I was curious of the Sony PS Vita since it was called the Next Generation Portable. However, I was dead set on not purchasing the device, until two forces pushed me over the edge. First, a friend got the device and peer pressure was setting in, but more importantly, I had a big stack of about 15 old PS3 games. I traded in my stack at Gamestop and basically got a free Vita out of the deal with a nearly $300 credit. I’m very happy owning the PS Vita, but I have mixed feelings when people ask: “Is the Vita worth it?, Should I buy it?“. I’m not bragging about a trade-in stack bundle, my point is that had I not had such a large trade-in, I likely would not have bough the Vita at its current price point of $249.99 (WiFi Only).
An important consideration is that the Vita is NOT a competitor to the iPad or other Android Tablets. In my opinion, a purchase of the Vita should be mostly about portable gaming. Yes the Vita has some apps, like Netflix and a Twitter client(YouTube coming) but its main purpose is for gaming. I certainly love some games on my iPad and Android Transformer Prime, but playing games on the Vita is superior to tablets when it comes to today’s handheld gaming.
As often is my stance at Booya Gadget, whether or not a PS Vita is worth it is really a personal decision with many factors. As an owner, I can easily tell you that I really enjoy gaming on my Vita, but to help you make your own decision, here are the good and bad of the Vita. What’s most important is your opinion so let me lay the facts for you to decide upon.
PS VITA, THE GOOD
- Graphics: Great ! You will like the graphics on the big titles like MLB 12 and Hot Shots Golf(My #1 all time golf game)
- Sweet Games: The games, although expensive and currently limited in volume, are certainly Badass.
- Touchscreen typing / game integration: Touch screen is Great! I hated typing on the PSP. It is No Longer a problem. Plus you touch for many games too.
- Cloud Saves: On cross play games, you save your game (easy) to the cloud. Then fire up the game on the PS3 and Load From cloud. Voila !
- WiFi N: Finally.. I hate WiFi B, I’m 1 device away from disabling WiFi G&B on my router ! ( improve router performance with N only)
- Front / Rear cameras: I use my phone as a camera, but on the Vita it enables Augmented Reality games and more. But I’ll never use my PSP to take important Pictures / Videos. ( but you can! )
- Screen Shot capability: Screen Capture from a game, and Tweet it ! Or, copy to a PC using “Content Manager” and do what ever you want from game screen captures.
- PSP Game compatibility: If you bought games for your PSP, many will work on your Vita. ( Like Valkyria Chronicles II, Tekken 6 in my case )
- Twitter App + Screen shots: Screen Cap during a game as you beat your friend, Tweet it in their face… Booya!
- Custom Trophies for Vita Games: Love trophies designed for Vita play ! Great for PS3 Trophy Snobs!
- Party Chat –> BUT… Game volume screws it up !: You can party chat during gameplay, but the friggin game volume is too loud and no options to change it ( yet) this is good and bad ..
PS VITA, THE BAD
- BATTERY: GOD AWFUL BATTERY! Vita has the worst battery life of any device I own. AND…. It currently does NOT tell you when it’s low. I had an Online game shut down, with no warning from my Vita. Arrgh ! The battery life blows chunks.
- Wifi Connect disconnect: I think the battery is so crappy, they can’t leave you online like a PS3. connects, disconnects, connects disconnects, slow. annoying.
- Incredibly slow game downloading: Purchase a game online and wait forever. I recommend bundling downloads on your PS3 and transfer later. All my game downloads took about 5-7 HOURS. YIKES !
- WiFi MLB 12 Online Game had some chop and lag. I have yet to successfully complete a full 9 inning game on MLB 12 online multiplayer. But I did get 3 wins for my trouble.
- Not many titles: New system, lagging in sales due to tablets and smart phones. So the full suite of games is not there yet. But those that are available are great.
- My Thumbs Hurt/Ergonomics?: Prolonged game play may cause your friggin thumbs to get tendonitis! OUCH, no joke, my thumbs hurt after an hour.
- Expensive Games: Although these games smoke tablet gaming, they are damn expensive !! $30-$50 that ain’t no .99 Angry Birds.. Pricey
- Limited Cross-Play/Cloud Saves: Again, due to the newness, cloud saving is cool but you just can’t use it on many games. (3 at time of article)
- Limited Customization: You may have a lot of apps and games, but organizing them on your “live Area” is limited. You can’t organize much, no Folders.
- Price is $250(Wifi Only Model, $300 for 3g), BUT!!! You are basically forced to purchase the expensive proprietary Sony Micro SD cards. You might leave the store having spent $350-$400 !!!!
- Limited Accessories: Expensive(or cheap), and limited number of accessories still.. I just want a simple case.
- Not enough owners: New system, not enough online multiplayer opponents yet. More owners = way better tournaments in Hot Shots Golf :)
- Content Manager: Want to transfer data, you must plugin… Yuck, I don’t expect that in 2012…. Should allow Wifi Data Transfer on Home Router. I hate plugging in.
- Remote Play, just as tricky same results.
- Propietary cables, just give me USB / micro or mini.
- No Video Out.
INTERESTING / NOTEWORTHY FEATURES
- Augmented Reality.. There are 2 Free AR games that are available. The Vita also comes with 6 AR cards(required) They are cool, I recommend you try them. (diving first) I was able to play a game “virtually” on my dog’s back.
- Rear Touch panel.. Mixed feelings. So far, the rear touch pad has been a big inconvenience, I don’t like it. You can use it games, but it’s just too easy to touch on accident. (makes you shoot in Fifa)
- E3 : Sony will be releasing at least some info about the Vita, hopefully they’re improvements !
CLOSING / SUMMARY
The PS Vita is a great, sexy little device. While my “GOOD” list is nice, the “BAD” list is one of the biggest I’ve ever written. Some of its features are behind on the times, but for my #1 purpose (games) it is great. However, I consider it a luxury item and it’s still too early to call it a success or a failure. If you have the budget, you will like the device and games but if this is a big purchase for you financially, you might pass or at least wait for a price drop and more sweet games and features. Hot Shots Golf is my main game, followed by MLB 12 The show, but Booya Co Founder TRJ is hooked on Fifa and Augmented Reality ( Cliff Diving )…
With a gun to my head, I’d pass on the Vita and spend my money on a new phone/tablet purchase. If this device costed $200(like a Kindle Fire) or even $150 I would call it a must buy, for now, I’ll call it a “Very nice to have” gadget. If it fits in your budget via Cash, Parents, or selling old tech, then Yes, the Vita is worth it.
About the Author: I'm am a multi-platform tech enthusiast with Droid, Windows, and Mac / iOS, and some Linux and Raspberry Pi etc.. Published a few windows phone apps, and android apps. I love tech and gadgets. Professionally I typically work in I.T. as a SQL developer.