Pros: Beautiful screen, dual analog sticks, has great games at launch
Cons: Brightness settings can be a pain, 3G not worth the trouble
To start off, this is first and foremost a handheld gaming system. The PlayStation Vita does have other apps (such as Twitter, a web browser, and Google Maps) like smartphones and tablets do. The other features are nice, but I will mainly focus on the gaming aspect of this device. I'll write about the other features, but my focus is on the PlayStation Vita as a handheld system.
I will start off by saying that I bought the 3G/Wifi version. If I could redo it, I would buy the Wifi only version of the PlayStation Vita.
I wasn't too fond of the PSP, Sony's first attempt in the handheld market. It didn't feel very comfortable in my hands, it lacked a second analog stick, and it didn't quite deliver the experience I was expecting to have. The PlayStation Vita blew my expectations clear out of the water.
For starters, the PS Vita has a beautiful 5" OLED screen display. Colors and textures pop out and look very pretty on the screen. I love how amazing the colors look on this device. My love isn't complete though, since I don't like how hard it is to see the screen while I'm outside. You'll need to find some shade if you want to take advantage of how well the scren looks. I also don't like how there's not much of a difference when you adjust the brightness. There's a difference, but it's hardly noticeable. You may also notice some white smudges when the screen is completely back and you're in a dark room. That's apparently normal with all OLED screens, but it can be a bit bothersome at first. It doesn't hinder gameplay at all, and that's what matters most.
Although the graphics aren't quite like the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, you will not be disappointed by how good a lot of the games look. I'm talking about launch title games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Rayman Origins and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Sure, Rayman Origin didn't push the PS3 or Xbox 360 in the graphics department. That's not the point. The PS Vita version of Rayman Origins looks just as good, as well as Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. These games look incredible on a handheld device. I was a bit disappointed with how Uncharted: Golden Abyss looked, but that's because I've been spoiled with Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. The graphics are above PS2 graphics, but they fall shy of PS3/Xbox 360 graphics.
Not only does it have an OLED screen, the screen acts as a touchscreen. In fact, there's a rear touchpad on the PlayStation Vita as well. I've gotten to play some games using the touchscreen and rear touchpad, and I must admit that it's really weird at first. Especially with the rear touchpad. It takes some time getting used to, but when you get the hang of it, you'll be able to see how handy it is while playing a game like Uncharted.
Instead of the user interface being the XMB, the PlayStation Vita uses a new user interface kwnown as LiveArea. It's fairly similar to an iPhone or Android-based phone UI. The apps are in the shape of bubbles and only require a simple touch of the scren to activate. I've found it to be quite responsive while utilizing the touchscreen in LiveArea. I personally like using the touchscreen, but some may be a little disgruntled by the fact that you can't use the face buttons or analog stick to manuever your way through the UI.
I really like how the PlayStation Vita feels in my hands. Although it's slightly bigger than the PSP, it doesn't feel heavy. I think the hardest thing to get used to were the dual analog sticks, but this is what I've been wanting for the longest time on a handheld. Once you get used to the dual analog sticks everything becomes second nature. It just takes some time to get used to the PlayStation Vita, like with other devices. The buttons and d-pad are slightly smaller, but I actually like the size. They're responsive and you never feel like you have to push too hard for them to work. The Vita comes packed with Sixaxis control as well, meaning you can move the Vita around and see how it affects gameplay. Not all games utilize the Sixaxis. Uncharted, for example, uses the Sixaxis control to aim. I found it easier to aim using the Sixaxis control than the right analog stick sometimes.
I also like the battery life for the PlayStation Vita. It’s only five hours, but once you’ve played the Vita you will understand why five hours is such an amazing feat for this handheld device. If there’s an exterior battery, I wouldn’t mind buying it to extend batter life, but so far I like what it has. It’s quite impressive indeed. And charging the battery only takes about two to two-and-a-half hours, so you’ll be gaming again in no time.
There’s a lot to like about the PlayStation Vita, yet that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect handheld device. It crashed on me the first day I got it while trying to install some games, so it was a pain trying to get it to reboot. So far, it’s done it twice. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
The Vita has a front and rear VGA camera, but the picture quality is pretty bad. Pictures come out grainy, so you won’t be filling your family photo album with the PlayStation Vita. It’s mostly used for augmented reality games, but it could have been a better camera. This is Sony after all. Don’t they make cameras?
The thing I dislike most are the speakers. I think my iPhone has a better speaker than the PlayStation Vita. They’re good speakers when you’re in a quiet room, but if you’re out and about, better have headphones if you want to hear what’s going on during your game. Because of where they’re placed, you might accidentally cover the speakers with your thumbs while watching a cutscene, too. Also, as beautiful as the OLED screen is, it’s pretty difficult to play outside. I’m not sure why that is. Even if you have the brightness at it’s highest level, it’s still hard to see what’s on the screen. It’s possible, but it can definitely be better.
The last thing I dislike are the prices for the memory cards. The PSP Go had 16GB of internal memory. Why couldn’t the PlayStation Vita have some internal memory? Depending on which model you get, you might see yourself paying between $19.99 to $99.99 more so you can have a memory card.
At the end of the day, I do not regret my purchase one bit. I have been enjoying my PlayStation Vita since the day I got it. If you don’t believe me, ask the PS3. I haven’t played on it once since I’ve had the PlayStation Vita. I kind of feel bad now. Anyway, the thing that might drive people away from getting the Vita any time soon is the price. The Wi-Fi model cost just as much as a new PlayStation 3 does, while the 3G/Wi-Fi model is an additional $50. There are a couple of perks included when buying a 3G/Wi-Fi model, such as an 8GB memory card, a free copy of Super Stardust Delta (after you activate the 3G… and wait 30 days), and a free month of 3G service after the first month is up. It's nice, but I think I would have been satisfied with a Wi-Fi only model since I already had a 32GB memory card. I guess I went with it because I wanted to test the 3G. It works well, but a lot of places already have Wi-Fi. Also, if you have a phone that can tether, you can use your phone as a hotspot to access the Internet on the PlayStation Vita if you so desire.
Like a lot of devices, people are quick to talk about price drops. It happened in less than a year for the Nintendo 3DS. I don’t know if a price drop will happen as fast as it did with the Nintendo 3DS, but I find the PlayStation Vita worth the price I paid. There are some kinks here and there that need to be worked out, but it’s a great device overall. I’ve enjoyed the PlayStation Vita. And I really like that I can finally get around to playing Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker since I can use the second analog stick instead of the face buttons to move the camera.
If there aren’t any games that interest you at the moment, then don’t get the Vita. The Vita is first and foremost a gaming handheld. There’s plenty of games coming in the near future, like Gravity Rush, Resistance: Burning Skies, a remastered Final Fantasy X, and LittleBigPlanet. Of course, there’s more, but those are the games that I can think of at the moment. If there’s some games you like for the PS Vita now, then get it.