If you’ve not noticed within the past week or so, our site has expanded! Not only are we providing in-depth reviews of games available on the PlayStation Vita, but we are now providing in-depth reviews for Apps available on the system as well. Taking a look at the top menu, you can see there is a new section called “App Reviews” and that section has two categories within it. There is a section of PlayStation Mobile apps as well as PlayStation Vita Apps. Last week, we gave you a review for a PlayStation Mobile app, and today we’re offering you a review of a PlayStation Vita app.
If you take a look around Mobile environments, there are a few apps that seem like they are essential for people to use. If I were to name some, I would probably mention apps like Facebook, Twitter, Photos, YouTube, and Amazon. These are not the only ones, though. One of the most crucial apps out there for a Mobile environment is something to check their email. Every Mobile system has a Mail app, and that includes the PlayStation Vita.
The PlayStation Vita did not originally have an app for email. For several months into its life cycle, it required the use of its Internet Browser for checking email. But, eventually, an update came and an app based around email finally came to the portable powerhouse. Since then, Email has been handled by the app that is simply called “Mail”. This is our official review of the Mail app for the PlayStation Vita.
Functionality for email applications is pretty simple to explain. The thing you want to do with an email application is, quite simply, checking and managing your email. There are various reasons for this, whether you’re watching for updates from work or waiting for an email notification for a tracked package that is on its way. People use email for lots of things, and it is useful to have that readily available. And that is precisely what Mail does.
When you first start up the app, it asks you to set up an email account to use. When you do this, you are given a selection between Google Mail, Yahoo Mail, as well as others. You set this up by setting the name you want associated with the account, as well as logging into that email service with the email and password you have set up with that service. Once you do that, it comes up with that email in a similar fashion that it would in other applications.
When you pull up the app when you already have it set up, you can go into folders for your mail, as you can in other Mail apps. You can go into folders like the Inbox, Sent Mail, Trash, Starred, and more. It’s pretty much able to do most things you can do in other Mail apps. It can’t do everything that Google Mail can in a browser, but all the basic functions that are in other Mail Mobile Apps are here in this one, including the ability to set up multiple email addresses, even from the same Email Service. I was able to set up both my personal Gmail address as well as the one we have set up for the Review Team.
Managing your email is pretty simple. It is set up where there will be a bright-orange icon next to each new email, as well as a number next to each email account, detailing how many new emails there are for that account. This is tied with the Notification System built into the PlayStation Vita, allowing it to send you a notification about new emails, whether you’re in the middle of playing Tearaway or watching a video on YouTube.
An interesting feature for the app is tied to attaching game screenshots to the email. If you send someone an email with a screenshot you took of a game, you can tap on the image and it will take you to that game’s section on the PlayStation Store, as if to go and purchase it. This, I found, to be a really interesting and unique feature.
The Interface of any Mail app, essentially, needs to emulate and make itself look like email looks on a PC. Mail apps for other systems do this by showing a list of emails and then opening the entire thing when you select it. The Mail app for the PlayStation Vita also does this, and has a very smooth interface, with clear symbols for each individual button and feature that you can use. If you open it for the first time, you will likely come out of that sitting with most of the features in your memory.
When you first load up the app, you will a set of horizontal buttons on the front that you can select with tapping over them on the touch screen. There is also a Settings option that is at the bottom-left side of the screen. This is used to pull up a list of options, and there is also a Refresh button at the top-right corner of the screen. Once you open an email account, this is similar, though there is a bit more to do. Once in an email account, there are buttons down the right side of the screen with various functions. The Refresh and Settings buttons are still there, but there are also buttons for composing a new email, bringing up your Contacts, and performing a Search within that email account.
Within an email, you can add different contacts for it to be sent to, though those can only be done one at a time, as well as an Attachment feature, which is limited to Photos. You can throw photos onto emails with this to be sent along with it. There aren’t too many buttons within this part of the interface, so sending an email is pretty simple and straight-forward.
A nice part of the interface is how you control it. While you can use the touch screen for control, you can also use the system’s buttons. When going through each email, or selecting emails to delete, you can cycle through them with the D-Pad and select them with the X Button.
For the most part, it’s a simple interface. If you’ve used Email apps before, then you will be very used to the type of interface it provides. Much of it is very similar to other email apps on other Operating Systems.
Mail is an app that both looks and runs well. Unlike the PlayStation Mobile app we reviewed last week, Mail runs surprisingly well. When you first open up the application, you will be waiting no more than 5-10 seconds before you can access your email. It’s really a nice startup, very similar to how quickly Mail and Gmail load on iPhones. From there, it only takes seconds to load up one of your registered addresses and start checking each individual email.
As far as actual emails are concerned, cycling through received emails is pretty easy to do. Sliding on the touch screen is very easy to do and the text the app uses makes it really easy to be able to read through emails. The ability to select multiple emails to delete at once is also a pretty nice feature that works really well with that interface. When you go to make an email, though, you are limited. You can only add recipients to an email, one at a time. You can also only choose attachments, one at a time. It’s kind of like how it is on other Mobile Mail apps, though it’s definitely an inconvenience.
For the most part, the app works well for what it is. There are a few hiccups and limitations with refresh time as well as adding Contacts and Photos to emails, but for the most part, it’s a very user-friendly app.
All in all, Mail is something the Vita was needing for quite a long time. It loads and registers emails without issue and, savor some limitations within actually composing an email, it’s got everything that a Mail app needs, with a little PlayStation flair added to the mix.
The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates Mail an 8/10