"It's an excellent start, but more could have been done"

The PSP is Sony's intro into the Nintendo dominated portable console unit market. With 1 or 2 issues that plague the PSP, it's still a great machine that has the potential to give Nintendo a run for it's money.

Graphics - 8 out of 10 The LCD screen is one of the largest out there on the portable console units out there. It's bright, clear, and has very clear graphics. The movie quality is excellent, the videos on the sample disc and the Spider-Man 2 UMD that came with my PSP show up clear and crisp. With no signs of quality loss. The game graphics on the PSP are very good. The polygon count is great and honestly couldn't see anything that could detract from it. Now the downside, unfortunately dependent on the luck of the draw. The PSP suffers from the dreaded and talked about dead-pixel issue. I had to turn my PSP in two times till I finally got a unit without any dead pixels. Even worse, Sony does not acknowledge this as a warranty issue, as it says in there instruction manual, it is normal to see some black or white spots on the LCD screen. This maybe normal for them, but not for me. Overall the display and graphic set up of the PSP is excellent, but the dead-pixel issue really detracts from the overall feel of the graphics. Hopefully Sony will own up and admit that this is an issue and properly resolve it in later production models.

Sound - 9 out of 10 Sound quality on the PSP is very good and just about good as it can get for a portable unit. My only gripe is the volume of the PSP unit, if you are not using headsets that are included unit, the volume doesn't come in loud. Even on the highest volume setting it was very hard to hear. I had to find the quietest spot in my house to hear the audio in the PSP without the headsets, also the headset included with the PSP aren't that comfortable. I would recommend a over the head headset if you have them. It almost feels like that Sony wants you to use a headset device in order to enjoy the audio quality of the PSP. Overall the audio quality on the PSP is great, but the volume could be better.

Battery Life - 9 out of 10 One of the most talked about issues with the PSP was it's battery life. Honestly I couldn't find anything wrong with the battery life and it suited my needs. I charged up the PSP to full capacity, played the Spider-Man 2 move, which has a runtime of roughly 2 hrs and still had roughly 2 hours of gameplay power left before I had to recharge it. Like the Gameboy Advance, you can still use the PSP while it's charging. Personally I feel that the battery life on the PSP is more than adequate for this unit.

Layout - 10 out of 10 The control and button layout of the PSP is pretty good. Nothing feels really awkward and you can easily get the feel of the buttons and control of the PSP. The unit fits will in your hands and there is no bulky or awkward feel to it. Also one of the other talked about issues with the PSP was that some of the buttons on the PSP would get jammed. My unit had none of these issues and I really couldn't duplicate this, not that I was trying to. If anything the only thing you might have to get used to is how to power the PSP off. Other than that, I feel that the control and button layout for the PSP is excellent.

Overall - 8 out of 10 The PSP is a great machine and an excellent start for Sony's entry into the portable game market, but there are still some issues that need to be worked out. Unfortunately I feel that if they want to remain as strong contender or even dominant the portable game market from Nintendo, Sony needs to resolve a few things. First the dead-pixel issue, whether it's 1 or 1000, a dead pixel is a dead pixel. For a machine like the PSP it's inexcusable, especially for the cost for the PSP. Also I feel that Sony should resolve the volume issue of the PSP. I'm not asking for ear popping Dolby digital stereo surround sound, but something that doesn't require me to seclude myself from the outside world in order to hear it without the headset. Overall the PSP has great potential. Aside from being a portable game unit, the PSP has multimedia capabilities such movie playback, storing and playing audio files, Wi-Fi wireless connection capabilities, and photo display qualities. Again if Sony wants the PSP to gain any footing on Nintendo's turf. Sony has to maximize as much of the PSP's potential as possible and resolve a few issues in later production models. Overall it's a great machine, but it could have been better.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/28/05

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