The PS Vita is a next level handheld gaming device designed to bring you the fun and excitement of playing a PlayStation in the palm of your hands. Upon its initial release in February 2012, PlayStation fans felt a ripple of excitement. Sony introduced the small gaming system as a portable device that would sync up with your PlayStation 3 using Remote Play features.

Of course Remote Play is not the only feature you can enjoy with the Vita. Despite the fact that it is now five years old, the Vita remains popular among Sony fans looking for a handheld device. There are several reasons why gamers still opt to purchase a Vita, though knowing more about the features and specs it has will help you understand why.

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Remote Play

Initially, the Vita gave people the chance to enjoy their PS3 games on the Vita, and it still does, though the PS4 has nearly replaced most PS3 consoles. The Vita has a 5-inch OLED touchscreen, which offers resolutions similar to the PS3. Therefore, gamers did not feel as though they were losing any quality when switching back and forth between the PS3 and the Vita.

In November 2013, when the PS4 hit the market, gamers were excited to discover that they could still use Remote Play. Rather than syncing up with the PS3, gamers were now syncing their Vita up to the PS4. They could even take the handheld device with them and continue playing their PS4 games from near any location, making it one of the most innovative portable gaming devices to hit the market.

Unit Design

The unit design is perhaps another one of the most attractive features. Gamers who are used to the feel of a PS3 or PS4 controller in their hands will find the Vita equally as comfortable. Two analog sticks flank either side of the screen followed by a D-pad above the left stick and the four classic PlayStation buttons above the right stick.

Although the buttons are smaller than a typical PlayStation controller, they feel comfortable and responsive. To further enhance your experience, the design features shoulder buttons on the left and right, as well as the Select and Start buttons you need to access different menus. Unfortunately, the location of the Select and Start buttons, which are down and to the right, make it easy to accidentally hit them while playing a game.

You will find the power button on the lop left of the unit and volume buttons to the side on the right. Look at the bottom of the unit to find the PSP Vita charger port. To charge your vita, you will need to plug a USB cable into the port. From there, connect the opposite end of the USB cable into the appropriate end of the AC adaptor. Next, plug your AC power cord into the other side of the AC adapter and the other end of the cord into a power outlet.

Along the bottom of the unit, you will also find a microphone sensor and a headphone jack. Between the two volume buttons, you will find two hooded slots. One slot is the game card slot and the other is for the PS Vita memory card. Unfortunately, both hoods are a little difficult to pry open, particularly if you have shorter fingernails.

Video Games

When it comes to PSP Vita games, the unit proved itself a haven for Indie games, though the availability of triple A titles seemed rather lacking. There have also been several Japanese RPGs either remastered or newly created for the Vita. Many of the games play better on a handheld device than they do using a PlayStation console and a full size screen.

Big name titles that did appear included Uncharted and Wipeout. Initially, Sony promised the library of games would include several popular titles easily recognized by gaming fans. However, the library ended up containing a more diverse offering of games that were unknown, yet fun to play.

To entice players even more, PlayStation Plus member receive free games every month as a show of love for the support of their paid membership. Members receive free games for their PlayStation 4, their Playstation VR, and their PS Vita if they have one. Although support availability for the Vita is now rather limited, you do still receive a free game or two each month if you sign up for PlayStation Plus.

If you do not have PlayStation Plus, you can always sign up for it to start enjoying the free games you receive each month. Since 2010, Vita owners with PS Plus have received free games like Syphon Filter, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, and God of War: Chains of Olympus. To enjoy PlayStation Plus on your PSP Vita, Gamestop offers PlayStation plus cards you can purchase to get your started.

Then to Now

The Vita, initially referred to as the Next Generation Portable (NGP) initially instilled some doubt. Gamers who had previously used handheld devices found them a rather small to the point of hand cramping. Many previous handheld devices were also awkward to use and took some getting used to when operating the controls.

That is because the button layout did not mimic the controller belonging to the consoles well enough. Fortunately, Sony took all of that into consideration when designing the PS Vita. At 183.6×85.1×15.00 mm in width, height, and depth, the Vita is larger than its predecessors, which includes the PSP-3000. It also weighs 9.2 ounces. However, it is rather lightweight when considering its size, which makes it comfortable to hold and use.

The Vita was not without issues upon its initial release. In fact, consumers complained about the high price of the handheld gaming device. When it originally hit shelves, the Vita sold for $249.99 throughout North America. Of course, that price is similar to the original price of the Nintendo 3DS, which first hit stores February 2011.

However, by July 2011, Nintendo decided to slash the price of the 3DS to just $169.99. Therefore, consumers compared the price of the Vita to other handheld gaming devices, such as the Vita, and deemed it too expensive. Despite price complaints, Sony did enjoy at least a minor success in sales.

Fortunately, consumer complaints finally struck a chord with Sony and they finally dropped the price of the Vita to $199 as of August 2013. They also lowered the price of the memory cards, which consumers complained were also too expensive.

At the same time prices dropped, Sony also delivered a redesigned Vita in a slim version that was slightly lighter, slightly thinner, and included 1GB of internal storage space. The company also extended the battery life of the device by an hour. Unfortunately, they removed the beautiful 5-inch OLED screen and replaced it with a somewhat cheaper LCD screen.

Despite what seemed like several setbacks the Vita did experience success among the gamer community. Many people enjoyed pausing games on their PS3 or PS4 and resuming them on a handheld device from another location. Since the Vita offered more than just gaming, people were able to use the device several other ways, too.

For instance, they could browse online, watch YouTube videos, or even access social media. Anyone who purchased the 3G model could also make use of the device’s GPS capabilities. All-in-all, the Vita was like a tablet and a portable gaming device all rolled into one nice, sleek package.

Today, the Vita may not seem as popular as it did upon its initial release. However, many consumers agree that it remains one of their most favorite handheld gaming devices. Many people still pick up their PS Vita and play it when the mood strikes. They also enjoy that they still receive enough support from Sony to receive free monthly games as PS Plus subscribers.

All-in-All

Overall, when looking up any PSP Vita review, you will find that many consumers still talk about using their Vita. It is a great handheld gaming device for hardcore Sony fans that like to take their games on the go. You may experience some issues with responsiveness when accessing your PS3 or PS4 from a remote location, but it does work and it is enjoyable.

The price of a new PS Vita remains roughly the same at approximately $199 at most stores. You can also buy it used or preowned from stores like Gamestop at a lower price. Based on reviews left by consumers, it is recommended that you purchase an additional memory card for your Vita, particularly if you purchase the base model.

The base model lacks a decent amount of storage space, which is something you need to play your games. If you decide to opt in for PS Plus, you will want the added memory space so you can enjoy your downloaded games. When you factor everything in, the PS Vita seems a worthwhile handheld gaming device that can keep gamers adequately entertained with plenty of games, apps, and online activities to do.

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