Lets start off with the Vita itself. The device is larger than the old PSP as far as I can recall, and definantly won't sit comfortably in say one of your pants pockets, and I've resorted to keeping it in one of my coat pockets, but it's still fairly lightweight all things considered.
It has the standard D-Pad, and the Square, X, Triange, and Circle button, along with the left joystick that the PSP had, but it also now happily includes a right joystick as well. The device also has left and right shoulder buttons. Really what's impressive is that it's an L2 and R2, and vibration function, away from being a full PS3 controller. The screen is also now a touch screen, and the rear of the device also has touch abilities too. There's also a Home button on there too.
The Vita also includes a front and back camera though I'm no camera expert so I'm not sure how they are compared to say an iPod or cell phone camera, as to compare the two to another mobile device.
As for the hardware on the inside...I honestly don't know the details and if I did wouldn't be able to form any opinions off of them besides "that sounds shiny".
Once your initial set up(which is happily simple, easy, and quick), is finished, you might be surprised to see that the PS Vita has ditched Sony's XMB Crossbar interface, and instead gone with what Sony has dubbed the 'LiveArea'.
Essentially this is similar to other touch screen interfaces, where your apps and such are just icons, and you slide to move around them. Where it seperates itself from the others is how it deals with apps you've already opened. If you slide to the right of the LiveArea, you'll see pages representing the games and apps you have running, if you scroll down on these pages they'll display your recent activity, such as earning trophies, or preforming feats in-game. You simply drag from the corner of the page to quit running the game or app.
All in all, the interface is simple, slick, and best of all, sort of fun. I for some reason enjoy closing my apps by practically tearing the page off a wall.
A quick sum up of some pros I've noticed:
- I like how the device sits in my hands for the most part
- It looks great
- The interface is great
- Games look amazing. Playing through Uncharted: Golden Abyss is like playing through Uncharted: Drake's Fortune again. Though not on par with the better looking PS3 titles, it still looks pretty impressive.
- There's quite the variety of games availible, some of which are actually PS3 games, such as Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale.
And a quick run through of some of the downsides I've noticed:
- The Vita has a fairly short battery life, about five hours of straight gaming, so keep that in mind.
- The memory cards for the Vita are expensive, and extremely tiny. I could see these things getting lost easily.
- While there are a nice variety of titles, there aren't many of them. This is one thing that makes me worried about the device, as I'm not seeing too much developer support.
- The rear touch pad is very sensitive, and I forgot it was there a few times, making me do something in-game on accident.