THE HANDHELD REVOLUTION IS HERE
Written: Mar 26, 2005 (Updated Mar 30, 2005)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Combines movies, music, and games in one awesome package, no region coding, design, almost everything
Cons:Easily smudged screen, dust can get in easily, screen is vulnerable, price, no HD
The Bottom Line: Although the price may seem steep, its a very good investment, i recommend to get a big memory stick to get the most out of the PSP.
The Playstation Portable (PSP) is Sony's introduction into the handheld gaming market and it definetly in made a great impression. The PSP value pack comes with the PSP unit itself, cleaning cloth, carrying case, headphones and remote, 32MB memory stick, sample demo disc, and Spider Man 2 the movie (for the first million units). All this is at a $250 US ($299 Canadian) price tag. Sony should have released it like they did in Japan with a standard pack for around $185 US and a seperate value pack. This forces a consomer to buy unnessosary things that they might not want, hopefully they will come out with a standard pack in the future. The PSP is great for importers who want to play Japanese games without buying a Japanese PSP because there is no region coding on the games. The PSP also mixes music, movies, and games very well over all.
Comfort/Feel of the PSP:
The PSP feels very sleek and stylish, you can tell its worth more then $250 when you hold it. But since the device feels so delicate and fragile, its hard to play games or watch videos without being worried something will happen. The unprotected screen is another thing to worry about also but i found the carrying case to be useful and perfectly fine with out buying another hard case. The buttons feel comfortable and easy to push (except the square button) and the D-Pad feels great. The analog stick may be a problem though because you have to keep you thumb lower then usuall to move and it makes it harder to use the "L" button, like in Twisted Metal, but in most games you can use the analog stick or the D-Pad.
Although many screens at launch had dead pixels, i only found one on mine in the lower bottom corner, which you cant see unless you try to find it. But i found the screen to be easy to damage, when i opened my PSP i dropped it a little and the screen got puncture some what. I also noticed that dust can get in the screen easily and it doesnt seem to get out. But most of these arent very noticeable when a game or video is playing unless the screen is all white or black. But the screen is still beautiful at 4.3 inches and it looks great with anything. And as for graphics and power, the PSP delivers between Dreamcast and PS2 graphics and in some games like Ridge Racer it looks better then the PS2 games. I highly recommend a screen protecter if you are worried about scratches and smudges because they can happen easily.
The Screen also has 3 different light settings (when used on a battery) which are all pretty bright and work well in all conditions.
This is one of the problems with the PSP, the sound volume is very low overall. In some games like Ridge Racer and Lumines the sound has excellent quality and is just perfect, but some games have weak quality. Putting on headphones helps, but the ones included arent very good.
EDIT: After using the headphones more ive noticed it is a lot louder and clearer. But i recommend different heaphones then the ones included, they arent very comfortable.
The games at launch for the PSP are incredible, graphic wise, gameplay wise, and just the amount overall (there are over 20 games availible at launch). The controls work well for most games and are easy to get into. You just turn on the PSP and the game starts, unless there is no game in then it goes to the home menu which is where you can select movies, music, settings, and games (on memory stick or UMD). For some games (like Tony Hawk's Underground 2: Remix (THUG 2)) the load time are long and can be unbearable. But if you are in the middle of a game you can just flick the power switch and put the PSP into sleep mode and pick up where you left off next time you turn it back on. The battery is not affected to much by sleep mode but when you wake up from sleep mode, the music in the game does not come back unless you restart the game for some reason. Another helpful feature is the Home button, so (where ever you are) you can just return to the Home menu and pick anything from there.
The PSP is pretty easy to connect to your wireless router (unless you have an encryption you need to key in). There are no firm-ware updates yet so there was nothing i could download or anything. I did try to play Twisted Metal through infrastructure mode (online play), which seemed like somewhat of a hassle. The first night i played, i finished one game and i turned off my PSP. But then next day i kept getting disconnected and i cannot stay in any game very long and it says there is a problem with my router and disconnects, although my wireless laptop works fine. This probably has something to do with the servers though, so im waiting for them to be fixed. I havent gotten a chance to play with anyone else with wi-fi locally, but the battery does get drained quick from wi-fi being on.
The battery does a decent job for the most part. It lasts pretty long. If you are playing a game like Ridge Racer (with intense graphics and disc spinning) then the battery will die fasted then a game like Lumines (a puzzle game). But the batterys long enough for most thing. It takes about 2 hours to charge and comes 33% charged out of the box. For movies like Spider Man 2 (with constant disc spinning) the battery will go by faster, although i have yet to watch the whold movie. Here is about how my day went for the first day:
11:40-12:20=Ridge Racer, then sleep mode
3:00-6:00=THUG 2 and Ridge Racer then sleep
7:00-8:45=Tried to play Twisted Metal with wi-fi on, Ridge Racer, battery dies.
So the battery lasts long enough for my day. But you dont need the battery in to play, you can just use the external charger to play games.
I have not watched all of Spider-Man 2 yet, but the quality looks amazing and the sound is decent. There are no extra features but there are subtitles, etc. There is scene selection and different chapters which make it easier to navigate through (since you can not make chapters for movies on a memory stick). And with more support for UMD movies in the future, it looks like we will see more of these movies. I also have not gotten my 1 GB memory stick in yet, so i have not watched many movies so far but i put some music videos on the small 32 MB that comes with the PSP. Even though the quatlity is low, its shows up very well on the PSP's screen. Rewinding and Forwarding can be done easily with the D-pad and it can move pretty fast. But a problem with the PSP is the lack of a HD (which is probably unnessary, but for movies and games it would have made it easier). Another hassle is converting the movies to M-PEG 4, which is the only format you can convert to to be read on the PSP. But accessing the movies is fairly easy and the settings can be easily adjusted.
I've only put one song on my PSP (because of the lack of a 1 GB memory stick), but the volume was low, even on the highest level, although you can use a pair of headphones which makes it better. Its pretty easy to use but its no ipod. The PSP supports MP3 and ATRAC formats although some people have had problems with ATRAC on PRO DUO memory sticks. But with the PSP you can change the png files to change the image next to the song name.
Photos were pretty easy to put on the PSP and to view. They need to be in J-PEG format. Thats really all there is to say.
Overall the PSP is a very great system for games, music, and movies. Although you need a good memory stick (around $100) to get the most out of it. So if your just into the PSP for the games, you might want to wait till there is a price drop unless you have enough money and you found some games which you really like (which you should have no problems finding). The 3rd party support for the PSP is great and shows a promising future. But make sure you get a warranty or a nice case/screen protector to protect the screen. The PSP may not be able to beat the Game Boy right now, but it should definetly be able to beat the DS.
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