PS Vita: 20 Pro user tech tips
22nd Feb 2012 | 10:53
It can't have escaped your notice that the
For those who've already run down the shops and managed to get their hands on Sony's new handheld, these are our 20 pro user tech tips to take your Vita beyond gaming...
1. Save all your memories
You can capture screenshots at any time by pressing the PS and Start buttons simultaneously,
but it won't work in every game. It's enabled in Uncharted, for instance, but Capcom chose to disable it in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
2. Customise LiveArea
Tap and hold any icon in Vita's LiveArea to delete the app - if it's one Sony will let you delete - or
to change the background colour. All ten pages can be themed with different colours.
3. Break into the Japanese store
Access the Japanese PlayStation store for Japan-only demos by creating a Japanese PSN account. You need a legit address and postcode, so why not try Sony Computer Entertainment Inc, Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo, 107-0062?
4. Get online anywhere, without 3G
PSP could rob our smartphone's 3G by connecting with Bluetooth, but there's no Bluetooth tethering for Vita. No problem if you have a Samsung Galaxy S2 or iPhone 4S, though - smartphones are gradually beginning to support Wi-Fi tethering.
5. Maximise your PSP gaming
Tap the touchscreen when playing a PSP game on Vita to bring up options for image filtering and tweaks for the colour tone. More importantly, this is where you can map the PSP's face buttons or d-pad to Vita's right stick, instantly turning Monster Hunter or Peace Walker into a true twin-stick game.
6. Two people, one Vita
Vita only allows one user account per console, but you can share with a friend if you have time. Back up your Vita with the PC Content Manager, then restore the system to factory settings. You can swap accounts like this whenever you like, but on the downside it does take twenty minutes or so, every time.
7. Play new games first
Vita is region-free and Japanese games often hit shelves in Japan first - for obvious reasons. You can import Vita games from Play-Asia or Yesasia and they'll work with any account on any system. Don't buy from the Japanese PSN store using a bogus account, however - downloaded titles are locked to your PSN ID and won't work.
8. Play PS3 games via remote play
Your Vita can play any games your PSP could handle via Remote Play - set your PS3 and Vita to Remote mode, input the PS3's key into Vita, and they're paired. For now options are limited, but the PixelJunk games work well.
9. Watch every movie on the move
Its massive screen is ideal for movies, but Vita only supports certain formats. Download PS Vita Video from pspvideo9.com (free) and you can convert your collection to a Vita-friendly one.
10. Know PSN's limits
Your PSN account can be shared between PS3 and Vita and you can message friends with either, but picture messages can only be read by the format it was sent from. What's more, Vita players won't appear on PS3 users' Friends List, but PS3 users will appear on Vita. Weird.
11. Maximise battery life
You need to get aggressive if you want to milk an extra half hour from Vita's battery. You get about four hours from a regular game, but can raise that to 4.5hrs or more if you turn off Wi-fi and 3G, then lower the brightness. Remember, Wi-Fi and 3G still run when Vita is in sleep mode.
12. Make new friends of strangers
Activate Near when you first turn on, but set your privacy options carefully. With Near you can see who's playing Vita within a ten-mile radius, snoop on what they're playing and quietly share data - time trial ghosts in Ridge Racer, for instance - if you pass them in the street. And they can do it to you...
13. Bring Vita back to life!
There's a bug in the current firmware that prevents Vita from waking up from sleep mode. You have two solutions - either wait for the battery to drain completely then recharge it, or hold the power button down for twenty seconds. This forces a hard reset. Then just power on as normal.
14. Use PS3 properly
Vita doesn't have enough buttons to play full PS3 games, but hit the touchscreen in Remote mode and you get button mapping options - perfect. Select Option 3 - this sets i, R3 (the awkward push-stick-in one), L2 and L3 to the rear touch panel. Do it in preparation for the day Sony let you play some proper games remotely.
15. Improve remote play performance
Remote Play works by sending inputs to PS3 and a video feed back. Picture quality can be set one notch above or below default; reducing it speeds up the response time, at the expense of quality.
16. Charge Vita on the road
Vita will charge from your laptop's USB socket so long as you power Vita off. To this, hold the power button down and select 'power off' when prompted.
17. Take control of settings
Vita's settings are locked away in a dedicated app, but there's a shortcut. Hold the PS button for brightness, custom soundtrack and microphone toggles in-game.
18. Get more storage - for a price
Sony have no plans to sell their big 32Gb memory sticks in the UK, but they're on sale in Japan for £100 and they work on any Vita from any region. Again, Play-Asia is your friend.
19. Talk with friends on PSN
Vita's built-in microphone does a decent job, but if you want a clearer conversation, synch the machine with your PS3's Bluetooth headset.
20. Save the saves for safety
Vita's Content Manager is available here. It's PC-only for now, and lets you back up your saves, demos and complete games.