PSP and PS Vita Side by Side

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PSP vs PS Vita From the Front

PSP vs PS Vita - Front View
PSP vs PS Vita - Front View. Niko Silvester

At first glance, the PS Vita looks a lot bigger than the PSP, but it's really not that much of a difference. Sure, it is bigger (which will no doubt be a relief for gamers with big hands, some of whom got cramps from holding a PSP for a long gaming sessions). It's actually a little bit slenderer than my PSP-2000 (that's the silver one in the photo)--more on that in the next section--and it's definitely heavier. Overall, though, it doesn't feel too bulky, just more substantial than the PSP.

In terms of what's actually on the front of the device, you can see that the controls are mostly the same, with the d-pad and shape buttons being in more or less the same locations on both devices. The speakers have been moved lower down, and the volume and a couple other buttons have been moved off the face. The big differences are three: first, there's a second analog stick. Yay! Not only that, but these are actual sticks and much more comfortable to use than the PSP's nub (that actually started to hurt after a while). Second, there's the front camera, fairly unobtrusive near the shape buttons. And finally, look at the size of that screen! It's not hugely bigger than the PSP screen, but it's a definite increase, and with the better resolution it looks far superior.

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PSP vs PS Vita from the Top

PSP vs PS Vita - Top View
PSP vs PS Vita - Top View. Niko Silvester

As I mentioned on the last page the PS Vita is thinner than the PSP (that's a PSP-2000 in the photo). It's not a huge difference, but you can feel it when holding both of them. You can also see that the various other buttons and inputs have been shuffled around quite a bit. The volume buttons are on the top of the PS Vita, instead of the face, and the power button is there, too, instead of on the side. Moving the power button, added to it being a button instead of a switch was a good move--I heard a few complaints from PSP users about accidentally turning off their PSP in the middle of a game because the power switch is right where your right hand tends to rest when holding it for long periods of time. That won't be a problem with the PS Vita. Also on the top of the PS Vita are the game card slot (left) and an accessory port (right).

The headphone jack is still on the bottom, but now it's a regular jack, and not the dual purpose thing the PSP had. The memory card slot and input for the USB/charging cable are also on the bottom. Unlike on the PSP, the sides of the PS vita have no buttons, inputs, or controls, meaning there's nothing to mess up your grip (or for your grip to mess up).

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PSP vs PS Vita from the Back

PSP vs PS Vita - Back View
PSP vs PS Vita - Back View. Niko Silvester

There's not a huge amount to look at on the back of the PSP and PS Vita. Really, there are only four things to note. One, the absence of a UMD drive on the PS Vita. On one hand, it's sad we won't be able to play our UMD games on the new system, but on the other hand, a lot of people thought the PSP should have used cartridges or card instead of optical media in the first place. Two, there's a big touch pad on the back of the PS Vita. It remains to be seen if this will be used well by publishers or if it will become a gimmick, but it's pretty cool, anyway.

Three, there's another camera on the PS Vita. It's bigger and more noticeable than the from camera, but still relatively unobtrusive. And four, the PS Vita has nice little finger-grip areas. One thing I missed in the PSP re-design was the sculpted shape of the back on the PSP-1000, perfect for gripping it. So at first glance, at least, it seems like the PS Vita should be more comfortable to hold that the PSP-2000 or -3000.

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PSP vs PS Vita Game Packaging

PSP vs PS Vita - Game Cases
PSP vs PS Vita - Game Cases. Niko Silvester
When I first saw images of packaged PS Vita games, I thought they would be the same size as PS3 games--they have similar proportions (and they're blue, which instantly makes me think "PS3"). It seemed like overkill, considering the games would be on little cards and not on full-size discs (or any-size discs). Then again, you want the packaging to be big enough that it displays well on a store shelf and isn't so tiny it's easy to steal. Anyway, the PS Vita game packaging is quite a bit smaller than PSP game packaging. It's the same width, but thinner and shorter. It kind of looks like doll-sized PS3 game packaging.
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PSP vs PS Vita Game Media

PSP vs PS Vita - Game Media
PSP vs PS Vita - Game Media. Niko Silvester
You can see here that the games themselves are also considerably smaller for the PS Vita. I'm pretty sure those cards are even smaller than Nintendo DS carts. They must be close, anyway. But there's a lot of wasted space inside the box. Maybe they could have added a couple of memory card slots--you know, like some PS2 games had room for a memory card inside. Or maybe that would be silly.
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PSP vs PS Vita Game Memory

PSP vs PS Vita - Memory Cards
PSP vs PS Vita - Memory Cards. Niko Silvester
Finally, here's a picture of a PSP memory stick and a PS Vita memory card. Yes, the PS Vita cards are tiny. And the PS Vita memory card in the image has four times the capacity of the PSP card. (If you're wondering about the scale, a PSP memory stick duo/pro duo is about an inch by half an inch in size.) If you have more than one of these, you'll have to get some sort of case or box to put them in, because think how easily they could be lost (this could be a good argument for getting the biggest-capacity memory card you can afford, so you don't have to juggle them and risk losing one). I had enough trouble keeping track of the much larger (in dimensions) PSP cards.
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