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Gadget of the week: The game is still on

In this age of smartphone gaming, Sony's PlayStation Vita shows who's still boss

Image Credit: Supplied
Sony PlayStation Vita
Tabloid on Saturday

What is it?

Japanese electronics giant Sony's latest attempt to entice and convince people that despite the rise of smartphone gaming, dedicated consoles are still the real deal. Say hello to the PlayStation Vita, which officially launched worldwide, including the UAE, on Tuesday.


What's special about it?

Already garnering rave reviews, the Vita has been called the most powerful and versatile device the segment has ever seen. Packed with a host of hardware features never before seen on a gaming console, this PSP lookalike wants to be so much better than its predecessor, with early reviews saying it indeed is. Although it is yet to be proven, Sony has already called it "the best PlayStation ever".

Aesthetically, the Vita is a looker. Weighing 255g, it packs a quad-core processor and a 128MB dedicated memory, while the front houses joysticks, a "D"-pad, the standard set of PlayStation left-thumb buttons, L/R bumpers and a 5-inch OLED screen. There's also a six-axis motion-sensing system, and that one element that gives it the potential to be a genre maker: a capacitive multitouch rear pad to add to gaming fun. Of course, there are also front and back cameras and speakers.

Models will be available in two avatars: WiFi-only and WiFi + 3G versions.

While you can access all sorts of social-media websites, including Facebook and Twitter, and services such as Skype, Sony has gone a step further by including an app called Near.

Through this app, users can check in at various locations, leave or pick up gifts for and from other Vita users and check who is nearby and what games they are playing.

While the success of Near will depend on just how many people own a Vita, Sony is confident it will grow. The success and use of the rear touchpad, while an interesting proposition, will also depend on how developers take advantage of the extra offer.


When is it available and for how much?

The PlayStation Vita is available in stores in two options: WiFi Bundle priced at Dh1,399, packaged with a 4GB memory card and an Uncharted - Golden Abyss game, and a 3G/WiFi bundle priced at Dh1,799, packaged with an 8GB memory card, DU sim-card and an Uncharted - Golden Abyss game.

Every PlayStation Vita 3G will be bundled with a du data SIM. Users can get their SIM cards activated at authorised partners at no extra cost. The option of recharging it online is also available, with three "more data" bundles available: 750MB for Dh100, 2GB for Dh200 and 12GB for Dh500.



Galaxy Nexus in the UAE

Samsung has just made available the Galaxy Nexus in the UAE sporting the very latest version of Google’s Android operating system, Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Featuring a 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display at 720p resolution and a 1.2GHz dual core processor, this 135g beauty will cost you Dh2,449. Available at all leading electronics retailers.

Get working with HP

HP’s new Z1 Workstation with a 27-inch screen is targeted at heavy users and computer professionals. With a tool-less chassis so users can easily add a hard drive, upgrade memory or access the graphics card by snapping it open to swap out parts, this, according to HP, is the world’s first all-in-one workstation. It will be available in the UAE in April with a starting price of approximately Dh7,350 (converted from US dollars).

Extend your network range

This new wireless range extender from Netgear promises to double you WiFi bandwidth and reduce interference in your home. Ideal for HD video streaming and online gaming, the dual band Netgear WN2500RP (that’s a mouthful) is easy to instal and set up, according to the company. Available in all leading stores.