Geek Revolt

Progress Report: A Month With The PS Vita “Best Handheld Ever, But it Needs a Few Tweaks”

After spending 730.484398 hours with the PS Vita I can safely say that Sony has a winner on their hands. It needs a few tweaks here and there, but the same could be said about every product on the market. Here are my thoughts (after a month of ownership) on PS3 connectivity, size, battery life, screen protectors, terrible web browsers, OS X support, going all digital, controls, 3G, defective OLEDs, and more.

  • No Screen Protector – While the PS Vita’s screen isn’t made of glass; if you’re using it normally you won’t scratch the screen. It’s more durable than the PSP’s.
  • TouchPad Protector/Case Needed – The screen won’t scratch, but the back will. After a month of use I’ve noticed a few scratches on the back touchpad. So you shouldn’t sit it down without putting it in a case.
  • Be Careful When Swapping Memory Cards – I tried to swap mine, and accidently dropped it (bounced off my desk), and it took me 30 minutes to find it because of its size. So if you plan on downloading tons of stuff, don’t be cheap—buy the 32GB card. Swapping and keeping track of MCs is more trouble than it’s worth.
  • All Digital, Maybe – Getting games from PSN is so easy and convenient you might find yourself wanting to go all-digital. Like swapping out MCs, swapping out games constantly just doesn’t feel right, but if you buy a ton of games you’ll fill up that 32GB card quickly. My suggestion, go for a hybrid approach, half digital and half physical.
  • No Screenshots in Remote Play – Like the title says, you can’t take screenshots in remote play.
  • About Remote Play – It needs some work, after seeing console games running through remote play on a hacked PS Vita, and with the Wii U around the corner, it’s a must that the PS Vita gets the ability to play PS3 games remotely.
  • Hands Really Adjust – If you think the controls feel weird give it some time. After using it for a month I can safely say that this is the most comfortable handheld I’ve ever owned. The indents on the back are the perfect place to rest your middle fingers while holding the device. I’m 6’5 so my hands are big, and it’s rare that I find a handheld that doesn’t give me cramps. After owning the 3DS since March my hands still haven’t adjusted–and they probably never will.
  • Touch Screen Only Navigation Works – When I first reviewed the PS Vita I had an issue with not being able to use the face buttons to navigate the menues. But it’s no longer a problem, and I actually like this better than relying on the dpad to move around. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to add that feature in a firmware update  eventually.
  • Analog Sticks – After a month they feel almost as good as the PS3’s.
  • Mandatory Purchase – If you’re buying a PS Vita, you need to get Uncharted Golden Abyss. It’s worth the price of the device. It wouldn’t hurt to get Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition either.
  • Dark Spots Aren’t a Problem – As expected, those dark spots you see on the OLED when the screen is black, and you’re in a dark room aren’t an issue. In fact, I haven’t seen any of these spots in weeks. You have to go out of your way to see them. Also this is a limitation of OLED technology, so most devices have this problem.
  • Hide Icon Feature – I’m sick of looking at icons I never use, like Welcome Park. It’s fun for two days, and then you’ll never touch it. It would be nice if we could remove these icons and just see the stuff we plan on using.
  • Just Right – The first thing you notice about the PS Vita is how big it is (about the size of a DSi XL without the bulky clamshell design), but after using it for a month the size doesn’t matter. Actually, it’s the perfect size and it makes the 3DS feel cramped.
  • Battery Life – I haven’t timed the battery life, but from what I can tell it’s better than the 3DS. I only play my PS Vita for about two and a half hours a day, and I only charge it every two days. It’s only died on me once. Although, I should note that I always have Wi-Fi off until I decide to connect to PSN.
  • One Lock Up – I’ve heard stories about people having their PS Vitas always lock up; well mine only did it once. And a hard reset fixed the problem.
  • Needs Mac Support – This has become annoying, most of the time I don’t copy media over to my PS Vita because I don’t feel like switching to Windows 7 via Bootcamp. Hopefully Sony fixes this once it launches in a few weeks, OS X continues to grow in popularity by the year, there’s no excuse for not supporting it out of the gate.
  • 3G, Meh – Sony is really trying to sell the 3G versions with all the bundles they’re announcing. While out and about I rarely got the urge to connect to the Internet (I have a 4G hotspot). You won’t be downloading PSN games over 3G. Near is cool, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the price of 3G.
  • Browser Still Sucks – Sigh, in the past month I’ve only used it maybe 4-5 times. And two of those times were so I could get a good laugh.
  • Out Shines The PS3 – The PS Vita’s OS puts the PS3’s to shame, it has cross game chat, custom soundtracks, and the live area is useful and attractive. Maybe it’s a hint at things to come?
  • Normal People Think It’s a PSP – Sony needs to get the hype train rolling if they plan on having a big launch in the next two weeks. So far out of most of the people I talked to (IRL), even the ones I consider gamers—none of them know anything about the device. Most think it’s just another PSP model. Sony might have the same problem Nintendo did with the 3DS at launch. This isn’t another refresh; it’s a new product.
  • There’s Hope – Although, once they start to play it they’re shock that a handheld can produce graphics that rival consoles. I’ve let a few people play Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition and they couldn’t stop going on about how gorgeous it looks. They also praise the OLED, saying it’s one of the best they’ve seen. Hopefully Best Buy and the other big box stores have demo units of the PS Vita.
  • Eating Into Your Console Time – The PS Vita has actually managed to pull me away from my consoles. Sometimes it feels more intimate and engrossing playing a game on the PS Vita’s lovely screen. It’s hard to describe—but don’t assume you’ll only play your new handheld when you’re commuting.
  • Best Handheld Ever – I’ve owned a Gameboy, Gameboy Pocket, Sega Game Gear, Sega Nomad, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Gameboy Advance SP, DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL, PSP, PSP 2000, PSP 3000 (skipped the Go), and a 3DS. Out of all of these handhelds the PS Vita is already my favorite after a month.
  • It’ll Only Get Better – The launch line up is easily the best I’ve seen for any console or handheld. And with games like Gravity Rush coming shortly after launch, things will only get better. Also Sony has already added a Flickr app, and a Netflix one was announced. Now all I need is a YouTube, Vevo, Pandora, and a Hulu Plus one and maybe the PS Vita can make me keep my iPhone in my pocket.

So there you have it–my thoughts on the PS Vita after a month. I could go on for another 1,000 words, but I figured I’d stop. If you have any questions just leave a comment below, and I’ll try to answer it to the best of my ability.

I'm DeShaun Zollicoffer, and I approve this message/bio. "28-years-old, Proud Northeast Ohioan, a Gamer Without Loyalties, an Equal Opportunity Offender, Apple Evangelist, Apple Hater, Music Lover, Anime Junkie, Little Monster, Frequent Flyer, Dexter Fanatic, Title Case Addict, and Geek Revolt's Founder and Editorial Director."
  • Anonymous

    Positive signs early :).  Thanks for the info, have been looking very seriously at getting one, and it’s good to get stuff that’s straight up from someone who knows what they’re talking about – far too much rubbish floating around on the net these days.  Have you given Wipeout a shake, and is it any good? (Apologies if it’s not out yet in Japan)

    • I did an overview of the demo but I haven’t gotten a chance to play the full game. The only thing I didn’t like about the demo was the loading. Besides that the game is still Wipeout, so if you like the other versions you should like the PS Vita version. The crafts handle like they should, and the graphics look good and crisp. 

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for the link and the demo, it looks pretty flash.  Also, top stuff on what you’re doing on this site, consider yourself bookmarked :).  That was a 43 second load time, you’re dead right, it’s on the longer side!  Hopefully unoptimised code……  At least there’ll always be the ability to play with the touchpad in the menu screen ;).

  • Thanks for not blowing the VITA out of proportion. Some reviewers would be moaning about something as little as ‘the PSN button is hard to press’, like.. REALLY? You just bought a £230 device, and you’re crying about THAT?! 
    Anyway dude, thanks for that, it just made me feel even better about spending tons of money on it on day one! 😛
    I’m glad you went out of your way and compared to it the 3DS, many reviewers wouldn’t do that so they don’t piss of the reader, but I actually like the fact that you did, especially as I my self had a 3DS. 

    • I’m glad you found this write up useful. I compared them because a lot of people have 3DS’ now, and it’s the device to beat. But overall the PS Vita feels better than the 3DS, and the battery life is better. My 3DS has died while idle, the PS Vita barely loses its charge overnight.

  • I’m glad you found this write up useful. I compared them because a lot of people have 3DS’ now, and it’s the device to beat. But overall the PS Vita feels better than the 3DS, and the battery life is better. My 3DS has died while idle, the PS Vita barely loses its charge overnight. 

  • I do agree that Sony isn’t doing enough marketing on it. Seriously, I haven’t even seen a commercial for it, both online and tv. This thing comes out in less than a month, and they haven’t dropped the US hype train on it yet, that’s not good. 

    Anyways, good article, you already know I plan on getting it (maybe I can do a US review of it, or a first thoughts or whatever). 

    • Same here, they have a Taco Bell promotion going… so umm, yeah. And sure, I’d love to hear what you have to say about it. I’m half tempted to buy an American version just to see if they changed anything–but I’d feel like a major tool for essentially owning two identical devices ha-ha! 

  • Anonymous

    Nice analysis DeShaun. My question is do all PSN games play on Vita? From PS2 to PSOne games, and even PS3, what from PSN CAN’T you access and play?

    Also I’m wondering if it’s possible to store your PSV content on the PS3 hardrrive. I figured it would make for an interesting technique in saving memory card space.


    • I think only some PSP and PS1 games work via remote play. It’s kinda hit or miss at this point. I know I can’t play my PSN games like Beyond Good & Evil HD.

      And yes, I have all my downloadable PS Vita games and demos stored on my PS3. Just go to content manager (once you hook up the vita to the PS3) and select PSV to PS3, and start copying. This will come in handy if your MC becomes full, and you want to remove a game without deleting it.

  • I think the “defective OLED” screen is going to be a misreported issue for the lifetime of the Vita. It’s an inherent issue with these types of OLED displays in which there is nonuniform brightness at low screen brightness (see Obviously, this is made worse with long exposure shots that exaggerate the issue. Better IMO than dead/stuck pixels (though not mutually exclusive) and backlight bleed on IPS displays.

    I expect lots of “my screen doesn’t have this problem” and “should I return my unit for one with a better screen?” posts once the Vita launches worldwide.

    • Yup, in my original review I said this isn’t like the dead pixels from the PSP era. Those things were distracting while playing games because they never went away (same with light leaks, had one on my original iPad). The dark spots on the PS Vita’s OLED are only visible under certain circumstances, and like you said a lot of OLED screens have this problem. And returning it will be pointless, they’ll all have this “issue”. 

  • It’s nice to see someone who finally appreciates the Vita for what it is. A lot of other websites are only bashing it and nit-picking the most minute problems just to get hits. You told it straight, Kudos to you 🙂

  • Jaime Home

    GAME UK have Demo units with games :D.

  • I cannot wait for mine!!!

    • Are you getting the WiFi or 3G model? I think all the bundles have 3G ones. Sony wants us all to be connected ha-ha 🙂

  • Nice review, DeShaun!

    I have a question and sorry if it’s been addressed: Can you change the background theme of the XMB (or whatever it’s called on the PS Vita)? I’m not liking the big floating buttons that much…

    • Nope, just the background! We’re stuck with the bubbles for now. I didn’t really care much for them at first, but now they don’t really bother me.  

      • Oh okay, good to know. I guess it’s too soon to expect alternative themes, anyway.

  • I tweeted this article to @yosp. Sometimes he retweets articles like this. He said, “Thanks, nice article!” 
    This article got me even more excited about the Vita. I switched my preorder to the 3G bundle yesterday. I figure that it would be cool to have better functionality for Near. I could see myself hiking to find dropoff points.

    • Awesome! I really appreciate that! I’m surprised he liked it, since I didn’t bite my tongue about certain things ha-ha. I’m not sure if I’d get the 3G on its own–but with all the bundles they have going on, it’d be foolish to get the regular WiFi version that doesn’t come with anything. Like I said, Sony is really trying to sell the 3G model. 

      The launch bundle is such a good value I’m tempted to buy one! I’d actually get that over the first edition, because if I’m not mistaken you can use that PSN card to buy any game, like Golden Abyss. 

      • Wow! That would really be something if you could buy any PSN game. Neogaf seems to think you’ll get a code for a game that’s about $10 since the bundle says it comes with $55 worth of stuff ($30 memory card + $15 internet time + $10 PSN game). Europe is getting Wipeout, though. I expect either Super Stardust or Escape Plan.

        I have a question for you – What does the GPS chip in the 3G version actually do? That’s the main reason I switched to the 3G version. Does it make Near work better? Do you think you’ll be able to use the Vita as a GPS unit like a Garmin? 

        • Oh, for some reason I thought the game could be a $55 value, oops lol! I think the GPS chip is used for Near, and possibly some games down the line. I know Monster Rader uses it. I don’t think it technically makes Near work better, it makes it work on the go… although that kinda is better now that I think about it.

          With Near limited to only WiFi you won’t get a good reading of all the people in your town (with PS Vitas), since it only covers a two mile radius around your home. But with 3G turned on you’ll be able to find more people once you enter new parts of town. 

          If I had to guess I’d say yes. It wouldn’t be hard to make an app that gives turn by turn directions since the 3G version has a GPS.  I could have sworn that the PSP had some GPS app back in 08.

    • He retweeted it about 11 hours ago! Thanks 🙂

  • i’d have no use for it or a 3ds… at home? console = best
    i drive and don’t go anywhere much.
    and when in class I can’t concentrate on the game.
    if i was working my summer firework selling job i suppose it would be ok for the dead times, but other then that it’s a waste of money..
    if i was 7 again, when i went to grandmas house every few days over the summer, this would be awesome though

    • Curtis, here’s the thing–it’s not only about something to play while on the go. I can only speak for myself, but I love games so much I like to experience everything that’s out there. That’s why I own every current console, and use to own a gaming PC before I sold it a few months ago (my iMac 2011 is more than capable of PC gaming though). 

      The PS Vita and 3DS have some amazing experiences that will NEVER come to consoles, like I couldn’t imagine passing up on Super Mario 3D Land, or Uncharted Golden Abyss. Also Gravity Rush looks like nothing available on consoles. Like I said it’s a more intimate experience, and it’s hard to explain. I have a 47 inch HDTV, but sometimes I’d rather sit in bed or on my sofa and play a handheld.

      TLDR: It’s about gaming without limits, I’m a weirdo, etc. 🙂

      P.S. Wait, serious question–if you have no intrest in the PS Vita why did you spend time reading this? I’m not being a smart ass, obviously you’re somewhat curious.

      • LOL. I AGREE !!!  Its a whole different experience! 

      • Anonymous

        ” I have a 47 inch HDTV, but sometimes I’d rather sit in bed or on my sofa and play a handheld.”

        The Same here mate.

        Btw, nice review & pretty spot on.
        Thanks for sharing.

    • I definitely know where you’re coming from, Curtis. It was for the similar reasons why I was hesitant to buy a PSP years ago. But just like what DeShaun said, I’m all about the games. And I realized that there are some handheld exclusives out there worth playing, whether or not I’ll actually use the handheld outside of my home. True, a number of so-called “exclusives” are suddenly getting console ports, but with the quality that the 3DS and PS VIta have to offer, it’s more likely that handheld games will remain exclusive this time around, or at worse case scenario, accompany the console ports (as we’ve seen with MvC 3).

      Personally, I’ll still wait if there are any price drops during launch here in the U.S. (though I highly doubt it), but if worse case scenario I think I’ll wait for version 2.0 (as with any hi-tech gadget). I still have enough console, PSP, and even PC games to keep me busy before I can jump into a new handheld lol.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. I’ve been planning on getting the Wi-Fi model for some time now.
    Problem is I’ll have to import it since prices in my country are just upsetting…

  • Nice !! Its great hearing that!! Thanks for sharing!!!  I have a random question though.  Can you tell me anything about the AR cards?? Do you have Any?? Are they Free??  

    • It doesn’t come with AR cards like the 3DS. I’m guessing they’ll come with certain games like Reality Fighters. 

  • hmmm

    i tried it at GAME and the handheld is quite big…

    I don’t get the swapping idea but it sounds like a pain:/

    I like the Remote Play idea but I heard complaints that there is lagging when playing games, to me if that’s the case then remote play i would only use to listen to music, view pictures or play games. Also can’t we use remote play and use ps3’s browser?

    when I tried Vita, I don’t like the analog stick.

    and people should stop saying Vita’s OS is better than ps3, of course it does because it’s an upgrade. It’s like saying Xbox 360 is better than Xbox. of course it does.

    • You can use the PS3 browser, but honestly it’s pretty bad too. Also you’d get use to the sticks, trust me. They feel funny at first, but after awhile everything feels natural. 

      Well, it’s not a PS4 so that doesn’t really work here. Sony could have easily thrown the XMB on there, but they went with Live Area, and it’s worth noting that it’s better than the PS3’s in some areas. 

  • hmm im gonna keep my eye on the vita but until they release a game i really want or it has the remote play play ps3 unhacked ill wait

    • Makes sense, the launch line-up is great, but I can see how the games don’t appeal to some gamers. I think by the end of the year we’ll start to see a bunch of must haves that’ll make more gamers jump in. 

      • well i only got a psp for rpgs and i dont like the uncharted series much the only game im excited about a lil is resistance burning skies but im not too excited until they release a great RPG or a fps or a kickass RTS ill wait if FROM makes a SOULS game for it but its not coming out until a year after the VITA comes out im buying the vita day one no matter what!

  • in the uae itts mentioned that the waar cards come in the box

  • Here’s another one for ya – the 3DS keeps track of how long you spend on each app. It’s a cool feature because you can see what you have spent the most time doing and compare it with other people. For example Does the Vita have an equivalent feature? Many games keep track of your playing time, but it’s more fun to have it on a hardware level where things can be easily compared.

    • I don’t think the Vita has that, I didn’t even know the 3DS did. I need to go find that, I’d love to see how long I’ve played Super Mario 3D Land lol

      • Ah! That’s too bad! I was hoping it was hidden somewhere in Near. Definitely check out the feature on 3DS. Activity Log and Play Coins really make the 3DS stand out to me.

  • Or maybe you could just look at the article as it’s meant to be looked  at and just take a chill pill 
    (its an excitement piece designed to get people pumped). I’m guessing your MBA must stand for something different like Mediocre But Arrogant.

  • Ha-ha! I wasn’t about to approve this, but this comment is too hilarious to ignore. 

    Out of 1000 plus words you pick out that? There are more typos in this article, and I know I should have used “mine’s” instead. I was typing fast, but thanks for pointing that out! And that isn’t the “ghettoest” word I can use, obviously you’ve never been to the ghetto. To me it sounds like you’re taking cheap shots, but hey! What ever helps you sleep at night…

    Here is a suggestion for you, before you attack my grammar–make sure you proof read your comment because I see two typos in there. And shouldn’t your name be gametimer? Isn’t that the proper way to spell it? 

  • Man this article gets me pumped!! I hope that they come out with a new monster hunter for it!!  Or perhaps monster hunter 4!! 

  • Man I really can’t wait until the Vita is on my hands ^.^ I only have 16 days to wait now!!!

  • Anonymous

    Very nice 🙂 i’m going for the wifi model personally and then IMPATIENTLY wait for Gravity Rush to make its way over to the states -_______- i’m also getting mine with Uncharted and Escape Plan just so I can show it off to people… you know how old people are with touch screens so I can’t imagine what they’ll think of rear touch : O

    • Lol, I haven’t used the rear touchpad a lot. Most games give you the option to completely ignore it. 

      • Anonymous

        well thats kind of the sad part because there are so many things that could be done with rear touch and devs are pretty much ignoring it :// i guess after the hype of it having dual sticks (praise the gaming gods for that one) then they’ll start really getting into rear touch but as of right now it pretty much is being used as a substitute for no R2/ L2 and no stick clicks…

  • Michael Pana

    I find it hilarious how some individuals think the $250 tag is too high when that’s how much the 3DS and PSP launched for. Not mention us Australians have to fork out more. I paid $300AUD+ for my 3DS on launch and will do the same for the Vita once that comes out.

    I believe both systems features more than justify them as a purchase.

  • I agree.

  • Do the analog sticks feel accurate? Good for FPS?

    • I haven’t played an FPS on it yet, but they feel good with Uncharted, they just take some getting use to.