Last month I bought myself Sony’s new handheld console, the PS Vita. I’ve had enough time to play around with it and try out some games so I thought that I’d write up a little review for it. I hope you like it!

Hardware

Firstly the machine itself and the hardware.

The Vita is actually a very nice looking machine. And it feels really good to hold. It’s not too heavy either but it still may be a little uncomfortable to carry around in a pocket. On the front left you have your D-Pad and on the other side are your standard Playstation action buttons. You also have your basic SELECT and START buttons. There is also your Playstation Home button. The Vita also comes with dual analogue sticks unlike the PSP, which had just the one. This is actually very good and it makes games a lot easier and fun to play, especially first-person shooters. The analogue sticks are a little small, though, and could be a bit of a problem for some people, but I’ve had no issue with them. To the side of each analogue stick are the speakers. The quality of them is actually very good, but due to their placement sound may get a bit muffled by your thumbs on the analogue sticks.
And obviously there’s the screen, the important part! The Vita has a 5” OLED touchscreen on front and it looks very good! The picture quality is superb and the images are so sharp and clear. The resolution of 960×544 really makes games and movies look great. I’m very impressed with the screen.

On the top on the Vita there are two shoulder buttons which feel nice, as well as the volume control, power button and the actual game slot, the games are tiny! On the bottom there’s your headphone jack and charging port and memory card slot. The one major downside of the Vita is that there is no in-built memory at all. You can’t save anything at all without buying Sony Vita memory cards for it, and they can be pricey. They come in 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB at the moment. Also, the battery life is about 4-5 hours depending on what you’re doing. It isn’t amazing but it’s still a decent amount for your handheld console.

There is also a camera on the front and the back of the device. These are both VGA cameras so don’t expect great quality from them. Though, there is a very cool feature with the cameras. Apart from taking photos and shooting videos they support something called Augmented Reality. AR is a very fun feature with certain games. It basically uses whatever your camera is pointing at as the environment for the game. This means you could be having dog-fights in your kitchen or playing football matches on your table! It’s quite a unique feature and it’s a lot of fun to mess about with.

Another feature of the Vita is that it has another touchpad on the back of it! Certain games allow you to control your character or environment by performing actions on the back touchpad. It is tricky to use to begin with but once you’ve gotten the hang of it it’s very fun and cool. It also frees up a lot of space on the front screen too.

The Vita has a ARM Cortex-A9 Quad Core Processer, a built in microphone, Six-Axis motion control and comes in a Wi-Fi or 3G version.

Overall the hardware is very good and the Vita looks and feels very nice to play. The one big downside, as mentioned, is the zero in-built storage.

Software

The operating system is quite good too. All of your applications and games are laid out in little bubbles and you can move them about and put them into different orders on screen. You simply click on your app to open it and drag down from the top right to close it again. Scrolling left and right takes you through all your currently open applications and at the top of the screen you can also see all current applications. You can also press the Playstation Home button to take you to your menu or app management screen. You can access all of your Playstation Network things from here too. You can talk to your friends, keep track of your trophies and access the store. The store allows you to check deals and download games and movies, just like the PS3 does.

There is an application called Near which is quite cool. If you have it turned on you can see who is online on the Vita that is close to you. You can see what they’re playing, check their stats, message them and play against them. It’s a nice idea but I have it switched off as I kinda don’t want people to know my exact location. There’s also a web browser and it does a good job. It’s fast, simple and very easy to navigate. The keyboard is also fantastic and the touch keys are the perfect size. I haven’t had any issues with the browser or keypad.

There is also remote play which is very cool. It allows you to play your Vita game online against PS3 players online. It’s a great idea but I can’t help thinking that people playing on the PS3 will always have an advantage over Vita users.

Games

And then there are the games. So far I’ve played Gravity Rush and Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. They both look and play very well. Gravity Rush is great. The graphics in it are very, very nice and it makes great use of all the features the Vita has to offer. There is also a very fun and interesting story to go with the game. It’s not like little couple of hour long games we’re getting on this. It’s proper full length feature games and they’re amazing to play. MGS HD is also a blast to play. The HD remake looks great on the Vita and it plays just as well on this as it does on PS3 or Xbox 360.

Overall Verdict

So that’s about it. The Vita is a fantastic little machine. It looks and feels great. It has lots of interesting and new features such as the AR and back touchpad. The applications are great and the games are a lotta fun. Sadly it is let down by the need to buy pricey memory cards to enjoy your games and movies, and also the pretty measly battery life.

Anyway, thanks for reading this! If there’s anything I can improve on or you think should be included please let me know!

~Gaulty315