhere to save it.

20151020_135957 (Custom).pngAnother of the MiniPro’s appealing features can be inferred from its name. It’s a diminutive HDD in a black aluminum case that isn’t much bigger than the drive inside. Even though it sits horizontally on a shelf, it doesn’t take up much space and overall it’s around half the size of several popular mains-powered hard drives. The small size and sturdy casing also mean it’s portable and stackable.

BackPanel (Custom).pngNintendo recommends mains-powered HDDs for the Wii U and my experience is that these are more likely to work than those with no power source or that draw power from the console through a USB Y-cable. With the MiniPro you have a choice: it comes with the both a mains adapter and a two-headed USB 3.0 cable. The former is easily the most appealing option because unlike some other powered hard drives, the MiniPro doesn’t require a power transformer that sits like a brick half way along the cable. The power plug itself is also small.

Spreadout (Custom).pngUsing mains power means the MiniPro’s USB cable only occupies one of the Wii U’s inputs and the drive always has power. If you are conscious of your power usage, however, the MiniPro does have an On/Off switch on the back that allows you to power it down when not in use.   

The MiniPro comes with a short but clear set of setup instructions, which are the same as you would use if you to attach any other HDD to the Wii U. You plug it in, switch on the Wii U, wait for it to recognize the drive and then follow the formatting steps. All of this takes about two minutes. Then you should be good to go. If you see a subtle blue light flashing behind the front panel of the MiniPro’s housing, you know it’s working.

FrontPanel (Custom).pngI tested the MiniPro by downloading several games from the eStore, transferring some large game files from the Wii U’s internal storage and putting in several hours of gameplay. All of these operations went without a hitch. With some other external HDDs I’ve tried, Wii U downloads stall part way through. That is frustrating when downloading takes several hours to complete. That was never a problem with the MiniPro.

OpenBox.pngAt around $100 for the 1 TB version, the MiniPro for the Wii U is more expensive than many other portable HDDs of the same capacity that are currently available. Yet, it is competitively priced alongside other mains-powered drives that are bulkier and aren’t confirmed as compatible with the console. If you find yourself needing to supplement the Wii U’s meager storage, therefore, the MiniPro as a solid and reliable option.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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