The Good The PlayStation Vita delivers amazing visuals on its 5-inch OLED touch screen that look almost as good as PS3 graphics. The system's game lineup has matured into an indie haven, though AAA titles are scarce. The Vita allows for downloading of some games (including all first-party titles) over the PlayStation Network. The Vita's operating system is smartly designed, easy to use, and ultraresponsive. The unit feels great to hold and has excellent standby battery life. A lot of PSN titles can be purchased on PS3 and Vita for one price.
The Bad The Vita uses proprietary media and connections across the board, and even requires the purchase of a separate memory card to play most games and use most apps, which results in a hidden cost. Battery life could be better, and there's no way it can be replaced by the user. There's also no video out. Also, some antipiracy implementations are a bit cumbersome to deal with (for example, mounting the Vita to a PC/Mac for file transfer). It's also unclear how much storage the Vita has onboard, and it'll cost you more money for larger Vita Memory Cards.
The Bottom Line Overall, the PlayStation Vita is the most advanced portable gaming system ever made. While the price is deceiving because of a hidden cost, gamers are getting an impressively complete package. Now priced at $200, the Vita makes a compelling case as the ultimate indie portable console.
Sony PlayStation Vita
Editors' note (May 6, 2014): While the original Vita reviewed here can still be purchased at some retailers, Sony is shifting focus to the PlayStation Vita 2000 (aka Vita Slim), which is thinner and lighter, includes 1GB of on-board storage, and --a potential downside for some -- uses an LCD screen instead of the OLED screen found in this original model.
Editors' note (September 11, 2013): Effectively immediately, Sony hasof the Wi-Fi Vita from $249 to $199.
Originally referred to as the NGP or Next Generation Portable, the Sony PlayStation Vita is the follow-up to the PlayStation Portable (or PSP) that was introduced back in March 2005. The Vita was officially named and priced at Sony's E3 2011 press conference.
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