Hardware Review: Nyko’s Power Grip for the Vita – Hold On

Nyko’s added battery/grip accessory for the Vita fixes a problem with the hardware I didn’t even know I had.

I’m totally going to shill for the Nyko’s piece of hardware because it did something completely unexpected and unprecedented: the Power Grip made playing a fighting game on a handheld comfortable. The aim with the Power Grip is to approximate the feel of a Sixaxis controller, at least in terms of the contours and ergonomics of it. It’s not a perfect match, given that the width of the Vita including the Power Grip is about 1/3 larger than a Sixaxis, but you might get a little more comfort out of the familiar feel.

The Power Grip is like a frame that you slip over the handheld, which locks into place at the charging port at the bottom of the Vita. The Power Grip can then be locked into place securely using a small switch–it’s a snug but not too tight a fit on the console. You can pass through a charge using the Vita’s charging cable. If there’s one thing I would like to dock the unit for, it’s not having a separate power supply/cable to charge from, although this might be a little unreasonable given that if you’re charging your Vita or even using it while it’s charged, it’ll be wrapped in the Power Grip. Additionally, the back has a window for the rear touchpad and access to the bumpers is unobstructed.

After a couple of minutes of acclimation (again, it adds a little extra width to the Vita, so it takes some time to adjust), I fooled around in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and it’s here that the advantage of the hardware became evident to me. Usually when playing a Vita game, my hands are crabbed up somewhat, thumbs in close as I try to use the D-pad and analog controls on the left. Because of the layout of the Power Grip, your hands can extend down the back of the Vita, giving you more room to extend your thumb, meaning, for me at least, a wider range of movement while playing Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 using the D-pad.

The Power Grip’s plastic casing has the same feel as a Sixaxis controller, adding to that sense of comfort and familiarity. It’s that sweet spot between smooth but not too slick and I never felt like there was a danger of dropping it at any point. It just feels comfortable, and actually made me realize how much range of motion had been compromised by using the Vita up to this point.

The Power Grip also promises up to double to battery support. I wasn’t able to fully test that claim (who has six to eight hours to leave their handheld running with full sound?), after a couple of hours of play, the battery indicator on my Vita never budged from 100%.

One thing you might want to consider is that this will limit the portability of the Vita somewhat thanks to the increase in size. While the Vita was never really the console anyone was easily going to slip into their pocket on the trail, this adds a bit more width which may compromise your gaming on the go. Other than that, it’s a stellar product and recommended for anyone who wants to increase their range of motion on the Vita.

You can get additional product details about the Power Grip on the Nyko site.

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