Probably one of the biggest gripes is the battery life. While the internal battery is rated at 2200mAh (about the same as the extended battery for the PSP), it only lasts about 3 to 5 hours of gaming. The battery is not user-replaceable, and many computers cannot charge the system via USB unless it can provide at least a lot of juice. The included AC adapter is rated for 1500 milli-amps, so to charge while playing you’ll probably need about that much. You can charge the Vita from an underpowered USB port, but the console has to be completely off (not in standby mode), and it does so very slowly.
My big gripe about non-replaceable batteries is that they eventually lose over half of their capacity over time. Lithium Ion batteries are probably one of the best dry-cell battery technologies available today, but they will inherently lose 20% of their capacity the first year, and nearly half past its second or third year. I would replace the battery of my iPhone every year if it were feasible.
Which leads my to another good point: if you replace the battery yourself, do you also give up the right to having it repaired? I know that Nintendo will not repair any console once it’s been opened, no matter how much you pay for it. Let’s hope that Sony doesn’t have the same policy. Regardless, I don’t want to wait 2 weeks every year while my Vita’s battery is being replaced by Sony.
While extended batteries have been announced by Nyko and Sony, it is unclear if they will provide the gameplay time they intend. Most mobile devices detect if they are plugged in, and adjust their power-saving modes accordingly.
Using an external battery does not necessarily result in “double the life” because the device still thinks it’s plugged in and therefore doesn’t use power-saving features. It is unknown if the Vita uses any of these power-saving tricks when using batteries, so it is unknown how much extra life you’ll get from external batteries.
Additionally, the USB cord that charges the PS Vita sticks out and wobbles quite a bit. Because it sticks out, you might damage the port, especially if you are playing and charging while lying down and your PSP is on your tummy.
On the next page we render our verdict…