Sony’s Playstation Vita is the only portable gaming device that tries to give you a true console experience on the go. It has almost as many buttons as an Xbox 360 or DualShock controller, but just doesn’t feel the same in your hands. To remedy this, there are a few grips you can buy that make the handheld feel a bit more like a console controller, and one of these is Sony’s own Vita Trigger Grip for the Playstation Vita.
The product is made of flexible plastic which has a rubberized feel, and has exposed areas to not block any of the Vita’s card slots, ports, cameras or rear touchscreen. The main feature of this add-on are the oversized left and right Trigger Grips.
Putting the Vita into this grip is very simple. You slide in the top part of the handheld into the grip, and then press down on the bottom of the Vita to click it into place. Immediately the Vita feels larger and cradles in both palms much easier. The Trigger Grip is rather flexible, and unfortunately the Vita will pop out if you twist the grip slightly.
One thing we noticed was that the grip and pinch and move third-party screen protectors, which can cause bubbles and allow dust to get between the plastic sheet and the screen. Sony’s official screen protector is just large enough to cover the screen, and the Trigger grip doesn’t touch it at all.
The grip does protect the Vita somewhat if dropped, but isn’t complete coverage, so a screen protector is still recommended. The rubberized grip makes the device easier to hold onto, though, and I’ve noticed it doesn’t slip away from me nearly as much, especially when my hands get sweaty.
The triggers themselves are interesting. On one hand, they are larger and let your index finger rest below the base of the Vita, much like a real console controller does. On the other hand, the triggers are not spring loaded or on a pivot… they are just plastic extensions to the existing trigger buttons, and feel just as “clicky” as the original triggers. They push straight back, so they aren’t as responsive if you press the triggers on their bottom edges.
Using the grip does make the Vita more enjoyable overall. The Vita is already bulky, and is barely portable as it is, and this grip makes it even larger so it’s even less pocket friendly. The Trigger Grip is very light, and doesn’t add any noticeable weight to the device. Players that play games that make excessive use of the triggers (pinball games, Wipeout) will notice less fatigue over long gaming sessions.
The Trigger Grip accessory can be had for around $15, which is acceptable, but if the price were lowered to $10 then this would be a justifiable impulse purchase for any Vita owner. As it stands, the grip is okay, but not absolutely essential.