We review Sony’s PS Vita

What we like

Switching on the PS Vita, it’s hard not to feel a little impressed by the screen technology used here.

While the 5 inch qHD screen doesn’t have the same pixels per inch as Apple’s Retina screen found on the iPhone 4/4S, it still manages to hold its own, with 220ppi, compared to the 329ppi on the iPhone’s 3.5 inch screen.

This means the screen isn’t as clear as what currently exists on a lot of top tier smartphones, but is still better than that of other portable gaming systems, especially the PlayStation Portables that came before it.

Stick in a game cartridge and you’ll be treated to some pretty stellar graphics. While the titles we’ve played aren’t quite up to the quality we’ve come to expect on the PlayStation 3, games such as “Uncharted” and “Wipeout” tell us Sony has really done its work with the Vita.

You'll see the touchscreen working every time you bring the Vita back from standby.

Some of that extra interactivity really works a treat here, and we’re certainly seeing some playfulness on the part of the developers.

Over in the world of Uncharted, you’ll make Nathan Drake row a boat by swiping down on the rear touchpad, look for hidden invisible ink by making use of the rear camera and holding the PS Vita up to a bright light, and even use the touchscreen to fight in hand-to-hand combat during quicktime events.

Sony’s use of augmented reality is really impressive, too. Out of the box, you’ll find five small laminated cards with strange blocky codes on them, and you can use these in conjunction with specially designed video games to play titles that look like they’re being played out in real life.

Augmented reality as seen in "Cliff Diver".

For instance, if you put a card down on your desk for use with “Cliff Diver”, your screen will show live video of your desk as shot through the rear Vita camera, but with an animated interactive lake sitting on top. You can get close to the fake lake, move around it, and generally play from all angles.

Likewise in “Reality Fighters”, you can force two characters to wrestle and fight anywhere else you put one of the augmented reality cards, such as the floor, the back of your dog, or the kitchen sink. Just don’t turn the tap on.