A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited along to the UK launch of the PlayStation Vita Slim. I was even more fortunate to be given a review unit to, quite literally, go away and play with.
Before we go on, there’s an apology to be made. I meant to bring you this sooner, but as you shouldknow by now, an occasional gamer rarely gets the time they’d like to down-tools and play games. And that’s exactly what I am.
The result of this is that I care about different things to the die-hards, and even the casual gamers. XP isn’t a concern of mine, and I’m never going to be able to cut-it with CoD snipers online anymore. That, I’ve come to accept. But that doesn’t mean I want color-matching puzzles or sing-a-long karaoke games either.
Now, I’m happy if I complete one game every six months. And I’m really not that bothered if a game is six hours, six weeks or six months old. With so little time to play, all that matters is that it’s enjoyable when I do.
In the box, hardware
Opening up, you’ll find the Vita Slim, a charging cable and a few sheets of paper for playing around with some of the augmented reality functionality.
Fire it up and navigate your way through the set-up process: select a language, log in to your PlayStation Network (PSN) account (or create one) – that sort of thing. You’ll need a PSN account for just about everything, so go ahead and set one up if you don’t have one.
Once done, you’re greeted with the main selection screen – this is all identical to the regular Vita, so if you’ve used one of those it’s more of the same.
Being only an occasional gamer, I actually hadn’t used one all that much, so it was mostly new to me.
The key differences between the ‘Slim’ and the regular Vita are that the new model is – shockingly – a little bit thinner (3mm-ish) and a fair bit lighter. 42 grams to be precise.
There are a few other tweaks here and there, but the thing that the most fuss was made about when the device first launched in Japan last year was that Sony had to do away with the OLED screen of the original Vita and replace it with an LCD one instead. Presumably this was done in a bid to save some cash and ultimately keep the retail price of the ‘Slim’ down.
Aside of this though, the screen is the same 5-inch, 960 x 544 pixel resolution affair you’ll find on the predecessor. It has the same 220 PPI as the other version too.
As already noted, I didn’t own the original Vita so there was no sense of disappointment or a step down in quality for me. I found it bright and crisp – although obviously not as bright or crisp as an OLED display would provide. Viewing angles aren’t perfect, and it can look a bit washed out if you’re not straight-on, but overall it seems like it’s a fair compromise to balance size, weight and cost.
Other tweaks to the hardware include switching to using a regular micro USB for power (rather than the proprietary charger on the original), moving the game slot to the center on the top and putting in two little indicators – one for power and one for Bluetooth. On the top edge of the device you’ll also find volume control buttons.
The Slim also comes with 1GB of storage built-in, so you can get to using it and installing games straight away. You’ll need to buy a separate memory card soon enough though.
The rest of the controls remain mostly the same, with only the rear touch sensitive controls being reduced in size a little, in line with the overall reduction in size of the Vita itself. So, the shoulder buttons (L1, R1), analog sticks an