Sony released the PS Vita in 2011 for $249 USD. It had 2 analog sticks, an OLED screen, a great D-Pad, and a back touchpad,  and the graphics for a handheld were amazing for the time of release. Sony didn’t do a great job supporting the Vita during its lifecycle. Sadly, it just kind of dwindled out with Sony not returning to a handheld since (if you don’t count the PS Portal). Luckily the CFW scene for the Vita is excellent, but does it still hold up in 2024?

1000 vs 2000

Back Touch Pad

The Back Touchpad and Camera

The Vita came in two different models. The first model released is referred to as the 1000 mode or some call it the “Phat Model”. It has an OLED screen, propriety charging port, and a battery that gains it around 3-5 hours of gameplay. This model is a bit thicker and heavier than the later-released 2000.

Sony then later released the new 2000 model. Although the previous model had an OLED screen, they chose to go with an LCD screen for the second one. It feels much lighter in hand and has a longer battery life of 4-7 hours of gameplay depending on what you are playing. The biggest change is that the 2000 went with a Micro USB charging port instead of the propriety one in the 1000. Both models have a touchpad and camera on the back along with a front-facing camera.

PS Vita 1000

My Phat Model Vita

One other thing to note between these models is the built-in storage. The 1000 model has no storage built-in and is dependent on Vita-specific memory cards that were extremely expensive at release. However, the 2000 model comes with 1GB of built-in storage. This will become a factor with putting CFW on your device as you need memory for the initial set-up.

I have tried both of these models, and it comes down to personal preference. I prefer the 1000 much more than the 2000. The build quality feels much higher quality with it being heavier. Is it actually? I am not too sure. I also prefer the OLED screen as well. The 2000 model I purchased from eBay had a yellowing screen and the sticks had very heavy drift. This may have been a bad experience, but I am team Phat Model all the way.


Putting CFW on your Vita is not a difficult task at all. Upon doing so, it creates a fantastic experience that is far beyond what the device could originally do. The customization is fantastic. You can create custom backgrounds and layouts that cater to however you want your menu to look like.

The Homebrew and ports to the Vita are very impressive as well. You can play games such as the GTA trilogy, Baba is You, Bully Mobile, Dead Space Mobile, Sonic Mania, and much more. The community support for the Vita is outstanding and helps to make the device very enticing even all these years later.

Emulation is another reason that makes the Vita a desirable device. The Vita can handle the earlier systems like Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis, and more from that general era of gaming. PlayStation is fantastic on the Vita as well. One of the best parts is PSP games though. The Vita can run PSP games on Adrenaline perfectly with no issues.

Something I highly suggest for CFW is SD2Vita, which you can buy below. This device allows you to use an SD card to put your legally backed-up games on your Vita and play them off of that. This helps us get past using the Sony memory cards and can vastly store much more on it.

SD2Vita on Amazon


The Vita can run some emulation and homebrew well, but what about the games that originally came out for the system? There is no shortage of great games to play on the Vita. Below are some of my favorites that you can check out!


This is my favorite genre and the Vita has so many great options. Persona 4 Golden, Child of Light, Trails of Cold Steel 1 +2, Tokyo Xanadu, Oreshika, Mary Skelter, Final Fantasy X HD, Ys VIII, and much more! There are also some great Digimon games on here too (I love a licensed game, examples of great ones here and here). If you love playing an RPG on the go, this device is perfect for that.


Hell Divers

Hell Divers on the Vita

Another couple of genres that excel on the Vita are the Action and Platformers. The graphics are fantastic for the time. Some of the ones I enjoy are Gravity Rush, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Tear Away, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Killzone Mercenary, Soul Sacrifice, among others.


Before Nintendo tried making the Switch an Indie powerhouse, the Vita was doing this with ease. Some of the best ones you can play are Guacamelee!, Hotline Miami 1+2 , OlliOlli 1+2, Rogue Legacy, Salt and Sanctuary, Stardew Valley, UnMetal, and Undertale. There are so many options that you can’t go wrong here.


A favorite part of the Vita that got me sold on getting one in the first place is the addition of all the ports. The ones I recommend are Metal Gear Solid HD, God of War Collection, Jet Set Radio, Odion Sphere Leifthrasir, Ratchet & Clank Collection, Sly Cooper 1-3, and Muramasa Rebirth. There is a Jak and Daxter collection, but I do not recommend this one as it is not optimized well.


Finally, with CFW there is the ability to play some English translations of games with patches. This is one of my favorite parts of the emulation period. The ones I have tried that work well are Airship Q, Dokuro, The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince, I am Setsuna, and Dragon Quest Heroes 2.

Worth It?

Emulation and retro handhelds are ever-evolving, but is the Vita worth it in 2024? I would say absolutely. Sometimes original hardware just feels better to play on. Sony made a great device that still holds strong today. The community for the Vita has also made this a handheld that is great to still keep coming back to. The Vita is not region-locked, so you can easily find a Japanese model online for cheap.

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