Playstation Vita Review
Image by Sony
Sony believes that the Playstation Vita will appeal to the hardcore gaming crowd
The PlayStation Vita is the latest handheld from Sony, but can this video game-specific portable compete with the blossoming smartphone market?
Sony is trumpeting the PlayStation Vita as the next big thing in portable gaming. But critics wonder if the device is too little, too late — whether anyone other than dedicated gamers are going to want to plunk down the hefty ($249.99) price tag, no matter how impressive the visuals and the controls. After all, if you’re already playing as many games as you want on your smartphone, why do you need another pocket-sized gaming device?
How it works: Out of the box, the Vita is ready to go, if all you want to do is play. For access to many of the bells and whistles, you’ll have to sign up to the PlayStation Network. Connecting to the Internet via Wi-Fi is easy enough, and the keyboard interface is relatively painless.
What it does: The Vita is practically a smartphone; besides game-play, it lets you browse the Net, watch movies and play music, and take photos and video (with front and rear cameras). For the gamer, one of the Vita’s main selling points is the touch screen, a function that gives it an advantage over console games.
The five-inch OLED screen and four-core processors mean that graphics are state-of-the-art (although, in the tech world, that could change by the time this review sees publication) and the unit, which doesn’t look much different than Sony’s PSP, is slim and lightweight and feels comfortable in the hand. Internet connectivity also lets gamers pick up where they left off on their PS3 and pinpoint other nearby players. Generally, users have reported getting four to five hours of battery life for continuous game-play and even more for movie-viewing (though less with a 3G-connected unit, which isn’t yet available in Canada).
Why you want it: What struck this non-gamer the most in initial play were the device’s rich graphics and its multi-functionality. But the Vita isn’t a starter unit by any means — if you’re still hooked on Angry Birds on your 3G smartphone, there’s probably more under the Vita’s hood than you need. But for those ready for more in the world of portable gaming, the Vita is at least worth taking out for a spin.