Review of Sony’s new PS Vita hand-held console

THE long-awaited successor to the Sony PlayStation Portable, the PS Vita offers console-quality gaming on the go.

Sony PS Vita

Manufacturer: Sony

Price: �229 for Wi-Fi-only version, �279 for 3G/Wi-Fi model

THE long-awaited successor to the Sony PlayStation Portable, the PS Vita offers console-quality gaming on the go. Sporting a sleek black chassis, a five-inch OLED multi-touch screen, a large rear touchpad, two analogue sticks and a super-fast processor, it’s certainly been built to impress.

The first thing you notice about the PS Vita is that it’s big, chunky even, and you’ll definitely need deep pockets – both literally and figuratively – if you want to carry this portable gaming monster around. The fact that it costs more than a 3DS makes it a hard sell, even more so when you compare the cost of its games to the ultra-cheap apps available for iPhones and Android devices.

That said, there’s no doubting that the PS Vita is a capable machine. Its 960 x 544 resolution display fizzes with vivid colours and crisp images. The multi-touch capabilities of the screen rival anything a tablet can offer, while the inclusion of two analogue sticks, four face buttons, a d-pad and two shoulder buttons means the Vita can tackle almost any game genre you can throw at it. Add in gyroscope and accelerometer controls, an innovative rear touchpad that allows for unimpeded viewing and a launch line-up of 25 games, and you have quite a package.

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It’s not all about the hardware either. The menu interface with its bubble-like icons is a doddle to navigate, and you’ll find an app for almost anything you want to do, from listening to music and watching films to browsing the web and locating other Vita users in the immediate vicinity.

Of course, it’s not all good news. Battery life is disappointing, clocking in at 3-5 hours, meaning you’ll run out of juice on a long flight or train journey. Perhaps the most annoying drawback, however, is Sony’s insistence on using proprietary memory cards. Without any internal memory, you’re forced to buy these and, at �40 a pop for a 16Gb card, they’re not cheap.

Despite these reservations, the PS Vita is easy to recommend. It’s been designed to appeal to hardcore gamers who want precision controls and a library of games that’ll rival anything you’ll find on home consoles. To this end, it succeeds admirably, but everyone else might want to wait until a price drop.

Score: 4/5 stars