Opinion: Apart from the screen, is PS Vita Slim the ‘better’ version?
Sony has just announced that the ‘2000’ version of their handheld PS Vita is finally coming to the West. Previously exclusive to Japan, the UK retailers are now taking pre-orders for the ‘Slim’ model, which will be released this February (US release details are yet to be announced). Not everyone will agree on its £180 ($300) price tag, and the fact that the system will only come in Black.
For the gamers though, it seems that the biggest difference between this and the original model is that it replaces an OLED screen, with the LCD one. It was done to increase battery life, but many gamers will no doubt mind this change, as the OLED screen of the original gives out vibrant colours and quality images. If Sony kept that screen for the new model however, then it would otherwise become a better version of the impressive handheld, sadly overlooked by many.
Ignoring the screen for a while, the PS Vita Slim is slightly thinner and has about 25% less weight than the other. But going much deeper into exploring the model and it has a more rounded exterior, along with nicer textures, and less gloss. The buttons are even redesigned for more comfort, and the touchpad at the rear is narrowed without affecting gameplay. I have not tried it myself and I would lust to try out playing on one, but I would imagine that this would be much smoother and more comfortable to hold, not to mention sleeker compared to the chunky original.
It can be charged with a Micro USB cable instead of its exclusive power supply, which is a boon since you can use any kind of charger out there to use on that system. It’s the standard that’s used by mobile phones, Amazon Kindles, Dualshock 4 controllers, and more. This is probably the most exciting improvement on this model, as it de-clutters cables and reduces the need to switch plugs.
It looks like the better version to me, as it doesn’t have the clunky and bulky feeling of the original, and it’s likely to be much nicer to some gamers. But even if we tried to adore those features, it would be still hard to avoid the watered-down LCD screen, as it covers almost all of the handheld’s front side. After watching the comparison videos and images, the LCD screen may not suck after all as some reviewers claim they are still sharp and vibrant, even though it doesn’t catch up with the OLED version, nor it produces deeper blacks like it. It’s even tainted by its backlighting system, appearance of scanlines, and the display of sepia-like natural color pictures.
Downgrading that screen seems to be a bad decision from Sony, but then again it may be good as, or better than, the LCD screens of laptops, phones and other handhelds. This is definitely not the first time any company have done such thing to their games console. When SEGA released their second model to their Genesis (a.k.a. Mega Drive II), it got more compact and has full stereo sound support, but its sound chip is much weaker, encouraging people to own the original model instead. Sony Playstation 2 has a second model too, named simply as ‘PS2’. It shrank to a cardboard-like size and features an Ethernet port, but it contained a smaller fan which did not satisfy players, who would play on it for over 5 hours before it overheated (might be fixed for the newer units). Even Nintendo released the DSi, which comes in a bigger size with multimedia features, except it lacks a slot for playing GBA games.
I still can’t believe that the slim version doesn’t have that OLED screen, because otherwise it would be something to die for.
These cases are examples of companies reducing the quality of features, to help lowering the price of their units. Maybe the price of PS Vita Slim may lower down eventfully, because at the moment the OLED original can be bought for less, even with over 8 games! (Yep, sounds like irony indeed).
I still can’t believe that the slim version doesn’t have that OLED screen, because otherwise it would be something to die for. I have not owned one yet, which means I am ridiculously spilt between the smooth curves and micro USB slot of the Slim, and the dashing OLED screen and the current value of the original. I don’t play on handhelds much, so I could wait ages for it to come in different console colors like in Japan, or by a miracle that it would finally sport an OLED screen. Maybe perhaps I could decide on one of them instead and catch up with some games from my PS3 (via Cross-Buy), but if went for either one, I would end up minding some quirks over mine.
Remember, that Slim version is the future face of the Vita, as it will replace the OLED model within a few months in Europe, and would probably be the same for the US. That means the future owners may have to deal with the LCD screen, whether they like it or not. But at least on the bright side, for they may appreciate its improvements, for a more practical and comfortable experience. That is something that I can really count on.
So do you feel that the Slim version is a better system, or is the OLED variation the best that any Vita owner can have? Let us know in the comments below.
UPDATE (02/01/2014): The PS Vita Slim comes with an extra hour of battery life which seemed to me as a slight difference from the original, but many gamers have said that this matters to them. So throw in another reason to buy the slim version. As for the 1GB memory, critics claim that it will be disabled if the memory card is inserted, making it unnecessary to have if one plans to download games from the PS Plus Instant Collection or buy a memory card to go with their new Slim.
UPDATE (12/02/2014): Sony has announced that they will be releasing the PS Vita Slim for North America in May, and it will be bundled with Borderlands 2.