Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Playstation Vita (Wi-Fi) Review

Sony's new handheld is a complete powerhouse. It has many functions, amazing graphical capability and is an intimidating rival to Nintendo's 3DS. I'm going to be going through every aspect of the Vita in this review, and hopefully give you everything you need to know. If I miss anything out, feel free to comment or ask questions. You can also tweet me @_thenetwork - Let's get started.

The Look and Feel of the Vita:

Getting your Vita out of the box for the first time is a very nice experience. The system is sleek shiny and just looks really nice. Once you've had your hands on it for while however, you'll notice the smudges. These can be wiped away with a cloth or the bottom of your T-Shirt, but they're still a little annoying.
This little problem aside though, the Vita is a very nice looking handheld. And it feels comfortable as well. While I felt the PSP got a little uncomfortable to hold after a while, the Vita can be played for long sessions and not get painful. While at first I found the system fairly heavy for a portable, after a month of owning it I can honestly say that it feels rather light, especially considering everything it can do.

What else helps the Vita stay comfortable is the well placed buttons and joysticks, which make it feel natural - basically like using a PS3 controller except with better placed triggers. And the touchscreen/pad are also easy to use during gameplay sessions, but I'll talk about them a bit later.

The Camera(s)

Much like every portable now days, the Vita comes with it's own camera - a front and rear one. These were a nice addition and great for pictures and video when your messing around with friends, or playing with Vita's AR Cards and other augmented reality games. However, if you want a high quality, HD camera then you might want to look elsewhere. The Vita's camera does the job, but probably won't satisfy aspiring photographers.


The Vita's screen is beautiful. It's capable of some breathtaking graphics (see next section), and the touchscreen and touchpad open up some creative opportunities for game developers. Whether they'll make the most of these opportunities is another thing entirely.
The touchscreen is multi-touch, and on the whole is very responsive. There are times in games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss where the touchscreen lets you down - but these are rare, and in general the screen is very reliable.
The touchpad also works well, but takes some getting used to. Also, while it has been put to work on some of the Vita's minigame collections such as Little Deviants, and Frobisher Says, I'm not sure if there's much actual use for it.

And while the screen looks sleek when playing indoors, if you play outside in the sun - you can barely see anything. This is annoying, but can be helped by turning up the brightness. But of course that will cost you some battery life (which I'll talk about later).


The Vita's graphics are possibly it's biggest selling point - and for good reason. The graphics are undeniably impressive, delivering near console experiences when on the move. Games like Uncharted and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 are particularly impressive. If you buy into the Vita for the graphics, I doubt you'll be disappointed. But such a powerful system, can't possibly have good battery life, can it?

Battery Life

Well, yes and no. The Vita's battery life isn't going to amaze anyone. At 3-5 hours (depending on the brightness setting), it isn't incredible. But, when you think about the graphics along with the other things the Vita offers (see below), it really isn't that bad. While it would be nice to have a little longer, I found that the 5 hours was more than enough for my gaming on the go.
The Vita takes around 2 hours to fully charge, which is a fairly normal time frame and fairly similar to the 3DS.

Other Functions

Like most handhelds nowadays, the Vita doesn't just game. Here's a few of the other functions and apps available on Vita.

Music: Putting music onto your Vita is refreshingly easy and the playback is good. It may never replace your iPod, but if you just want to bring one device out with you rather than numerous - it does the job.

Video: You can also watch videos on your iPod. Be it by renting or buying the latest releases over the PSN Store or adding the videos from your computer onto your Vita. Like with the music, videos are fairly easy to add to the system and play well.

Browser: The Vita's browser is quite fast, but not very powerful. If your looking for a browser that uses flash, look elsewhere (however, the free YouTube app may fill that gap in functionality). But it does do the job, running fairly smoothly even with multiple tabs open, however it has crashed on me once or twice.

YouTube: Speaking of the YouTube app, the app is another worthy edition to the list of the Vita's functions. The app is again fairly basic you can sign into your account, but your account only. If you want to switch accounts then hard luck, you can't do it. There's also no option to view YouTube channels, or any advanced search options - but I shouldn't be too negative, because the YouTube App is probably the one I use most out of all these functions. If you want to view your subscriptions latest videos it's a very handy app to have, even if there are some buffering problems every now and then.

Facebook: The Facebook app in my opinion is the weakest of the Vita's app library. In a time where smartphone's have very functional apps for your social media accounts, the Vita's version feels very primitive.  It also doesn't help that it's incredibly slow.

There are also other apps such as Twitter, and Skype.

Games Library (as of Summer 2012):

Considering that the Vita is still very early in it's life, it's games library really isn't that bad. It's hard to deny that there haven't been a huge amount of releases in the last few weeks, but there have been quite a few gems already released including: Rayman Origins, Wipeout 2048, Uncharted, Metal Gear, Gravity Rush and Lumines as well as downloadable titles such as Plants vs. Zombies and Super Stardust Delta among many others.

And, currently the outlook looks good with Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, LittleBigPlanet, and Playstation All-Stars all set for release by the end of the year.


The price will be the big factor that holds most people back from buying a Vita. At £229.99 ($249 in the US), the Vita is an investment - add on the price of the necessary memory card and those all important games and things look even worse. Ultimately then, I can't make the decision for you. But, if you're a lover of handheld gaming with some extra cash laying around then the Vita might be for you.


The Playstation Vita is a very strong device. It plays games with console-quality graphics, has a lot of extra functions, and a beautiful feel to it. But the high price tag, and underwhelming battery life really means that the decision of whether or not to buy one, kind of depends on how much you love your handheld gaming. But whether you buy it or not, the fact remains that the Vita is one impressive handheld.


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