Ars Technica has put together a rockin’ tutorial in on how to turn your Playstation Vita into a smartphone. With Skype providing low monthly costs and the ability to provide Facetime-like features, it sounds like a great idea. But after reading more in-depth of what it takes to get the Vita to work in everyday situations, it seems more trouble than it’s worth. They go so far out of their way to break everything down in steps, cost and personal experience.
The Sidenote to Skype Calls
What was really an eyeopener was the data usage of Skype calling. VOIP is a little more costly than GSM bandwidth being taken up since it’s mostly mono low grade audio going over the air. Ars found that the $30 mid-range 3GB data plan will only get you up to 50 hours of mobile talk time. Thankfully, Skype calling becomes more reliable and cheaper and you won’t have to rely on a 3G connection when you’re in within range of a WiFi router. To date, AT&T two data plans include a $14.99 plan featuring 250MB and a $25 plan with 2GB.
That will go on top of the Skype cost of $2.99 assuming you don’t make international calls – a $13.99 monthly plan which allows unlimited calls to 40 different countries. There’s also rates for paying by the minute, but we’re not into surprise charges.
You’re also going to need to purchase an “Online Number” from Skype which will allow you to receive calls from landlines – which people still do use nowadays.
Additionally, you can’t transfer your cellphone number.
Here’s another one to worry about. Unless you keep all your contacts on Gmail (Google), you’re going to have to deal with the old school way of moving contacts over. Not fun. If you do happen to have most (if not all) of your contacts on Google servers, Skype has an app called Synqit but you’ll have to pay for that too – a $9.50 cost.
Ars then concludes
So, after going through all that trouble, how does the Vita actually work as a full-on cell phone replacement? After a few weeks of trying to use it as a replacement for my existing cell phone, I can report the answer with confidence: “not very well.”
The main problem with trying to use the Vita as a cell phone replacement is battery life. If you leave the Skype app open, it will remain in standby mode, alerting you to incoming calls even when the system goes to sleep. This feature worked surprisingly well, as long as I remembered to leave the volume on my Vita turned up to hear the incoming call alerts (the system doesn’t have a “vibrate” function, so if you want to silence the ringer, you’d better be ready to keep the screen in sight at all times to see calls coming in).
So anyone out there that thinks that Vita is a viable daily driver is going to have to wait until a real Playstation phone debutes – and no, the Xperia doesn’t count.
Via »Ars Technica