The gamepad is nothing more than a wireless controller to a home console with a screen.
Of course it is also a controller. It also has the buttons literally on the side of the display... Just like. The Switch.
The distance is no different from a PS4 or X1 controller. It is by definition a controller that allows for off screen play. You cannot play it without the home console being within the same range as any other home console.
The distance is irrelevant. The fact it requires a base station is also irrelevant.
The Switch requires a dock for it to be regarded as a "Hybrid device" does it not?
Did the concept help with the conception of the Switch? Probably. But that does not make it anything more than a console with off screen play? Not at all. The Vita/PS4 remote play is more of a portable hybrid than the WiiU will ever be.
The Vita is a separate console, not an accessory that is included with every single Playstation 4 sold, meaning we cannot regard the Playstation 4 as a hybrid device as not every Playstation 4 came with everything out of the box. (Although, Sony would probably appreciate the extra Vita sales.)
I mean shit. There are people out there who thought the WiiU was a gamepad tablet thing for the Wii. That just says it all, right?
The Switch is a Hybrid, as it can function either way and actually be taken and used effectively anywhere making it both a console and a portable as it has specific functions unique to both methods.
The WiiU is a hybrid console, it blends handheld and fixed console gaming into one form factor.
Hybrid's definition: A thing made by combining two different elements.
Aka. Hand Held and Fixed Console.
The WiiU is definitely not a hybrid console. It is the stop gap between home consoles and hybrid consoles, but in no way shape or form a true hybrid. The range of the WiiU's gamepad was so terrible I was forced to play in the same room as the console at all times. I'm sure if you lived in a small house or apartment the portability would be genuine in that respect, but the moment you left your house or apartment you would be essentially carrying a useless brick that wouldn't even offer basic operations like a calculator or notepad, much less a portable gaming device.
The range doesn't stop it from also having "handheld" functionality.
The fact you recognize it is as essentially a "stop gap" console that bridges home consoles and hybrid is essentially agreeing that the WiiU is a hybrid device in of itself.
Switch doesn't require a dock to be a hybrid any adapter or a usb to hdmi cable can allow it to connect to a TV just fine so it's not even close to the comparison of the Wii U as the is no possible way for your Wii U to be played on the go also distance is relevant in fact in the case of portability it's very relevant as you're using a flawed and loose definition of portable. To highlight this lets take two vehicles a hovercraft and a plane one barely hovers like a inch or so off the ground while the other flies in the sky, your argument here would be like saying because the hovercraft is an inch off the ground it's flying and therefore a plane.