By Paul Hunter
Excited gamers who pre-ordered the PS Vita First Edition Bundle have likely received their shipment and are busy exploring Sony next-generation portable system. For the rest of us, we have to wait until the national release date on February 22. With only three days to go, you may be asking yourself, what can the PS Vita do for me? The short answer, is lots.
Before getting into all the exciting features of the PS Vita in detail, I thought I'd start off this article by showing you the features. As a general overview of what this portable device is capable of doing, have a look at this features launch video produced by Sony:
The PlayStation Vita looks quite similar to the first generation PSP models, however without any doubt it's a much sleeker and more elegantly designed piece of hardware. Immediately noticeable is the crisp 5" OLED screen capable of displaying 16 million colours with 960 x 544 qHD display resolution. The results are impressive, with graphics that come close, but not quite a good as those seen on the PS3. Still, coming so close to PS3 quality in your hands is a remarkable feeling.
First-person shooter fans have been asking for dual analog sticks for many years now and finally Sony is delivering this with the PS Vita. Whereas the PSP had one left-stick analog nub, the PS Vita has two full-sized analog sticks that feel responsive and comfortable during extended play.
The device is quite large for a portable, measuring 182 x 84 x 19 mm in size. As a comparison, I placed my iPhone 4 on top of the PS Vita and it doesn't even fill the OLED screen -- that's huge. With that said, with it's curved form factor and light weight (only 260 grams) the PS Vita feels very natural in your hands.
Control inputs for the PS Vita are diverse. For starters, the handheld sports a front multitouch screen and a rear multitouch pad, which opens up a range of possibilities. iPhone or Android users will feel right at home with the touch screen actions such as pinch-zoom, double tap, and flicking motions. The rear multitouch pad is more interesting since it allows you to use hand gestures to perform actions, while keeping the OLED screen completely visible.
Taking a page from the PS3 controller, the PS Vita also includes a Six Axis motion sensor (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer) enabling you to tilt, shake and steer your PS Vita.
Other notable features include:
- WiFi for download and online play (a 3G version with GPS capabilities will be available in Canada later in the year)
- Bluetooth 2.1+EDR connectivity
- built-in Microphone
- Front & Rear Facing Camera
- 512 MB of system RAM and 128 MB of VRAM, which will allow for cross-game chat
- quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MP Core processor (3 of the 4 cores will be usable for applications) and a quad-core SGX543MP4 + GPU
- built-in battery with 3-5 hours of gameplay, 5 hours of video, and up to 9 hours of music with the screen off
- proprietary PS Vita memory card slot (cards come in 4, 8, 16 or 32GB)
- fully backwards-compatible with PlayStation Portable games digitally distributed via the PlayStation Network
So, there you have it. Quite a bit of features packed in, but the main question will be quality of the software. Stay tuned for reviews in the coming weeks!