(Pocket-lint) - The PS Vita Slim is a new version of the PlayStation Vita. Pocket-lint managed to get some hands-on time with the new handheld console ahead of working up a full review over the coming days.
Quick first impressions are positive. The unit is noticeably lighter, thinner and easier to handle. In real terms Sony says that the console is now 15 per cent lighter and 20 per cent slimmer than the original model. But it's not just that: the design is a lot more rounded - it fits better in your hands - and gone are all those silly flaps that covered up the memory slot and micro USB socket at the top making for a cleaner design too.
Also gone are the silver embellishments, creating a new sleeker, blacker device that should have slightly better appeal to a more design-conscious audience.
While the processing capabilities are the same, there have been major changes with the screen. It's now LCD rather than OLED, a decision that Sony says was forced on it with the reduction in size.
It does make a difference in screen quality, with a noticeable reduction in viewing angles compared to the original - not that it should affect most people in most cases. The screen is still very good and, importantly, bright.
Other changes/improvements include the unit now coming with 1GB of storage to save you having to worry about a memory card from day one, and improved battery life and charging options.
Listening to feedback from disgruntled Vita customers, Sony has ditched the dedicated cable, replacing it for a standard smartphone and tablet-friendly micro USB socket instead.
Battery has also been increased to six hours of continuous gaming, but we weren't able to test this in our play.
Gamers keen to play on the go will now have to make sure they've got a data plan on their phone, as there is no 3G option.
READ: Original PS Vita review
The PS Vita Slim sits in an interesting space, trying to offer a portable gaming machine for those that like gaming, but want something more than their smartphone or tablet offers.
There is also the companion device option for PS4 console owners, something that Sony tells Pocket-lint is already being well received with "tens of per cent" of Sony PS4 gamers buying a Vita. If Sony can convince new PS4 owners to buy this console then it will do well, but it's going to be a tough sell to non-PS4 owners who will no doubt look at the £180 price tag as an expensive way to play games on the go.
PlayStation Now, Sony's on-demand gaming service that will be coming to the Vita as well as the PS4, might change that, but in Europe that service is still yet to be confirmed and is looking like a 2015 debut at best.