An Outside Look
The Playstation Vita is one of the largest mobile devices you can have in your hands, and nearly every square centimeter has some sort of function. It is slightly larger and thicker than the original PSP, but amazingly weighs slightly less.
The front panel is where most of the goodies are. On the left side is a D-pad which has satisfying button presses which click when pressing them. Below that is the first of two analog sticks, which rock and tilt like those of their “big brother” consoles, but have a bit less travel, but more on that later. Below the analog stick is the “PS Home” button, which lets you pause games and return to the system’s menu (much like the Xbox button on the 360).
The center of the front panel houses an extremely large 5” OLED touchscreen that sports a 960 x 544 pixel resolution, which is technically considered high-definition, and displays 522,240 pixels. The OLED screen is not only extremely bright and colorful, but is very power efficient and displays truer blacks than backlit LCD displays. The screen also supports multi-touch like many tablets and cell phones, so no annoying stylus is required to operate it.
The right side of the front panel crowds the most of the console’s gadgets together. On the top is a forward-facing 0.3 megapixel (640×480 resolution) camera, four face buttons (Playstation’s famous triangle, square, circle, and X buttons). Below that is the right analog stick, and below that is a Select and Start button. The right analog stick can be set to mimic the face buttons, so first-person shooters in PSP games are a lot easier to control.
The bottom of the console has two loops that one could use to attach a wrist strap. A proprietary USB port appears in the center, and a standard 1/8” headphone jack is placed to the right of this. A small door is embedded that lets you insert a Playstation Vita memory card, yet another proprietary Sony invention. These memory cards come in denominations from 4GB to 32GB, and range in price from $15 to $120. The provided USB cable is not keyed, so it is very easy to insert the cable incorrectly, which means you could accidentally damage the port and the system will not charge.
The back of the console has a second 0.3-megapixel camera, a very large back touchpad, and two rubberized grips on the left and right.
The top of the handheld has two shoulder buttons (left and right), a power button and a volume up and down button. Additionally there is a slot for Vita game cards, and an expansion port (yet no devices have been announced for this port).
Unlike the PSP, the Vita does not have a removable battery, which is one of the system’s only major downfalls.
Next we look at the new LiveArea menu system…