- Photos: This application allows you to control the camera and to view the photos that you take. The rear-facing camera has a resolution of 640 x 480, and the images captured are not very high quality, but it does open up the ability to integrate images into your games. There is a game in Little Deviants that uses the camera to integrate your environment with the game and it works well for that. Here is an example of a photo that my daughter took of the cat in a low light setting with the Vita.
Overall, the picture quality is not up to par. Note that the Vita’s camera can also take video.
- Network Operator: You can use this application to see the details of your cellular data plan and also to sign up and change your plan.
- Browser: The Vita has a web browser. It does not support Flash, but otherwise it is serviceable. I would not plan on doing all of your mobile browsing with this, but it is good enough for a quick check of the weather and other such light web browsing.
- Music: You can load music onto your Vita; MP4 files with AAC3 encoding worked well. You can browse by artist, album, song, etc., and if you have embedded album art, it will display. Music continues to play even when the screen is locked, a nice touch. Here is what a song with embedded album art looks like when it plays.
- Videos: The Vita will also play back videos loaded onto the memory card. Stick with MP4 AAC/h.264 encoding for best results. These files have played back with no issues; WMV files stuttered and failed to play back correctly. Note that rented videos also show up here; if you rent a video in the PS Store, you play it back here.
- Maps: Google Maps is loaded onto the Vita. It appears to only use the coarse GPS location information, meaning that it is not as accurate as Google Maps on your cellphone. I’d prefer to use the more accurate location service in this app…note that directions work fine and you can zoom in and out to explore the map, just like on an Android phone or tablet.
- Content Manager: In order to load content from your PC or Mac onto the Vita, you need to load Content Manager onto your PC or Mac and then use this application with the Vita tethered. It is a bit clunky but does work. Content Manager is also how you back up downloaded content and game scores to your PC, Mac or PS3. Note that you need the proprietary USB cable that is provided with the Vita to synch data to and from the device.
- Remote Play: Using this app, you can connect to your PS3 from outside your home network and stream music or video from it or play games on the PS3 using the Vita from where you are. This only works if your PS3 is connected to your router wirelessly. I could not test this as my PS3’s are both wired to the router.
- Settings: This is where you update and change settings on the Vita, update the firmware, etc. It works well.
Sony has made several apps available to extend the capability of the Vita beyond the standard capabilities. As I write this, the following apps are available for download to the Vita:
- Music Unlimited (Sony’s online music service); and,
Here are my detailed observations on each of the apps that I have tried out.
The Facebook app is pretty limited. It shows your latest news feed items very well, but I could not figure out how to load photos or check in using the GPS capabilities. It is good for keeping up with your news feed, your Facebook friends, your messages and with photos that have been uploaded, but really needs the ability to upload photos from the Vita and to check in with the GPS.