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Sony PlayStation Vita (Wi-Fi, 3G) Review

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Will Greenwald

Digit Rating: Good
4 4/5 image description
NA
Features:
NA
Performance:
NA
Value:
NA
Design:

PROS

  • Powerful graphics
  • Beautiful screen
  • Dual analog sticks

CONS

  • Short battery life, and battery isn't removable
  • Proprietary memory card
  • Clunky media manager
MRP: 24990
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Summary

The Sony PlayStation Vita is one of the best handheld game systems to date, even if almost everything it tries to do outside of gaming falls short.

Media Playback

As great as the Vita is as a video game system, it's horribly clunky as a media player. The Vita includes music and video players, and the OLED screen is fantastic for watching movies, but Sony cracked down so hard on managing media the features might as well not be there. To get media on your Vita, you can't drag and drop files from your computer to the device, or to the memory card. Not only is the memory card proprietary, but the USB connection requires loading Sony's Content Manager Assistant on your computer before you can transfer anything. Even then, you can only choose which folders to make visible to the Vita, with one folder each for movies, music, pictures, and applications. From there, you need to use the Vita to transfer files, using the touch screen. The computer itself acts like a big hard drive with all but four folders invisible.

Since the memory card is PS Vita–only and no card readers are available, you have no other options for putting music and movies on it. Adding insult to injury, the playback controls are entirely touch screen–based. You can't, for example, advance tracks by hitting the shoulder button; you need to be looking at the Vita to go through your music. The PS Vita may support more files and play more media than the 3DS, but it can't come close to the ease of use of a tablet or smartphone for playing movies and music.
Sony PlayStation Vita
Battery life is less than stellar, made worse by the fact that the battery can't be removed or upgraded. On average use, the PS Vita will last between 3 and 5 hours. If you turn off all wireless and keep volume and brightness low, you might be able to push past 5 hours, but as it stands the PS Vita won't last you a full day of use without a recharge. The Nintendo 3DS had similar battery life problems, but third-party replacement batteries and battery grips can fix it. You don't have any options for the Vita's battery.
 
Network
The 3G/Wi-Fi Vita can use AT&T's data network or local Wi-Fi networks to connect to the Internet. AT&T's data plans for the Vita are $15 for 250MB of data monthly or $30 for 3GB of data monthly. Either way, if you plan on downloading games on your Vita, make sure it's connected to a Wi-Fi network. Less bandwidth-intensive activities like Web browsing and multiplayer gaming make the 3G a useful feature.
 
Network speeds were solid in PC Labs. While we couldn't run our usual speed tests because of the limitations of the Web browser, we used DSL Reports' mobile speed test to find an average of 988Kbps, with an impressive peak of 1,714Kbps.
 
As a handheld gaming device, the Sony PlayStation Vita excels. It's powerful, has a beautiful screen, and offers two analog sticks so you can actually play shooters on the go without compromising. From a technical standpoint, the PS Vita is the greatest handheld gaming device yet. From a gaming standpoint, we'll have to see how the system and the games available for it evolve. The relatively short battery life is the only thing that holds it back as a gaming system, but several irritating things crop up when using the Vita for other tasks. Its Web browser doesn't support Flash yet, its memory card is proprietary, and its content manager is a clunky joke. However, the PS Vita is a gaming system first and foremost, and as that it stands proudly as an Editors' Choice. Just plan to use it for gaming, though, and not as a replacement for your current media player.

 

Copyright © 2010 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc.

Source: Sony PlayStation Vita (3G/Wi-Fi)


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