It's finally here! If you’re heading
out to buy a PlayStation Vita today, or you’re waiting until the
weekend, take a look at our breakdown of the Vita and hit the stores
informed. We’ve tested out Wi-Fi vs. 3G models, handpicked our five
launch essential games, and combed different retailers to give you a
solid breakdown for this week.
3G vs Wi-Fi – Which is right for you?
It ultimately depends on how much you
want to be connected to PlayStation Network. If you mostly use a
smartphone for tweeting and keeping up with friends, Wi-Fi may be
just fine for you. You can use Wi-Fi hotspots to log into PSN, sync
trophies, check Near, and make purchases from the PS Stores.
If you’re more interested in a
constant connection to PlayStation Network while you’re at work or
riding the bus, that’s where the advantages of 3G come into play.
With 3G set up, you can play on PSN and upload game scores and data
over the network. It simply provides most of the options that Wi-Fi
does, only you’re not tethered to a hotspot—unless, of course,
you’re downloading a file that’s more than 20 megabytes.
Keep in mind that unlike a big budget
gadget like the iPad, which has a $130 price difference between Wi-Fi
and 3G models, it’s a $50 difference between Vita units. However,
like the iPad, you’ll need a data plan, which in the US, is
exclusively through AT&T, and costs $15 per month for 250
megabytes or $30 per month for 3GB. The cost also includes free AT&T
Wi-Fi Hotspot access, so if you’re within range of a Starbucks,
you’re covered. After the first 30 days of using 3G service, AT&T
will send you a PSN voucher good for a download of Super Stardust
We got SIM cards for our office Vitas
nearly two weeks ago, and we’ve tinkered around with the 3G
functionality in public, mostly during morning commutes. From our
experience, the 3G usage is rather sparse in nature. We logged into
PSN to upload game scores, sync trophies, check Near, and do other
bandwidth-light activities. In a little under two weeks, we’ve
uploaded 3 megabytes and downloaded around 25 (including a movie
trailer, just to test it out).
The 3G feature is nice, but if you live
in a densely populated urban area, these features are a perk more
than a necessity, at least until we see a second wave of Vita titles
that enable 3G in more uses than data uploads. The bonus for city
dwellers is a constantly connected experience over 3G that means you
won’t have to login at every hotspot to send your scores.
It’s a different story if you’re in
the suburbs or in a rural area with less Wi-Fi access. In that case,
3G may work better for you and be worth the monthly cost.