When it comes to gaming on-the-go, comfort is often directly related to how long you play a game on a handheld. The PlayStation Vita launched in February of 2012, and while I've enjoyed just about everything the system has to offer, there was one area that I had trouble coping with: finding the most comfortable way to hold it while playing for extended periods of time. As we all know, not all hands are created equal, and while the design of the PlayStation Vita is generally great, longer play sessions can result in hand cramping. Also, I would often find myself mistakenly hitting the back touch pad of the original PlayStation Vita model (and though its frequency has been reduced greatly with the newly designed slim model, it still happens on occasion). Thankfully, the fine folks at Performance Designed Products (PDP) have given PlayStation Vita owners a great option for added comfort.
Having purchased the PDP PlayStation Trigger Grip for the original PlayStation Vita, I was very pleased with how much they allowed me to grip the Vita in a way that was more in line with how I'd hold a DualShock 3 controller. Seeing as it had improved my overall experience with the original iteration of the Vita, it was a no-brainer to purchase the Slim version of the Trigger Grip when it was initially announced. (Note: The original Vita grip will not work with the Slim, so a second purchase is necessary. No Cross-Buy feature here!) Instead of having all of my fingers bunched up on the back of my Vita — which undoubtedly increases my chance of tapping the reach touch pad by accident — the fingers I don't normally use would now rest on the lower handle grips. This felt much more natural this way, and it also reduced any cramping I had experienced before when I wasn't using the grips.
The grip itself is very lightweight, so it doesn't add any bulk to the slim Vita's new streamlined design. While it may feel flimsy when not in use, once it's snapped into place, it feels very snug and secure. All the necessary ports are available without having to remove the grip, such as the charging port and headset jack, and access to the memory card and game card slots remain intact with the grip snapped in place. The only real negative about the grip is that you will have to remove it if you wish to use a carrying case for your PlayStation Vita. If you are using a bag or briefcase to carry your Vita, the grip doesn't take up too much room, so it's quite easy to bring that with you as well.
Lastly, the only part of the grip that you functionally use when it comes to playing games are the L1 and R1 triggers at the top, and they do their job 100% of the time. However, when it comes to the "feel" while using them, it does feel a little "cheap." We have to remember that these triggers are directly connected to the triggers on the Vita itself; you are more or less just pressing one piece of plastic against another. I never had any issues in regards to button presses not registering, but it does feel a little bit slippery when you do press down on them. I'm not sure if there is a better way to improve on the trigger's functionality, and because they work flawlessly, I'm not going to nitpick about something that doesn't affect gameplay negatively in any way.
Handheld gaming is here to stay, so there is no reason we should engage in it at the expense of comfortability. PDP has created a fine product that caters to gamers that may not fully enjoy the Vita's design, or to those that may have hands that are too big or too small to comfortably hold the system when gaming for extended periods of time. The PDP Vita Grips give you the added comfort of using a DualShock controller, allowing you to engage in longer play sessions without having to deal with fatigue and cramping. I have used this grip since the day I bought it, and I highly recommend it to all PlayStation Vita owners.
- Extremely comfortable
- Lightweight and snug when attached
- Affordable ($14.99)
- Feeling of the triggers
- Won't fit in most PlayStation Vita carrying cases