ps vita

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.

settings

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.

Screen

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.

ps vita screen

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!

ps vita

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.

ps vita

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.

As of launch day, Amazon UK is selling the 4GB card for £15, 8GB for £28 and 16GB for £40.

We'd recommend holding off buying one in case prices come down a little - ideally you'd be much better off with the 16GB model but £40 is simply too much to pay in our eyes (it has to be said, at the time of writing, Amazon UK is offering a deal whereby you can get an 8GB Vita card for free when buying the console).

Connection-wise both models come with standard Bluetooth and WiFi connections while the 3G model also includes, well a 3G connection.

In the EU the 3G service is provided by Vodaphone, and the £279 price tag includes a free 4GB memory card, a PAYG SIM card which when topped up with £5 will get you a free downloadable game - WipEout 2048 - and 250 MB of data lasting up to 30 days with full Vodafone 3G connectivity.

The PlayStation Vita 3G will also be available at other high street and online retailers with the option to top up £5 and get the WipEout 2048 game free of charge.