The PlayStation Vita is Sony’s brand new entry into the handheld console market. With more power than either the PSP or the Nintendo 3DS, the PlayStation Vita offers unrivalled graphics and a more console-like gaming experience.
Features Of The PlayStation Vita
* 5” high resolution OLED screen,
* Touch screen display,
* Touch pad on rear,
* Front and rear VGA cameras,
* Dual analog sticks,
* 4 core CPU,
* Six-axis motion sensor,
What Makes The PlayStation Vita Worth Considering?
Before you even touch a PlayStation Vita, the first thing you’ll notice is its price. Retailing at $249.99 for the Wi-Fi only version, or $299.99 for the Wi-Fi and 3G version, this isn’t a cheap toy! So, with this in mind, does the PlayStation Vita justify its price?
When you take the PlayStation Vita in your hands you’ll immediately notice its size and weight. It’s a little larger than the PSP, making it the biggest handheld gaming device on the market. This can be a little off-putting, as you’ll probably think twice about trying to carry it around in your pocket. On the other hand, tablets like the iPad have shown that there is a place in the market for portable devices that are too big for your pocket, so this certainly doesn’t rule the PlayStation Vita out.
An advantage of the size is that it gives room for a large screen. In this case it’s a 5” OLED touch screen with rich colour and great resolution. The detail is fantastic and viewing angles are great. The touch features are very responsive, rivalling many smartphones for usability.
Vita OS, the specially designed touch-based operating system, works very well. It’s clear and intuitive, and runs very smoothly. Some similarities can be seen between this operating system and the ones found on both PSP and PS3, but the Vita OS is greatly improved. The only criticism is that, in comparison to smartphone OS’s, the Vita OS is a little ugly.
It seems that no portable device is complete without a camera these days, and the PlayStation Vita is no different. The Vita comes with not one, but two cameras, both VGA, which means that the quality isn’t great. With one front-mounted camera and one rear-mounted camera it’s possible to take photos as well as use the device for video chat. Whilst not currently supported, Sony promises that there Skype will soon be available on the Vita.
Once you get to gaming, you’ll notice that the graphics are excellent. They truly exceed anything available on any other portable device, including tablets and smartphones. However, for some, the graphical differences may not seem that big compared with top-end smartphone games like Dead Space. Regardless of this, it’s impossible to deny that the games look fantastic.
Of course, fantastic looking games are worthless if they don’t also play well. Fortunately the major innovation of the PlayStation Vita, as far as portable gaming devices go, is its dual analog sticks. For the first time in gaming history, a portable device offers the same basic control system as a home console – with two analog sticks, a d-pad, face-buttons and shoulder buttons.
The control system has been well designed and feels comfortable. It’s not quite as ergonomic as the PS3 or Xbox 360 controllers, but is still a great achievement and makes playing games like Uncharted a possibility on portable gaming devices for the first time.
One additional control feature offered by the Vita is a touch pad on the rear. At the moment it’s hard to say whether this is innovation or just novelty. The launch games don’t support the touch pad all that well, but given time we might see some games making real use of it. At the moment though, it feels a bit weird and awkward trying to use it and there isn’t much incentive to get better.
Drawbacks Of The PlayStation Vita
There are a few criticisms to be made of the device, besides the high price point. Firstly, some of the launch title load times are slow. This is a common problem with launch titles on any system, but with a portable device long load times really have an impact, as many users play games on the way to work. This eats into a limited amount of playing time.
The second criticism aims at the 3G functionality of the 3G model. Although it’s nice to have 3G access, at the moment it’s only possible to download files of up to 20mb, which is pretty limiting. 3G can’t be used for multiplayer either, meaning that it’s really only good for social apps.
A final criticism is that there is no internal storage in the Vita. This is a pain, as virtually all games require some kind of storage space, as does saving. You’ll also need storage space to download extra content. In any case, storage is essential for playing games on the Vita which means you’ll have to buy a memory card.
Purchasing a separate memory card can feel like a bit of a con, and is worsened by the fact that the memory card you need is a proprietary design by Sony solely for use with the Vita. This means that there are no alternatives, and you’ll have to pay anything from $19.99 for a 4GB card up to a massive $99.99 for a 32GB card.
Over all, the PlayStation Vita is an impressive piece of technology, but at the current price point it’s probably not worth buying unless you’re a die-hard PlayStation fan. There is a good selection of launch games however, so if you do decide to buy a Vita there’ll be no shortage of choices.