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Face-Off: PlayStation 3 vs. PlayStation Vita

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Last week, Digital Foundry reviewed the Nvidia Shield – a highly impressive, state of the art piece of technology, somewhat under-utilised by a catalogue of software designed with much less capable hardware in mind. Compare and contrast with the PlayStation Vita – long since left behind by more powerful tablets and smartphones, but where the games just keep on getting better. Somehow, Sony has managed to miniaturise the PlayStation experience into a handheld form factor, creating a platform where traditional mobile games can sit side by side with cross-platform triple-A titles and impressive original games from the biggest collection of first-party studios in the world.

Next month you’ll be playing Killzone: Mercenary on Vita, and based on what we’ve played so far, it’s a real achievement, perhaps the most technologically impressive portable shooter on the market and the essence of what sets Vita apart from other portables: full-fat gaming comparable with PS3, delivered in a mobile form factor. In this article, we’ll be looking at how successfully Sony has transferred key PS3 franchises across to the handheld, and we’ll be comparing a range of games available on both PlayStation 3 and Vita. Can portable hardware truly deliver a current-gen gaming experience?

Despite the hardware limitations compared to PlayStation 3, PS Vita manages to accomplish some highly impressive conversions while drawing just a fraction of power compared to PS3 or Xbox 360. During gameplay the Vita on average sucks up between just 3.5 to 4W of power, while in comparison the latest Slim models of the 360 and PS3 take between 70 to 80W in similar situations. This speaks volumes for the efficiency of the Vita’s ARM CPU and Power VR SGX543 GPU cores, which are able to deliver a fairly close approximation of a premium PS3 gaming experience using less than six per cent of the juice, which includes powering the superb OLED display. In terms of gaming performance per watt, we’re not sure that any other platform gets close.

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Eurogamer.net