Sony PlayStation Vita handheld games console

Sony PlayStation Vita review: a big, beautiful gaming machine

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  • User Reviews (3)
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Sony PlayStation Vita
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    3.50 / 5 (of 3 Reviews)

Pros

  • Light and durable design with excellent controls
  • Big, beautiful OLED screen.
  • Rear touchpad works well, permits unique gameplay

Cons

  • Overpriced proprietary memory cards.
  • Onboard 0.3 megapixel cameras are terrible
  • Middling battery life

Bottom Line

When it comes to pure performance, the PlayStation Vita is the best dedicated handheld gaming console you can buy.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 2 stores)

  • Sony PS Vita 8GB Memory Card 26.98
  • Official Genuine Sony Playstation Vita Memory C... 65.80
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Obtuse Interface

When you turn on your Vita for the first time you’ll need to log into the system with your Sony Entertainment Network account, or create one if this is your first Sony device. Choose carefully, because you can’t switch between multiple SEN accounts without formatting the Vita’s onboard memory.

Sony PlayStation Vita review

Once you’ve configured your system language and time zone you’re presented with the lock screen, a ticking clock atop what appears to be wallpaper; tap and peel the lock screen away to access the Vita home screen. The Vita dispenses with the venerable Sony XrossMediaBar (XMB) interface that graces the PS3, PSP and select Sony HDTVs in favor of a new touch-based interface. It pins up to ten application icons to a series of pages that you can scroll between by swiping your finger up or down the screen. Tapping an icon will open that application’s LiveArea, a sort of middle ground between the Vita home screen and the actual application where you can accomplish application-related tasks like adjusting settings, reading the digital manual or checking for software updates. You can have up to six LiveAreas running simultaneously, though Sony may increase that limit in a future firmware update.

While you’re likely to spend the lion’s share of your time with the Vita playing games (which can be either downloaded from the PlayStation Network Store or installed directly from a Vita cart) the device also offers a robust suite of applications. For the full rundown of system software check out our guide to what you need to know about the PlayStation Vita. In brief, there are built-in apps for sharing game activity or chatting with friends, watching movies, playing music and viewing photos, as well as a Content Manager application for transferring files back and forth between the Vita and your PC.

To transfer files you’ll need to install the Content Manager Assistant software on your PC. It seems a little silly to require Vita owners to use proprietary content management software instead of just treating the Vita as an external USB drive, but the Content Manager Assistant software is simple to use and may help stem Vita software piracy.

Of course to actually store media on your Vita (which only has 512 MB of onboard RAM for running system software) you’ll need to invest in a proprietary PlayStation Vita memory card, which (at the time of this review) are ridiculously expensive. Our Vita review unit came with a 16 GB memory card, which currently retails for $59.99. If you’re strapped for cash you could pay as little as $20 for a 4 GB Vita memory card, but if you want enough space to store more than a few songs or saved games (some Vita game cards allow you to save data directly to the card, but not all) you could spend as much as $100 for a 32 GB Vita memory card.

These prices are tantamount to highway robbery, especially given that a standard 32 GB SanDisk SDHC memory card costs roughly $30. Sony’s decision to design the Vita to use a proprietary format of external memory and then charge inflated prices for Vita memory cards is a blatant bit of profiteering that directly harms the consumer, besmirching an otherwise laudable piece of gaming hardware.

There’s also a built-in web browser that functions reasonably well. It utilizes touch for navigation and onscreen keyboards for text entry, and resembles an oversized Android browser. The Vita browser supports neither HTML5 nor Flash as of this review.

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Joanne

4.0

1

Pros
Correction to initial rating
Cons
Correction to initial rating
• • •

Just wanted to correct my text in my commentary of the PS Vita.

I had written SIM Card at one point, but this should have been Memory Card, or Memory Stick. Sorry about the confusion :)

Joanne

4.0

2

Pros
Online game library, crisp hi-def picture, sound is incredible
Cons
expensive initial purchase not ready to use out of the box
• • •

I bought the PS Vita for my son this past christmas, but his dedication to his Nintendo DS soon left the newly aquired Vita sitting gathering dust. I took it to play the games that he had gotten with the system for Christmas and soon discovered the multitudes of things this little hand-held offered. Online game library via Wi-Fi had me downloading tons of mini games and PSP cross over games, as well as movies and shows to watch. Eventually I began receiving lots of friend requests as my trophies and achievements were displayed on leaderboards, and I even received messages from people asking for tips and tricks on how to get on with certain games. I discovered a game called Plants VS. Zombies and found myself immersed in corn cannons and pea shooting blooms to rid my lawn of the zomibies wearing caution cones on their heads. I was hooked from this point on. My smart phone couldn't compare to the large hd screen this new Vita offered. And needless to say at this point it's hands off for my son, the Vita is now mine (not that he cares with the DS, Xbox, Wii, and Playstation that scatter our house) :) My score of four stars accounts for the initial price of this device, and the fact that when you get it home you would think the box would contain everything you need to charge it up and play the games you bought to go with it. Well this in not the case....get ready to drive back to the store and pick up a sim card for this. Otherwise you can't play any game at all without it. The memory cards are also EXTREMELY overpriced and is designed specifically for the PS Vita system, so you can't use any ordinary card. This aspect of the whole package is the piece of the puzzle that really pissed me off and almost made me return the whole thing. They are lucky that I was too lazy to box it back up, because I was already forced to return to the store to buy one. I wouldn't be surprised if alot of other people box it back up without giving it a chance upon finding out this. But nonetheless I am happy with my Vita, but don't think I'd buy another if this one hits the fan. Happy gaming everyone!

Angel Gandia

2.5

3

Pros
A9 4 core from apple
Cons
Terrible cameras resolution
• • •

Ok wear is the 3D 5" Screen (the could be 7")I miss the 3D on the PSP VITA
and 5MP camera on the back. Battery life ?. thumbsticks more hi that the rest of the bottoms.
I DON'T LIKE. good the software like iPhone 5
IF I CANT CHANGE THE BIOS OR HACK IT. IS ONLY THRASH.

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