Feature Article

PlayStation Vita Slim Review

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The original PlayStation Vita is a remarkable gaming handheld. It's powerful, with an amazing 5-inch OLED display, and features a wide range of inputs, including two analog sticks and a pair of touchscreens. As great as it is, Sony thinks it could be better, and it's beginning to rapidly phase out the original Vita in favor of a slimmer model with a few notable improvements. Apart from being refined in a number of ways, the new Vita Slim is also more consumer friendly than the barebones Vita of old; for the time being, every new Vita Slim is bundled with a free memory card (8GB) and a free voucher for Borderlands 2 and its 6 DLC packs. With the Slim redesign, the Vita has never been sleeker, or a better value, but its stunning OLED screen has been replaced by a standard LCD panel, and it's possible that people with an eye for detail may find the downgrade too noticeable to overlook.

Though the original Vita is a strong piece of hardware, it has its share of issues that needed to be addressed. The battery life is great in standby mode, but during gameplay, it typically taps out around the four-hour mark. The lackluster battery performance was compounded by the system's proprietary charging port. It negates the viability of common USB cables and requires a USB port with a data connection in order to accept a charge; common USB cables and wall chargers won't cut it.

Thankfully, Sony replaced the Vita's proprietary USB port with the now-common micro-USB standard. You no longer need a special Vita-only cable, you don't need to rely on finicky port restrictions, and common USB wall chargers are now your Vita's best friend. Plus, the battery in the new Vita is reported to last at least an hour longer than the old model, despite having the same capacity.

While it's good to see that the Vita's new screen doesn't hamper its battery life, it does have a negative impact on the overall Vita experience. Sure, LCD panels are cheaper to produce, which allows Sony to shave a few dollars off of the Vita price tag, but with a persistent backlight, colors look washed out on the LCD panel. If you've used the original Vita in any capacity, you know how impressive the OLED display can be, and the moment you look at the new model in action, you instantly recognize that it fails to produce images that are as crisp or vibrant as those of the original. If you've never used the old model, the shift in screen technology won't stand out as much, but you still won't find the display on the new Vita particularly impressive.

...you still won't find the display on the new Vita particularly impressive.

Still, you can find improvements in other areas that make the new Vita an attractive proposition. The new USB port is one, but if you look around, you find that the buttons have also been improved--in particular the start, select, and PlayStation home buttons. These three buttons were previously ovoid and sat flush with the surface, making them unusually difficult to press. Now, they are represented like any other button: they're circular and raised up, making them far easier to use, especially when you're trying to take screenshots by pressing the start and home buttons at the same time.

The new Vita also comes with 1GB of built-in memory, which means that you don't need to have a memory card in order to link a PSN account and play games, but oddly, you can't use the internal storage and the included 8GB memory card at the same time.

Vita Slim (front) and the original Vita (rear)

Finally, the new Vita is 20 percent slimmer and 15 percent lighter than the old model. The original Vita was comfortable as is, but the Vita Slim is even more welcoming now that it's less bulky, and because it incorporates softer materials throughout the chassis.

There's no getting around the fact that the new Vita has an inferior screen compared to its predecessor, but it's easy to appreciate the reduction in size, weight, and price. Plus, the changes made to the USB port and the buttons make it a much friendlier system to use overall. Even though they won't look as good, the same games that worked on the old Vita work on the new model, so at the end of the day, the new Vita is worth considering for all of its advantages if you aren't bothered by the new screen.

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doc-brown

Peter Brown

Peter is an Editor at GameSpot who's passionate about gaming hardware and game preservation.
268 comments
markranger
markranger

It is out now. However, it costs the same as the original model-200. It is not cheaper to buy, but it is cheaper for Sony to manufacturer--more potential profits. 

Anhuret
Anhuret

I keep hearing that the vita slim has a lower price than the original, yet as far as i know (I could be wrong) the slim is not even got a U.S. release date or price. So how much was the price lowered when comparing the old vita to the new?  If anyone has answers to these questions, or just corrections, let me know.

snessnes
snessnes

people tellin me im clueless man. İ JUST DONT NEED OLD AND PORT GAMES.!!! if u think a handle console all about android games and port games then pls check out the nintendo 3ds. u will understand clearly.. 3ds has more original games.. vita has much more power but what is newest game for vita??? borderland 2 a port game.. bravo bravo...

Vodoo
Vodoo

The article doesn't mention what type of OLED or LCD screens were used in the Vitas. It could be Amoled, Super Amoled, or Super Amoled Plus. Most of these were developed and manufactured by Samsung.

Then LCD has regular LCD (TFT), Super LCD, qHD, and IPS.

I'm actually in favor of Sony switching away from OLED for the Vita. While the colors appear more vibrant, because of over saturation, they don't have accurate color reproduction. Samsung tried to address this when they developed Super Amoled Plus. Amoled screens are also horrendous in direct sunlight. Anyone that's owned a Samsung Galaxy S phone knows what I mean. I've owned the Galaxy S, S2, S3, & S4. So I'm very familiar with the drawbacks of OLED screens.

LCD offers a sharper, more defined, image with better viewing angles. While LCD can appear "washed-out" in comparison, it's a more natural representation of color reproduction. It's also viewable in direct sunlight, where AMOLED is virtually unusable. But it also matters what type of LCD is being used. If it's regular TFT then it's not better than OLED. That's the type commonly used in pc monitors. But Super LCD or IPS would be a better choice for this type of device, unless Sony cheaped-out and went with TFT.

Even if the Vitas new screen is TFT, there are pros and cons to using that versus OLED. It's not necessarily a worse screen, but better and worse in certain circumstances. So all these articles saying the screen is a downgrade aren't correct, and it's obvious they know little about display technology. The switch in screen isn't the bad thing they make it out to be.

klefth
klefth

Man, I wish Nintendo would learn a thing or two from the build quality and design of these things. I really love my 3DS XL and all, but in all honesty, next to a Vita the thing feels like a cheap toy. :/

Bubbagum_Bish
Bubbagum_Bish

I don't get why anyone would want it to be slimmer. I could barely hold the original as it is.

TheZeroPercent
TheZeroPercent

--nintendo did the same thing with the 3ds(when they went to 3dsXL)

--i guess atleast with the 3dsxl

--the screen was QUITE A BIT larger

Paul2004
Paul2004

Downgrading the screen is disappointing but at the same time there are some ppl with burn in problems with the old OLED screen, i doubt they just replaced it to save some cash when it was one of the main features of the original.

Latiran
Latiran

People who say the Vita is still lacking in games clearly haven't bothered to go out and look.

Mraou
Mraou

If you have a Tablet/ Smart Device, then there's not much allure to the Vita. All there is to be excited about is a small selection of good games.

nefphlegm
nefphlegm

Dudes, they need to bundle this with Soul Sacrifice Delta!!! I've been waiting for the slim... now I just have to wait till they remove that game out of the bundle and just sell the slim on its own. In the meantime I've been searching on youtube for countdowns to solid rpg games for the PSP... why spend so much money when there a plenty of games with hours of fun? I'll give the Vita more time to cough up some solid RPG's I'll be patient.

Coldpain
Coldpain

The new slim vita is really nice. I have both and definitely like the new model more than the older one. I posted my own first impressions of the new hardware here, if you're interested in reading it.

okmarshall
okmarshall

Am I the only one who owns the original vita and isn't blown away by the screen? When I game on it I don't notice anything special about it compared to any other screen I've gamed on.

Threesixtyci
Threesixtyci

Plain and simple, if you already have a Vita, there is no point buying the Borderlands 2 bundle, but if you don't have one, the Borderlands 2 bundle is worth looking into.

homey_d_clown
homey_d_clown

I own the Org. PS Vita and there are some games for it but the great games are limmited, the PSP had more game titles.

The ability to connect and play my PS3 and PS4 remote is the real game changer, plus making your PS+ account available on all 3 consoles gives me new games every month.

VintAge68
VintAge68

Aren't there also fancy colors available now? Anyway, I really hope the Vita's new properties will contribute to its popularization; I for one am still happy with the heavier old model...

Trender_man
Trender_man

Sony should focus on OLED more rather than the 3D garbage 

snessnes
snessnes

actually no need to buy a vita. cuz there is no game just like psp.. sony telling me im gonna play android games in that great hardware.. are you kidding me?  psp has great and hardcore games.  when i look at the vita all i see is uncharted and killzone.. and all remainings are just android games. so i dont think i need a vita

sdinh225
sdinh225

@Vodoo Makes me wonder if people even compare the two side by side after several gaming sessions. To me it's kinda hard to go back to the original since the saturated colors end up nauseating me for some reason. The slightly washed out colors isn't even bad, the graphics on games are still crisp and beautiful like on Dragon's Crown, P4G, and KZ Mercs. Nothing like the 3ds and the bloated pixels on its XL counterpart although many people don't care about that.


I also have a GS4 but I can't comment on gaming graphics comparisons with the OLED screen because I'm deftly afraid of buying games on it just to be shanked with tons of bugs or crash to home screen. Cuz it's happened to me before and I say screw it I'll just play emu games on it.

markranger
markranger

@Vodoo The Vita had its screen going for it. Now it seems to have nothing: no games on the horizon, no future, no support.... Wow, it has a new screen that most people think is of lower quality and nothing else of note going forward. What a waste. 

suchet9
suchet9

@Vodoo  I agree with you -  I actually think the reviewer hasn't even tried the new vita and old vita consoles properly as he did get facts wrong and one important fact wrong (his article says you can not wallcharge the old vita without a data connection - he is wrong because I've been wallcharging my original vita from day one as it came with a mains plug socket ). 


As for the screen yes you are right some benefits are there for OLED or LCD but the reviewer simply states it as being poorer quality and doesn't even expand on it in the review. 

Coldpain
Coldpain

@Vodoo  The new vita is nice, trust me. I basically make the same argument but I've just realized that people will think whatever they need to, to justify their thought process. So let the haters hate. Sometimes it's just better to worry about yourself...

sdinh225
sdinh225

@klefth I have both Vita and 3DS models and imo the regular 3ds feels like it has even better hardware quality than the XL.

suchet9
suchet9

@TheZeroPercent  now that's a thought - I would be up for buying a second vita if the screen was larger. 

sdinh225
sdinh225

@Latiran They probably did but I'm guessing most only look at the big retailers like BB, Target, and Walmart which unfortunately only showcase like 3 Vita games at most if lucky. Well retailers here hardly have games anyway and the biggest local "game" shop around here is Gamestop so yeah...


Anywho I pretty much agree. A lot of awesome Vita games that appeal to me are unfortunately PSN digitals only although it's great that they have a good amount of sales, up to 75% for PS+ members. Looking forward to stuff like SAO, PSO2, and God Eater 2 whenever the hell they get over here.

Bubbagum_Bish
Bubbagum_Bish

@Latiran I own Vita and 3DS and I gotta say the Vita is certainly lacking compared to the 3DS. I've put well over 1000 hours into my 3DS while my has maybe 100.

Erutan409
Erutan409

No, I looked. The only game that looked decent was Little Big Planet; which I bought. It happens to be the only game I have enjoyed on the device. Disappointing, really.

orpheus010
orpheus010

@Mraou hhahahaha! smart devices, seriously? name one good game on android/ios right now. a game that i won't get bored of within 5 minutes. I didn't think so. lol.. smart devices

suchet9
suchet9

@Mraou  a tablet just won't have games like Persona 4 Golden or Uncharted - that's because it won't have the graphic power to play such games (granted it may have more ram than the vita but not the graphics chip) - you only have to compare the games on Android and iPhone to realise that a lot of them just aren't as deep quality.  Even the Nvidia Tegra 7 tablet which does have a powerful gaming graphics chip can't compare to the vita because there aren't many games to take advantage of its power,  the big licences are with the hardcore gaming consoles made by Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. 

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

@Mraou That's funny. I've got a tablet and a smart phone and Vita is still my favourite system at the moment.

Latiran
Latiran

Pfftt gaming on those things is shite. I own an Android, my sister has an iPhone and you can't compare that rubbish to the quality of games that are on Vita.

Coldpain
Coldpain

@Mraou  ...unless you're a core gamer, who actually happens to need, you know, buttons to play their games. Just saying.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Perhaps you should check out the rpg' already available on the ps store. There's lots of them, and that's not even counting the psp, ps1 catalog.

tomservo51
tomservo51

@Coldpain  lol....While the colors on my new vita may not be popping off like rainbows at a pride parade

Threesixtyci
Threesixtyci

@homey_d_clown

I don't agree with your statement about the PS3 remote play.... None of the PS3 games work via Remote Play only thing you can access are the PS3's menus.

sdinh225
sdinh225

@snessnes Really? No games for PSP or PS Vita? Hmm I guess wikipedia must be lying with over 800 PSP games listed and over 500 Vita games listed, and something like the 3DS has as slightly less than Vita games despite being that much more popular worldwide so they should have way more games.


Granted I only own a little over 50 of Vita games, about 20 on 3ds and over 150gb of PSP digitals I still have to ask you that there's really no games on the PSP and Vita?

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Perfect example of someone that has no clue what they are talking about. There are tons of games on the vita if you bothered to look at what's available on the ps store, and no, they're not all indies, and you can play many psp, ps1 games on it.

Threesixtyci
Threesixtyci

@snessnes

There are plenty free games if you have PSN+ and have a PSP registered to your PSN account. I've only had PSN+ for about 6 months and if you calculate the cost if I had bought them myself, minus the PSV and the 50 bucks a year fee and a complete Vita version of Borderlands 2. I've already broken even on this Borderlands bundle.

klefth
klefth

@sdinh225 @klefth Yeah, I agree. I just got the XL for the larger screens and better battery life, but the build quality and materials used in it (scratch-friendly plastic all around) just leaves a lot to be desired. :/

Latiran
Latiran

@Bubbagum_Bish I don't disagree seeing as i own both too but compared to before the Vita is definitely starting to pick up now. Looking forward to the new Hyperdimension Neptunia game coming out for it even though it probably won't be everyone's cup of tea.

Latiran
Latiran

@Erutan409 Well that's you. I have a decent collection of games and so far Killzone is my favourite, the gameplay and visuals are incredible for a handheld.

suchet9
suchet9

@Erutan409  try Persona 4 Golden,  Uncharted,  Muramasa Rebirth,  Metal Gear Solid HD etc awesome games on vita. 

Erutan409
Erutan409

Yeah, pretty sure I saw a Bluetooth device that can encompass your phone to act as a controller...

DarkNeoBahamut
DarkNeoBahamut

@Threesixtyci @homey_d_clown  you can remote play ALL digital ps1 games (I've tested it with all my ps1 games, over 30), however you can install too the PS1 games on you vita, so there not much advantage on that anyway.

homey_d_clown
homey_d_clown

@Threesixtyci @homey_d_clown

I now some games did work via PS3:

The Ico & Shadow of Colossus Collection

The God of War Collection

Also with the new Playsation Now "Gaikai" will make it possible to play all PS3 titles on the Vita.

snessnes
snessnes

@xbr85 @snessnes  i dont need old games and port games.. just need original games just for vita which makes console a console

markranger
markranger

@canuckbiker If people need to bother, the system will be a failure. Who wants to buy something that is a bother. Such poor marketing. 

markranger
markranger

@Latiran @Bubbagum_Bish Basically, nothing on Vita is anyone's cup of tea. Flawed ports and games that few people are interested in. It is a niche system for hardcore gamers. It will never break into the mainstream. Can't even name several upcoming games that anyone is really interested in.