TGS ’13: Hands on with the Slim PS Vita

Tokyo Game Show is over for another year and there were some great things, both hardware and software, on display. One of the newly announced pieces of hardware is the new revised iteration for Sony’s PS Vita. The new model which is the PCH-2000 series is a slimmer, and lighter redesign of the existing hardware so how does it stack up?

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Click for full size

 

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Click for full size

For a start, the unit feels extremely light in your hands and there’s a very noticeable difference in weight the minute you hold it. The new smooth sides, part of the redesign, make a world of difference to the way your hands grip the unit and it’s a welcome change. The Start and Select button have seen a change to their shape which has received mixed results online but to my hands, the difference was negligible. Another major change which has been receiving loads of attention on the internet has been Sony’s decision to change from the current OLED screen to an LCD screen, in order to keep costs down. I’ll be honest and admit that I was quite vocal about the change and thought that the change in screen technologies would be seen as a downgrade. There are loads of sites that have comparison images of both screens so I won’t bother with those so for this I’ll stick to what my eyes actually saw.

Limited edition Final Fantasy Vita

Limited edition Final Fantasy Vita

I have to admit, the difference was hardly there from what I could see. The screen appeared to have a similar refresh rate to what’s out there now and there was no issue with on-screen blur as some other sites seem to point out. Another area that has received criticism is the difference in colours for the screen with the current OLED screen seeming to have a brighter and more vibrant colour palette. I’ll be straight up honest and say that I personally couldn’t tell the difference between screens. Granted I wasn’t playing an action packed game and spent most of the time looking at the Live Area and the PSN store but you would think that even at that level, there would be a colour difference or even a washed out appearance. This wasn’t evident to me at all and I guess that only visual purists will be able to tell the difference.

Probably the only area I didn’t like and I’m not convinced of this yet, is the new two tone colour scheme that the new Vita’s have. The back carries the new colours while the front side are black, I also white on a few models on display. I think maybe this will eventually grow on me over time. The power/charging light has been changed from the face to the top of the unit while probably one of the biggest changes is the change to the way it charges. Say goodbye to the current proprietary charging system and say hello to the more standardised micro USB charge port.

Limited edition Gundam Vita model

Limited edition Gundam Vita model

Overall, I think they’re decent changes but it is enough to warrant a new purchase for current Vita owners? I’ll got out on a limb here and say probably not, it’d be different if it was a new system with upgraded performance specs but adding an extra hour of battery life isn’t enough. If you don’t have a Vita, then this is probably the right time to buy one, especially with the new reduced price for the new model. No word yet for a release in the West but you would think Sony would act on this and won’t keep it a Japan exclusive.