Hooked Up - RealView's V-Screen

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posted 3/18/2010 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
Welcome to Hooked Up, the Gaming Nexus series that puts the spotlight on gaming related products that impact the Video Game experience. This week we take a look at RealView’s V-Screen for the PSP.


What is it?
The V-Screen from RealView is touted as “depth enhancing technology” for the Sony PSP 1000, 2000, 3000 and Slim. This translates into an all-in-one case and magnifying system that allows users to play their PSP with the best possible detail on-screen.


Impressions
One of the companies I wasn’t able to schedule at CES last January was RealView and their depth enhancing PSP product the V-Screen. So I was excited to get my hands on it when a sample was sent out to us later in the month. When I first pulled the V-Screen fro the packaging, it was very obvious that if nothing more, the device would be just about the sturdiest case for your PSP that can be found on the market. In addition to the V-Screen, a cleaning cloth and a rubber boot to make it fit better with the PSP-2000 and 3000 can also be found inside the box.

The design is pretty slick, as the concave screen is actually embedded into the lid of the V-Screen and pops open on a spring hinge when the release tab is touched. Unfortunately, when the V-Screen is fully open, it is about the same height as a can of soda and is rather bulky to maneuver.


However, even though the V-Screen basically doubles the size of the PSP slim (or even the Original PSP-1000), it has several benefits including acting is armor for your PSP. The biggest benefit is how much closer it brings the gaming or movie watching to you. Because the depth enhancing lens acts almost like a magnifying glass, you get to see everything larger, and in some cases, more clear that just looking at the normal PSP screen.

While it won’t give you true 3D, it does a nice job of making the games and movie “pop” off the screen. I played several hours of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars using it and it really helped me with the game because I could see everything better.

There were some obstacles to overcome while using the V-Screen. The first was getting used to playing PSP while getting used to holding a device that was twice as thick and strange to hold. The other big issue was the amount of reflective glare that catches the lens due to overhead lighting. This is easily solved by holding the rig at a different angle, but if that is the natural positioning of where you hold your PSP, it can be a detriment.

Pros
Provides outstanding depth and magnification of PSP screen
Excellent protection for the PSP
Case and screen are rugged

Cons
Bulky
No access to Wi-Fi switch or Memory Stick slot
Glare off of lens
$49.99 price higher than original MSRP


Gaming Impact
After playing for awhile with the V-Screen attached to my PSP, I think the biggest gaming impact is that it makes everything easier to see. I know that it touts extra depth, but simply bringing the action closer to you has major advantages when there is a lot of action on the PSP’s small 3.8” screen. Those that have trouble seeing some of the small images on the screen will find it easier to identify and perform gaming actions such as finding hidden loot or being more accurate with the analog stick.


The Skinny
RealView has produced a unique product for the PSP and it does provide more depth than simply playing games or movies while looking at the screen. Unfortunately, the online price of $49.99 not only seems high, but is $10 more than the original MSRP that RealView announced with the V-Screen. While getting a very nice case (including the optical lens) and cleaning cloth help offset the price, it does seem a bit much for the overall benefit the V-Screen provides. Having said that, anyone that owns a PSP and has trouble seeing all the action on the screen would be wise to pick one up immediately, you will see a difference and experience better game play. For everyone else, the V-Screen probably falls into the category of “nice to have” accessory if it is within your budget.

Miscellaneous Items of Note
• The rubber adapter is for uses with the PSP 2000 and 3000 only
• The screen is on a spring-loaded hinge
• Currently available only at Amazon.com

Testing Methodology
The V-Screen testing was performed with a Sony PSP 1000
 
Where to Find/Buy
RealView’s V-Screen currently can only be purchased online at Amazon for $49.99.

If you have a gaming related product or accessory that you would like to see featured in Hooked Up, please contact the Author regarding inclusion.