Channel 5

PlayStation Vita or Nintendo 3DS? Everything you need to know!

The Gadget Show  Monday 20 February 2012

PlayStation Vita or Nintendo 3DS? Everything you need to know!

This week sees the arrival of the PlayStation Vita in the UK. The new Sony handheld console combines home console-quality graphics, new innovations, and a killer launch game line-up. If you’ve read our PlayStation Vita review you will already know how much we love it. It’s a great bit of kit. But then there’s the Nintendo 3DS – the first ever glasses-free console, which we also love. Which one to buy? To help you decide, we’ve compared the two, right here…

For different reasons we love both the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Both however, are very different bits of kit, each with their own flaws and strengths. Before heading out to buy either, here are a few things to consider:


Great games make for a great console. The PlayStation Vita has one of the best launch line-ups seen on a new handheld. Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Motorstorm RC, WipEout 2048 and Marvel Vs Capcom 3 are just a handful of launch games available from day one. Expect more ports of familiar franchises including Call of Duty, the new Street Fighter X Tekken game, and new PlayStation Vita titles on the way in future. Sony’s vision is to deliver powerful handheld gaming. It’s like having a PS3 you can take with you.

The Nintendo 3DS doesn’t quite match the raw power of the PlayStation Vita, but but there are plenty of great titles, that still look fantastic on the Nintendo 3DS. Highlights include the quite awesome Super Mario 3D Land, Star Fox 64 3D, Mario Kart 7, Resident Evil: Revelations. Upcoming titles will include Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and Luigi’s Mansion 2. Past criticisms of Nintendo has been that it doesn’t supply enough ‘hardcore’ games. That has now been remedied. If there is a criticism of both consoles, it’s that many of the big games are sequels offering little new. But there’s no denying that both offer a fabulous selection of games to play.


The Nintendo 3DS is by far the more portable of the two. You could fit a Nintendo 3DS in the middle of the PlayStation Vita, and still have room to spare. However, PlayStation Vita fans can point to its larger 5-inch OLED screen. It comes down to what you believe is the most important. Bigger screen gaming, or portability? And perhaps, how much of a Nintendo fan you are.


The price to pay for such power (PlayStation Vita) and the ability to play games in 3D (Nintendo 3DS) is battery life that fails to amaze. Expect to enjoy a maximum five-hour (give or take up to an hour depending on your settings) charge from either device. Be sure to take a charger on long journeys.

Unique features

The PlayStation Vita’s most unique feature is its rear touchpad that changes the way we’ll play handheld games, enhancing ports such as LittleBigPlanet by encouraging players to think up new ways to play. PlayStation Vita owners will also be able to play games against those on a PS3 console using its unique Cross Play feature. So if you’re sitting in a coffee shop and using Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to play against friends on a PS3, while sipping a hot one in Starbucks.

The Nintendo 3DS is of course for its glasses-free 3D display. Despite the skeptics it really does work. To amazing effect in some cases. Although it has to be said that the 3D effect isn’t for everybody, and offers little, if anything to gameplay. A neat feature found on both handhelds is augmented reality gaming. Owners of both can snap photos of themselves and their friends to star in games.


Controls have been a bone of contention on 3DS. The lack of two analogue sticks has upset many, forcing Nintendo to release a Circle Pad Pro attachment that docks onto the console, costing Nintendo 3DS owners extra cash for the privilege. But it’s the best way to enjoy games such as Resident Evil: Revelations. A couple of hours of play on the Nintendo 3DS can also be uncomfortable on the wrists, so breaks are advised. By contrast, the PlayStation Vita does have dual analogue sticks, and feels much more ergonomically designed, but it comes at a cost of portability.


PlayStation Vita comes in two versions. A Wi-Fi model costs £229.99. A 3G/Wi-Fi model costs £279.99. But look around and you’ll find the PlayStation Vita starting from £210 with a free 8GB memory card from Amazon. New games for both cost around £30, but memory cards for the PlayStation Vita are considerably pricy. An 8GB memory card costs just as much as a game. The Nintendo 3DS costs considerably less – you’ll find it for around £134 and uses cheaper SD memory cards.

PlayStation Vita arrives in stores on 22 February. Have you pre-ordered one? Will you be queuing up at midnight to get one? Let us know in the comments section below.


PlayStation, Vita, Nintendo, 3DS, gaming, handhelds

User comments (8)

Leave a comment

Lachlan Shanks

I won't be getting one, but it won't take much to beat the 3DS. The 3DS hurts my eyes and in my opinion, the 3D is barely noticeable. I have a DSi and enjoyed it for agrs(until I got an iPod). So I would get the vita but won't be getting it because I have an iPod to play games on.

Report as inappropriate

To be Honist, the ps vita wins hands down. Unfortunately the price is steep for a portable console, that's why I'm going for the wi fi only modal. They could have used a different design for the new vita compared to the previous gen. By the way you can get a wi fi modal, 8gb memory and eather FIFA or uncharted for £240 at (preorder pack)

Report as inappropriate
Estragon Helmer

Pre-ordered my Vita from Game with a free 8GB memory card and Wipeout 2048. Just waiting for it to arrive now, can't wait to play Wipeout with the accelerometer! Also eager to get LBP on it, as I had it on the PSP, too.

Report as inappropriate
Luke Tinning

I wont be getting a Vita because it is quite a lot of money to fork out,and strait after Xmas aswell. I've also tried a PS Vita in my local Gamestation but the buttons are very small and my thumb can cover up all four buttons.I must say tho The analog sticks feel very good,despite also being very small.And there arent many games that I like for it.I will most probaly wait for more games and reviews and even maybe a price drop!

Report as inappropriate
James Ollier

Cannot wait mines on its way from Shopto wifi version with ridgeracer and Uncharted. I get a bit miffed with people going on about the price, people seem to be able to fork out £400+ for tablets and £300+ for smartphones I think Vita's price sits in there about right with the Wifi version in and around £209 at amazon and Shopto without a deal. And if like me you want a better sort of experience than flicking to chop fruit, Vita's the real Deal.

Report as inappropriate

I own a 3DS and pre-ordered a Vita today. I've tried a few demo units of the Vita, and it is absolutely incredible! As much as I love my 3DS, the Vita stomps all over the 3DS. If you can afford it, I would HIGHLY recommend getting both, but if you can only get one, get the Vita. It is by far the superior system, but if you're on a budget, the 3DS won't disappoint.

Report as inappropriate
James Ollier

Report as inappropriate

I have a 3DS and enjoyed it for ages until I got a iPad 2 I might get a Ps vita when it gets cheaper.

Report as inappropriate

Join Channel 5

Creating an account is free, will only take a few moments and will allow you to enjoy the full benefits of 5FWD and Channel 5:

  • Create lists of your most wanted and owned products
  • Leave article comments without having to re-enter your login details
  • Get updated with all the latest gadget and car news

Leave a comment

Please note that we will not expose your email, but we might use it to email you back. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.
* mandatory field

Jason Bradbury

Jason has been on The Gadget Show since day one. Before he joined us, he could be seen popping up on The Big Breakfast, hosting The Web Review for ...


Rachel Riley

Rachel made her television debut in 2009 when she took over from Carol Vorderman as the numbers expert on Countdown. Rachel studied maths at Oxford...


Jon Bentley

Jon Bentley returns as The Gadget Show’s chief gadget tester, completing the show’s strongest line up ever.


Ortis Deley

Ortis has been obsessed with all things gadget-esque since he was a kid as well as being a massive sci-fi movie fan, and describes being back in pr...


The Gadget Show tests the latest gadgets and technology and tells you, the viewers exactly what kit to buy. We also value your comments and feedback.

For Gadget Show website queries email the studio

For any other enquiries or complaints – email our customer services department