I'll happily copy the contents of the review here, but then it will be missing the pics.
I managed to get my hands on a Sony Playstation Vita and a copy of Uncharted Golden Abyss. I'll be making a separate review for Golden Abyss but to start things off I thought I would write a review for the hardware itself.
Holding the unit my fingers tend to rest on the rear touch panel. This hasn't really been an issue too much, but in games like little deviants where you are using the back panel to push up from underneath your other hand can accidentally be pushing the touch pad in the wrong spot. There are two little divots that seem to be where your fingers are supposed to go, but I have fairly large hands and it is not comfortable keeping my fingers there. The system itself is pretty light, but feels solid in your hands. The front and back both have glass so getting two screen protectors might be prudent and a hard case for travel wouldn't be unwise.
The sound is much better then you could get out of the PSP and the speaker placement has never been an issue, even with my large hands. I could still clearly hear dialog in games in noisy environments and people were even commenting on how good the Vita sounded.
The screen is a thing of beauty. It is 5" and the colors and brightness are amazing, with one small exception. You don't want to play your system in a completely dark room if you can help it. This might sound weird, but the screen has these dark "spots" that show up when the system is displaying a black screen in a completely dark room. If you turn on a light it is impossible to find these spots and the screen is amazing again. The manual says this is normal and not a malfunction of the Vita system, and I've heard from users of OLED phones that they've seen similar on their screens in perfectly dark rooms with a perfectly black image on the screen. Even when you see it, it's not horrible, and during 99% of game play you can't even notice this effect.
The touch screen function of the screen seems to be less sensitive than an iphone or android phone, but it works for the games and demos I've played on the system. The only time you really notice the lack of precision is when using the web browser and trying to touch a small link (you'll need to zoom in most of the time). Using it to throw grenades in Uncharted adds a precision that really adds to the game, so I hope other games come up with other control adaptations for the touch screen that add instead of take away from the experience.
Moving on to the web browser...well maybe we don't want to talk about that so much. Imagine the PSP browser with touch controls. Are you done retching yet? Sorry to say this is pretty much what you get. Some websites show a mobile version, others don't unless you specifically type the mobile address into the browser. Flash is not supported (Sony asked Adobe to support flash on the Vita but I don't know if they'll do it after announcing they don't want to support mobile flash anymore), so websites that use it don't work. Trying to access YouTube videos results in an error that you need to install flash in the browser. Some websites are just broken in areas (Facebook for example was constantly messing up on the Vita's browser). It is weird that Facebook has so much trouble working with the browser, but you can setup the system to automatically post to Facebook with your trophy accomplishments.
There are two cameras on the Vita. They are not the type of cameras you'll want to use for taking every day pictures. They are only .3 megapixel (same as the 3DS, however the 3DS cameras seems to take ever so slightly clearer pictures) which compared to even a basic phone is pretty awful. I don't think anyone planned to use the systems cameras for very much, so this shouldn't be too big of a deal breaker.
Games are put in by opening a flap on the top of the system. I've read some sites saying you might need a screwdriver to open this, and that is just wrong unless you don't have any fingernails. I have no trouble at all opening and closing the flap to put in and take out games.
One great feature of the system is the ability to take screenshots while playing. Simply hold start and push the PS button and the screenshot gets saved to your memory card. I wish more systems had this feature, I've been using it a lot more than I thought I would.
The start, select, and PS buttons are flush with the system which makes it really hard to accidentally press them which is great. The buttons are smaller than they are on the PSP, but they have a click to them which is much more satisfying than using the PSP buttons. The d-pad feels spot on, and fighting games should have no problem with it. The two analog sticks are okay, but they could be better. They can't be pushed to be used as L3 or R3 like on PS3, and they have a pretty limited range of motion. They get the job done, and I rate them higher than the circle pad on 3DS, but they are not as great as the stick you'd get on a 360 or PS3 controller.
Charging the system is done through an included proprietary USB cable. It's sad that Sony took a step back from the PSP when it comes to the USB connection, being able to use the same cable to connect my dual shock 3 and PSP was great. Now if your Vita cable breaks you'll be looking for a Vita specific cable. It can be hooked up to a PC to charge while powered off (very slow) or there is a power cable that the USB can be connected to which charges it at a much faster rate (and it can charges while powered on).
The memory for the Vita is also proprietary (and expensive, thanks Sony) and Sony added a layer of protection which makes using them a much bigger pain then memory was on the PSP. Your memory card is now attached to your PSN ID, and so is your Vita. In order to download something from another PSN ID (such as a JP or HK PSN account) you'll need to format your system, set up the system from start with the new PSN ID, then install a memory card attached to that PSN ID or reformat the memory card. To put it plainly it is a pain in the butt.
Speaking of pain in the butt, transferring files to and from the vita is not as easy as the PSP, and this feature also took a step backwards. You now have to access the media manager on the Vita and use it to transfer files to and from the system. Gone are the days of telling your PS3 to install something to the USB attached system or dragging and dropping files from your PC. You still cannot arrange your files on the Vita (like the PSP) without changing their name because the system automatically sorts by alphabetical order and that seems to be it.
The replacement for the XMB is a multitasking touch screen interface on the vita, and it is an improvement overall. Everything is separated into little bubbles and touching one launches the content. You can swipe to the sides to swap between tasks running in the background (when not in a game) and the whole thing is very fluid and easy to learn very quickly.
The system also comes with some little mini games (you can get trophies in them!) which are fun for about a minute each after you first get the system, then you'll never touch them again. They are part of the Welcome Park application, and they are designed to show off that the system has a touch screen, cameras, etc...
My final verdict on the system is colored by the games I've played and hope to play in the future. The system does have its issues (several of which could be fixed with future patches or firmware updates), but when you boot up Uncharted and see it running so beautifully on a portable, it makes you tend to forget there are any downsides to the system at all.
Overall Score: 8/10
Pros: screen size, two analog sticks, graphically very impressive, great sound, lot of control options, multitasking, good d-pad
Cons: awful browser, poor camera quality, proprietary memory/cables, need to format system to switch PSN IDs