PS Vita

[sc:mobile-category ]I have a long history of handheld gaming, from my first dedicated Donkey Kong LCD unit to my first Atari Lynx I’ve always had one around.

The last generation of portable gaming from Sony (the PSP) didn’t really do much for me, I have an original PSP1000 that I used for the first while, but for the last few years it’s just been sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

Because of this I hesitated in picking up the PS Vita.  However the hardware specs and the display finally overcame my concerns.

The first impression I had on taking the Vita from the box was “Where’s the battery?”.  The unit is VERY light in comparison to the PSP, I guess all that hardware for the UMD drive really did add a lot of weight Winking smile.

Before powering up the unit I installed the 8g memory card I picked up, this is perhaps the biggest issue I have so far with the Vita, YET ANOTHER MEMORY CARD STANDARD from Sony.  Why?  Ok, I know why, they’re charging $99 for a 32g card.  So they’re making about $98 in profit.

Once you power it up, the second thing you notice is the display, it’s simply gorgeous.

Sony then takes you through the setup of the device and getting you connected to the PlayStation network.  This is pretty straight forward, except if you happen to use MAC filtering on your WiFi, in which case there’s not way to find the MAC address during the setup process.  You have to setup a fake account, then go find the MAC address and then setup your real account.

The touch interface takes a bit of getting use to.  There’s not good overlap in the physical controls and the touch interface, they seem mutually exclusive at times.

Sony has decided to move away from the classic XMB standard they’ve used since the PS3 debuted, but not far enough if you ask me.  The new interface uses what look like a button you would pin on your shirt and they wave all over the place as soon as you move between screens.

It’s not ugly, but pretty isn’t a work I would use to describe it either.

Having used the text heavy Metro interface on Windows Phone and Zune for quite a while, you really understand how bad icon based interfaces really are once you see the Vita.

Of course as with all new hardware these days, an update was pretty much required as soon as I power on the device.

When I picked up the Vita from the store, I wanted to get a copy of Hot Shots Golf at the same time, however it was out of stock.  I figured I’d go to another store later to get a copy but once I got the system online I decided to try to purchase it from the online store.

The process was easy enough but a quirk of the store was the price for the game.  In the physical store the game was priced at $29.99+tax, but the online store had it at ~$34 but no tax.  It works out to be the same price (the online copy was an extra 20 cents if I remember right) but strange in how they show the cost.

And really, the online copy should cost less, there’s no physical media for Sony to provide so they’re just making more money on the same game.

The controls on the Vita are a mixed bag.  The dual analog sticks are obviously a BIG improvement over the PSP, but the 8 buttons are not nearly as nice as the PSP’s.  The touch interfaces work as do the cameras.  The flush style PS, start and select buttons are a little annoying, but no so much as to be a big issue.

Overall it’s a slick piece of hardware and I’m not unhappy that I bought it, now I’ll have to see if it gets more use than my PSP did.

The Good:

  • Very light
  • Dual analogue sticks
  • Processing power up to wazoo
  • Beautiful display
  • Input options galore

The not so bad/not so good:

  • Kind of cheap buttons
  • Weird pricing in the store
  • Too many control choices for some developers means one or the other method is used instead of both

The Bad:

  • Memory card tax
  • No way to find MAC address during setup

Greg

Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.

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Greg

Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.

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