If you’ve hacked your PS Vita or PSTV (and we really recommend you do), you’re probably bursting at the seams to see what else you can do with your magical handheld now that you’ve unleashed its full potential. One of the exciting things you can do is run homebrew software. That is, software that has not been officially released through the Playstation Vita store. The de-facto way of getting such software has been the Vita Homebrew Browser, or VHBB. But in the past couple of years, a new contender has entered the fray. Is Better Homebrew Browser actually better? Let’s find out.
When I say homebrew browser, this may be misleading to some. t’s not a replacement for the Vita’s web browser so you can’t use it to visit sites like https://mypaperdone.com/do-my-thesis to manage homework if you are student. But doing that will definitely give you the extra time you need to enjoy your expanded collection thanks to the homebrew range that’s available.
Vita Homebrew Browser
As I said before, this has been the go-to app for people who wanted to install homebrew software onto their Vita. It has access to VitaDB and it’s quite powerful.
There are, however, a few problems. One of the main gripes the community has had with VHBB is that is super slow to load. It can take 5 to 10 minutes to get into the main “storefront”. Once there, everything runs smoothly, but nobody wants to wait that long, in this day and age, to access anything.
Another issue, at least for me as of the making of this comparison, is that I get an error upon launch about the fact that the auto-check for updates does not work due to an invalid URL. This isn’t surprising, seeing as how the last version of VHBB was released 2 years ago. But it threw me for a bit of a loop and I thought the whole thing wouldn’t start.
But it did, and once it did, it worked as intended. However, the way the app itself looks and feels in terms of UI and UX definitely has a whiff of homemade about it.
In short, it works, but it’s just not that pretty to look at and it’s slow as molasses to start.
Better Homebrew Browser
The new-ish kid on the block promises to address the major issues with VHBB. In particular, it aims to address the slow loading. Now, when you first boot it up, it takes a while to load. But that’s because it downloads all the icons and information for all of the software on the databases.
Every subsequent load is much, much faster. At least until you reach the time limit for re-downloading the icons. The current maximum is 12 hours, so if you wait 12 hours, starting Better Homebrew Browser feels a lot like starting VHBB.
In terms of look and feel, though, the Better Homebrew Browser definitely looks better. It actually looks quite close to the Vita store. It was developed using Sony’s own PlayStation Application Framework.
I’m just not quite sold on the “lightning fast” thing. Unless I’m missing something, sooner or later when you repopulate the icons, it’ll be a bit of a wait. It’s still a bit faster than VHBB, and it won’t happen every time you open the app, but it’ll happen often enough to (in my opinion) negate the supposed advantages of this app over the existing one.
The app also made my system crash when trying to exit by using the O button.
Honestly? Use whichever you want. There’s really not that much in it. I’m slightly leaning toward Better Homebrew Browser because it seems to be in slightly more active development (though the last update was made in 2021) and it is sometimes faster. But it’s not the holy grail of homebrew browsers I thought it would be, so if you’re doing OK with the original VHBB, I see little reason to switch.
They both have access to the same games and applications, so there’s no clear winner there, either.
Download the Vita Homebrew Browser here: Releases · devnoname120/vhbb · GitHub
Download Better Homebrew Browser here: Releases · Ibrahim778/BetterHomebrewBrowser · GitHub