Feb 25, 2012

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PlayStation Vita: Third-Party Apps Review

This Tuesday, with the PlayStation Store update, Sony added a few new third-party apps to the Vita store. Right now, these apps include a Flickr, Twitter, and Netflix (a Facebook app was released later in the week and then pulled due to technical issues; that app will be reviewed later) and enable you to use each of these services easily on your new Vita. But how do they measure up? Are they worth the download, or are you better saving the memory card space for something else? Read on to find out.

Note: This review gives a bite-sized review of each of the currently available third-party apps; for an analysis of the pre-installed programs and the system itself, check out our full PS Vita review here.

 

Flickr

It’s nice to have a built-in app for Flickr, especially with the built-in video and camera options of the Vita, not to mention its screenshot-taking capability. The app was easy enough to set up and link to my account, and uploading was easy, although it could be improved. For example, while you can upload multiple items at once, you have to select them individually, and the Vita doesn’t remember the folder you came from, which makes uploading several images a bit tedious. Also, you don’t have any options about privacy or tags in the upload screen the way you do on PC, which is a little disappointing. The biggest problem I found was that while I had no problems with the main page of the app, nor did I have any issues when uploading pictures, every single time I tried to open a picture to view it the app would crash. Every. Single. Time. It’s mystifying, because every other feature seems to work fine and without a hitch. Hopefully this bug will be fixed soon, but as of right now, it’s hard to recommend this app unless you really want to upload your Vita’s pictures directly from your device without first transferring to your PC.

Worth It?: NO (not now)

 

Live Tweet

Live Tweet is the Vita’s Twitter app, and I have to say I really like it, except for the fact that it’s really–blue (it would be nice to change the color scheme).  Color aside, the interface works well, and everything operates smoothly, with updates happening fairly quickly. You can easily see your feed, mentions, DMs, lists, and more. It seems to be limited to one account, though, so if you’re one of those twitter junkies with several accounts, you might find that aspect disappointing (although that feature could easily be added in an update). It’s easy to attach images stored on your Vita, although you might find it disappointing that clicking links will take you out of the app and into the browser, rather than having in-app browser capabilities like the iOS app does. Still, the gripes for this app are relatively minor. I could definitely see myself using this regularly.

Worth It?: YES

 

Netflix

The Netflix app has a UI similar to the one you’ll find on your PS3, with a little of the iOS and PC apps thrown in. When it’s working, it actually works very well, but I found it to be kind of slow. It’s also disappointing that it has to reload (taking you back to the main screen) every time your device comes back from powersave, which is really annoying. It’s also disappointing that the touch interface isn’t taken advantage of nearly as well as it could be; you can swipe through your horizontal columns (and when you’re navigating through a show or movie), but you can’t swipe up or down, and swiping is pretty slow. You’ll probably end up navigating more quickly with the buttons than the screen, which is a little disappointing. You can screencap in Netflix, if that’s important to you, which is nice. Just keep in mind that it will suck your battery pretty quickly, so you might want to invest in an additional charger and the cradle if you intend to do some serious TV and movie watching on your Vita.

Worth It?: YES (with reservations)

 

What other third-party apps would you like to see added to the Vita? Let us know in the comments.

Would you like a chance to win a PlayStation Vita? Don’t forget to enter our contest!

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About Rebecca Quintana

Currently playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I've fallen in love with twitter; follow me if you're interested in some good game-, writing-, or book-related conversation: @rrquinta.