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Handheld game consoles have been overpowered by smartphones and tablets, but they still have a loyal following among avid gamers. Two of the most popular consoles are the Nintendo 3DS and the Sony PlayStation Vita, which are often pitted against each other since they were released around the same time and are both eight-generation consoles.

If you’re shopping around for a handheld video game device, the question now is this: which make and model should you choose? We’ve compared the Nintendo 3DS and the Sony PlayStation Vita to help you make the right decision.

BASIC SPECS

The 3DS is powered by a dual-core ARM11 MPCore CPU and a single-core ARM9 CPU along with a DMP PICA200 GPU. It has 128MB of FCRAM, 6MB of VRAM, and 1 GB internal flash memory, with removable storage capacity of 2GB (4GB in the 3DS XL).

The PS Vita, meanwhile, is built with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU and a quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4+ GPU. It comes with a 512MB RAM, a 128MB VRAM and, in the case of the PCH-2000 model, a 1 GB flash memory. You can extend its storage capacity up to 64GB by using a PS Vita memory card.

DISPLAY

When it comes to display quality, the 3DS almost always comes out on top because of its stereoscopic 3D effects, which can be viewed even without 3D glasses. These effects add depth and visual drama to the games you play, making them even more enjoyable.



The PS Vita doesn’t even try to compete with the 3DS in this aspect, but it has other tricks up its sleeve. The first-gen PS Vita came with an OLED display, which was replaced with an LCD screen in the second generation. The latter results to crisp graphics and more realistic coloring.

GAMES

If you’ve been a Nintendo fan for years, you’ll love the fact that the 3DS lets you play Nintendo classics whenever and wherever you want. Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon X & Y — these are some of the titles that you can enjoy with the 3DS.

PS Vita, on the other hand, came out with first-party, high-profile games like Monster Hunter, but Sony soon turned to independent developers and mid-level Japanese companies to keep up the interest in the device. This resulted to a slew of indie games (such as Hotline Miami and Spelunky) that became popular among PS Vita fans.

Both the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita make it easy for users to play older games. If you opt for 3DS, for example, you can just insert the cartridge of your desired game. If you have a PS Vita, you can simply download the digital copy of the game you want to play. It’s great way to revisit your favorite PS1 games, such as the earlier Final Fantasy titles.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

Just like any other device, the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita have their own drawbacks. The 3DS XL, for example, comes with a rechargeable battery but doesn’t ship with an adapter, so you’ll have to pay extra to get your own. The PS Vita, meanwhile, no longer receives support from major developers, so you won’t get your hands on the latest big-budget titles.

VERDICT

Both the 3DS and the PS Vita have their own pros and cons, so you’ll need to do your research to know which one best fits your needs. Mostly, it comes down to the games you want to play; Nintendo fans will want to get the 3DS, while indie enthusiasts will love the PS Vita.

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