it was one of the worst days in my life. especially when I was so deep into Mortal Kombat. ha.
It all started when I inadvertently cracked my Vita’s OLED display.
[battery life test results are at the bottom]
I thought, fine i’ll just take it to Sony. Called them, told me that because my machine is an import, i’d have to send it back to whereever it came from (Japan) and ask them to fix it there. Ok that’s not an option I was looking for. Surely there are plenty of people able to fix the problem- this is Hong Kong after all and plenty people make a living just fixing broken expensive electronic toys. Lo and behold, after going through a “videogame mall” (a cluster of shops under one roof all specializing in gaming products) visiting a number of repair shops, the answer were all: No. in unison. Just my luck.
It wasn’t because it’s tough to fix. I later checked (and tried) ifixit and it’s piss easy to take apart. It was because of the availability of the OLED panel, and a suitable one at that. The only place where this is available is Sony’s Vita factory. Crap.
After much trepidation, a friend turned me to http://taobao.com. Went through an arduous journey of setting up an account and communicating (relying solely on Google Translate!) with a seller who claims he’s able to fix this because he can source the parts. He didn’t agree to send me the components..even though his page says he would do this. I didn’t want to argue when I was only partially understanding the situation. I also thought that since he’s going to open up the thing anyway, I may as well get him to upgrade/mod my battery capacity, which is another one of his listed services (becasue face it the Vita’s battery life can be miserable depending on which game you’re playing.)
I’m not going to go into too much detail regarding Taobao but if anyone needs help then do say so in the Comments.
So I took a chance and mailed my Vita to him all the way in China. it took 5 days to come back but that was only because the period overlapped a weekend. It came back with a brand new possibly illegal Vita faceplate, complete with a shiny new OLED panel.
And a huge ass 5300 mah internal battery (rated 10 hours of ipad-beating gameplay) which I’m voiding my second warranty with the repair dude just so everyone can see what’s inside! Here we go:
one brand new faceplate and OLED display (which I did test, and is perfect. no dead or stuck pixels etc, real OLED pixels)
there goes my warranty…
there’s the 4200 mah battery on the left, and the 1100 mah on the right I guess.
just wanted to add some good quality photos of the insides as some of the readers have been asking specific questions about it. Enjoy.
Click to enlarge.
It was super easy to take apart anyway. If you’re attempting this then be very careful as there are connectors at the bottom of the board / device that you could potentially tear apart. I recommend you read ifixit’s guide carefully.
The mod adds no bulk to the Vita. It weighs a little bit more but is probably unnoticeable.
I haven’t had time to test out the battery fully but I did have 2 hours of MGS HD Collection and the battery never went down. We’ll see, once I have a more complete battery life test.
And to those who worry about exploding chinese batteries.. well yer there is that risk I suppose. the repair guy says on his page this (li-pol) type of battery has no risk of explosion. But I do wonder…
Leave me a comment if you need more details.
[battery life test results]
as promised, here are the results of my initial battery test.
played on the initial charge after it came back from the mod, (unknown but) presumably full at 100%.
wifi on at all times, wifi coverage was around 70% of the time
machine stayed in standby mode during night time, instead of switched off (with wifi)
Near has been set to collect location data periodically
screen brightness max possible
purchased, and downloaded a game ~900mb with screen off
Game used- Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, exclusively MGS3.
first battery warning received, battery meter is red-
5:28- does the time accumulate if you die and then Continue game?
left the Vita alone for 6 hours
woke it from standby and the battery meter has returned to green
played for another 30mins- timer now reads 6 hours
no battery warning
left Vita on standby for 10 hours
played for another 45mins
battery warning came on again
went into standby
Vita completely drained by the time I got up 6 hours later.
EDIT: it took all but 4 hours to fully charge up with a 850mA (moto razr maxx) charger
and there you have it. I reckon it does live up to its 10 hour claims especially if I switched on Wifi only when needed, and powered it off at night time.
In any case, i’ll likely run another test after it charges up fully.
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