Twenty four hours with Sony’s new Playstation Vita and there is a whole lot to be impressed about. From the qHD OLED capacitive touchscreen, dual thumbsticks, responsive OS, and impressive launch lineup, the PS Vita is a polished, well-built game system that has the potential to capture both hardcore and casual gamers.
The hardware build quality is solid. No creaking seams or wiggly cross pads and buttons. The massive screen, which yields typical OLED over-saturation, is perfect for games and movies. The miniature analog sticks feel like dedicated gaming controllers, as opposed to the PSP’s rubbery analog nub. The d-pad and face buttons feel clicky, decidedly different from the spongy feel of the PSP.
The biggest hardware surprise is the quality of the speakers situated on each end of the PS Vita’s glossy front. They broadcast a very convincing stereo effect for a handheld to make playing without headphones comfortable and enjoyable.
The new PS Vita OS is also a welcome surprise. Replacing the aging Cross Media Bar, the new PS Vita is intuitive, robust, and most importantly, responsive. Combined with the excellent touchscreen, it’s very competitive with anything a high end tablet can offer. There is a rudimentary camera program, photo viewer, music and movie player.
The weakest link of the included programs however is the one that will likely be using the most – the web browser. The browser renders webpages very, very, slowly. Even mobile versions of popular websites like ESPN and CNN chug at best, and suffer random rendering errors at worst.
The Playstation Vita is an impressive piece of gear. Sony has made a large gamble releasing a dedicated gaming system in an era of casual smartphone gaming. Seeing the final product in hand, along with some impressive launch titles, Sony has got to like their odds.