One of the things that will bring you out in a cold sweat is taking the item you’ve saved months to purchase out and about. The newest shiny toy happens to be Sony’s PS Vita system and what better way to protect that massive 5” screen than with a new case.
Here we do a round-up of the latest offerings coming to stores in the shape of Thrustmaters’ licensed range or products.
First off we have the Thrustmaster Uncharted inspired solid plastic case. Initial impressions are that the case looks sturdy and about the size of a red house brick! Clasping it in your hands tells another story though as the item feels a little lightweight and the plastic feel makes it seem a little cheap.
Looking past the Uncharted: Golden Abyss sticker and the Nathan Drake dog tag on the front you have two slide clasps that sit on the front of the box. These feel a little thin but seem sturdy enough on repeated usage to lock and unlock the hinged lid.
Opening up the case you realise this case could take some serious damage before any harm might come to your beloved £250 console. Packed in the bottom layer of the case you have custom fit foam insulation that your PS Vita sits very snugly in to … so much so I worried it was going to squish the L and R buttons. Sitting firmly in it’s foam tomb you PS Vita won’t easily fall out, luckily there is a small indent in one corner for you to put a finger in and lever the console out again.
The top of the case has custom shaped foam too. Here you will find space for up to 6 Vita game cartridges. Each sits snugly once again in to the foam surround. My only real concerns here are the plastic looking feel and shine to the product (which resembles an old style trunk to look at) and the fact nothing is protecting the screen from the cards above – although they should never really touch based on the design.
Second up we have the equally hard cased Thrustmaster SPF military styled case. In solid black plastic this time the unit is identical to the Uncharted edition apart from the decoration of the box. Same slid clips, same foam inlays inside. This one does however come with a neat bit of fake rubber webbing that comes out from the back of the bottom layer and can be flipped over the screen. This alleviated my concerns over disc carts scratching the case or screen in transit. Also the black looks far less shiny and, even though they are functionally the same, seemed to feel sturdier to the touch. This is highly likely to be psychosomatic and down to the matt black looking more refined than the shiny beige.
Finally, and my pick of the bunch, comes the Thrustmaster VIP case. Looking a lot like a soft case from a distance this elegant (well elegant for a large oval) case seems more fitting with the power and finesse of the PS Vita system.
Offering none of the bulky stylings of the other two this fits much more easily in to a jacket pocket or a small section of your bag. Admittedly this case doesn’t have any clamps to keep the clam-shell designed case closed but the hinge is super resilient – although time may alter that.
The underplayed PS Vita logo and lettering in silver on the soft feel matt black lid look gorgeous and the whole case feels super sturdy in your hands. It’s a little like a larger version of a glasses case to be honest!
Inside the case has been created to the exact measurements to hold your Vita snugly in place. Once the device is in place it’ll take some real effort to get it loose unless you use the small material strip that lies under it to ease it out. In the case lid you have two plinths covered in foam that sit gently in the speaker area of the Vita when the lid is closed. These stop it from moving about in the case. There is also a Thrustmaster logo (in this case the writing) in solver inside the lid that also looks very nice.
The only negative aspects to this case are the lack of access holes to key items (like headphones and volume) and no provision for a wrist strap if attached to the Vita (you have to leave it trailing out of the case lid). Both of those complaints can be levelled at the other cases too. Each is safe and sturdy, rather than designed for practical and protected gaming on the move.
The two solid cases offer incredible durability and will take more than a few knocks. They will certainly protect your beloved PS Vita. The Uncharted case, although nicely thought out, just feels that little bit more plasticy and the colour scheme can’t mask it’s reinforced plastic origins. The SPF case on the other hand uses it’s matt black to good advantage making it look and feel a little less tacky. The webbing inside the case is also a bonus for keeping things from the screen.
The VIP case, for me, is the clear winner in this bunch. Offering a robust, yet still portable solution is still easily slipped in to my jacket pockets without feeling like I was carrying a mobile phone from the 80’s with me.
The only real downside to these cases is that the Vita limited when actually in the case. They site so snugly that you have no access the power, L, R, volume or headphones when they are in place. This is OK if all you want to do is check Near (which still works well even in the case) or use some of the touch only games/apps but it would have been nice of had some holes made for the headphones at the least.
If you want a case to carry around in your jacket then the VIP has you covered. If you’re going on a longer trip and want sturdy travelling storage and room for games then the other two would probably serve that purpose better. Whichever case you choose it will offer the PS Vita some much needed protection.
An averaged score was levelled in the side bar but please take time to view the one you’re most interested in and see it’s individual score.