Sony PlayStation Vita Review
The PS Vita from Sony is one of the newest handheld game consoles on the market right now (December 2012). In a sense it’s a successor to the PSP, the device that Sony brought out in 2005 to compete with the Nintendo DS. In another sense it’s a whole new machine. The PSP is still available but the PS Vita looks set to make a gradual takeover in the next few years as Sony’s flagship handheld console.
So how does it rate? Before you buy PS Vita, keep reading to see what we think.
Sony PlayStation Vita Video Review
Sony PS Vita Features
PS Vita price: $249-$299
Battery life: 3-4 hrs
Size: 3.3 x 7.2 x 0.7 inch
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Screen resolution: 960 x 544 px
What We Like About The PS Vita
5-inch Touch Screen
The first thing you will notice about the Sony PS Vita is the size of its screen. It’s huge! At 5 inches on the longest side it is perfect for game playing. You can see so much more than you can on a smaller device. Controls are on each side so altogether the console is just over 7 inches long.
Then it’s a touch screen. This opens up new possibilities for game developers who can add a new twist to the games playable on home consoles. Where home consoles have had the edge because of their motion sensors, handheld consoles are making a comeback with the potential of touch screen action.
Of course, Nintendo got there first with touch screen technology on the Nintendo DS, but the PlayStation Vita touch screen is a new generation. It’s an OLED screen that gives about the best possible picture quality. The graphics are stunningly vibrant, crisp and colorful. You’ll find it hard to take your eyes off a game running on the PSP.
When you’re holding a device in your hand for long periods of time, it’s important that it’s comfortable and won’t cause unnecessary repetitive strain. The PS Vita is excellent in this respect. It feels great to hold, it’s satisfyingly rounded and the controls are responsive, well positioned and easy to use.
The second biggest selling point of the PS Vita after the screen is its power. It has a real brute of a processor, some high-end RAM and incredible technology inside the box. This makes games just fly, and adds speed to match the stunning look of the graphics. It’s definitely the best gaming experience out there right now in terms of speed.
The operating system is not something that you usually notice in a game console, but the PS Vita OS really stands out. It is well designed, taking full advantage of the touch screen, and with the power of the processor it can’t be faulted on speed.
In fact, it’s almost like playing a game on a home PlayStation. And there’s a TV out socket so you can even use it at home and see the game on a full size HDTV. For some players it could even replace a home console and act as both home and portable game consoles combined.
PS Vita Games
There are already some awesome games available for the Sony PlayStation Vita and the number is sure to grow as new games or instalments are released. Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed, LittleBigPlanet … most of the big-name PlayStation games are available for PS Vita and plenty of others too.
Looking to the future, Sony are likely to develop exclusive games for PS Vita only, to make full use of the touch screen technology. But even at launch there were plenty of PS Vita games on the market.
As well as playing games, you can use a PS Vita for taking and displaying photos, listening to music and even watching movies. You can surf the internet using the WiFi connection and even make Skype video calls. It doesn’t act as a regular phone however – not yet, anyway!
You can also buy PS Vita 3G, but it’s harder to get hold of right now.
PS Vita Bundles
There are already some pretty good PS Vita bundles available if you want to buy PS Vita and get a game with it. The bundles give you a little saving on popular games and mean you can start playing right out of the box. For example there’s an Assassin’s Creed PS Vita bundle deal, a Call of Duty bundle and a Madden NFL bundle.
View PS Vita bundles here
These are some of the top selling PS Vita games that have been getting great reviews in the gaming press. In the bundles (at the time of writing) you get the PS Vita console, the game and a 4 GB PS Vita memory card.
What’s Not So Great
With such a powerful processor and stunning display, perhaps it’s not surprising that the PS Vita battery doesn’t hold its charge as long as you might wish. You only get 4-5 hours of playing time before it needs a recharge.
PS Vita Memory Cards
As usual with Sony devices, you have to buy PS Vita branded memory cards if you want to expand your PS Vita’s memory – and you will want to, because a lot of the games won’t run without a PS Vita memory card being installed.
So you pretty much have to buy one right away – and they’re not cheap! Expect to pay $15 minimum and that’s a good price for the smallest size of card. A 32 GB PS Vita memory card will cost you anything up to $100.
See PS Vita memory card prices here
PS Vita Games and Console Pricing
Both the console itself and the games for it are more expensive than you may be used to paying for a portable game console of the last generation. The PSP Vita costs almost as much as a home game console.
The big screen means, of course, that the PS Vita is a larger device than you might expect of a portable game console. It’s bigger than the PSP 3000, for example. At over 7 inches long it’s not going to fit in the pocket of your jeans.
Not Backwards Compatible
One of the biggest disappointments about the PSP Vita is that it won’t play most of the old PSP games. Any game that is on a UMD disk will not work in your PSP Vita. So you either have to buy them all again, or keep your old PSP to play those games on.
However, if you have bought a downloadable game rather than getting it on a disk, you can get a new PSP Vita download of the game. So although it’s not backwards compatible you should be able to get those games for your new device for free.
PS Vita Review Summary
It may be too early to be sure of the PS Vita’s impact on the market but it’s clearly an incredible piece of technology. Definitely an awesome gaming experience and probably the best you will get in a portable game console right now. The only downside is the price, but you have to be prepared to pay more for the best, so we’re not letting that affect our 5-star rating. Highly recommended – if you can afford it!