5. It's actually more than a gaming system this time
Sony was constantly tinkering with the PSP to try and turn it into an all-in-one device. It patched in social elements, tacked on a GPS add-on, and threw a TV tuner thingy in it, all in attempts to make it more than a gaming machine. It… never really worked. At all. Sorry, three people that bought the TV tuner – we know you're still hurt.
This time, however, it’s all baked in on day one, and Sony has done a much better job at turning the system into a device that’s more than a game-playing machine. Flickr, Twitter and Netflix are all already confirmed (with some due on day one), with Hulu Plus, Facebook, and YouTube rumored as well. The Vita looks like it's going to get all of the fun non-gaming apps of the iPad, without the $500 price point.
This is amplified greatly by the integration with the PS3, which allows for easy movement of media between the devices. Sharing images and music is a snap, and makes the Vita feel like an extension of the PS3. Speaking of sharing...
4. 3G at launch proves Sony's commitment to connectivity
We’re not going to lie – we don’t know if we’re completely sold on the 3G functionality of the Vita. It’s costly, it’s run by AT&T in the US (which… ugh, whatever), and we just don’t see the point. That said, the fact that it’s available at launch is a huge deal, and proves how committed Sony is to making the Vita a connected device.
3G means that the system can work as a smartphone or sorts for those unwilling to sign a lengthy contract with a phone company. It means the ability to stream movies and check out websites and use Skype. Sony made all of these promises with the PSP, too, but never actually went through with any of them completely.
The PSP was supposed to support connectivity, too. Remember Remote Play? That was totally a thing that worked 1/3 of the time and never really got any support. What about the ability to use the PSP as a rear-view mirror in racing games? Did that ever actually go anywhere? Nope. This time, Sony is putting all of its chips in connectivity at day one, and we’re happy to see it get so committed. And though we’re not sure we’re going to meet its bet just yet, we have a feeling that, in a few years, there’s a good chance we’d be interested in 3G connectivity on our Vitas.
3. No UMDs means better load times and a better battery life
We remember the first time we got our hands on the PSP. It was sleek. It was sexy. We went to a game using the futuristic slide-pad, hit the X button, and stared at the game as it loaded. The UMD whirred in the system, the battery screamed for mercy, and the game loaded. Oh, the game loaded. The PSP’s load times were sometimes out of control, and the use of UMDs for games meant that the system had to power a spinning disk, which hurt the already-weak battery life.
With the Vita, Sony abandons the horrid UMD in favor of… hey! Little cartridges! How cute!
Using little cards is brilliant, as they hold more memory than a small disk would (unless Sony was going to start making Blu-ray UMDs or something stupid), and may lead to a better battery life and less load times. There will still be some issues, no doubt, but we’ve already noticed better load times on even the biggest, most graphically impressive games.