Engadget puts the PSVita 2000 through the paces and gives it a thumbs up, calling it “better than the last”. Do I agree? Not necessarily…

Engadget – the gadget blog, has put the new PlayStation Vita model (PCH-2000) through the paces and given us some real-world testing and comparison information from a source who does this thing for a living.

In the hardware department, they note that “[the] new model is more comfortable to use” – arguing that the slight reduction in dimensions as well as the slight design alterations have made the new Vita more comfortable in the hand. While this may be true in their case, we’re sure that depends on how you hold the Vita and how big your hands are… a better fit for some may be a worse fit for others.

They also note;“The new Vita also looks better. Ranging from hot pink and black, to white and lime green, it’s great to see Sony experimenting with colors beyond just monochrome and primary shades. Shape-wise, the edges now curve inwards rather than remaining flat, which means the new Vita is easier to grip too.” – though again, I think that’s a matter of hand-size, grip and preference. Personally, I prefer the clean look the original Vita embodies but I understand some may prefer the “pop” of the new models (especially those colour choices).

A strange cosmetic choice comes in the form of a lack of backlight for the PlayStation button, Engadget stating; “Sony also shed the backlighting underneath the home button; you’ll have to make do with the pair of notification lights on the top edge.” I’m not really swayed in their reasoning here – that big blue/orange glow barely catches my attention for notifications… I doubt a few tiny notification lights will do any better.

One of the better re-designs however is the shrinking of the back touchpad; “The rear touchpad has shrunk by about 3cm in width (the other dimensions are about the same), putting it much closer in size to the incoming touch panel on the PS4’s DualShock 4.” This puts the touchpad slightly more out of the way on the back of the Vita, preventing the accidental activation which comes with bigger hands while staying accessible to smaller ones (only 3cm difference).

The other redeeming quality is the loss of that proprietary charging port, opting for the traditional micro-USB and saving us the hassle of more cords. On that note, if anyone from Sony is reading – we’d like a microUSB to PSVita plug adapter, please. 😉

Moving onto the screen we get their only real negative response of the whole review, and it’s no surprise. “The short version: we preferred the OLED.” is a confirmation of what everyone was worried about from the moment they announced the new model – they sacrificed screen quality to bolster other areas. Seeing as how the screen is easily one of the best features of the Vita, I’m a bit peeved that they’ve taken a step back in that area. I – as well as a large portion of the community – would’ve much preferred they kept that nice OLED screen and left out that 1 GB of only-usable-without-a-memory-card flash memory;  a useless feature for anyone who has discovered PlayStation Plus (or ever had to install a Killzone patch).

The battery results are where this new model really seems to shine though, and if what Engadget says is true this is the factor that might tip you into sacrificing that OLED.

“Last year’s Vita gave us around four and a half hours of gaming and Sony has promised at least an extra hour on the new model. In practice, we got up to eight hours of continuous gaming, and that’s with brightness at 50 percent, WiFi on and several downloads during testing. This rocketed up to more than 12 hours when we played through less-intensive PSP and PS1 games. That’s substantially better run time than we saw on the first Vita, and it beats Sony’s own estimates, too; a pretty respectable run, we’d say. While we didn’t time it, more casual use lasted around two days, and you can expect video playback to last roughly half a day. Regardless of whether you’re thrilled to see LCD replace that OLED screen, we think the battery savings are worth it.”

The price is the last thing they covered, though due to the currency conversion and the fact that they’re selling for the same price it becomes a muddled grey area for comparison (technically the new one is more since it must be imported currently).

Their conclusion was that it’s a worthy upgrade, and though I agree regarding the battery aspect and that of the micro-USB/touchpad redesigns, I’m not sure it’s enough to warrant calling it “better”.

What do you think? Is it more worth an initial purchase?  How about an upgrade, would you trade in that OLED?

Let us know in the comments.

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  • Devin Hudson

    For me personally, nothing on the new Vita is worth sacrificing that OLED screen for. As someone with big hands I would love a smaller touchpad, and who wouldn’t want more battery life, but the OLED screen is too big of a sacrifice to pay for those things.

    The new Vita may be the better option if you’ve never played a Vita before though. If you don’t have any experience with the OLED screen then you won’t really miss it, so you’ll probably be better off just getting the new one.

  • XtemmA2

    yep. for me, everything with the original just made me not want to switch. black vita matches great with OLED perfect black contrast ratio. also, the 0.01ms display latency is really good for action games.

  • Lester Paredes

    Nothing aside from a smaller back touch screen calls out to me. I used to accidentally hit that all the time, especially when playing Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath. It became a random, first-person punch generator. but that got smoothed out with a simple control patch from the developer. Their incredibly stupid inclusion of 1gb of storage that’s unusable if you have a memory card just baffles me. You should be able to use it in conjunction to your memory card. And then there’s that LCD screen, which looks good for what it is, but it sure ain’t no OLED. Sorry, I can’t fathom that this is better in anyway except if this would be the first time you get the device. .

  • JonofPDX

    1001 all the way. The added memory is largely useless (not large enough on its own and inexplicably not accessible with a memory card in), smaller and lighter reduces it’s quality feel to me (never felt heavy to me in the first place) and the reduced back touchpad actually presents a problem for some games (Little Deviants mainly, but I liked that other games could have tried to play with that).

    Also, dat OLED.

    For me the only benefit is the battery life, and as someone who usually charges my Vita nightly that’s a pretty small upgrade for the loss of the screen.

    Let’s call this what it is–Sony dumbing down the device in order to hit a lower price point. And you know what? There’s noting wrong with that. But as a owner of the original I see no reason to downgrade.

  • ruefrak

    A rebuttal to the rebuttal.
    I love the Vita. I love it the way it is, and I love the new model as well. But for me, it seems like all of the things they changed were for the better.
    It has a much better battery
    It has a standard micro-usb instead of a proprietary cord
    It’s thinner and lighter
    As far as the OLED screen is concerned, I’m not sure that when you’re playing it, you’re going to notice that big of a difference. The longer battery, the standard charger, those are both things you’ll notice, but the screen? Probably not.
    And I for one am glad the glowing PS button no longer glows. I can’t tell you how many times I will have my Vita next to my bed and suddenly in the middle of the night, that notification light will pop on and start blinking. I have everything set to off, and yet it still flashes at me in the dark of the night.
    I don’t plan on getting rid of the one I have to upgrade (mainly because I have the dock and power grip that would become useless) but I think the new model is a great for first time buyers.

  • Sashimi Sensei

    While I can understand that existing owners of the original OLED Vita might be dissapointed with the new LCD Vita, as someone who is about to purchase the 2000 model, I can tell you it’s a vital change. I was never going to buy the original model; it looked too angular and cumbersome and it was too expensive. The 2000 model looks and feels amazing and it’s cheaper, so it was a no-brainer. And since I never used the OLED screen I’m blissfully unaware of what I’m missing.
    If this “downgrading” gets more Vitas into more hands then it’s a win for all of us. The big studios aren’t going to get serious about Vita until there is a larger install base, and if the move to a cheaper model accomplishes that, then so much the better.
    For all the OLED model owners, just stick to what you’ve got if you don’t like the new model. Simple.

  • aros

    It would need a 128gb (minimum) internal hard drive for me to sacrifice OLED.