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PS Vita Hardware Impressions

Chris Sanner: To me, the Vita feels like what mobile gaming should feel like: a smaller version of what you already play on your TV. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think the Vita is perfect or even great (yet) -- but I do think as far as a handheld gaming device goes, it's about as good as we've ever had.

The touch screen is what just feels natural now. The control layout feels like a slightly bigger (yet smaller at the same time?) PS3 controller. And the overall 'feel' of using a Vita is actually quite nice.

I was impressed with the smoothness of games on the system, and I'm even more impressed with the audio quality coming out of it's little speakers. It's not loud enough to be heard in an airport or something, so pack a pair of ear buds.

Overall, I think the system could be a decent success if we see some good titles released. FIFA is solid, ModNation is average and F1 is kind of meh right now -- as far as the games I'm reviewing.

So should you buy a Vita? Well that's a question you have to answer based upon your economic reality as I think the system is priced about $100 higher than it should be. A price drop is what the system will ultimately need to really be a success. Here's to hoping it comes sooner rather than later.

Bishop Tart: Many people have said handheld gaming will go away over the next few years. The PlayStation Vita proves that is simply not true.

Upon first use of the Vita, I was immediately impressed with how light the thing was. Not only that, but it actually felt great in the hands. And with me having somewhat big hands, I was somewhat skeptical. After three straight hours of playtime, my hands never felt cramped or painful. The 5-inch OLED screen is absolutely gorgeous up close -- making games, pictures and videos look exquisite on the device.

Battery life runs in at three-to-five hours. In one single charge, with brightness all the way up, I was able to get just under five hours of play time.

At first use, the analog sticks do take some getting used to. But after 15 minutes with Uncharted, they felt fine and comfortable. I also felt the D-pad was a little flimsy, mainly due to the fact that it's not the same as the PS3 controller. But again, after spending a few minutes using it, this time with Lumines, it was fine.

I've heard from most people that they don't like the layout of the interface. After using it, I can safely say the interface works well with the touch screen, and it really is the perfect fit. Audio quality is good with the speakers, but I prefer to use headphones when playing some games. The microphone that is on the system actually surprised me. When testing out "Party," the microphone didn't actually sound horrible and people could hear me.

If the only games you play are sports games, I would say wait it out until August when Madden releases for the system, unless you are a huge FIFA Soccer or Wipeout fan. FIFA is one of the best launch games for the system, and it really utilizes the backtouch well. Wipeout 2048, my favorite launch title, proves that racing games can look stunning on the system.

To say that the PlayStation Vita has potential is almost an understatement. Being able to play games that rival their console counterparts while on a plane, train or during your work lunch break, makes the system worth it to me. I also disagree with Chris, I don't think the system needs a price drop to succeed. Will it ultimately get one? Yeah, probably. But, in my opinion, it needs great third-party games, not a price drop.

So should you consider purchasing the Vita? I would definitely recommend it, but I would also suggest going to your local GameStop or BestBuy and trying it out for yourself. Then you can get a feel for the system while also testing several of the games.

Dustin Toms: I can honestly say, for the first time, that handheld gaming has become what it needs to be -- a console experience you can hold in your hand.

I'm enamored with the Vita right now. The graphics look brilliant, the games are fun and the features work seamlessly (so far). The touch screen, as stated above, is what has become the social norm. The Vita does a great job executing the menus and the way you interact with them, as do the games.

So far I've played Hot Shots Golf, Wipeout and Marvel vs. Capcom. All three games run like they should and don't feel rushed for the handheld's release. I can think of another recent handheld that had plenty of rushed release-day titles. However, the system has a couple flaws -- one major and one minor, which both can be easily fixed.

The minor issue is simple. The games may be solid and running just fine on the Vita, but that doesn't mean you want to play those games. As with every handheld release, the launch titles are never anything to drool over. Probably the most hyped title would be the Uncharted game, but that still only targets a decent sized audience. But in due time, I'm sure the Vita will release much better games, both sports and non sports, that will make this worth the money. Which leads into the major issue.

The price tag is just plain and stupid. The non-3G version costs more than an XBOX 360 and just as much as the PS3. The 3G version is more than both. Doesn't that seem odd? I don't feel like it should be that much money. Now to top it off, the games and accessories become the killer. Uncharted is retailed at $50, and everything else is at least north of $30. I was expecting big time titles to be around that $40 range, but $50 is too much.

And that's just the games and system. You want to save your games and download some of the Playstation Store (which is a great layout), then be prepared to cough up some dough. To buy a 32gb memory card, your wallet will become $100 lighter. So in the end, if you want to maximize your PS Vita experience with three games, you'll be spending at minimum $620 before tax. Yikes.

But I really do love this system, I can't put it down. Unfortunately the price tag, until lowered, is going to hinder the sales of the Vita as the 3DS continues to rise.

The question is, "Can you afford the Vita?" not "Should you buy one?" Because if you can afford it, I'd recommend you go buy it this instant.


Member Comments
# 1 Acedeck @ 02/22/12 11:03 PM
Price is going to be the biggest barrier for myself, as I'm sure will be the case for many others. The idea of a console experience coming from such a small device is extremely intriguing. However, price of the system, as well as the games, will deter many. With apps on mobile devices and tablets costing mostly in the $0.99 to $4.99 range, dropping $50 for a mobile game seems absolutely outrageously expensive. I hesitate to even spend anything over $10 on my iPad or smart phone. Granted, the experience is significantly more full featured on the Vita, it's still a huge hurdle to get past the prices.

MLB: The Show alone is enough to interest me in this new handheld, and I'm really liking the hardware from the sounds of it. I'll probably get around to buying one, eventually. I want to support advancements in gaming, such as this new technology. As much as I enjoy those apps in the app store, they are essentially just there for short spurts of entertainment while on the go. The Vita is a full gaming experience.
 
# 2 DetroitStyle @ 02/22/12 11:53 PM
Yep, this was exactly my thoughts in my blog. The cost-benefit of owning a PS Vita just isn't there. Picking up a new 360 or PS3 for LESS than the vita just speaks for itself. Also, the games are way over priced. $40 max for a top tier game (such as uncharted). Also, not having any top sellers at launch is going to kill it's initial sales. Just the show and uncharted are the only ones worth while from what I can tell. The smart move would be to play the waiting game and wait for the big price drops. Remember, Sony has always been notorious for over pricing their products at launch.
 
# 3 Retropyro @ 02/23/12 01:41 AM
With the Wii U coming out this holiday season and a new Xbox possibly next year, I can't justify dropping a minimum of $620 to get the full experiance. Especially when I play games the majority of the time at home and would prefer to be on my 360 or PS3.
 
# 4 ebugaloo @ 02/23/12 09:15 AM
I disagree on the pricing bit. Sure, it's expensive now compared to full-size consoles, but that's what happens at launch. XBox 360 was $400 at launch with the hard drive. PS3 was $500 for the 20 GB model. Pricing will come down over time as the manufacturer gains scale with parts and process.

The other relevant factor is that Vita's pricing, when announced, came in below expectations. People were expecting at least $300.

If you don't want it at this price, that's your decision. If you have the means now, though, you're only thought should be whether you believe you can get your incremental money's worth out of the system before a $50 (probably) price drop later this year. For me, I'm going to play the crap out of FIFA and MLB the Show in that time period, so it's worth it to me.
 
# 5 addybojangles @ 02/23/12 09:25 AM
Only one day with this thing, but I LOVE it.

It's my personal Hot Shots Golf machine, but when The Show hits, oh baby...
 
# 6 VladCanada @ 02/23/12 10:15 AM
I'll buy it down the road when it's cheaper. I just hope it doesn't get hacked so developers keep putting out quality games for it.
 
# 7 BIGFOOT999 @ 02/23/12 03:00 PM
Not being able to do anything with my UMDs and the overall price are making me wait. I may reconsider with a price drop or with a solid bundle (The Show?)
 
# 8 Nexgenrulz @ 02/23/12 05:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DetroitStyle
Yep, this was exactly my thoughts in my blog. The cost-benefit of owning a PS Vita just isn't there. Picking up a new 360 or PS3 for LESS than the vita just speaks for itself. Also, the games are way over priced. $40 max for a top tier game (such as uncharted). Also, not having any top sellers at launch is going to kill it's initial sales. Just the show and uncharted are the only ones worth while from what I can tell. The smart move would be to play the waiting game and wait for the big price drops. Remember, Sony has always been notorious for over pricing their products at launch.
I wonder if people would be saying this if it was an Apple product.
 
# 9 bluengold34_OS @ 02/23/12 05:08 PM
Well after owning the Vita for 10 days now, I feel like it was a bargain at that price. I can play games that look beautiful and replicate what you see on a PS3, watch Netflix, check Twitter, check Facebook, browse the net and party chat with people on my friends list......not to mention many other things. This is just my opinion though=)

Sent from my SGH-i917 using Board Express
 
# 10 GlennN @ 02/24/12 08:45 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGFOOT999
Not being able to do anything with my UMDs and the overall price are making me wait. I may reconsider with a price drop or with a solid bundle (The Show?)
I'm with you. I'll wait until I can replace my PSP gaming experience (I don't want to be carrying around 2 systems), and I can definately wait for a price cut. I'd also like to make sure there will be a football and hockey game, and a GTA and/or Burnout type game. Yeah, no rush for me.
 
# 11 djcorrosive @ 02/24/12 05:05 PM
Absolutely love the Vita so far with one exception....You can only use one PSN account per machine. This is no big deal for most, but if you've downloaded Vita or PSP games to your PS3 with a different account than the one on your Vita you are SOL. I have many PSP games I want to transfer to the VIta from my Japanese account, but can't do it. Even though the PSP used only one PSN account you could still transfer games from other accounts on your PS3. Again, not a big deal for most, but something to consider if this applies to you, especially families with multiple PSN accounts. Maybe it could be changed in a future firmware release but doubt it.
 
# 12 JohnDoe8865 @ 02/25/12 09:19 PM
I played Virtua Tennis 4 on a Vita that they had on a kiosk at my local Gamestop, and even though the game probably doesn't push the system at all, the experience of the whole thing was just great! The graphics were truly impressive. I love the Vita after just playing it for less than 1 hour on a kiosk. I can't afford one right now, but when I can, I'll be buying one.

It'll be the first handheld gaming system that I've owned. What really pushes it over the top? I don't have a PS3 and I would love to play The Show and some other Playstation exclusives.

The ability to play games that look as amazing as the games I demoed on a portable device is just awesome. My previous experience with handhelds consisted of GBAs, the original DS (which I liked but never seriously considered purchasing), and the original PSP.

The Vita is absolutely killer compared to those systems.
 
# 13 Blzer @ 02/26/12 09:55 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by djcorrosive
Absolutely love the Vita so far with one exception....You can only use one PSN account per machine. This is no big deal for most, but if you've downloaded Vita or PSP games to your PS3 with a different account than the one on your Vita you are SOL. I have many PSP games I want to transfer to the VIta from my Japanese account, but can't do it. Even though the PSP used only one PSN account you could still transfer games from other accounts on your PS3. Again, not a big deal for most, but something to consider if this applies to you, especially families with multiple PSN accounts. Maybe it could be changed in a future firmware release but doubt it.
Can you, say, activate your Japanese account and download those PSP games on your Vita memory card, then deactivate it and activate your U.S. account, and still keep those PSP games on your memory card? Or is that not possible?
 
# 14 djcorrosive @ 02/26/12 11:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blzer
Can you, say, activate your Japanese account and download those PSP games on your Vita memory card, then deactivate it and activate your U.S. account, and still keep those PSP games on your memory card? Or is that not possible?
Unfortunately, no. The games are linked to the account you purchased them with and won't play with any other accounts on the Vita. The only workaround is to constantly reset to the default factory settings each time you want to switch accounts and set up the Vita with the account you want to use. That's too much of a pain, so I'll just hope they address it in a firmware update down the line. There are easier ways to deal with piracy, they should just limit the amount of devices a piece of software can be on like the PSP and not link it to accounts.
 

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