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My Week With the Playstation Vita – Geekscape’s Technical Impressions

Thursday 1st March 2012 by Andy Breeding

Since the Playstation Vita has been on the market for a week now (two weeks if you count the first edition bundle some people bought the week before) I have had a chance to put the Vita through its paces. I poked, prodded, stroked, rubbed and pushed the Vita until it cried for mercy, as well as a recharge of the battery. I am pleasantly surprised and satisfied that I purchased a PS Vita.

Having owned all the iterations of the PSP, including the PSPgo, portable gaming on a Sony device just didn’t quite capture my need for great gaming on the go. My PSP was sadly left behind many of times in favor of the Nintendo DS. The games as well as the system made the DS more attractive for me as a gamer to play on the go. Maybe it was the nostalgia endorphins kicking in my old body but I was always thoroughly entertained with the DS at my side when I needed my portable gaming fix. All that has changed with the release of the PS Vita.

Although it’s still early, I love using the PS Vita for gaming, of course, and for other things as well. Most of that is due to the extremely gorgeous 5 inch OLED screen the PS Vita possesses. With the games on the PS Vita popping vibrantly with bright colors and crisp visuals, one could stare with mouth gaped open forever, which ends up being 3 to 4 hours of continuous use before the battery dies. Playing any kind of video whether it comes from a file you have on your computer or from the Netflix app on the PS Vita looks amazing. I do recommend carrying around some sort of cloth to clean the screen since it seems to attract more smudges than my iPhone 4 does.

I went with the decision to go all digital with my PS Vita experience and begrudgingly paid the highly unreasonable Sony tax of $100 for a 32GB proprietary memory card. These little buggers are small so either never take the memory card out of the PS Vita or only take it out when you are at home where it will be easy to find.

Something people should know before deciding on going all digital is that your game saves are tied to the game downloaded and installed on your PS Vita. In other words, deleting the game deletes your save file as well. You can back up your save/game to either your PS3 or PC using the content manager software for the PS Vita. Thankfully, the software is built-in to the system so no need to download it. Lack of drag and drop is a little disappointing. I would love to easily move the files I want to and from the PS Vita. I’m sure piracy concerns are reasons behind this.

Besides the touch screens, the biggest, most welcomed addition for gamers is the dual analog sticks the PS Vita possesses. Still wishing that Sony would go concave with its analog sticks since I feel you get a better sense of control with the tops of the analog sticks with it curving inward verses outward like Sony has always done with their controllers. I tested how well the dual sticks worked by downloading the Unit 13 demo from PSN. After I finished the demo, shooters will finally be playable on a Sony portable device. I did find issues with how small the face buttons on the PS Vita are. Felt too much like I was pushing down on a #2 pencil, even with my small thumbs.

Must haves as far as accessories go would have to be a hard case to at least carry your PS Vita around. Don’t even think about putting it in your pocket. Even if you can fit the 7.2 inch device in your pocket somehow, I have seen too many devices that have expensive screens come into my workplace smashed while in that persons pocket without some sort of protective case. Consider getting the cradle if you enjoy partaking in media consumption on the PS Vita. The cradle has a port on the back for the charger and a audio out if you want to hook it up to a set of speakers or headphones. I tested my 5.1 surround sound PC speakers and it was pleasing to my ears. Not sure if the neighbors enjoyed the blaring of Crush on You by Lil Kim though. If you already have a cellphone wired headset or a Bluetooth earpiece, then you are all set for doing party chat so no need to buy the PS Vita branded wired headset.

Speaking of the party chat, about damn time Sony! I can either start a room up or just join a friends room and chat away. Want to play a game but still talk to your friend? You are in luck because YOU CAN! People can put some of that thanks to the multitasking the PS Vita can do quite easily. Seriously, I still can’t believe how fast the PS Vita is. Starting up a game, pausing it to go to the PSN Store to peak at the new releases, closing the PSN Store and going back into the game is so smooth and fast it makes me wonder how they do that voodoo that they do so well? The built-in mic is good in a pinch but it picks up way too much background noise to be useful much.

It has only been a week with my PS Vita and I am sure there are a lot more I could learn with this system. I have yet to even play with the screenshot feature. I will report back in a month to see if my lust for the PS Vita is still strong or if I ended up putting it in the closet with the Nintendo Wii.