Review by Off_da_border
"You want my advise? NEVER ask DS fanboys of how good is this device."
When the PSP was first released, I never had an intention of buying it, thanks to its blazing expensive price of $250. I thought that a portable never deserves so much money, regardless of how awesome its features were. However, I started developing interest in it with time, until I decided to buy it (and I did) four months ago.
External features and durability 4.5/10
As I get it out of its box, I saw a shiny slab of metal and plastic. Not really, the portable looks more like it is made out of diamond coated hardware. It looks luxurious, something that you spent a good deal of cash to obtain. However, it is not as durable as diamond. Actually, if by some occasion, this portable falls upon your ceramic floor, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye. The UMD tray isn't as good either, if you accidentally tap it while it's open, you end up with a PSP and a UMD tray, owned separately.
Its size is not really reliable either. You can barely fit this in your pocket, and slip a screw driver or a pen beside it. Its weight isn't practical as well, it is relatively heavy and you might want to rest your hands on a chair arm after continuous playing. However, both size and weight are not a big deal, and aren't awful enough to distract your gaming experience.
And hey, I forgot to mention something. The glossy coating smudges VERY easily. You will spend more time wiping the system than actually playing with it. An advice: Buy a screen protection sheet. It costs you a few extra bucks, but if you don't, you will experience continuous distractions from the screen, as it gets smudged and scratched.
I'm impressed. I have never seen a portable rendering environments so excellently. Its graphical capabilities are good enough, they are better than the PS1, and almost as good as the PS2. PSP's graphics actually contribute to the fun during gameplay, they can even be a reason for you to come back for more. They are sharp and crystal clear. Bitmap images look so impressive, they actually MATCH the PC's clarity. Really, this portable should get a perfect score in graphics, but...
...The portable has two problems in this section. Problem #1: The dead pixels. There can be a few counted number of them, or your PSP's screen can actually be flooded with them. You can do nothing about this, though, except just hope that your PSP is "dead pixel" free, or ask your retailer to test your PSP before you buy it. Problem #2: In some games, certain objects may look grainy, but it is not really a big deal.
Another impressive feature of the system. The sound is crystal clear and literally flawless, hence the perfect score. You can play your favourite music as good as in the PC, or you can feel a game thanks to its impressive sound effects. No problems here, up till now...
Controls and distribution of buttons 6/10
This was not really done well. The button positions is actually similar to Dual shock 2, but the L2, R2, and right analog stick are missing. This might seem no big deal, but it might become nasty in some games with so much controls. They start to put in crazy button combinations that are distracting from the game.
Example: you might be in the middle of a gunfight and need to look right AND shoot simultaneously. This is usually easy if you have the right analog, but you need to press and hold L and right on the analog to look while holding R to shoot. However, since its a portable, having one analog is good enough.
Viewing JPG, GIF, BMP, TIFF and PNG images, listening to mp3 music, watching videos, whether from a UMD or downloaded from your PC, Internet browsing, even parental control and more. But where is playing games? It is lost somewhere in the middle. The PSP is more of a multimedia player rather than a gaming system. This might look good, and it is, but from the other side, it is bad. A few selection of games was released for the PSP, but yet, it does have a good selection.
Downloading media files to your PSP isn't bad though. You can get your own music, favourite pictures, and trailers on your PSP, so that you can have a change of pace from playing games. Downloading is no big deal, and all you need is a nice Mini-B type cable. No installation. There is a problem, however. You need a memory stick of greater space (256+ MB) to put all of that in at once.
Internet browsing is basically nice, maybe one of the best features. It is suitable for occasions like when you want to browse the net in bed. The PSP can view around 95% of the web pages out there, and it displays it neatly as well. Setup, however, can be a pain. The first step you can do is buying a wireless router, which actually snags a few more bucks out of your wallet.
Not bad. Not bad at all. You have Ad-hoc mode, which is basically like the traditional 2-player mode on the consoles, and you have Infrastructure mode, basically like online mode on the consoles. In addition to that, you have the game sharing capability, which allows you to play two player with your friend, using two PSPs (yours and his) and only one game disc. Not bad at all, as at least it has online. The problem is, you find somebody with a PSP once in every 100 000 years.
That's overdone. Even the PSP does not deserve a high price like this. Price might actually be the major reason why the PSP sold less than the DS. You can get a good offer, eventually, but even after a reasonable discount, it still costs a lot.
The system is good, and nice to have, however, no system is flawless. I actually find this system to be better than the DS, yet I play with my DS more. The reason? The lack of games.
Buy? Hold on. Search for somebody that has one first (meaning: wait 100 000 years), then test it for yourself. If you're satisfied, then buy, if not, then don't. I don't regret having it, really, but everybody has his own opinions.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/21/06
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