PS Vita Size Comparison

The PS Vita is Sony’s successor to the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and it rights almost all the wrongs that the first handheld had – namely there are now two analog sticks as opposed to one analog “nub,” a 5-inch OLED touchscreen, a rear touchpad, a front/rear camera, faster Flash carts instead of slow Universal Media Discs (UMDs).

At first, the Vita looks rather huge and that’s because it is. You won’t be carrying the Vita around in your pocket, unless you have big pockets or unless you’re Shaq. Contrary to its size, the unit is actually quite light and feels really good in the hand (even my small ones).

As of Dec. 17, the Vita’s been on sale in Japan and in Asia. You can easily import one. Reports suggest Sony shipped 500,000 Vita units, but then added another 200,000 to ensure there were no shortages. There’s also concern that the market’s changed and mobile gaming from smartphones and tablets have destroyed the need for dedicated handhelds. Not surprisingly, PS Vita sales plummeted during the second week of sales. I say those sales aren’t indicative of the long-term future.

The original PSP sold for $250 and the PS Vita 16GB Wi-Fi version will sell for the same price. Some said the PSP was too expensive. Sony said you were buying “value.” The 3DS started at $250 and Nintendo issued the same spiel. Then look what happened, half a year in and Nintendo decides to drop the price of the 3DS in order to put it back on track. The 3DS has now surpassed the original DS in first year sales. It also helped that you could find a $170 3DS for $100-$140 on Black Friday.

I’ve had a few hands-on moments with the Vita – at E3 and at a few PlayStation showcases – and my overall impression is that the device is very solid. The X/O/triangle/square buttons are smaller and clickier than the PSP, but the analogs feel great, the d-pad is much comfier and the augmented reality games like Little Deviants really impressed me. The 5-inch OLED screen (960 x 544 resolution) is also to die for.

Most of all I’m looking forward to cross-platform play with the PS3 – I demoed wipEout 2048  and Ruin with it and I was floored. The Vita can really pump out near-PS3 quality games.

Other games that I’m super psyched for include Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Unit 13 (a tactical shooter by the SOCOM guys), Resistance: Burning Skies, Escape Plan (a black and white puzzler platformer that uses both touch panels), Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Lumines: Electronic Symphony. 

For the Feb. 22 U.S. launch, you can find all 25 games that will be available as well as a ton of “launch window” titles on the PlayStation blog here.

A final note before I let you look at all the comparison photos, you WILL need to buy another proprietary Sony memory stick for the Vita. 4GB cards start at $20 and run up to $100 for a 32GB card. You’ll need one for saving your games and media content as the Vita doesn’t have any onboard storage, which sucks. So really, the minimum anybody will drop on a Vita is $250+20= $270 + tax (where applicable). For me, the figure is somewhere in $297 so about $300 total.

Games also are spendy. They’ll run from $10 to $50 for the more polished games. $10 games will be ones like Plants vs. Zombies and $50 will be advanced games like Uncharted and Resistance. That’s a lot to ask for a game, especially in today’s app store economy filled with Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, but this is real gaming, right?

^ Top: PS Vita, bottom: original PSP-1001, bottom

^ A front view of the new PS Vita.

^ Even the rear touchpad is detailed with the iconic PlayStation face button icons. You can see the VGA camera on the back as well as two rubber “grips.”

^ Volume buttons, a proprietary port for some unannounced use, and the game card slot.

^ A closer view of the new dual-analogs. Sadly, they don’t have R3 button functions.

^ See how the analogs jut out a little?

^ A Nintendo 3DS stacked on top of the PS Vita.

^ The Vita is actually slightly thinner than the 3DS.

^ Top: PS Vita, bottom: LG Nitro HD (4.5-inch 1280×720 display).

^ A better view of the new ports on the top. Early impressions on the Web seem to suggest the power button is needs to be pressed for a few seconds before powering on.

^ PS Vita compared to a BlackBerry PlayBook (7-inch tablet).

^ PSP stacked on top of the new PS Vita. Down there is the charing port. It’s not an HDMI port (there is none on the Vita).

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