Living with a PS Vita – what’s it like to own Sony’s new handheld?

PS Vita Launch review

So what’s it like to actually have a PS Vita? While there have been some issues, our man in Japan, Daniel Robson, hasn’t encountered any of the reported problems (which apparently included unresponsive touch screens and freezes). So, dodged a bullet there. Instead, he’s been getting hands on to put the console through it’s paces and review the pros and cons of Sony’s new baby. 

So, Vita is in my hands at last. And it feels good.

The machine itself is unbelievably sexy. Slightly larger but thinner than a PSP and weighty enough to feel solid, it is an immaculate refinement of the PSP’s oval form factor. The buttons have a satisfying click, and the dual thumbsticks – dual thumbsticks! - are much closer in feel to those on a PS3 pad than the PSP’s awkward nub. Nearly every socket and port has a cover, adding to the luxury design.

The box contains just the basics – a USB cable for charging and data transfer, a power adapter to connect the USB cable to a wall socket, a few manuals and user guides, and that’s your lot.

The Vita’s UI is mostly very satisfying. The circular icons on the home screen bob around gently, and the icon for any newly installed game or app bounces wildly to grab your attention. Swiping through the menus is not quite as slick as on an iPhone, but good enough, and far less fiddly than the stylus-equipped 3DS. Multitasking works very well – just hit the PS button to flick between apps.

Before getting started there was a system update (to 1.50) as well as a few slightly confusing menus to get through. My 3G Vita came with a DoCoMo SIM card and 100 hours of prepay credit, though to be honest I haven’t used the 3G much in the 24 hours since I got the machine home.

The extra launch apps were not included out of the box, which means the Twitter client had to be downloaded from the PSN Vita store. This seems like a missed opportunity – surely Sony would have benefitted from hundreds of thousands of new Vita owners boasting via the Twitter app about their new toy.