With the recent North American release of the Sony Playstation Vita, one may begin to wonder if it's worth investing in. Read on to find out

The PS Vita is the subject of hype amongst gamers everywhere in  the world. Ever since it was announced February 2011, people have been debating whether the PS Vita will succeed and how it will fare against the Nintendo 3DS. The PS Vita launched in Japan a little more than a month ago, and I have been fortunate enough to get my hands on one of them along with an array of launch titles. After playing with it for some time, I compiled a list of things you should know before you buy:

PS Vita lock screen and button layoutCredit: A close friend
  1. The PS Vita is bulky: The device is nearly as thick as the two lids of the Nintendo 3DS put together. However, this does not affect the ergonomics as much as you would think, because of its oval design. Your hands will fit snugly around the sturdy device (Even though people with small hands will find navigating the back touch panel difficult). One thing to note is that you should never attempt to fit the PS Vita into your pocket: especially with the little analog sticks sticking out as it may potentially damage them. 
  2. The PS Vita is slick: For something almost as thick as Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson put together, the PS Vita still manages to look glossy and sexy. The first time you hold it in your hands you will be awed by the amount of work Sony has put into its aesthetics. Every button looks nice and shiny, and the back panel just screams "I'm high class and I know it"
  3. The PS Vita has bad ergonomics: True, the PS Vita has two analog sticks that hardcore gamers will scream out for, but for such a big systems the tiny buttons just aren't comfortable. To give you an idea they are about the size of the little nub on blackberries. They look aesthetically pleasing, but for people with large hands they are flawed. I had high expectations fo the analog sticks as well, but once you play around with them they feel like little rubbery elastic nubs, sporting no degree of accuracy beyond 8 different angles. Also, your hands might slip off them due to the size and texture. I actually prefer the circle pad on the 3DS to the analog sticks in terms of texture and accuracy.  The L and R buttons, however, are still nice and firm and fits snugly around your index fingers (which are undoubtedly better than the clicky ones on the 3DS).
  4. The PS Vita has a brilliant display: The 5.4 inch OLED display is the most vibrant screen I've seen on any portable device to date and puts the 3DS to shame. The touch is extremely accurate and the experience that you get with it is arguably better than the experience you get with iPhones. The OS is completely centered around the multi-touch capable touch screen which further enhances the experience....if you like playing with touch screens of course. However the high resolution screen can also be a problem, because some games have lower resolutions than the screen can provide, giving them an extremely pixellated feel (like in Uncharted). This will hopefully be smoothed out in the future.Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3
  5. The PS Vita not so portable: Let's face it. The entire point of a portable is so that you can take your favorite games around with you everywhere you go. However, with the PS Vita you have to put it in a case (thankfully included in the packaging) whenever you take it out for a walk, because otherwise you'll risk damaging your analog sticks and that gorgeous screen. For people who likes portables because they can just whip them out whenever they want to have play a game, back news. You'll have to bring a bag or purse.
  6. The PS Vita is extremely innovative and just as gimmicky: The built in motion sensors add a lot to your game play experience, and are very accurate. However the same cannot be said for the back touch pad. It not only adds very little to games (however you must note that Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 can be played entirely with the back touchpad), it also sometimes takes away from it (Uncharted, I'm looking at you). Adding features just because they're available is a big no no, and lets face it, who the hell wants to use their fingers to climb a vine or row a boat? Sure it is fun for the first 5 minutes but after a while it becomes down right annoying. Also, let it be noted that some games over use the touch screen. In Uncharted: The Golden Abyss, the menu is navigated entirely using the front touch screen, which was a stupid decision for the design team because the game is ironically played with the analog sticks and buttons (at least for most of the time). 
  7. The PS Vita is powerful, very very powerful: In fact, it is so powerful that the games for it have graphics on par with first generation PS3 games. Also, taking advantage of the hardware, the multitasking between games is flawless. Say you're in the middle of playing Dynasty Warriors and suddenly you get an itch to play UMvC 3 but don't want to lose your progress. No problem, just push the PS button and change the game card to UMvC 3. Your game will be paused in the background and whenever you want to play it again all you have to do is to switch back the card. This feature is extremely useful (Almost too useful).

The PS Vita undoubtedly gives you a bang for your buck. However, it might be wise to wait for the inevitable PS Vita Slim because there are many things yet to be polished out, not to mention that the accessories (including the memory sticks) are extremely expensive and overpriced at this moment in time. At 250 dollars for the WiFi model it is a tough buy for some people, but once you unlock the screen and "peel" off the lock page for the first time you'll be instantly awed by the feel of the device. 

Hope you will enjoy your new PSV!