As predicted, Sony announced the PlayStation Vita Slim for the UK and Europe earlier today. The redesigned handheld will release on 7th February and will replace the existing model of the pocketable platform. Already available in Japan, the overhauled hardware is approximately 20 per cent smaller than its ageing accomplice. It also boasts a more efficient battery and 1GB of on-board storage – enough to ensure that you won’t need a memory card to play retail games. However, this all comes at the cost of the original iteration’s illustrious OLED screen, which was a primary selling point for the original device.

Worse still, the platform holder has announced that the initial form of the format will be discontinued on these shores, meaning that this may represent your last opportunity to purchase the first edition of the manufacturer’s miniscule machine. In fact, speaking with VG247 during a swanky announcement event in London earlier today, PlayStation UK gaffer Fergal Gara hinted that this version is almost sold out, with the new model likely to replace it at most retail outlets in weeks. With the ageing appliance slipping out of stores like water through a colander, then, here are three reasons why you should skip the shrunken model and snag the inaugural unit now.

The price is wrong

We’ve accepted Sony’s tackier hardware revisions in the past because they’ve come attached to significant price drops. The second iteration of the PlayStation 3 put the platform in line with consumer expectations, despite shedding the original’s glossy finish and chrome panels. Meanwhile, the Super Slim – which tossed out the mechanical disc slot in favour of a corrugated top-loader – cut the cost of the console down to a mainstream price point, reaching as low as £99.99 in the UK over Christmas. The removal of the OLED screen from the PS Vita Slim should come with a significant saving, then – but the platform holder has instead opted to actually increase the price of the diminutive device from where it currently sits.

At the time of writing, you can pick up an original 3G compatible console with a 16GB memory card, official starter kit, and ten downloadable games – including blockbusters such as LittleBigPlanet PS Vita and WipEout 2048 – for £139.99. Granted, this may be a special promotion, but it’s an absolute no-brainer compared to the £179.99 figure attached to the new slimline model. Features such as 3G compatibility may not mean much to you, but why would you ever pay more for less? The fact that the abovementioned bundle comes with the OLED iteration of the handheld hardware should just be the icing on the cake.

The screen doesn’t shine

Sony says that the differences between the PS Vita Slim’s LCD display and its original OLED screen are hard to spot. “When we introduced the Vita with the OLED screen, that was considered – and it was – the pinnacle of screen technology,” said gaffer Gara in a conversation with VG247. “It was a beautiful screen, and LCD at the time would have felt like a compromise. What’s happened in the interim is that LCD screen technology has improved significantly. While some think that there’s a subtle difference between the two, we think that it’s relatively imperceptible.”

Except that’s not strictly true. Granted, the display is closer to the original than you may initially anticipate, but it’s still a downgrade. For starters, the blacks on the new unit are not nearly as rich as on the original model, due to the LCD panel requiring a backlight. Furthermore, comparisons show that its colours are not as vibrant as the inaugural model, meaning that oversaturated software such as Gravity Rush looks washed out as a result. If you’ve never experienced the original Vita, then you may not notice the step back – but while you can still snag the OLED edition, you should plump up for the superior technology.

The advantages aren’t enough

As we’ve already alluded, a hardware revision ordinarily comes with some noteworthy improvements, be it a smaller price point or some new features – however, the PS Vita Slim’s advantages just don’t seem good enough. The hardware is smaller, but it amounts to a miniscule three millimetre difference in thickness, while the considerable weight reduction – 260 grams to 219 grams – is appreciated but hardly worth pulling out your pom-poms about. The 1GB of on-board storage is a nice extra, but you’re still going to need to stump up for a memory card, with the prices remaining prohibitively expensive whichever console iteration you buy. Moreover, the battery life improvements are not especially outstanding, with the new unit offering six hours of gameplay compared to the original console’s four to five.

Perhaps most infuriating of all, the platform holder has opted to skip on the variety of designs and colours that made the redesign look appealing when it was announced in Japan last year. With lime green and shocking pink permutations available, these may have provided a shallow – if understandable – reason for trendy gamers to upgrade, but the manufacturer has opted to stick with the boring black design for its Western launch. Zzz.


Do you think that we’re being a bit harsh on Sony’s new device, or are you scrambling to buy a first edition version of the Vita as we type? Has the manufacturer made a big mistake with this model, or do you think that the advantages will show in time? Mull things over in the comments section below.

Do you agree that the PS Vita Slim is a poor hardware revision? (108 votes)

Yes, it costs more and lacks the original console’s incredible screen

73%

Hmm, I’d need to try one for myself

15%

No, I like the smaller form factor and vastly improved battery life

12%

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[ Image credit: Total Tech War ]