[Review] PlayStation Vita (WiFi model)
I have my PlayStation Vita (WiFi model) imported through eBay. This review is purely personal, I try to be as objective as possible, of course, but everyone has their own personal preferences. English is only my third language so don't expect one fluent text.
Where to buy?
The PlayStation Vita is since December 17, 2011 available in Japan. As of February 22, he will be available in the world (both WiFi and 3G models). The starting price is €/$ 249.99 for a WiFi model and €/$ 299.99 for a 3G model. Personally, I am satisfied with the WiFi model since I already have mobile internet on my iPhone. Also you would pay for the 3G model, a certain amount each month, for the mobile Internet. While buying a WiFi model 'saves you' €/$ 50 -> 'free' game!
Import, how do I it?
eBay and PlayAsia.com are the famous canals. I bought my copy on eBay. I used this buyer and the shipping was very fast (about 4 days). Today a WiFi model cost (on eBay) + / - € 335 (incl shipping). Shipping is also assured and you get a tracking number (DHL).
Through PlayAsia.com you pay + / - € 380 (incl shipping) for the same Vita. Shipping is the same as the above method. In this course, you more assurance that you really receive your Vita.
What to be aware of when importing?
- The 3G model simlocked.
- The X and O button are reversed used in Japan. If you are using X on your PSP you will need to use a Japanese R version.
- Import / Duane cost! I myself paid €/$ 30.
- You can use your PSN account, but you can't download anything significant on your vita. You'll need a Japanese account as you want to download content Vita.
- Order a Vita PlayStation memory card because you really need one!
Below is the unboxing of my PlayStation Vita (WiFi). It is a Japanese model, hence the Japanese characters and so.
1) The box in the store you'll see it.
2) That you get to see when you open the box.
3) In the top box you will find the USB cable and charger for your PlayStation Vita. Along with the manual that is located underneath.
4) In the lower box is then PlayStation Vita, beautifully packaged in a protective cover so-wannabe thing (see what lies below the Vita).
The PlayStation Vita himself!
First impression and appearance
When I opened the box and first saw the PlayStation Vita first, it I thought, 'Jesus, what a big thing. " When I took it in my hands, it felt quite heavy to. The PSP weighs + / - 250gram (I only had the Phat) and the PSV weighs about 300 gr. Despite the large size of the PSV, it does not feel too heavy but I have my doubts that you can comfortably hold it while gaming a long time.
The PSV lies pretty well in hand (which I did not expect). The joysticks are a lot better in quality than the PSP because they feel a lot stronger. The PlayStation buttons I personally find a bit too small but maybe that's because my hands are somewhat larger, the same story applies to the arrow keys. But when you use them, they respond well (you do not need to push too hard or too soft).
Then there is the Home button, it lights up when you turn on your Vita (and probably also in other circumstances) and in my opinion it is fine. The Select and Start buttons are too small however. They are almost half the size of the Home button! Quickly pause your game does not seem easy.
As for last, we have the shoulder buttons (L and R). If I had to choose between the shoulder buttons of the PSP or the PSV, I'd go for that of the PSP. In the PSV you need your fingers pretty perfect in position to be able to press them but again, this is my own opinion.
Finally (for the buttons) I discuss the Power and Volume buttons. The Power Button is certainly an improvement over the PSP. It isn't a slider button like the PSP. The volume buttons are now left of the R button. They are easily accessible while playing, but I miss a sort of mute button (which the PSP had). Nor is it possible to adjust the brightness at any time to since no (physical) controls exist but I do not think this affects the functionality of the Vita in any way. The brightness can be changed in the settings menu of your PSV.
The speakers are located on either side of the joysticks. They give a nice sound, in design terms I find them not so nice. While gaming it is possible that with your fingers are located just above the speaker. This means you wil lose a significant number of decibels.
The two cameras are well positioned (one at the top center on the rear and one front left of the triangle). About the quality, check the software part of this review.
The GPS feature is only available on 3G models . Bluetooth is present but I have not used, but I have seen that it is possible to connect a microphone via bluetooth (it does have a microphone built in). The WiFi has improved compared to the PSP. The PSP could only handle 'b' the Vita can handle b / g and n. I notice that the receipt is a lot better compared to my old PSP. It is almost as good as on my iPhone 4
Now I will briefly talk about the touchscreens. The larger (5 inch) screen, the Vita has will certainly benefit. The screen responds well in my opinion (which apparently is contradicted by other reports). I should also mention that I've upgraded instantly to firmware 1.510 .
The rear touch screen (actually a touchpad) is really well implemented. In some photographs it seemed as if this surface is not flat, but it is indeed. Whether it actually has something to contribute will be revealed in the future. However it can be used (by the developers of games) as an L2 and R2 button, something that many gamers would have liked on the Vita.
Finally, I will discuss the input / output connectors. Centrally at the bottom you will find the "Port Vita" (I don't know the official name). Too bad this is not just a USB port but it probably has many commercial reasons. The good thing is that a cable supplied as standard so you can charge or connect it to your PC/PS3. Right of that you will find the 3.5mm audio jack. According to the logo it should be possible to connect a headset (headphones + micro). Another right of it you have a slot for your Memory Card. The way to access it is not as easy as with the PSP. If you do not have nails, you'll have much trouble opening it. But it looks quite solid.
Right of the power button you will find the Vita games port. To slit open, the same mechanical effect as the Memory Stick. But this looks a bit stronger. Right of that you will find another input. I honestly have no idea what this is. But it is a connection for others devices or others cables and it is certainly no USB connection.
Here I'll talk about the software portion of the PlayStation Vita.
As everyone knows, XMB is replaced by Live Area. In itself is a bit unfortunate because I liked the XMB, it had a friendly interface to use. Live Area looks more childish, some Wii-like self. Your Live Area consists of tabs (similar to iPhone, etc.). You can choose to replace the icons where ever you want to (up to 10 icons for each tab). Each tab you can then add the background of your choice. To scroll through the tabs you need to swipe up or down. This is a major drawback (to me), you have an obligation to use the touchscreen so it is not possible to use the physical buttons. This is of course my own opinion! While browsing in your Live Are you will notice that is playing some soft music, of course you can also stream your own music (if you have a Memory Stick anyway) or turn it just off. What is new is that a kind of multitasking is added. Example, if you are using the PSN Store and you push the Home button you get the following screen (the top).
If you need a web application, you do not need to turn on WiFi, but will this Vita do for you!
Here you can easily return to other opened applications. As you can see here, you see the icons of the applications that are already opened. This is certainly a great improvement over the PSP and allows you to quickly switch between apps.
You get your PS Vita with at a number of pre-installed applications (part 1, part 2). The standard things like: Music, Photos, Videos, Settings, Browser and PlayStation Store speak for themselves. The first novelty is the Content Manager. Unlike the PSP is not possible to put anything on your vita. Using this app you connect your PC to your vita. On your PC should you install a program called: Assistant Content Manager.
One of the other novelties is Trophies. This is the same as on the PS3, you can watch and share your trophies with your friends or the whole world. With 'Friends' you can add (logical) your friends and via Group Messaging, you can chat with them and so on.
With 'Party' it is possible to play with your friends online in a simple manner. The last three applications discussed, I can not really elaborate because I have no friends and (still) have no games (only demos).
Then we have Near . In this App you will need Internet acces. You can see other PS Vita gamers in your hood (radius of 1km). It is also possible to see which games they play or have played. This would normally also be possible to exhange in-game items and using it as a sort of "treasure hunt".
Finally there is Welcome Park. These are 5 mini games where you can discover the capabilities of your vita. These are fun to play once. There are even a number of trophies to earn in Welcome Park!
There is not much to talk about this, let the results speak for themselves. Both cameras have the same quality (0.3 MP ~ 30fps @ 640x480). Filming is apparently not possible, what I find regrettable. But maybe in the future update this will be added. PS Vita vs iPhone 4
The Internet browser
The browser of the Vita is a lot better than the PSP but still not what it should be. Here is a benchmark (lower is better, SunSpider 0.9.1) of the Vita firmware 1.510 (click), the iPhone 4 iOS 5.01 (click) and the PSP (he couldn't even run it). I also have a HTML5 benchmark test (the higher the better). Result of my Vita, iPhone and the PSP didn't give me any result at all!
PlayStation Vita Games
First and foremost I want to emphasize that you MUST buy a Memory Stick! Trust me,without a MS your Vita is pretty useless.
If you want to play English games on the Japanese Vita before 22 feb, you can buy or download Uncharted. The demo of Power Smash 4 is also in English. But I reccomand you to wait until 22 feb to buy games (because of the 1 PS account limit per Vita).
The PlayStation Vita is in my opinion a worthy successor to the PlayStation Portable. Especially the second joystick and the camera are very nice additions. Or the touch screen (both) will perform well during the games remains to be seen.
Sony might have a better chosen an Android OS but because of the piracy in these times I understand why they have chosen for their own OS. Live Area is a huge change but it's good but looks somewhat childish. The social aspects of gaming are also provided. Party and Trophies ensure that the social part comes at the same height as the PS3.
+ Hardware (speed, extra joystick, ...)
+ Onscreen keyboard (this is a full mobile keyboard) + Bluethooth and improved WiFi
- You are required to purchase a Memory Stick
- Is relatively heavy in hand
- Unable to change the battery (officially)
17.5 / 20
PS: Please do not copy anything without my permission!