We all own handheld devices. In some shape or form we own portable machines, be it games consoles, smartphones, tablets or music players. All of which contain small, lithium-based batteries, whilst adequate to power the latest mobile processors, are not exactly praised for their life-span.
In this particular “tips & tricks” article I’m setting my sights on Sony’s most recent gaming handheld, successor to the popular PSP, the PSVita.
The PSVita is a powerful handheld and can render some visually-impressive games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush and the upcoming (at the time of writing this) Killzone Mercenary. Being a PSVita owner myself, I’ve learnt a few ways of squeezing the juice out of its battery that some fellow owners may have overlooked, which I am happy to share with you. Here are five simple tips –
1) Wifi & Wireless Communication
This should be the most obvious one.
Before settling down into a game, ask yourself – are you doing anything that requires online?
If you’re not syncing trophies, browsing the PSN Store or using a game’s network features I highly recommend you put your PSVita into “Airplane Mode”
This mode disables all wireless functions.
Doing this will save you a ton of battery straight off the bat as wireless communications eats away power very quickly.
Airplane Mode is the first option in the “Settings” app.
Also, turn off Bluetooth unless you have an actual use for it.
2) Screen Brightness
The PSVita has an amazing screen, there’s no doubt about that.
If you’re playing indoors or in a low-light environment you can turn down the screen’s brightness by holding the “Home” button and adjusting the relevant slider.
The screen still looks impressive, even on the lowest setting.
Unlike the iPad or iPhone, turning it down to minimum doesn’t black-out the screen, rather it brings down the vividness of the colours as well as brightness.
If playing at night, you really don’t need it on anything higher than 0-25%.
3) Does it need to be “portable” if you’re at home?
If you about to play your PSVita, sitting in a nice, comfy chair or on your bed at home, you’re likely near a power outlet. Seems like a no-brainier but if you’re planning on a lengthy gaming session, plug in the charger, it’s almost 2 metres long, certainly long enough to reach where you need it.
4) Charge often, drain monthly.
The software used to monitor battery life in portable devices is not as accurate as you may think!
The “%” or icon used to show battery level is a best guess (I use “guess” lightly) by the system, as there’s no way currently to monitor a battery’s level to 100% accuracy.
Little top-ups of power here and there will make the battery gauge inaccurate over time.
Lithium batteries need to stay active in order to have a healthy life, charging them regularly does this but also draining them to “dead” is another way.
With both these facts in mind, drain out your battery to dead once a month and then give it a “deep charge” (a full, uninterrupted charge) until 100%
This will ensure a long, healthy battery life for your console. This can also be applied to your smartphones and tablets.
Everything that runs on your console consumes power. Every process it has to run works the processor and memory, which in turn draws power from the battery. More processes running, more work, more power. Simple.
So don’t tax your system and its battery by keeping unnecessary apps open that you’re not using.
By keeping apps suspended in the background you’re using processing power so as soon as you’re done, close them and get on with your gaming. Also, if you’re done for the day with your PSVita, your game is all saved and quit out of, why not just shut off the system rather than put it to sleep? By putting it to sleep its just holding the OS in its memory, which uses power to stay alive, so it’s just a waste if its going to sit around for a while.
Like I mentioned earlier, these tips can be applied to a whole range of your portable devices, not just PSVita, so why not power optimise all your gadgets?
Sony claims the PSVita has 3-5 hour life with network features turned off, no sound and at default brightness, if you think my tips help please let me know!