Alright, so I got the Vita that I pre-ordered 9 months ago and then paid about $20 a month towards... Got some games as well, and other stuff for it. There's a lot of material online about the console, so I thought I'd give you my opinion after having spent a day with it.
In short: Until there are more great games for Vita, specifically, it's really just kind of a PSP++ with a big nice screen...
Included in the box:
- The Console!
- An AC wall power adapter
- A Vita-to-USB cable, which is also used with the wall adapter
- 6 augmented reality (AR) cards
Not included in the box:
- A #$&%( memory card, which is REQUIRED to play games...
- Lighter and thinner than I expected. Weighs about the same as a PSP2000, less than the PSP1000.
- The screen is gorgeous, big, bright, colorful, viewable at almost any angle
- Buttons, slot covers, analogue sticks, etc. all feel very solid and well made. The console "feels expensive".
- Rayman Origins -- The Vita version is really excellent! Looks utterly the same as the Xbox360 and PS3 version, but also provides good touch controls. Also, the touch controls are optional -- you can just use sticks/buttons, too
- PlayStation store I found to be much easier to deal with than even the PS3
- Flickr, LiveTweet (Twitter client), Facebook, and Netflix are all available and work great.
- Videos look and sound great on that screen.
- Several of the new "HD" PS2 ports to PS3 will also run on Vita! (e.g. Final Fantasy X HD is due later this year.)
- The Vita will only charge when the cable is hooked to the Vita power adapter. NOT when plugged into your PC. NOT when plugged into a generic USB wall adapter.
- Proprietary memory card format -- Vita does not ship with one, it's _required_ to have one. I bought the 32GB, which was $100. It's tiny, about the size of a micro-SD.
- An extra wall adapter is $20, an extra USB-to-Vita cable is $15
- I also picked up a cradle, which does NOT include any kind of cord -- you must provide a USB-to-Vita cable and an AC wall adaptor.
- You cannot buy games on a PC and transfer them from your PC to the Vita. For example, I have all of my PSN downloads from my PSP sitting happily in Media Go in Windows. There is NO WAY to now transfer those to my Vita. I have to either re-download from PSN with the Vita, or manually move the files to my PS3 first, then to the Vita. Sigh. (Media Go does not work with the Vita at all. You use a separate app.)
- When connected to the PS3, you control data transfer using the Vita -- the PS3 screen is basically frozen with a message that says to use the Vita. So I have to hunch over my Vita, which is cabled to the PS3 by a 3 foot cable, instead of sitting on my couch looking at my TV using the DualShock... Oh well.
- Vita browser is just terrible. No Flash. Terrible keyboard access and navigation. Yuck.
- No Themes (at least, not yet) -- the only thing you can change about the main system screen is the background image, which is static. You can't change the background music (but you can, and will, turn the music off)
- The three free AR games in the Playstation store for Vita are unbelievably terrible. To loosely quote Joystiq: "Only one, Fireworks, was worth loading a second time, barely."
- Release day games are like most console release day games: pretty weak. Rayman is the exception so far. Many of the games are really "B+" (even Uncharted). Then there are some really ridiculously bad games: Dungeon Hunter is the same game you get for $0.99 for the iPhone, but for Vita it's $35! But I've heard a one or two others are good, like FIFA and BazBlue.
- PSOne games will not run on Vita ("at this time" according to Sony -- maybe later?)
- A 1 year protection plan w/ full accidental damage coverage is $45 (2 years for $70)
- A couple of games -- Wipeout 2048 and Hot Shots Golf -- charge $10 extra for online play
- I've gotten about 3.5 hours of battery time, and that was with pretty much continuous downloading on Wifi (downloading other stuff while playing games)
- "PS Minis" games work fine on Vita
- The menu screen look, background music, and general feel of the menus and tutorials feels very Nintendo-like. I could've just as easily been on my 3DS. I like the crossbar on the PS3/PSP much better, personally.
So overall, it's clearly a super powerful and awesome system. But, like most newly released consoles, is so underutilized at this point by the launch titles that it's hard to stay excited about it right now. I'm glad I bought it, the PSP games look great on there, but I am really just using it as a PSP right now...