Sony PlayStation Vita Review
- Fantastic 5-inch OLED display
- Great power under the hood
- Stellar launch lineup of games
- Two analog sticks
- Intuitive front and rear touch controls
- CrossPlay with the PS3
- Expensive proprietary memory cards
- Battery isn't replaceable
- No video out
If you are an addict who needs his dose of gaming on the go, then this device is definitely for you. If not, then you may want to take a look at picking up a full-blown console as that will cost you around Rs. 16,000 and give you a better overall package including better value for money and a larger library of games.
Originally called the NGP (Next Generation Portable), Sony finally launched their second-gen handheld gaming device in India. Christened the PS Vita (means Life in Latin), the device is a sexy black beauty on the outside and a quad-core beast on the inside. But is this enough to take on the new trend in gaming, i.e. the iPhone and the 3DS or will it die a “PSP Go” death?
Beauty and a beast
On first impression, the PS Vita looks like the original PSP, on steroids. It’s a little bigger than the PSP measuring at approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm. The Wi-Fi only model weighs 260 grams and the 3G + WiFi model weighs 279 grams making the device light enough to carry in a bag, but it isn’t small enough to fit in your pocket. The PS Vita has a glossy black finish, which makes it appealing for about two hours, as after that it will be covered in fingerprints.
The Vita has a gorgeous 5-inch 16:9 OLED display with a resolution of 960x544 pixels, which will make your jaw drop the minute you power on the device. It is a beautiful screen. To top it off, it’s a multi-touch capacitive touchscreen that also adds to the gaming controller experience. The biggest downer to the screen is that it is susceptible to glare and there is only so much you can do apart from turning up the brightness.
The rear of the device has a touch panel that feels silky smooth. The device has two VGA cameras, one in the front and the other at the rear without a flash.
Under the hood, the device packs in an ARM Cortex A9 processor (4 core) and SGX543MP4+ GPU. To simplify it for the non-geeky people, that means you can expect PS3-like graphics on a hand held device. With all that power, the Vita really does deserve to be called the Next Generation Portable.
Overall the PS Vita feels like Charlize Theron from Aeon Flux in your hands and that is a very good thing!
The classic controller perfected for a hand held
Sony has finally paid homage to gamers’ prayers! The PS Vita has 2 analog sticks along with the D-Pad, the standard PlayStation controls and shoulder buttons. Under the left analog stick we have a PS button and under the right analog stick we have the start and select buttons.
The two analog sticks feel really small for someone with big hands and will take some getting used too if you are a veteran who is used to a full blown controller. Also the face buttons are smaller than we’d like.
For third person shooter games (we played Unit 13 and Uncharted: Golden Abyss), the aiming is handled quite well with the addition of the second analog stick, but getting in that nudging precision can get a bit combustor at times.
All-in-all Sony has finally got the controller on the handheld right (hallelujah two analog sticks!) and it does justice to the system even if the buttons are bit smaller than we’d like.
15 buttons aren’t enough?
If 15-buttons on the devices weren’t enough for controlling a game, Sony has thrown in everything here but the kitchen sink. You have a six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), three-axis electronic compass and a front touchscreen and a rear touch panel, not to mention the two cameras that can be used in augmented reality games.In short, your hands will be all over this device.
Surprisingly, these controls work extremely well. Games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Little Deviants use the front touch screen and rear touch panel to solve puzzles. Uncharted even uses the gyroscope and accelerometers in gameplay as well as puzzle solving. If you are balancing on a beam, you need to tilt the device left and right to balance. Enter scope mode on a sniping rifle, and you have to physically move the device to scan the area through the scope. The tech is brilliant and innovatively used but just imagine trying to rotate yourself on your seat in a cramped airplane. Wouldn’t that be a sight?
The advantage of having the touch panel and the screen along with the six-axis motion is that in the near future we can expect smartphone games to translate onto the handheld or have a wider array of casual games with great graphics for really low prices. Angry Birds or Cut the Rope for Vita anyone?
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