Sony is launching the Slim model of their current handheld in the UK on February 7. North America still hasn’t been given a release date, but it’s definitely coming at some point. Japan has had the new model since October of last year, and there are a few interesting updates to the system.
The most notable being that the Slim features an LCD screen as opposed to the original’s OLED screen. Along with a new screen, the Slim boasts a new longer-lasting battery, Micro-USB port, a 1 GB internal memory card, is 15% lighter, and is, obviously, about 20% slimmer. The buttons have been retooled as well, to some degree, and will feel more fluid and push-in quieter. Playstation Access has a great video on the comparisons of the two systems.
Initial reactions to the new screen are mostly positive, though some are concerned that the LCD screen won’t be as clear or handle darker colors as well as the OLED screen did. Another concern with the few that have held it is that the new model feels a little ‘cheaper’ than the original; most likely attributed to the lighter internal hardware and lighter plastic being used.
The UK release price is slated for £180, or around $300. This doesn’t mean that the North American price will reflect that. In fact, the Slim model is most likely going to be cheaper than the original in NA, which is currently around the $200 range. How much cheaper than the current price remains to be seen, but a lower price tag and the few redesigns will certainly help sales of the machine. Sony’s handheld sales had been struggling in 2013, with many consumers unimpressed with the system’s game library. After the launch of the Playstation 4, however, sales of the Vita increased by 163% in the UK. The new Vita Slim is sure to only help increase those sales numbers. Not to mention Playstation Plus is becoming a much more common amenity to Sony’s consumers, and the freebies and perks that come along with it are becoming more and more Vita-friendly.
With no confirmed launch here in North America we can only speculate on a release date and possible price point. But with the Vita Slim’s UK launch and the NA launch soon to follow we can assume that the Playstation Vita will start to see an increase in popularity. Add in the remote functions with the Playstation 3 & 4 and the ever increasing member base of Playstation Plus, that’s cross compatible with all three of Sony’s systems, and you may have a winning combination.