PS Vita’s Official Starter Kit Reviewed

While the rest of the staff are waxing lyrical about the PS Vita itself and the, frankly outstanding, line-up of launch-day games available on the shelves and the PSN Store I thought it time to take a quick look at something that’s been overlooked.  You’ve got your shiny new PS Vita, now how are you going to keep it shiny.

Having looked at various options as they’ve become available over the past couple of months the one that I finally settled upon was Sony’s own Official PS Vita Starter Kit.  Official accessory lines are normally the expensive option but the Official Starter Kit packs an awful lot of value into a £21.99 package.

Card Case / Wrist Strap / Cloth

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These three items are fairly perfunctory run-of-the-mill items that provide simple utility with the feeling of quality you expect from your Sony-branded goods.  The plastic card case will hold eight game cards and two memory cards in its clamshell design with the PS Vita logo embossed on one side and a small PlayStation logo embossed on the other.

The black fabric strap is essentially identical to the many that you’ll see dangling from portable devices or stopping Wiimotes from hurtling through TV screens.  You can attach it to either of the metal loops at the bottom left and right of the PS Vita.  The cloth carrying the PS Vita logo will be essential for removing finger prints from your shiny new toy and is washable should you manage to saturate it with finger oil.

Screen Protector

[drop2]It is at this halfway point through the six items in the Official Starter Kit where Sony’s design skills and attention to detail being to shine through and differentiate their products from the other third party options.

The PS Vita has a glorious screen that you’ll want to protect from scratches and the starter kit has you covered.  The Sony difference here is that they don’t just provide you with a simple rectangle of sticky plastic to try and line up with the screen.

They have provided a simple rectangle of sticky plastic attached to a more rigid guide that extends to the right of the screen containing cut-outs for the symbol buttons and right stick.  This makes lining up and applying the screen protector far easier than it might otherwise be.

Pouch

The pouch is made from what feels like a thin neoprene-like material and like almost everything else in the Official Starter Kit is embossed with the PS Vita logo.  There are no hard fastenings that might mar the surfaces of your PS Vita you simply pull aside the overlapping stitched flap on the right, slip you PS Vita inside and tuck the flap back over the end of your console.

If you look closely at the pictures you will see that just to the right of centre on the lower edge of the pouch’s front, below the ‘A’ of the logo there is a small cut-out.  This isn’t Sony trying to save money on material wherever possible, it’s there so that you can leave your headphones attached to your PS Vita while it is safely en-pouched and protected from the contents of your handbag/manbag.

Case

The case included with the Official Starter Kit is its pièce de résistance.  This amazing piece of design is superficially just two rigid boards that wrap around your PS Vita to protect its front and back.  It is so much more though.

First off let me be clear that this isn’t an all-enclosing case.  The edges of your PS Vita are still open and while the rigid front and back pieces are oversized it is still conceivable that a drop, particularly on one end,  could damage your console or other items in your bag could get ‘inside’ the case and come into contact with your PS Vita.

[videoyoutube]The PS Vita attaches to the case via a plastic clip attached to the case’s back panel.  This clips securely through the two metal loops at the bottom of the PS Vita while leaving enough room should you also want the wrist strap attached.  With the case open the front hangs below the PS Vita and when closed the front is held secure by a Velcro tab that wraps over the top and secures to the outside of the back panel.

By folding the front panel up behind the back one and bending the Velcro tab back on itself you can secure the case in an open configuration.  With the case like this another neat feature becomes apparent; you can use the case as a desk stand for your PS Vita.

A small ‘leg’, similar to the kind you find on the back of a photo frame folds out, to enable the case to stand up.  In yet another great design touch the inside of the join between the front and back panels, which the case is now resting on, is covered in rubber to stop the case sliding about too easily.

The case’s final trick is how it allows you to access the PS Vita’s rear touch panel without having to detach it from case’s plastic clip.  The clip has a tab that slots into a small pocket on the inside of the case’s back panel.  Pushing your PS Vita up about a quarter of an inch slides the tab out of the pocket and the case then hangs free of the console attached to the clip by two inch-long fabric straps.

Verdict

Despite the reasonable expectation that a Sony accessory will inevitably be over-priced, the whole Official Starter Kit feels like great value for its RRP of €24.99/ £21.99/$34.95 AUD/$44.95 NZD.  Shopping around you can save a little off that, £19.99 is a common price in UK stores for example.  You are getting good quality items to accompany you on your PS Vita adventure and help keep your console safe.

The case and pouch included with the Starter Kit might not suit your needs.  For instance you might prefer a zip-up hard case to protect your PS Vita on your travels.  That being the case (no pun intended) you could look at Sony’s Official PS Vita Travel Kit, which swaps out the pouch and case here for a zip-up soft pouch and car adaptor (cigarette lighter to USB) or one of the many third party cases and pouches that have launched alongside the console.

What sets the PS Vita Official Starter Kit apart from the other accessories and kits that I have seen are its feeling of quality and those Sony design flourishes that just really seem to work.  With the items in this kit Sony aren’t simply looking to make a quick buck on some accessory sales, they have produced some good value items that are exceptionally well designed and useful.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos I’ve taken.  I really need a new camera and the all-black inside of the case is not very photogenic.

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29 Comments

  1. I bought it and I think it’s an ok price but I still prefer the white strap of my launch day PSP. I’ll just use that for PSV.

  2. Exactly what I bought. After seeing the Japanese vid of them demoing the fancy case, I knew that was doing to be a purchase. It works really well.

  3. I’m getting the SPF case. Looks really strong and holds 6 games :)

  4. Nice.
    I think I’ll be picking up the Travel Kit instead though.
    Mind you, I miss the pouch that came with my PSP.
    Why won’t you fit the Vita? :(

  5. Im getting this starter pack just for that sexy case..Have to wait til friday get it amazon messed up my order.

    Loving the vita right now, I made new friends on my street with near lol, I didnt even know they existed

    • also has anyone got their £5 disscount yet, still aint got mine & II aint buying escape plan til I get that discount

      • They made an error with the codes. I got mine but it didn’t work (for the Escape Plan discount, it worked for Frobisher). SCEE said they’d be sending out another e-mail to everyone shortly.

      • Thanks typical Sony no suprise there to be honest

      • It’s annoying, I should have had escape plan and Froshibar says today </3

    • Shame really I got two codes with Shinobido for Ridge Racer and Katamari so I just got RR instead for now

      • did anyone else get robbed by Sony, Escape Plan is £9.99 so there for the discount should leave 4.99 but for some reason it was £6.49 had to pay an extra 1.50

      • That would put your voucher in line with the €5 every Eurozone country got anyway.
        Although if it said £5, it should stick to £5. But £5 off compared to €5 was always unfair anyways.

      • I haven’t notice.. since it doesn’t work but yeah £6.49 is still ok I guess

      • The new email has been sent. I got it last night, bought Escape Plan for €7.99.

  6. Oh great, now my potential Vita purchase has become even more expensive! :/
    – only kidding, good review. I like the way they’ve done the screen protector and the case seems really well designed. I didn’t realise there would be so many items in the pack and with the case included it does seem like good value.

    • Bought one myself and it’s definately worth the purchase!

  7. I thought about getting this but decided on a ‘4Gamers Deluxe Travel Case’ as there’s room for the charger etc.

    • 4gamers still going these days? thats cool

    • Everyone’s getting 4gamers cases, they must be good or something.

  8. I wasn’t overly impressed with the main leather case myself. It looks nice, but it is not the most elegant solution when you want to use the back touch screen. It just hangs like a swining ballbag, rather awkward looking. I’m looking at the crystal case jobbie with room for the game cartridges and 2 memory cards, you can customise the out side as well.

    I might also pick up the official Vita travel pack. Apparantly you can pick i up for just £15 from Asda at the moment.

    • Cool price, shame Asda is more remote than the Tescos in Belfast… are Tesco even selling Vita stuff haven’t even noticed.

  9. Travel or Starter? Starter or Travel? I’m going in circles.

  10. Do any of these cases have room for the AR cards? So far I like the look of the Thrustmaster SFP Case with room for 6 games, but alas no room for AR cards.

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