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CNET First Look
Sony PlayStation VitaThe Vita is the most advanced portable gaming system every made and is already off to great start thanks to its fantastic launch lineup of games and amazing graphics.
Hey, everyone. I'm Jeff Bakalar for Cnet.com. Today, I'm checking out the US version of the Playstation Vita. And the Vita came out in Japan last December but I didn't want to give it a full review until I got my hands on the one that's actually gonna be available in the US. That's this one right here. The Vita comes in 2 models, a wifi only $250 version and a $300 wifi plus 3G version. There's an initial hidden cost up front thought because the Vita requires a separately sold memory card that starts at $20. So if you buy the entry level Vita and wanna play Uncharted, it's gonna cost you at least $320. Sony took a lot of heat for not including the card in the box in the Japanese release, so initial 3G models will actually compact in with an 8 gigabyte card. At first glance, the Vita resembles it's predecessor, the PSP, but a closer look reveals it's enormous and ultra vibrant 5 inch OLED touch screen that's flanked by 2 analogue thumb sticks. Now all the usual buttons are still present, the Playstation and shoulder button, as well as the start and select button. The Vita has 2 cameras. One upfront and one around back and they're used for taking photos, videos, game interaction, social apps and also augmented reality. There's also a rear touch panel around back too which allows players to use gestures without blocking the front screen. I really like the Vita's operating system. It's quick, responsive and very logically laid out. It almost reminds me of a cross between (Web?) OS and Android and I think that's a good thing. There are a bunch of pre installed apps including maps, media players, friend connectors and more. The OS is very smooth, almost just like the experience you get when using an I pad. So how are the games? The Vita's launch line up awesome. There's 25 games available day 1 and there's definitely something for every type of gamer out there. It's actually one of the most impressive launch list I've ever seen. I'm not joking about that. Games look fantastic. Almost unparred with what the X Box 360 and Playstation 3 look like. Controls are smooth and precise. Though using these small thumb sticks may take a little getting used to. Now games come on these proprietary Vita game cards which look a lot like SD cards. Like I mentioned earlier, a Vita memory card is required for most games and apps and they look just like micro SD or those old M2 Sony Cards. They're expensive too with the 4 gigabyte card going for $20 and the 32 gigabyte going for $100. Having to do with proprietor in media is a pain and cost goes up with the more media you'd like to store. Sony is taking a lot of preventative anti piracy precaution with the Vita because of how wide spread it was on the PSP. This results in a few conversom operation like the tedious process of copying content to in from a Mac or PC. However, the software you download works really well. Now, battery life is okay. I've been getting around 4 to 4 1/2 hours on a normal charge, and that number goes up dramatically when listening to music or watching movies only. Best part of the battery is it's stand by time. It's a night and day difference compared to what you got on the PSP. Now even though it's now $80 more than a Nintendo 3DS, the Vita seems like the over all better value. It's already got more desirable games, overs a handful of social apps, netflics and a great Playstation Store interface that also gives players access to old PSP games and full Vita downloads at a discounted price to booth. There's not doubt about it, the Vita is the most advanced portable gaming system I have ever seen. Feels great in your hands and it's considerably light weight. Controls really well. This has been the Sony Playstation Vita. I'm Jeff Bakalar for Cnet.com. Thanks for watching