Hardware Review: PlayStation Vita Console

Free Apps

On top of the pre-installed apps, you can choose to download various other applications and other software from the PlayStation Store.

YouTube is probably going to get more use than most of the others, as this is an internet connected entertainment device, and wasn’t available at launch, unfortunately. The good news is that it is way better than trying to use YouTube XL on the PS3! Once it knows your sign in details for YouTube, upon launch it presents you with your subscriptions. You have icons for YouTube’s recommendations for you,  search, you viewing history, and crucially your favourites and watch later lists under your play lists.

Playback, subject to your internet connection, is smooth and again like the video app makes the footage look as good as it can be. Initially the app didn’t support the shoulder buttons nor allow you to add videos to your play lists, favourites or watch later lists. This is now all in place and the app makes the Video app look a bit daft as, as well as supporting continuous playback, and the shoulder buttons for skipping back and forth between videos, you can even zoom in on the videos. There is an option to share by email or Twitter, so it’s difficult to knock it – a must have download!

An array of social apps are also available including a limited Skype app that doesn’t support text chat, which kinda makes it a bit pointless for me. The Facebook app is pretty much a straight clone of the usual android affairs and does it’s job, including supporting Facebook messaging. LiveTweet is a bit strange and the layout is not in line with most Vita apps, but again it does the job, and reasonably well. Flickr allows you to browse the site, but I am afraid as a non-Flickr user I am not really seeing the best of it, I suspect – so a download and trier I feel. Finally there is FourSquare, which like the check-in function of Facebook appears to be a good way to inform people I am not at home so they can burgle my house. Errr. No.

However there are some blindingly obvious omissions to the apps available for the machine. One app I particularly enjoyed on the PSP was the electronic comic reader, which allowed music playback while you read your comic, purchased from the PlayStation Store. Where is the Vita version? I purchased quite a few IDW comics that way, and miss that functionality. (The comic store has now been removed from PlayStation Network and are no longer available for any system – Ed)

One thing I would like to do is read documents on the machine. Okay, understandably a Word reader might be a bit of a push, but a reader based on OpenOffice might have been nice. However what is just ridiculous is the lack of an e-reader or even a PDF reader! I mean COME ON, why on Earth can’t we read PDFs on this machine… It’s more than capable, and I am sure Amazon wouldn’t pass up the chance to put a kindle app on the thing either.

One question I would as of SCE though – we have a machine capable of taking photos and video footage. It can also import higher resolution images and videos – is it capable of editing those bits of media? I suspect it is even if only at the resolutions of the camera, so perhaps photo editing and video editing programs should be made available, even at a small cost, to allow that on the go.

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