Flash ways to cash in
For starters, the PSVita memory card – Sony's proprietary version of Micro SD – makes things much more expensive should you want to upgrade storage up to 32GB. Sony claims the slot is a move to protect against piracy, but it doesn't explain the steep difference in price for new memory.
Both cameras are also rather average at just 1.3Mp, but they do their job well with the augmented reality aspects and general photo-taking activities. Games such as Reality Fighters and Virtua Tennis 4 see self-portrait characters built based on a photograph for which a higher quality camera would have been nice.
A more centrally placed front facing lens would be preferable too, but after the honeymoon with your device ends, the cameras will probably see minimal use. Skype video calls are the most likely candidate when that particular app sees release later this year.
The effective user-interface is awash with apps which appear like bubbly coins on the display. These can be arranged how you'd like over as many pages. The UI impresses, keeping things simple enough to pick it up with no prior explanation, while offering snazzy navigation features to draw a bond with user and device.
When an app is opened, shortcuts are created that can either be accessed in a cascade by pressing the PS button, or individually by swiping left. These are then closed by peeling the relative page away. Functionality is slick and there'd be little need to explain too much when showing your kids how to use it.
The Vita features some bog-standard apps that do exactly what they say on the tin without really pushing the boat out. These include Photos, Music and Video. There are also Group Messaging, Friends, Trophies and Maps as well as an average web browser that doesn't support Flash – a YouTube app is on the way – and does little to compete with my smartphone options.
It's all about social here, though. I know it, you know it, Sony knows it and the Vita has been geared up for exactly that. Needless to say, Facebook and Twitter apps are available alongside others through the PS Store, with many more on the way. Sony's own Vita social options come preloaded, such as the 3DS Street-Pass equivalent, 'Near', or 'LiveArea', a feed of SEN friend activity and news.
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I'm really sick of seeing this bollocks about the price. Consider this; very few people on this site complain about the latest and greatest smartphones costing in excess of £400. If people are willing to pay that much for a phone it's not because of it's ability to make calls (they could quite easily get a decent phone for a tenner if all they cared about was call quality). The reason people are buying these smartphones is for their ability to play music, movies, games and browse the web. The Vita is better specced than these phones, has dedicated gaming controls and is half the price.
If the Vita made phone calls you'd be calling it the bargain of the century. There's no pleasing some people.
Actually Barry, we did load the launch day patch - it was mandatory. And where have I once complained in this review that there are slow loading times? Maybe very briefly about WipEout in the game piece, but the patch did nothing to noticeably speed things up there, I was playing it this morning, so I would have noticed.
The price of the memory ...
... is gouging, plain and simple.
Did anyone else see the ads for the PSVita and think it was about a new brand of diet crispbread?
Another issue I just realised is that the damn psn account is locked to the hardware and can't be changed without a hardware reset.
There goes the idea of legally playing Japanese PSN games and UK PSN games, Sony, why you make Piracy the only option?