Nyko Power Grip for PlayStation Vita Review
This game was reviewed on PlayStation Vita
One of the largest complaints from early adopters and critics of the PlayStation Vita is the battery life of the handheld not reaching much over six hours or so. The lack of an ability to access the battery in order to put in a larger and longer lasting replacement has also garnered some criticism from fans. However, five months after the launch of the portable console, Nyko has released a solution that’s sure to satisfy those gamers that are constantly on the go: the Nyko Power Grip for the PlayStation Vita.
At first glance, on its own, the Power Grip for the PlayStation Vita might look like something that Batman would keep in his arsenal with its matte black boomerang-style design. However, the Power Grip is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. First, the design compliments the PlayStation Vita in every way. The matte finish matches that found on the back of the handheld, while every curve follows the Vita’s in order to maintain conformity to make the Power Grip look and feel like an extension of the device rather than just an attachment. It’s apparent Nyko put a lot of thought into the design to ensure that the Power Grip not only looks good, but looks like a natural component of the Vita and it shows.
The second key design feature is in the finish itself. Having a matte surface instead of a gloss reduces the amount of gunk that can build up from skin oils, and otherwise make the device look disgusting over time without a thorough cleaning. Instead, those with clammy hands (myself included) will find the Power Grip to be exceptionally resistant to this type of buildup. Moreover, the super fine seams along the handles ensures that you don’t get any of that funky buildup inside of crevices as often happens with controllers, mice, and other peripherals.
Third, the Power Grip’s ergonomic design and weight (or lack thereof) makes the device comfortable in every way. The Power Grip only weighs a few ounces, which is important in making sure that gamers don’t feel like they’re doing some kind of isometric workout while indulging in game time on the subway. The Grip’s handles are also designed with a separate groove for your forefinger to rest naturally and close to the Vita’s shoulder buttons in a more comfortable manner than if you were to handle the Vita on its own, addressing another complaint regarding the handheld’s design. The Power Grip also has an opening for easy access to the rear touchpad. The handles do add a bit more distance for your fingers to cover to get to the center of the rear touchpad, requiring some muscle memory re-training, however, before you can get back to playing games like Escape Plan effectively.
Mounting the PlayStation Vita inside Nyko’s Power Grip is fairly simple: simply slide down the connector on the bottom of the Grip and insert your handheld. Then, slide the connector into the power port on the bottom of the Vita and flip the lock lever to secure your console inside the frame of the Power Grip. Then start playing. The Power Grip uses the PlayStation Vita charge cable to charge up both the Vita and the built-in battery on the Grip, giving priority to the Vita’s battery first, and then charging the Power Grip second. A red LED on the bottom of the Power Grip will indicate that the device is charging; and when complete, it will alternate between green and red to show that it’s ready to go. An interesting thing regarding this is that the manual says that the light should turn to a solid green; however, mine did not, and after trying a second unit, the same issue was encountered. A little Googling turned up quite a few cases of alternating red and green lights blinking, so it seems to be a common occurrence. While this might be an indication of a flaw in the design and should be noted, it does not appear to affect the performance of the Power Grip; however, it does mar the quality. A message to the customer support team has been made, but not yet returned.
We conducted a number of tests to check out the charge time of the device using the PlayStation Vita’s charging cable plugged into a power receptacle. If both devices are completely without power, it can take up to eight hours to charge both devices completely (indicated by the alternating green and red lights on the Power Grip), and about four to five hours to charge the Power Grip with a fully charged Vita connected to it. With the Vita removed completely and the device charging, it only takes a couple of hours, so if you want to be able to charge it in a short amount of time and charge your Vita as well, you might want to get a second charging cable and charge them both separately; otherwise, you might want to plug the pair in and leave them overnight to get a full battery in both devices.
The Nyko Power Grip for the PlayStation Vita is well-designed in order to ensure that the gamer has access to all of the switches and buttons on the handheld device, save one important one: the game slot. Essentially, the Power Grip is designed to clamp the Vita in on both the top, and the bottom of the device to ensure that it’s held in place securely; however, the issue is that the top clamp almost completely covers the game slot door. This means that you’ll have to pull the Vita out of the Grip in order to change games. If you’re at home, this might not be an issue, but if you’re travelling on a bus or the subway, you might find changing games to be a bit unwieldy. So make sure that the game you have in your console is the one that you want to play on your way to the office.
So finally, the question that everyone wants to know: How long does the Vita last when it’s plugged into the Power Grip? I’m pleased to report that the Vita lasts much, much longer in Nyko’s battery packing Power Grip. I was able to start a marathon gaming session at 5:00p.m. with Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, and the red light (indicating low charge) on the Power Grip didn’t start flashing until around 11:00p.m. – a full six-hours before the Vita had to start drawing off its own power! It wasn’t until 12:30a.m. that I started to see the battery indicator on the Vita deplete. A full charge on both devices to power out on the Vita took me eleven hours to achieve, which is almost double that of the stock battery life of five to six hours!
Overall, the Nyko Power Grip for PS Vita is an exceptional addition for anyone that has the handheld. Almost double the battery life alone would make the device worth it; but the ergonomic feel, light weight, and great finish really put the icing on the cake. While the battery indicator doesn’t totally work as advertised, and some minor design issues with the game slot and extra reach being needed for the rear touchpad keep this device from receiving a perfect score, for $29.99 USD it’s most certainly worth every penny.
The Nyko Power Grip for PS Vita receives a 4.25/5.0.
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