This review was written by me when the PS Vita first launched. In my opinion, the Vita has improved with the additions of PS1 games, more apps, and more games. And best of all, the addition of Playstation Plus.
Hardware = 9/10
The Vita is a very solid machine. It weighs about as much as the slim PSP but has a much more solid feel to it. The dual analog sticks take some getting used to since you do not have the same range of motion that you get from the PS3. I found myself using the touch screen with Uncharted because the right analog stick is so close to the action buttons on the right side. My thumb would seem to pass over the X button. Those are my only gripes with this unit as of now. Everything else is pretty flawless.
The OLED screen is beautiful! There is no need to go in to too much detail as I am sure you have seen or heard others talking about the 5" OLED screen.
The cameras are not that great and will probably only be used for games and such. My camera on my phone destroys these dated cameras.
There is also a built-in microphone that I have not tested yet.
Battery consumption = 6/10
Right out of the box I managed to burn through the battery in 2hrs. I decided to knock the brightness back to the middle and disabled bluetooth. I did have "Near" running in the background which is a neat app that shows you who around is playing on their Vita and what games they are playing.
After adjusting some settings I am now getting about 4hrs of battery life.
Edit - After a few full charges the battery life has gotten much better. I maxed out at 6hrs and 11mins on a full charge.
The operating system & Apps = 8/10
The PS Vita has some pretty cool features. I did have some problems though which I will be explaining shortly.
I already mentioned the app called "Near". Anywhere you go you can find someone near you on their Vita.
One of the cool features of the 3G plan is that you can use the pin point accurate GPS systems. The PS Vita actually has a GPS chip built in to the 3G version of the Vita. Also with the 3G plan you get fun extras like finding treasures left by other people. For example, if I take my Vita to Walmart and I leave a treasure/gift at the front door, someone with their Vita can find that treasure if they pass that location with their Vita. The other person will have to have the 3G version though. These are just some little fun extras that can be really cool if people actually use it.
Trying to activate my 3G with AT&T was not that easy. I followed the steps, added my information, added my debit card info, and did everything correctly. Three times I got an error saying the service could not be activated. I decided to try one last time and on the 4th try I was finally able to get my 3G service up and running. I only did the one month 250mb for $14.99 just to test it out and to get my free game after 30 days.
The PS Vita has a nice built-in snapshot capture by holding the PS button and pressing Start. However, I could not get my PC to access my Vita. I am running Windows 7 64bit. The PS Vita media app installed on to my PC but I could not access any of the pictures I have saved. I decided to jump on the web browser on my Vita and log in to Dropbox. I was actually able to upload the pictures to Dropbox but I was only able to do this by choosing the "basic" upload method. Even then I was only able to upload a single picture at a time. I had to quit the browser and log in each time I wanted to add a picture. If I didn't, the browser would just hang while trying to upload a second picture.
Edit - If you are having problems connecting your Vita to your PC, click the link below and install.
The PS Store is is pretty simple to use and very similar to the PS Store on the PS3. You can search Vita only games or PSP/Vita only games if you like. You can access your previous purchases and download them to your Vita if they are compatible. Right now it is mostly just "Minis" that you can transfer.
Trophies are great on the Vita. You can earn double trophies. If I play WipeOut on my PS3 and earn trophies, I can earn the trophies all over again on the Vita and get double trophies. You can view your combined Vita/PS3 trophies together, or you can view only your Vita trophies. Also, any trophies you earn on your Vita will be added to your official PSN card but it will not show the icons for them. But they do make your overall trophy count go up.
I thought there was supposed to be some free games for the augmented reality cards but I could not find these games on the PS Store. I also could not find the Netflix app and such that were supposed to be available.
Because I received the PS Vita one week early, I am assuming that some of the games and apps are not available yet because the actual release date is 2/22/12. I am hoping that these will then be available.
PS3/Vita remote connection
I have always been a fan of this feature and now the Vita gives you the ability to do so much more. I was able to play many games on my PS3 right on my Vita. And because the screen is so vibrant and crisp, the games actually looked better. I really noticed how amazing the screen was when I was streaming a movie to my Vita. This is awesome for those laying in bed and want to mess around with their PS3 without getting up to see the tv. You can also do this from anywhere in the world with a wifi connection.
Cross gaming is also another cool feature. You can play against PS3 gamers while you are playing on your Vita. I have not tried this out yet but it sounds great.
Overall score = 8/10
Despite some early on issues, I feel this unit is a very solid handheld and has a very promising future. The graphics in some of these games are fantastic and the apps on the Vita are very cool. I am very much looking forward to the future apps announced as well. The game controls are not bad but will get some getting used to. Overall I am very happy with my purchase and I am sure anyone else that buys the PS Vita will be happy as well.
10 months after this review, the PS Vita has improved tremendously since it's launch. Sony has added PS+, PS1, Netflix, Facebook, Mail app, and other great features to the device.
* Very solid machine
* Beautiful 5" OLED
* PS3 quality graphics
* Some cool day 1 apps
* Ability to play backups and emulators from modded PS3
* Battery life sort of sucks
* Right analog stick is little too close to the action buttons.
* Unable to connect to my PC (possible user error)
Install from this link to fix problem connecting to pc. http://cma.dl.playstation.net/cma/win/en/index.html