A few weeks ago, Sony released the PlayStation Vita, the follow-on product to the PSP and PSP Go.  I bought a 3G(AT&T)/WiFi US unit and I’ve been putting it through its paces…read on for details!

 

PS Vita

We told you about the Vita here, back when Sony was calling this product the Next Gen Portable (NGP) system.  Sony’s goal here was to introduce a gaming system with top-notch graphics to appeal to hard-core gamers who want a mobile gaming option.  Did they succeed?  We’ll give you our impressions!

Technical Specifications

Sony put a beautiful 5 inch OLED screen in the Vita, as well as dual analog sticks and a rear touch pad.  The screen is touch enabled as well.  Here are the complete specs for the US AT&T 3G model.

CPU ARM® Cortex™- A9 core (4 core)
GPU SGX543MP4+
External Dimensions Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth)
(tentative, excludes largest projection)
Screen (Touch Screen) 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED
Multi touch screen (capacitive type)
Rear Touch Pad Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
Cameras Front camera, Rear camera
Sound Built-in stereo speakers
Built-in microphone
Sensors Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope,
three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
Location Built-in GPS
Wi-Fi location service support
Keys / Switches PS button
Power button
Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left)
Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square)
Shoulder buttons (Right/Left)
Right stick, Left stick
START button, SELECT button
Volume buttons (+/-)
Wireless Communications Mobile network connectivity (3G)
IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi)(Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode)
Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

Overall Hardware

The Vita is a well-executed piece of hardware.  It feels solid in the hand, and the 5” screen that is the heart of the unit is beautiful.  The layout of the controls is similar to the PSP, but have been updated.  In particular, the addition of dual analog sticks is a welcome change from the PSP.

This is not a small unit…it feels heavy.  Since it is built like a tank, it is a bit heavier than the PSP, but it is much more capable.

The PS Vita uses proprietary memory cards, which are at least double the cost of SD format cards.  You must purchase a memory card to use with your unit…I purchased an 8 GB and a 16GB card to use with mine.  While I understand why they wanted a proprietary format, I wish that they had priced the cards a bit more reasonably.  If you plan on loading videos or downloading full games to the Vita, go with the largest memory card that you can afford.

System Software

The operating system is a customized version of Android.  Sony engineers worked hard to deliver a differentiated experience; this feels consistent with Sony and you can’t tell that it is running Android.

Here is the lock screen that you see when you start the PS Vita.

Vita Lock Screen

Did you notice the dog eared edge in the top right hand corner?  That is where you open up the lock screen to log into your Vita.  Just swipe from the top right hand corner down towards the bottom left corner and that opens up the lock screen to allow you to enter your access code.  This is how you close all apps on the Vita.  The lock screen looks like this:

Vita Access Code Screen