Ranking Modern Handheld Gaming Units By Their Sound Capabilities

Rather than ranking the technical merits of some of today’s handheld units to establish a pecking order, Entertainment Buddha would like to rank them based on their sound capabilities. Sound is a key feature in game design, and can add all sorts of depth to a gameplay experience. Without sound, gaming definitely wouldn’t be the multi-sense affecting medium that we all have come to love so dearly.

This applies even more so to the handheld gaming space because devices of this nature don’t sport high-end surround sound systems like consoles. If a mobile gaming device doesn’t boast strong built-in audio capabilities it can definitely tarnish the experience of playing games on the go. Sure headphones can be used to amplify sound on handhelds, but not every gamer wants to pack a pair of high-end cans with them every time they play a mobile game.

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GreenRanger2831d ago

I always play handhelds with headphones on, so I never really take any notice of speakers.

Canary2831d ago

Probably a good idea. Headphones give better sound quality than any tiny micro-speakers ever will.


Personally, I think the original 3DS had the best speakers. The whole "surround" quality really took me by surprise. The XL/LL has surround speakers, too, but the volume is lacking so it's not quite as impressive.

I've gotta say, though, the Vita has terrible speakers. Not so much quality-wise as location-wise. Why Sony decided to put the speakers down low, where they'd be covered up by the average gamers thumbs while using the analog sticks, I'll never know. Maybe they thought they had to change things up from the PSP for the sake of being different? I don't know, but it's a terrible placement that never should have made it past the Vita's initial design face.

Literally the only thing I want in a potential Vita design is better speaker placement. And maybe a matte finish.

TheGamingArt2831d ago

I hate saying this, but the Vita's sound output is utter crap when pinned up to the iPhone or iPad...... I can't see it ranking above anything on that list. That's one of the biggest problems I have with my Vita, YOU MUST wear headphones to hear it (especially in a vehicle).

dcj05242831d ago

Yeah. The speakers suck. Can barley hear it.

porkChop2831d ago

...? I can hear my Vita perfectly, even when I'm in the car, in my room with my fan on full speed, or at a birthday party where everyone is fairly loud. I only ever use my headphones when I'm lying in bed at night. And the audio quality on my Vita's speakers is great whether I'm listen to music, playing a game, or watching a movie.

TheGamingArt2831d ago

Sir, I believe you are deprived of quality speakers and your ears have developed fine tuned follicles that are direct to small sounds. If you pin it side by side with other portable devices, the sound simply does not carry well past other noises.

tubers2831d ago

It sounds tin-y near max levels and it doesn't even get that loud.

Not that it directly relates but even PJD series on my PSP 3000 sounds better in speakers than PJD f VITA on speakers.

STK0262831d ago

I think, if they ever do a remodel of the Vita, the speakers should be placed elsewhere. I can't speak for everyone, but when I use mine, my thumbs are placed over the speaker grills, which greatly reduces their effectiveness. Placing them under the screen or over the D-pad/4 face buttons would be a major improvement I think.

porkChop2831d ago

I think the perfect place for the speakers would be at the bottom edges/corners of the screen. They'd be out of the way and still placed far enough from each other to provide good audio positioning.

Even if they just moved the speakers up directly under the D-Pad/Face Buttons, I think they'd be perfectly fine and out of the way.

Otoshigamisama2831d ago

Uhmm why is iphone,ipad,mobile phones considered Handheld gaming systems? I think their pretty much different to gaming only systems

SkullBlade1692831d ago

... well, they're handheld and you can play games on them.

IMightBeRetarded2831d ago

But I need clickers and knobby things to play my games.

tubers2831d ago


The younger gen are practically weened with touch screen devices, depends on the game too.

PrimeGrime2831d ago

I would say the PS Vita. People say the speakers sound like shit but they also don't realize each game has different sound production for its sound effects and music. The frequencies could be ranging which makes a huge difference in sound. Could be recorded in 44.1khz, 48khz, 96khz, 192khz. Also could have been recorded in a different bitrate 16bit, 24bit so on.

While I do agree some games sound like crap, games like Soul Sacrifice and Dragons Crown sound absently great on the PS Vita.

I do like how effective the left and right are on the PS Vita. Sounds stupid but you can really get a sense of what direction something is coming. They are placed well but I do agree with @STK026, that has happened to me a couple times but since then I have learned not to rest my thumbs like that.

For the most part though I just usually plug it into my monitors or use headphones.

HAMM3RofBUDDHA2831d ago

Well said and a point brought up in the article. Sound design on the developer side is key.

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