The handheld's position as a mass-market device is less clear at the moment, especially with Sony loudly positioning the portable as a hardcore machine first.
But that's not to say the potential isn't there; Vita's large, multi-touch display is definitely more inviting than the DS family's pint-sized dual-screens, and surprisingly well-implemented social features, including friend lists, Trophies and Near - a nod to 3DS Street Pass - show big promise in the wider gaming space.
The Vita's touchscreen backend menus - which do away with PS3's aging XMB design - are another casual-pleasing highlight, taking strong influence from smartphones and allowing users to quickly and intuitively switch between multiple applications.
Ultimately, at a £230 base price and with a roster of core titles, it's difficult to recommend Vita on day one to anybody but committed game players - and that's certainly Sony's target audience for the time being.
Eventually, the handheld's flexibility will likely open up to wider possibilities - there's no reason Vita shouldn't be at least attempting to offer those bite-sized Angry Birds style experiences that work so well on iOS. But for now it feels very much like a hardcore gamer's machine, which is reflected by the price of the system and its software, which range from £20 to £40.
Rival tablets and smartphones will eventually run titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss with the same visual splendour, but without Vita's dual sticks and buttons they'll never play the same.
And that's how Sony - despite strong competition from iOS devices and the cheaper 3DS - has manoeuvred Vita into a unique position in the portable market. If you're a core gamer with a disposable income, consider picking one up.
Impressive technology, uncompromised control inputs and a strong software line-up mean Vita is already a brilliant hardcore gaming handheld - if you can afford it.
- Console-quality games on the go
- Gorgeous OLED screen
- An abundance of control inputs
- Pricey memory cards required for some games
- Battery life is on the short side