In their usual fashion, the folks over at iFixit have greeted Sony's new portable console with a scalpel, revealing some interesting tidbits about the device. Among the more surprising details is the simplicity in which the PlayStation Vita can be opened. Most handheld electronics are unintuitive to disassemble due to some combination of being intricately designed and manufacturers wanting to discourage end user tinkering.

The PS Vita can be disassembled with nothing more than a common #00 Phillips screwdriver and a thin prying tool. Along with using an industry standard bit size, Sony color-coded the different screw lengths: pink ones secure the motherboard while blue ones attach other parts to the motherboard. The system also uses little adhesive and has a simple modular design, so you shouldn't have any trouble replacing busted parts.

Removing the Vita's display requires more effort. To separate the fused front plastic frame and the OLED screen, iFixit had to bake the parts for 10 minutes at 200F. This is more intimidating than other steps in the guide, but to be fair, if your screen already requires replacing, you don't have to worry about busting it further. Besides, iFixit notes that baking electronics is easier than baking bread as the ingredients are premixed.

The teardown also offers a complete list of specifications. The Vita is powered by a custom quad-core Cortex A9 SoC, 512MB of RAM, 128MB of VRAM for the quad-core SGX543MP4+ graphics chip, a 5-inch OLED 960x544 touchscreen with 24-bit color, a rear capacitive touchpad as well as two 0.3-megapixel VGA cameras. There's also a Wolfson Micro WM18303E audio codec and sensors by STMicroelectronics and Kionix.

The wireless card carries all sorts of chips, including the Qualcomm MDM6200 HSPA+ supporting speeds up to 14.4Mb/s (that data rate is available Japan, while US Vita owners are limited to AT&T's 3G HSPA 7.2Mb/s network according to PCWorld). These specs are in line with those previously reported by UBM TechInsights, which performed a teardown late last month and priced the Vita's bill of materials at roughly $159.10:

  • Display and touchscreens: $50
  • Battery: $3.60
  • Cameras: $3.50
  • Wi-Fi/BT/GPS: $3.50
  • NAND: $6.00
  • SDRAM: $9.25
  • Processor: $16.00
  • BB+XCR: $16.25
  • Non-electronic: $11.00
  • Other: $30.00
  • Supporting materials: $10.00