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PSP vs. PS Vita: The Ultimate Comparison of Sony's Handheld Gaming Consoles

Explore PSP vs. PS Vita: Uncover key distinctions between these iconic gaming handhelds. Make an informed choice!

Dominant in the industry, Sony produced legendary gaming platforms throughout the years. From Sony's selection of handheld consoles, two prominent choices are the PSP and PS Vita.

The PSP, initially unveiled in 2004, represented Sony's initial venture into portable gaming territory. From every corner of the earth, the streamlined device captured hearts within the mobile community. Finally debuting in 2011, the PS Vita became the rightful heir to the cherished PSP.

How do these two handhelds contrast after Sony stopped making them? This comprehensive PSP vs. All crucial factors, including hardware performance, game collections, etc., will be assessed during the comparison of PS Vitas.

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The Key Differences Between The PSP and PS Vita

Here is a table comparing the key differences between the PSP and PS Vita:

Feature PSP PS Vita
Release Dates
  • PSP-1000 - December 2004
  • PSP-2000 - September 2007
  • PSP-3000 - October 2008
  • PSP Go - October 2009
  • First Edition - December 2011
  • Slim Model - September 2012
  • Width - 170mm
  • Height - 74mm
  • Depth - 23mm
  • Width - 182mm
  • Height - 83.5mm
  • Depth - 18.6mm
Weight 189g to 280g 219g
  • 4.3" TFT LCD
  • 480 x 272 pixels
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 5" OLED
  • 960 x 544 pixels
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
CPU 333MHz MIPS R4000 Quad-core ARM Cortex A9 MPCore, 1.4GHz
GPU 166MHz GE32-200 SGX MP4+
RAM 32MB/64MB 512MB
Game Storage UMD, Memory Stick Duo NVG cards, digital downloads

PSP vs. PS Vita: Design and Build

The original PSP 1000 featured a cutting-edge design for its time. The sleek, piano black casing and large, vibrant screen made it stand out compared to rival Nintendo handhelds. 

Sony experimented with variations of the PSP over the years, including the budget-friendly PSP E1000 and the portable PSP Go.

The overall dimensions of the PSP line are:

  • Width: 170mm
  • Height: 74mm
  • Depth: 23mm

Weight ranges from 280g on the heaviest model to 189g on the lightest.

The PS Vita features a rounded rectangular shape with dual analog sticks. It's larger than the PSP models at:

  • Width: 182mm
  • Height: 83.55mm
  • Depth: 18.6mm

Weighing 219g, the Vita is lighter than even the smallest PSP. The use of touch panels does add some bulk over a regular handheld layout.

Both devices feature excellent build quality with a focus on portability. The PS Vita's slimmer form factor and lighter weight give it the edge.

Winner: PS Vita


PSP vs. PS Vita: Display

Screen technology advanced rapidly in the years between the release of the PSP and PS Vita.

The original PSP models sported a 480 x 272 pixel, 4.3 inch TFT LCD display. While decent for gaming, it suffered from motion blur and average brightness and contrast levels.

Later PSP models increased the screen resolution slightly to 480 x 272 pixels but retained the same basic LCD panel.

The PS Vita took a huge leap forward with a 960 x 544-pixel 5-inch OLED display. A remarkable handheld visual experience was produced by the combination of high resolution, vibrant colors, deep blacks, and excellent response times.

While the PSP's screen was good for its time, the Vita's display remains impressive even today.

Winner: PS Vita


PSP vs. PS Vita: Hardware Specifications

Being released 7 years later gives the PS Vita a significant advantage when it comes to internal hardware. Let's break down how the consoles compare:

Component PSP PS Vita
CPU 333 MHz MIPS R4000 Quad-core ARM Cortex A9 MPCore
GPU 166 MHz GE32-200 SGX MP4+
RAM 32MB/64MB 512MB
Storage UMD drive, Memory Stick NVG cards, proprietary Vita cards

As you can see, the PS Vita's quad-core processor and 512MB of RAM blow away the PSP's specs. The Vita can handle much more advanced 3D graphics and gameplay.

In terms of storage, both consoles rely on proprietary memory cards. PSP uses Memory Sticks while Vita uses its own PS Vita cards. The Vita does not have a UMD drive like the PSP, relying solely on downloaded games.

The PS Vita is far ahead when it comes to internal hardware capabilities.

Winner: PS Vita

PSP vs PS Vita: Features and Connectivity

Aside from core hardware, there are some other important differences in features between the consoles:

  • The PSP relies primarily on Wi-Fi connectivity, with some models adding Bluetooth support. The Vita takes it up a notch with Wi-Fi and 3G mobile data options.
  • PSP has no built-in camera. The Vita features 0.3MP cameras on both the front and back.
  • PSP uses either UMD discs or Digital downloads from the PlayStation Store. Vita uses NVG game cards or digital downloads.
  • PS Vita features GPS location services.
  • Vita has a touchscreen and a rear touchpad. The PSP is button controls only.
  • Vita supports cross-platform play with the PS3 for certain games.
  • Vita can remotely connect to a PS4 console.

The PS Vita comes out well ahead in terms of features and connectivity, offering far more versatility than the PSP.

Winner: PS Vita

PSP vs. PS Vita: Game Library

With any gaming console, the quantity and quality of available games is extremely important. Let's see how the PSP and PS Vita compare when it comes to their game libraries.

Number of Games

  • PSP: 1727 games
  • PS Vita: 1,358 games

Winner: PSP

Notable Exclusives

PSP Exclusives

  • God of War: Chains of Olympus
  • Gran Turismo
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
  • Patapon series
  • Persona 3 Portable
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
  • Tekken: Dark Resurrection

PS Vita Exclusives

  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  • LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
  • Gravity Rush
  • Tearaway
  • Killzone: Mercenary
  • WipEout 2048
  • Soul Sacrifice Delta
  • Persona 4: Golden

Both consoles have a strong lineup of exclusive games. PSP features more iconic PlayStation franchises like God of War and Final Fantasy. The Vita brought innovative new IPs into the mix like Tearaway.

Overall the PSP edges out as the winner thanks to a larger overall game library. However, the Vita put up an impressive fight given its shorter lifespan on the market.

Winner: PSP

PSP vs PS Vita: Backwards Compatibility

The good news is that both PSP and PS Vita offer backward compatibility with classic PlayStation games.

The PSP can emulate original PlayStation 1 games purchased from the PlayStation Store. A wide selection of PS1 classics are available to play on the go.

Similarly, PS Vita owners can download and play PSP and PS1 games through the PlayStation Store. Physical PSP games cannot be directly used with the Vita, however. Over 300 PSP titles were "remastered" for the Vita and optimized to take advantage of its improved hardware.

While the PS Vita does not support actual UMD PSP game discs, its extensive backward compatibility through digital downloads is the next best thing.

Winner: Tie

PSP vs PS Vita: Multimedia Capabilities

Apart from gaming, Sony also positioned both devices as multimedia hubs for music, video, and images. 

Let's see how they compare:

  • Music - Both PSP and Vita can play MP3 and other audio files. PSP has a Visualizer feature while Vita does not. Overall music playback is very similar.
  • Video - The PSP plays MP4, AVCHD videos, and UMD movies. Vita supports more formats including MP4, DivX, and xvid, and can even play some DVDs. The Vita's superior screen gives it an edge for video.
  • Photos - Both can display JPEG photos but the Vita adds PNG support. The Vita has basic editing features and can take photos with its camera.
  • Internet - While the PSP has a web browser, the Vita is far superior for web browsing with HTML5 support and faster speeds over Wi-Fi.

The PS Vita takes the lead when it comes to multimedia functionality. Its mature web browser and support for more video file formats give it an advantage.

Winner: PS Vita

PSP vs. PS Vita: Battery Life

Battery performance is a vital factor when using a portable gaming system. Let's see how PSP and Vita compare:

  • PSP batteries ranged in capacity from 1200mAh to 1800mAh, which translated into 3-6 hours of game time.
  • The PS Vita has a 2210mAh battery which lasts about 4-5 hours during gaming.

The numbers indicate the PSP had a slight edge in terms of battery life. With mobile hardware being more power-hungry in recent years, Sony did an admirable job getting upwards of 5 hours from the Vita.

Still, the PSP takes the win with some models exceeding the Vita's battery life by 1-2 hours.

Winner: PSP

PSP vs PS Vita: Accessories

Sony released a wide range of accessories to enhance the capabilities of both devices. Here are some of the most popular for each console:

PSP Accessories

  • Memory Sticks - Proprietary memory cards for saving data and digital content
  • PSP Headset - For in-game voice chat and online multiplayer
  • Remote Controls - Used for media playback
  • Camera - Allowed users to take photos and videos
  • Car Chargers - Charge your PSP on the go
  • Extended batteries - For longer playtimes
  • Protective cases - Shockproof carrying cases to prevent damage

PS Vita Accessories

  • PS Vita Memory cards - Proprietary cards for game data
  • Travel kits - Cases, grips, screen protectors
  • Trigger Grips - Add L2/R2 triggers for remote or FPS play
  • Portable chargers - External battery packs to charge on the go
  • PlayStation TV - Play Vita games on the big screen
  • Camera accessories - Enhance Vita's built-in cameras
  • Speakers - External audio speakers for enhanced sound

Both consoles have a solid array of first-party and third-party accessories to expand functionality. Given the Vita's more advanced hardware and connectivity, there is greater potential, but PSP still has plenty to offer.

This one ends up being too close to call a definitive winner. We'll rule it a tie.

Winner: Tie

PSP vs PS Vita: Price and Value

When it comes to price, the PSP has a big advantage over the newer PS Vita:

  • Original PSP models cost $249 at launch, with later models starting at $169. Prices have since dropped significantly for used units.
  • The PS Vita launched at $249 for Wi-Fi only and $299 for 3G models. It maintained that pricing throughout its life. Used Wi-Fi models can now be found under $150.

There's no contest here, the PSP provides tremendous value with very cheap used units available. The Vita was expensive at launch and still commands a premium on the used market.

Winner: PSP

PSP vs. PS Vita: User Experience

While the specs and numbers can give us a lot of information, how do the consoles compare when it comes to actual gameplay and user experience?

The PSP ushered in a new era of 3D mobile gaming with graphics rivaling early PlayStation 2 titles. For a 2004 device, it was very impressive. Load times were reasonably fast and it felt great to have console-style games in your pocket.

The Vita took immersion to the next level. The large OLED display with twin analog sticks made for engrossing gameplay. Multi-touch capabilities expanded gaming possibilities. Remote Play functionality with the PS4 was also a game changer, even if somewhat laggy at times.

While the PSP offered an excellent user experience for its time, the Vita's enhancements clearly provide superior immersion and enjoyment.

Winner: PS Vita

PSP vs. PS Vita: Legacy

Both PSP and PS Vita carved out an important legacy within PlayStation history. Let's reflect on the impact and memories they each left behind.

The PSP was a landmark release for Sony, representing their first portable gaming system. It succeeded in delivering a handheld console-like experience and broadened the PlayStation brand. PSP opened up new genres like stealth action (Metal Gear Solid) on the go while retaining familiar PlayStation franchises. It will be remembered fondly for letting gamers enjoy titles like God of War and Grand Theft Auto on the bus or in waiting rooms.

While the Vita did not reach the same heights of popularity, it pushed boundaries with innovative touch controls and multimedia capabilities. Software like Tearaway was groundbreaking. The Vita developed a passionate fanbase that loved its indie games and JRPG library. Features like Remote Play showed off its versatility and advanced technology. Its legacy lives on through a thriving modding and emulation community.

Both systems left lasting impacts on fans and the gaming industry. Each has carved out an important place in PlayStation history through their unique contributions.

Winner: Tie

PSP vs. PS Vita: And the winner is...

Now that we've compared every aspect of Sony's handhelds, which console comes out on top in this PSP versus PS Vita showdown?

Based on the categories covered:

  • PS Vita wins in Design, Display, Hardware, Features, Multimedia and User Experience
  • PSP wins in Game Library, Battery Life, and Price/Value
  • The consoles Tie in backward compatibility, Accessories, and Legacy Impact

This makes the PlayStation Vita the winner with 6 category victories compared to the PSP's 3 wins.

The Vita's cutting-edge hardware, dazzling display, and multimedia talents give it the victory over the PSP. Sony's original portable paved the way, but the Vita perfected the handheld console concept. Its advanced technology still impresses today.

That being said, the PSP remains an amazing handheld in its own right. It helped define mobile gaming with an abundance of great software. For gaming on a budget, the PSP is tough to beat.

While the PS Vita ultimately comes out on top, both portable PlayStations will be fondly remembered by gamers around the world. Sony may be exiting the dedicated handheld space, but the PSP and Vita live on through a fantastic library of titles.

Frequently Asked Questions about PSP and PS Vita

The PSP versus PS Vita debate often brings up many common questions for gamers and collectors. Here are answers to some of the top frequently asked questions:

Can you play PSP games on PS Vita?

Yes, the Vita is backward compatible with PSP games purchased digitally through the PlayStation Store. Unfortunately, it does not support the physical UMD discs used by PSP hardware.

Is PS Vita backward compatible with PS1 and PS2 games?

Through the PlayStation Store owners can download and play PS1 classics on the Vita. It does not support PlayStation 2 backward compatibility.

Which has better graphics, the PSP or the PS Vita?

The PS Vita is far more advanced graphically thanks to its quad-core processor and 128MB of video memory. It can run games at 960x544 resolution with better textures, lighting, and visual effects compared to the PSP.

What inputs does the PSP use?

The PSP features a D-Pad, two shoulder buttons, four face buttons, and a single analog nub. Controls are entirely button-based with no touch capability.

Does the PS Vita use cartridges or discs?

Vita games come on flash-based NVG cards rather than physical media like the PSP's UMD discs. PSP games can only be played if downloaded digitally to a Vita.

Can you connect a PS Vita to a TV?

Yes, using the PlayStation TV accessory you can display and play Vita games on a television screen. The PSP also had TV-out functionality using component or composite connections.

How well does Remote Play work on PS Vita?

Remote Play allows streaming PS4 games to the PS Vita handheld over Wi-Fi. It works reasonably well with somewhat reduced image quality and occasional input lag. A fast internet connection is recommended.

Can you still buy PSP and PS Vita games?

The PlayStation Store still offers digital downloads for both platforms. Physical game production ceased years ago, but used copies can be purchased.

The Future of PlayStation Handheld Gaming

While the PSP and Vita are no longer in production, there are glimmers of hope for PlayStation handheld gaming. Rumors persist of a mysterious PSP 5G device in development aimed at cloud gaming. Virtual reality headset PSVR2 is also built for mobility.

For now, Sony remains focused on the PS5 ecosystem and its catalog of AAA experiences. Whether they will return to portable hardware one day remains to be seen. The PSP and Vita showed that amazing handheld gaming has a place in PlayStation's DNA.

I hope you enjoyed this in-depth PSP versus PS Vita comparison. Let me know in the comments which portable PlayStation is your favorite and why!

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Hello, I am Muhiuddin Alam founder of TheBestNTop.com. The main mission of 'TheBestNTop.com' is to empower all people on the planet to learn to do anything. We want to help people learn, first and foremost about Best Product Reviews, and Buying Advice. We review the best tech, appliances, gear, and more, and other values guide how we pursue that mission. We also talk about the Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects. Thanks for being here. Follow Me: Linkedin & Google Knowledge Panel