Like its big brother, the PlayStation 3, playing games is the raison d'etre for the PlayStation Vita. But just like the PS3, the Vita also isn't a one-trick pony. In addition to portable gaming, the Vita also doubles as a device for consuming all sorts of other media. That includes watching the extended cut of the Nyan Cat video or listening to that Loverboy tune you secretly adore. Then again, these also happen to be activities that don’t necessarily lend themselves to a lot of extended handholding. Which brings us to the Nyko PS Vita Speaker Stand.
Designed for folks who plan on heavily using their Vita’s non-gaming capabilities the Speaker Stand is a mini dock that comes with two, uh, speakers (yep, I’m a regular Captain Obvious) as well as several connectors and ports for connecting the Vita or another MP3 player.
Designwise, the Speaker Stand sports a sleek curved design with silver and black accents. The integrated speakers can be found facing outward on each side. On the front are three buttons comprising of one labeled "Nyko" for powering on the device and separate volume up and volume down controls. On the middle of the lower front face is a proprietary male connector that fits the Vita. Plop the portable console in there and the dock starts charging the device while also funneling sound to the dock’s speakers. Surprisingly, the speakers actually sound pretty good for their size. Music piped out of the Speaker Stand has an airy almost faux surround sound feel to it that’s pleasing to the ears. The bass certainly won’t knock your socks off but, overall, the sound quality is quite nice.
The speaker stand also comes with a line-in socket that allows you to connect other devices such as MP3 players. The Speaker Stand does not come with a double-ended headphone jack, however, so you'll need to supply your own cable if you want to connect a non-Vita MP3 player to it. In fact, the device does not even come with its own AC adapter. In order to get juice to the device, you have to use the adapter that came with your Vita by connecting it to the proprietary female socket located on the back. Speaking of which, here’s a quick tip that will save you some grief and prevent you from thinking that you might have a busted Vita. When connecting the Vita power adapter to the back of the Speaker Stand, make sure that the PS logo on the adapter’s male plug is facing upward. If you jam that thing in with the logo facing down, it ain’t gonna work. (By the way, the same tip applies when using the adapter to directly charge your Vita as well. I learned this after seeing the color leave my poor cousin’s face after he tried charging his Vita via the regular adapter with the plug inserted the wrong way. Fortunately for him, Google was my friend.)
Now, while the dock functions quite well as a charger, speaker and even a PS Vita holder, overall use is a bit situational. As such, you’ll want to think hard on whether this is a device that fits your needs. If you primarily game with your Vita, then you won’t get as much use from the Speaker Stand. If you like to watch movies or use your Vita as a mini-stereo, however, then you’ll get more mileage from this gadget. If the latter holds true for you, then, by all means, give the Speaker Stand a shot.
NYKO PS VITA SPEAKER STAND
- Cost: $30
- Compatible with: PlayStation Vita
- Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars