Beyond Games: The sidelined PSVita browser
Most people think of the PSVita as a device that can only play games and while that holds true to some extent, it’s not the whole picture. Yes, of course you can emulate other consoles but the PSVita has some smartphone-esque appeal to it too. An application that comes bundled with the Vita, that we may only use for exploiting, is the browser.
Like the PSP, the Vita includes a browser too but the Vita’s browser is vastly superior. While the PSP’s NetFront browser wasn’t much more than a proof of concept (PoC), the one on the Vita isn’t half bad. Don’t be fooled! While it doesn’t score too high on the HTML5 test, it’s still a relatively capable browser. Of course, you may use WiFi to browse the Web, 3G on Vita 3G models and Ethernet on the Vita TV/PSTV. WiFi speeds are quite decent and sites load at an acceptable speed.
How capable is it?
While some may say that the Vita’s browser is bad and can’t handle most webpages, this is far from the truth. Popular websites like YouTube, Gizmodo, Twitter (although you get a dodgy mobile version), Facebook (same as Twitter) work quite well. Other websites, such as news sites, also work well but don’t expect too much. Watching videos is also usually a breeze which allows you to use the great screen on the Vita (especially on the 1k) to watch stuff.
What it can’t do
The browser is decent but it has some issues.. Some webpages don’t render properly (but they’re usually not too bad). Others force the browser to run out of memory while others simply crash the browser. Most HTML5 games are a tad too slow so don’t expect much on that front. Some issues may be mended by closing off open apps on your Vita as the browser lets you multitask with other apps.. for some reason. Just remember that you’re using a 512MB RAM device so don’t push it too far! There’s no flash player in case you were wondering!
The Vita’s browser is good enough for most daily needs and probably won’t be too bad to use if you can’t use another portable device. Sadly, the browser probably won’t be updated (unless another WebKit exploit a la HENkaku surfaces) so it may become less usable over the years.