The PlayStation Vita's immense power is provided by the 32-bit Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU - the same beating heart you'll find in many other devices including the iPad 2. Graphical grunt is thus supplied by the A9's defacto GPU of choice, the similarly quad core PowerVR Series5XT SGXMP+ chip.
That makes the Vita more graphically capable than the iPhone 4 or the iPad 2, despite its far more modest price point.
Memory is provided by 512MB RAM and 128MB VRAM for the GPU. There were rumours prior to launch that Sony was attempting to slash that memory allocation to 256MB in order to save money, but it's a good thing it's been left in.
That's because the Vita is able to hold even a game like Uncharted: Golden Abyss in stasis while you return to the Vita menus and change some settings etc. As soon as you want to return to the game, it resumes instantaneously, even if you put the console to sleep and leave it alone for 48 hours.
It's the same seamless experience you get with Sony's other games console, the PS3 which itself only has 256MB RAM.
Of course, the big stand-out feature of the Vita is that incredible screen. It's a real stunner, and discards with LCD tech to jump straight into bed with sexier, brighter and more efficient OLED.
It's a winning feature, and it packs a qHD resolution of 640x960. That doesn't make it the sharpest screen in the business - the iPhone 4S' retina display has a pixel density of 326ppi, while the Vita rocks up with just 220ppi - but it's plenty enough to make Vita's games resonate with graphical beauty beyond anything else on any other portable device.
It's a capacitive touchscreen jobby too, which means you use gestures on the screen to navigate the PS Vita's brand new interface, instead of using the D-Pad, and most games make heavy use of that touch input too.
Underneath the screen you've also got three-axis accelerometer and gyroscopes, meaning you can control many of your games simply by moving the device in your hand.
This enables you to aim simply by moving the device around - great for games like Uncharted, though if you're sitting down you might need a swivel chair or things start to get tricky!
No internal storage
As we mentioned on the previous page, one criminal drawback is the lack of internal storage. For this, Sony really needs to take a long, hard look at itself because it's really not a very clever move. Talk about a put-off.
So in addition to the console, you'll have to fork out for one of Sony's proprietary Vita memory cards, essentially a proprietary stick similar in shape but smaller than an SD card.
When you buy games, they'll come on their own cartridge-style cards with storage space for saves and updates so if you're only gaming it's less of a concern.
The device has two ports, one for the generic memory card and one for game cartridges. So if you want to take music, pictures or videos with you, or if you want to download digital-only games from the Sony Entertainment Network, you'll have to pay extra for the Vita storage cards. There are a range of sizes planned from 2-16GB and you probably won't like the prices.
Pricing for cards at launch was obscene. Fortunately, Sony realised this (probably when they noticed nobody was buying the cards and/or the handheld and slashed prices earlier this year.
Now, you can grab a 4GB card for $19, an 8GB card for $25, and a 16GB card for $44.
Connection-wise both models come with standard Bluetooth and WiFi connections while the 3G model also includes, well a 3G connection.
In Australia the 3G service is provided by Vodafone, and the price tag includes a free 4GB memory card, plus a prepaid SIM card..