The PlayStation Vita Slim has been out for some time in Japan and Europe, but it’s launch in the US gives me a great opportunity to list the top five improvements over the old model. Even though at a glance there isn’t much of a difference between the two, some of the items on the list may surprise you.
5. Thinner & Ligher
The most obvious upgrade over the original PlayStation Vita is the reduction of weight and size, making the Slimmer PCH-2000 model easier to carry around. Considering we’re talking about a portable console, these things always matter. Even though 20% thinner and 15% lighter doesn’t look like much, you immediately feel the difference. The Slim seems to be lightweight compared to the now-called “Phat” Vita, and the slimmer hardware is easier to grip. No more cramped hands after long sessions of gameplay.
4. Internal memory
The PlayStation Vita Slim comes with 1 GB of on-board memory which is just about enough for save game storage, some minor patches and a few tiny indie games. The old version only had external storage, and could not be used without a proprietary memory card. The catch is that Sony is the sole manufacturer of Vita memory cards, and their price is quite high compared to the price of SD cards. You can now just start using your Vita Slim without spending more money. Of course, you will eventually need a bigger memory card for bigger digital games, but you can postpone that for a while, or you can opt to never buy one and only play retail titles. You now have a choice.
3. Better buttons
The Vita is an excellent portable machine, but up until the Slim version, some of it’s buttons were not that great. While the new D-Pad and Face buttons are mostly the same, they have been slightly repositioned for better and more comfortable access. Also, the Select, Start and PS Home Button have been redesigned. They are all round shaped now, and a bit bigger, so you can push them with your whole thumb, not just the corner of your fingernail. These are welcome aditions, that will improve the experience. Screenshots were never easier to capture using the PS + Select combination.
Perhaps one of the best changes in the Slim Vita is eliminating the proprietary charging cable. You can now charge the PCH-2000 console via a micro-USB which you can definitely find in every household. This makes the Vita easier to carry still, not requiring a different cable than the one you probably already use for your mobile phone. Isn’t standardization great?
1. Battery Life
The single most important thing in a handheld device is it’s battery life. The Vita could be the best console in the world, with amazing graphics and killer gameplay, but it would’ve failed miserably if it couldn’t sustain long gameplay sessions. The original provided about four to five hours of gameplay on a single charge, and the Slim should add an extra hour to that, according to Sony. Gamers who bought this in Japan and the UK report that they get even more than one hour of extra juice, so the Slim has a great advantage over the original model in this regard. Unfortunately, this is a double edged sword. They could only improve in this area by switching from OLED displays to LCDs, the latter having inferior image quality. It’s no big deal if you don’t put the consoles side by side, but when compared it’s obvious that OLED wins every time. Being a portable experience, I think that battery life should always win over image quality.
So there you have it. Five reasons to get a PlayStation Vita Slim over the old, soon to be discontinued, Phat model. There is another catch to the new Playstation Vita PCH-2000: it’s price. The console comes at 199 $ in a bundle with Borderlands 2 plus an 8 GB memory card, so the new hardware comes with a welcome price cut. If you get the Borderlands 2 bundle now, you can play the game one week in advance, because it will launch officially outside the bundle on the 13th of May.