Sony's latest is a sleek, stylish and reasonably priced handheld console that's designed for gamers on the go. Check out our Sony PS Vita Slim review
Originally revealed at last year's Tokyo Games Show, and perhaps not making quite as many headlines as the next-gen Sony PS4, the new PS Vita Slim is Sony's budget re-imagining of its toucscreen/touchpad/twin-stick handheld (check out our original Sony PS Vita review).
Sleeker and – you guessed it – slimmer in its appearance than its predecessor, the new PS Vita Slim has essentially been created to offer a deep, more engrossing gaming experience than is currently available on smartphone platforms at a cheaper price.
The new console is an improvement on the original PS Vita in a number of ways – it boasts more onboard storage, it's lighter and thinner and its offers more in the way of battery life – but there are a couple of aspects that hold it back from unarguable greatness.
That having been said, Sony is committed to the new model; the PS Vita Slim isn't just a PS Vita variant, it's its fully fledged replacement. Sony has confirmed that once the older model sells out in Europe, only the new model will be made available.
PS Vita Slim: Size, build and screen
This is bad news for those gamers who are particularly fussed about the quality of the visuals in their entertainment. While the PS Vita Slim's screen is slightly larger, its LCD display doesn't match up with the quality offered by the OLED screens of the original. Stick the two side by side and the visual differences are immediately apparent, with new model coming off second best.
The build of the new model – which is apparently 15 per cent slimmer and 20 per cent lighter than the PS Vita – also doesn't feel as comfortable initially in the player's hands and its exposed black plastic finish isn't as satisfying to the touch. These aesthetic considerations aren't deal-breakers, mind, but it's worth pointing out that handling the PS Vita Slim takes a bit of getting used to if you've owned one of the original models.
PS Vita Slim: Features
However, it's unlikely that anyone who currently owns a PS Vita would be prompted to trade up for the new model. In terms of the improved on board storage, the 1GB offered on the PS Vita Slim is likely to fill up very quickly and thus, buying memory cards will likely remain a necessity.
The improved battery life, which offers an extra hour or two of gaming or video playback time, is not exactly the most compelling reason to upgrade.
However, the PS Vita Slim has its predecessor beat in a couple of departments. First, the rear touchpad has been made a little smaller, and the reverse grip-pads are bigger, meaning players are less likely to employ this control erroneously.
Furthermore, the shoulder buttons feel more solidly built than on the PS Vita, and once players get used to the overall feel of the device, they meld more naturally to their index fingers.
PS Vita Slim: Verdict
The biggest twin-draws the PS Vita Slim has at launch are its entry price and its games library. First, the console's starting price is a lot cheaper than that of the original PS Vita was at launch.
Second, the number of quality titles available for purchase for this platform is far larger than it was over a year ago and – here's the best bit – a lot of them are far cheaper than they were on original release.
In other words, the PS Vita Slim is aimed squarely at core gamers who, up until now, have been put off by the handheld's price.
While not the improvement on its predecessor that the Nintendo 3DS XL was on the Nintendo 3DS, it's also not as much of a downgrade as the Nintendo 2DS is in comparison. If you've ever been enticed by Sony's handheld games but couldn't justify the financial outlay, the PS Vita is a superb purchase.
PS Vita Slim release date: 7 February 2014
PS Vita Slim price: £179.99