The PS Vita is the most spectacular mobile games console ever conjured by humankind.

It improves on its PSP predecessors in every conceivable way and has a lasting appeal that has perhaps been lacking in the Nintendo 3DS since its launch.

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PS Vita starter kit

PS Vita Starter Kit
Augment your PS Vita with some basic accessories from Sony

Much depends on the games of course, but as a hardware device the Vita is spectacular. We don't think it's even that expensive. That sentence might get under some people's skin, but have you seen how much the iPhone 5C costs right now? It's $739 for the 16GB version.

Mobile devices are expensive. This is cutting edge technology we're talking about here, and you get what you pay for, it's as simple as that. It's a massive shame that lots of every day folks can't afford to snaffle one (us included!) but compared to many devices, the Vita is not that pricey.

It's already been discounted online to $239 and you can bet that price will drop further if they don't fly off the shelves, so if you think the price is a little high, bide your time and it'll come to you.

We liked:

The hardware is as cutting edge as it comes. There are some extremely powerful innards at play here, and as soon as you fire up a copy of Uncharted, you'll see what your money has bought you.

The screen is a joy to behold and we love that Sony went for an OLED panel instead of an LCD. The colours are more vivid and the brightness is stunning. In a couple of years time, the extra cost will have been worth it for sure.

The build quality is also first rate - it would take some serious abuse to harm the Vita, though we'd advise you buy a protective case anyway - a set of keys in the wrong pocket could ruin that lovely screen quicker than you can say "ain't no Gorilla Glass!"

While there is an argument that the handheld does lack games, there is still plenty to choose from, especially when you factor in the free titles that come every month with a PS Plus subscription.

PS4 remote play and Crossbuy functionality - which allow you to play games on both the PS3 and Vits - make it a extremely powerful little device.

We disliked:

Battery life is the main one. It's a tough debate because with that much power on board, what are you going to do? Reduce the power of the system or just put up with charging it more often? Sony has found some kind of balance, but ultimately there is no escaping the disappointment on this score.

The lack of internal storage is another black mark in our book. Sony is really letting its loyal fanbase down here - it sucks that the Vita comes with a hidden cost. We can only imagine how many people will buy the console without realising they'll need to buy a memory card to get the most out of it.

The web browser is the other biggy. It's a software problem though, so we can only hope that Sony will sort it out as soon as possible. We'll update the review as soon as the magic firmware update arrives that solves this little bug but until that day arrives, the browser remains a bit of a stinker.

Verdict:

It's an absolutely brilliant handheld gaming console, held back from true greatness by a few small niggles. Said niggles will no doubt become less of a big deal over time - and the likes of Amazon are already selling the console for less than its list price.

Hardcore gamers with cash to spend should snap this monster up and fire up the big launch games with great haste.

For anyone else, it's a case of working out if you think it's worth it. If you just want to play 99c puzzle games, by all means stick to your mobile phone or tablet. But don't be fooled into thinking that your iPod is anywhere near capable of what the Vita can offer, because it's not. Vita is one of a kind.

Have you bought yourself a PlayStation Vita? Tell us about your experiences in the comments