If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But Sony has made some minute, yet significant changes to its PlayStation Vita portable console. At Tokyo Game Show, we had a quick hands-on with the unit, and realised that the new Vita is a match made in heaven with the Japanese company’s upcoming PlayStation 4 console.
Thinner, lighter and friendlier on the hands
We don’t need a digital weighing scale nor a measuring tape to feel the difference between this year’s PlayStation Vita and its predecessor. Touted to be 15 per cent lighter, the new Vita is definitely less strenuous, and considering how light its predecessor is, it won’t make you keel over when you carry the unit in your hand or in your inventory bag.
Handling is somewhat similar to the previous model, and you can get a good grip at the sides even after it has been shaved thinner by 20 per cent. It’s the same old story for the controller - the two analog sticks at the sides have the right amount of traction, and you’ll have to stretch those thumbs slightly to reach the directional keys and the signature PlayStation buttons at the top corners. Your index and middle fingers should locate the rear touchpads just as easily, as is the case with the trigger buttons at the top corners.
Small yet useful upgrades
A welcomed news from the new Vita’s announcement is the adoption of a micro USB port, making absolute sense for anyone who has an Android device to share a micro USB cable. Tough luck for iPhone users.
We’ve expressed our disdain at Sony’s continued use of its proprietary memory card, but on the bright side, the Vita now comes with 1GB of internal memory. It’s not much to work on if you intend to download and play blockbuster titles that can easily hog storage space, but at the least, you can park your photos and (limited) music collection into the internal storage.
Sony’s Remote Play feature, which uses Gaikai’s cloud-based system to stream games from the PlayStation 4 to the Vita, was demonstrated at the Tokyo Game Show. A disclaimer before we proceed with our impressions - due to the sheer amount of wireless networks running concurrently at the exhibition area, Sony was only able to show Remote Play via a wired connection on the Vita. When we were showed how Knack, a PlayStation 4 exclusive title, was streamed to the Vita, lag was quite minimal and it feels as though you are playing an actual PS4 game, minus the huge display. Unfortunately, a Sony spokesperson was unable to confirm if you can stream PS3 games to the Vita.
Speaking of that, an LCD instead of an OLED display is used on the new Vita. Responsiveness of the touch screen is still as good, and during the short half-hour session with the unit, we were not able to see any discernible difference in display quality between the old and new Vita.
The updated Sony PlayStation Vita, model number PCH-2000, will be available in Japan from October, and will reach Asian shores starting from November. Pricing for the Vita in Asia has not been revealed just yet, though it is estimated to be within the US$190 range. Three special designs will be launched too, but the pricing and availability of the God Eater 2, Gundam Breaker and Final Fantasy X/X-2 editions have not been announced yet.
Sony PlayStation Vita PCH-2000
Refreshed with some minor updates, the Sony PlayStation Vita should be on your list of presents for the holidays