The PlayStation Vita has some unbelievably nice hardware. In our review, we gave Sony's latest portable a 9 in terms of both overall design and for its gorgeous Super AMOLED Plus panel. Still, it would seem that in an ideal world, the Vita would've taken on a notably different and more design-oriented appearance than what shipped in Japan last month and is due to hit US shores in February. This is according to lead designer Takashi Sogabe, who provided an overview of the Vita's creation in a roundtable discussion covered by CVG.

One of the more interesting revelations is that an early prototype of the device featured a clamshell design (think Tablet P) before the look and feel returned to a more traditional PSP style following input from publishers. Further, designers also toyed with an extra half inch of screen real estate before settling on a 5-inch display for portability. In fact, a large part of the discussion revolves around the compromises that must be made between designers and engineers during the development of such a mainstream product. Sogabe reveals that the Vita's original look was much thinner than the final build, only to be changed because "engineers wanted to put all the features in." In the battle of form and function, we'd likely have made the same call. After all, the Vita might not be so compelling if it weren't for its powerhouse specs. Check out the source link for the full, fascinating discussion.