The device features a “super oval”-shape similar to the design of the original PlayStation Portable, with a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED capacitive touchscreen in the center of the device. The device features two analog sticks (unlike the PSP which features only a single analog “nub”), a D-pad, a set of standard PlayStation face buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross and Square), two shoulder buttons (L and R), a PlayStation button and Start and Select buttons. Internally, the device features a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor (3 of the 4 cores are usable for applications) and a quad-core GPU SGX543MP4+. The device also features a rear touch pad, two cameras (a front and a rear), stereo speakers, microphone, Sixaxis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), three-axis electronic compass, built-in GPS receiver (only for the 3G version) as well as Wi-Fi, 3G, and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR connectivity. The two cameras feature the abilities of face detection, head detection, and head tracking. It also allows for customization and personalization. The PlayStation Vita has 512 MB of system RAM and 128 MB of VRAM. The amount of RAM allows cross-game chat to be used on the system.
The PlayStation Vita has been released as two different versions: one with 3G support, and a cheaper version without 3G support. The 3G service has been partnered with NTT DoCoMo in Japan, AT&T in the US and Vodafone in Europe and Australia.
Unlike the PSP (2000 and 3000), the PlayStation Vita does not support video output and does not contain a removable battery. Sony also confirmed during TGS 2011 that the battery would last 3–5 hours of gameplay (no network, no sound, default brightness level), 5 hours of video, and up to 9 hours of music listening with the screen off. An external battery option was announced in an interview by SCEA Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida. PS Vita is equipped with a storage media slot in addition to the PS Vita card slot, so that users can choose their memory capacity based on their use.
PlayStation Vita card
Software for the PlayStation Vita is distributed on a proprietary flash memory card called “PlayStation Vita card” rather than on Universal Media Discs (UMDs) used by the original PlayStation Portable. The size and form factor of the card itself is very similar to the Nintendo DS game card. Some media applications and games require a proprietary PlayStation Vita memory card inserted to be used. 5–10% of the game card’s space is reserved for game save data and patches.
PlayStation Vita memory card
The PS Vita is incompatible with standard memory cards, and instead stores data on more expensive proprietary PS Vita memory cards, which are available in sizes from 4 GB to 32 GB.
- Ability to switch quickly between apps and a game without losing your spot in your game. (Quick Preview)
- You can use your Playstation Network account from your PS3/PSP. You can also use the same friends list and gather trophies.
- Netflix app has been available since day one, and Facebook and Twitter apps will follow.
- Near is a function that allows you to show your current location to all other PS Vita owners who have it activated on their Vita. You can then have it so people can send you friend requests and also join them in their games if you wish. Some games also have the ability to find special items and avatars from going to locations with your Vita. (I had a message the other day letting me know there were 90 people nearby playing the Vita.)
The device has two (front and rear) 0.3 megapixel cameras with a 640×480 (VGA) resolution.
The device is backwards-compatible with most PlayStation Portable games, digitally released on the PlayStation Network via the PlayStation Store. PS One Classic titles are not compatible at the time of release. The Vita’s dual analog sticks are supported on PSP games, and the right stick can be set to mimick either the D-buttons, the left stick, or the face button cluster of the original PSP system. The graphics for PSP releases are up-scaled, with a smoothing filter to reduce pixelation.
A variety of accessories have been made available at launch for the PlayStation Vita like cases for the system and PS Vita game cards, in-ear headset with mic, docking cradle, screen protecting film, memory cards and a starter accessory pack which includes a case, earphones, a cleaning cloth for the screen.