The PS Vita Comes to Quirky-Tech

In February, I introduced you to the PS Vita, Sony PlayStation’s newest handheld gaming device. It was only recently, though, that we got some quality time with one. As a member of the PlayStation Family blogging group, I received a review unit to play with and we’ve all been enjoying our time with it. I wanted to share some things that stand out about the Vita, as well as some challenges I have with it.

Rear Touch Screen. The PS Vita has a rear touch screen, which is definitely something new to get used to. It allows you to have in-game actions like pinching (front and back) or pushing something from behind. In some games you can navigate using the rear touchpad rather than the front, which allows you to still see what’s happening on the screen. I love the new dimension this adds to gameplay. On the other hand, the PS Vita is a big device for a handheld, and I sometimes have trouble reaching behind the screen and in front of the screen, all while still holding onto the device. It’s even more difficult for young kids.

Parental Controls. The parental controls on the Vita are definitely a mixed bag for me. You can block out games by levels, but the levels don’t correspond to ESRB game ratings. You may need to play around with it a bit to figure out the appropriate game level for your child. And then you can’t seem to block out specific apps/games on an individual basis. That would be incredibly powerful for me. I’d like to keep my kids from accessing the browser, as an example, but I can’t.

Dual Analog Sticks. The PS Vita has dual analog sticks, which I love. It makes for a more seamless experience if you’re used to using a PlayStation controller. Other navigational buttons are present as well. The only difficulty here is that you don’t navigate around the menu system in the same way, which is highly confusing at first. In the end, that’s just something you need to get used to, though.

Front and Rear Cameras. The Vita has front and rear cameras, and also captures video. This allows you to play games in an augmented reality kind of way where your room becomes the game environment. I think we’re going to be seeing some innovative uses of the front/rear camera combo moving forward and I’m looking forward to that.

PlayStation 3 Integration. I haven’t had a chance to try this feature yet, so I’m just throwing it out there because it’s cool. With some games, you’ll be able to basically pause on your PS3 and pick up the game on your Vita to take with you. Wow. Not only is that useful, but it’s pretty amazing that the Vita has that much processing power in such a small device.

Gorgeous Graphics. The graphics on the PS Vita really pop. They are crisp and clear and the colors are striking. That probably sounds trite, but it’s really true. Can’t wait to try out the Netflix app for the Vita!

So, you’ll definitely be hearing more about the PS Vita as we explore more and more of what it has to offer. Right now the PS Vita is $249.99 for the WiFi model and $299.99 for the WiFi with 3G.

Disclosure: As a member of the PlayStation Family blogging group, I received a PS Vita unit on loan for review purposes. There was no promise of a positive review and the opinions in this post are my own.

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