by Lori Cunningham
My kids and I have been having fun playing on the PS Vita, PlayStation’s new handheld entertainment device. I like the size of the screen, 5 diagonal inches, almost entirely bigger than my HTC Amaze smartphone. It’s great for gameplay, and I recently discovered it’s a great size for video too. My Mom, bless her heart, has been having a number of health problems lately. Nearly every week we find ourselves at the emergency room. We go to doctor’s appointments like we go to the kids’ baskeball practices. There’s one every week as we wrestle with what is causing her health to descend.
I go to a majority of these health appointments while the kids are at school or at a friends’ house. But with the busyness of life, the kids have had to come to a number of appointments. My challenge has always been how to keep them quiet and well-behaved while talking with the doctor. This has been no easy feat, let me tell you. I have let them play games before on my smartphone and the PS Vita, but soon enough there’s a squabble about who’s turn it is to play on a particular game they’re sharing.
This past week, I finally came up with a solution! I remembered that Netflix is an option on the PS Vita. It is a free download from their PS Store. With the PS Vita’s large screen, I knew it would be big enough for them to share and watch a fun movie together. I signed up for Netflix’ free 30 day trial minutes before we were to leave to pick up Mom. It was a perfect solution I thought.
At the Doctor’s Office
Perfect until we got to the doctor’s office and I realized you need a WiFi signal. Ooops! Me being a techie, you’d think I’d think about that. Not too worry, I quickly came up with a plan. I have been testing the new HTC Titan II Windows smartphone. I remembered seeing an option called “Internet Sharing” under the Settings option. I turned it on and saw the details – the name of the broadcast WiFi connection and a password. I searched for the broadcast network name on my PS Vita and put in the password from my Windows phone. It worked perfectly! Woohoo! They say necessity is the mother of invention. Will in my case, “necessity is the mother of exploration!”
The Netflix menu on the PS Vita looks great. The graphics are beautiful on its OLED screen. If you haven’t seen it already, the Veggie Tales: Madame Blueberry is a MUST See for kids – it teaches them about the “pull” we all have to want more stuff in our lives and how to be more thankful for what we already have.
The kids were in bliss and glued to the screen. They watched Wallace and Gromit and a part of a Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. No yelling, poking, comments like, “I’m bored”, “I’m hungry” “He hit me!,” just silence. Wow, my Mom and I could finally have a nice talk with the doctor without getting interrupted. Best yet, when we got home, my kids watched the rest of the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie on our big screen, right where they left off from the PS Vita in the doctor’s office. This is good to know for the future. When the kids are watching a Netflix movie on our TV at home and we have to be somewhere, I’ll promise them that they can continue it on the PS Vita in the car. There will be less arguments and I’ll have a better chance of getting in the car faster. Love it!
What About Battery Life?
Fortunately, our time at the doctor’s office wasn’t longer than an hour, so the PS Vita battery held up well. But if you’re like me, you’re thinking the PS Vita makes a great road trip gadget – perfect for games, video, and music. According to Sony, the PS Vita battery can hold up anywhere from:
- 3-5 hours for game-play
- 5 hours for video playback
- up to 9 hours for music
Remember, if you don’t have the 3G PS Vita version, you can use your Android or Windows Phone Internet connection for free to get WiFi coverage to your PS Vita in the car. You can do the same through the iPhone, but there is a monthly charge through AT&T and Verizon for the privilege.
Also, in case you have a newer car with a USB port in it, I found that you can unplug part of the PS Vita charging cord and you’ll find it has a full USB end. Just plug it into your car’s USB port and you’ll keep the PS Vita fully charged for hours on end! Summer road trips, here we come!
* As a PlayStation Family Ambassador, I was loaned a PS Vita for an extended amount of time. All expressed opinions are my own.Tweet