Sony's slimmer, lighter, and curvier Vita Slim is finally coming to the UK after a Japan-only release last October. Sadly, there's no news yet on when the £180 (around $300) device will make it to US shores, but UK customers can pick one up starting next week.
Headline features include a 20 percent slimmer body, a 6-hour battery life, rounded edges, and 1GB of internal storage. In a welcome move, the size of the rear touchpad has been reduced, while the grips have been widened, which should go some way towards reducing unwanted inputs from stray fingers. The proprietary charging port has even been done away with in favour of a standard micro USB port. Huzzah! Unfortunately, the much-praised OLED screen of the original Vita has been swapped out for an IPS LED one, but it does feature the same 960x544 resolution.
While we've had a Vita Slim in the UK office for only a few hours, early impressions are that it indeed feels much lighter than the previous model, which should result in less arm fatigue over longer gaming sessions. The reduced thickness of the device makes it no less comfortable, even for someone with big hands like me, with the smaller rear touchpad making it easier to find a comfortable grip. The rounded off edges and matte, soft-touch plastic also do a great job of making the device feel more comfortable to hold.
The sticking point for many will be the change from an OLED screen to an IPS LED one, but there doesn't seem to be much difference between the two displays, at least indoors. Both are equally sharp and bright, with games looking smooth in action. There is one aesthetic change that some may not like: the Vita Slim's screen sports a noticeable join around the screen, versus the old Vita's one-piece front.
If you want one of the original Vitas, though, you'd better snap one up now. Stocks of the old model are not being replenished at retail, so you'll likely have just a few months to pick one up before they're gone.
We'll have a full review of the Vita Slim on GameSpot soon, but in the meantime, you can check out more images of Sony's latest handheld below.