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PS Vita Slim review

Seth Barton
23 Oct 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
180
inc VAT

Page 2 of 2Remote play, Wi-Fi, charging and conclusion

Still our favourite handheld gaming device, but the new LCD screen isn't up to its predecessor's OLED one

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Specifications

PS VITA SLIM Wi-FI AND CHARGING

The new Vita doesn't have a 3G variant, with only a Wi-Fi model available. Having 3G was a nice idea, but we don't know anyone who made serious use of it, as having a mobile data connection for a handheld console was a little unnecessary, and any serious use of it (to download games, or play online) would either have been expensive or laggy.

One nice addition for the new device is that the proprietary power connector has been abandoned in favour of a micro USB socket, so you can trickle charge the device from most smartphone chargers. The power supply isn't a typical plug design oddly, it's still a little brick with a power lead for the mains, it outputs a pretty typical 1,500mAh though so you could use many tablet chargers instead.

Sony is claiming increased battery life over the original model, up to six hours of gameplay up by round an hour, but it hasn't quoted battery capacity to back this up. Given the slimmer design and the, usually more power hungry, LCD display, this is surprising but seemed to be backed up in our informal testing – we're trying to come up with a way to test this properly and will update this review accordingly.

PS VITA SLIM REMOTE PLAY

The new PS Vita Slim, as with the old PS Vita, supports Remote Play with a PS4. This means you can stream games from your shiny new next-gen console to the handheld. We've had a lot of experience of this now, mainly playing PS4 games in bed in the morning or while others are watching TV in the evening.

Over a local Wi-Fi network it works pretty flawlessly, there's a tiny bit of lag but nothing that would put you off playing most games. There are exceptions though, in first-person shooters that lag is far more noticeable and you certainly won't want to play competitive online matches using the PS Vita.

PS4 review

Here we're browsing the PS4's store via Remote Play

There's another reason not to get competitive on the device too. Although the Vita has excellent controls, it only has a single pair of shoulder buttons, the PS4 controller's bumper buttons are mapped to the touchpad on the rear, it works OK but it's not 100% reliable for razor-sharp Call of Duty shootouts. On the plus side, most the PS4 games we've played take pains to make you feel at home on the Vita, showing control guides for Vita users when playing games via Remote Play.

Over the internet, we found the lag made most games hard to enjoy, if not unplayable; though we suppose slow-paced strategy titles would play fine. Even then, it's still very handy to be able to log into your PS4 to set new games downloading, check if a title is now on offer in the store, or even help the other half find something on YouTube (though some of this can be done through the PlayStation mobile app).

An alternative to the PS Vita for Remote Play is the PlayStation TV. This small box is essentially a Vita shown of its screen, you simply plug it into a TV and can then stream games to it from your PS4.

PS VITA BEST GAMES TO DATE

If you're new to the PS Vita then you might be wondering what the best games are, after all there's no point in buying shiny new hardware if there's nothing good to play. Our favourite Vita games to date have been a mix of big game card releases and smaller downloadable games.

We're very keen on Killzone: Mercenary for providing a serious first-person shooter on the device, with some great level design and weapon unlocking mechanics that genuinely let you take on the enemy in your own way.

Killzone: Mercenary

Killzone: Mercenary is a brilliant shooter packed into handheld form

Tearaway is one of our favourite platformers of late. It's immensely charming, putting a huge grin on your face, plus you'll see that grin onscreen as it makes full use of the Vita's front and back cameras plus both touch interfaces. It's the game the Vita was made for.

Tearaway

Tearaway's world is made of paper and it you can even download and print its denizens to make for yourself

We're also rather partial to download-only indie platformer Guacamelee. This blends 2D platforming elements and fighting game mechanics to a perfect puree. It's also brimming with zest, thanks to a beautifully rendered Mexican setting that quickly goes a bit Day of the Dead.

The quality software lineup isn't huge admittedly, but there's plenty here if your PS Vita is to be a second console, something for journeys or the odd lazy morning in bed, rather than a full-time gaming companion.

PS VITA SLIM CONCLUSION

We're not massively impressed with the new PS Vita Slim. We appreciate that the device is now lighter and slimmer, but the screen simply isn't up to the original's OLED and it's not even terribly good by LCD standards. We also feel that it was a missed opportunity to add extra shoulder buttons to the device for better compatibility with other PlayStation consoles, though we admit that it would have been a squeeze.

The price looks rather high too, it's hard to predict what kind of bundles will be released by Christmas time (the big selling point for handhelds) but an RRP of £180 is more than what discounted PS Vita and game bundles have been selling for of late. Having a search around today both Game and Amazon are offering the device at the full price with no deals, only Very.co.uk are doing a deal at present with the Slim and Tearaway for £185.

If money was not an issue, and we were given the choice between the two devices, then we'd struggle to pick a favourite and feel we'd compromised either way. It's certianly not worth anyone considering an 'upgrade'. We'd narrowly choose the new PS Vita Slim if pushed, but a new device such as this should be a clear step forward and the PS Vita Slim is only a slim improvement.

That said it's still our favourite handheld games console, so it retains its five star rating, but just misses out on a Best Buy award.

Details

Price£180
Rating*****

Page 2 of 2Remote play, Wi-Fi, charging and conclusion