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Sony's first mini-console has some growing pains

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Thanks to a combination of petite, understated hardware and more than a little nostalgia, there's a lot to like about the Vita TV, especially if you grew up with PlayStation. However, Sony's littlest console still has some game-support issues it needs to sort out. In particular, it needs to get its entire PS1 back catalog online and work out a better way of bypassing the lack of a touchscreen. Relief could come from the PS4 controller, which already houses a tiny touchpad, although Sony hasn't said anything to that end and given that the fourth PlayStation hasn't even launched here in Japan, it's not something we've been able to test out. We're also thinking this could be the cheapest way to play Sony's incoming PS Now streaming-game service on your non-Sony TV, if/when PS Now and the Vita TV are both available in the same region.

For now, the PS Vita TV is, at its core, a cheap games machine (10,000 yen, or $96) that we can't recommend as a media-streaming device -- although that's all icing on the cake anyway. But until Sony reveals global plans for the Vita TV, this mini-console remains a tempting Japan-only curio. That's a shame, because there's so much more here to recommend it over those similarly priced, rougher-edged Android consoles.

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Critic reviews

7.0
2 reviews
  • Game library
    6.0
  • Graphics
    7.2
  • Controller(s)
  • Design and form factor
    8.0
  • Other features (media, online, etc.)
    6.0
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User reviews

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  • Game library
  • Graphics
  • Controller(s)
  • Design and form factor
  • Other features (media, online, etc.)
  • Noise
7.0
Engadget Jan 24, 2014

For now, it may be a Japan-only experiment, but it has potential, assuming Sony can work out some of the game compatibility issues.

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7.0
The Verge Nov 29, 2013

The price is right, the hardware is competent, and the PlayStation brand and legacy should be a major advantage over competitors that have to build up gaming ecosystems from scratch. But as it stands, the Vita TV is a neat extra for existing PlayStation fans that's unlikely to convert many more.

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First Looks

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Engadget Sep 18, 2013

Now that we've spent a bit more time with Vita TV, we wanted to weigh-in with impressions on how Vita games look. As it turns out, pretty good. Titles aren't quite as stunning as they look on the Vita's tighter OLED screen, but are attractive nonetheless.

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Joystiq Sep 22, 2013

The Vita TV's PlayStation 4 Remote Play functionality also works surprisingly well from a mechanical standpoint, and I can totally see owning a Vita TV as a PS4-centric media extender for a bedroom or office.

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CNET Jun 10, 2014

I played Diablo III via Wi-Fi Remote Play on the PlayStation TV using a DualShock 4 controller, and the experience was pretty good. The frame rate wasn't silky-smooth, but it was very playable, and somewhat like Remote Play already feels on the Vita when connected to PS4.

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Eurogamer Dec 14, 2013

First impressions of our Japanese import device are wholly positive - perhaps not surprising bearing in mind Sony's legacy of great design and decent build quality. Indeed, nothing quite prepares you for how lovely the micro-console itself actually is - Vita TV is a credit card sized unit.

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Pocket-Lint Jun 10, 2014

As a piece of hardware, the PlayStation TV is smaller than many rival boxes. It will certainly tuck away nicely. We would have liked to have seen a media remote though, rather than having to use the DualShock controller for everything.

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IGN Sep 19, 2013

The capabilities of the box are most certainly impressive. Equally impressive is how ridiculously small it is.

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T3 Sep 20, 2013

While this is an Eastern curiosity at present, we're rather taken with the PS Vita TV. A cheap, sleek-looking alternative that could see off Android-run competitors due to its sterling gaming history and decent streaming options.

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Ubergizmo Sep 19, 2013

When I played with it, I was impressed by how fast the user interface was. In the game console world, this is not really a feat of engineering, but when you see how slow most “set top boxes” are, it is very refreshing to see that you can blaze through the menus at 60FPS.

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The Verge Sep 18, 2013

The Vita TV's heritage is most apparent in the interface, which is lifted directly from the portable. The cartoonish bubbles weren't the most attractive thing in the world when the Vita launched almost two years ago, and a large TV doesn't make for any more flattering a canvas.

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Techno Buffalo Sep 22, 2013

I skimmed through its online catalog movies, anime and trailers, some of which had just been released from theaters out here. All were all available at the touch of the PlayStation control pad and were blazing in glorious HD.

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Pocket Gamer Nov 25, 2013

The Vita TV itself is a small, white, plastic box, roughly the size of a porky iPhone. The front is flat and glossy, with a tiny white power LED to the right. The top has a more matt finish, and a big shiny PS logo in the centre.

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