Review by car25

"PSP is a gamer's candy..."

Ever since I have heard about the PSP for well over a year, I have been greatly intrigued as to the possibilities. The pictures online from owners of the Japanese PSP units just made my own anticipation grow... this thing truly had me wanting to put down an early deposit for it's launch date and when that time arrived, I felt like a kid on Christmas day.


The unit is around the same dimensions of the DS, but is a bit thinner... the most impressive thing is the size of the screen... talk about huge! This thing is straight out of another dimension in relation to the size of a GBA or DS screen. Pics and video don't do justice to seeing games run on this beautiful screen, and the quality is comparable to a $500+ PDA IMO... just plain beautiful. The brightness settings available are also good, since they give flexibility to it's usage in a brightly lighted room. 4 settings are available with use of the AC adapter... you get 3 without, and the lowest setting is as bright as the DS's highest.

The unit has a glossy finish, because of this it's easy to have it smudged, but the included cloth handhelds that well. Buttons feel good as anything else out there... no sticky square button here (in the 2+ weeks of constant usage). The unit is comfortable on the most part.

In game impressions (Lumines, Twisted Metal: Head On, Wipeout Pure):

This is clearly where the PSP shines, it's massively powerful hardware makes playing games like TM:HO seem virtually as close to PS2's Twisted Metal Black... the resemblance is impressive and the only main difference is the fact that the PSP is a portable. The amount of detail placed into each stage is very impressive, you hear and see people and traffic, at times you flee for dear life as a missile streaks past your head just mere inches etc... the level of detail placed in such games are so good that I feel "immersed" in playing these kind of games... as if I were playing it on a full console. Online is also loads of fun and there is no real noticeable lag.

Lumines is another great game that I would recommend to almost anyone (especially if they loved basic puzzle games like tetris). The concept is novel, simple and addictive, the music is great and everything looks super on the 4.3" PSP wide screen.

Wipeout Pure is for those guys who loved wipeout XL or for anyone who enjoys a great sense of speed with a futuristic twist. This game shows off the PSPs power, I don't notice any pop ups or any real slow downs... the game runs smooth. If this is what PSP is capable of in the 1st generation titles I am greatly looking forward in the years to come... this machine has great promise.

Battery life (no issue):

I have been regularly getting 7+hrs of game time using the lowest screen brightness (~DS level) and 70% vol. I can easily pull of ~8-9hrs of video through use of the memory stick... and MP3s with the backlighting off would be longer.

Wi Fi, highest screen brightness's, and UMD loading is what takes up battery power. Everyone can rest easy because that "2hr max battery life" myth is officially dead.


Pros (+):
Impressive screen size and quality, it dwarfs anything that the competition dishes out.

Powerful visuals and sound never before seen on a handheld gaming device, it really does draw you into games. This department owns the competition.

Great sound which has to be experienced using good headphones.


Useful none gaming features (mpeg4 video from Memory stick, MP3 playback, and upgradeable firmware/bios through regular updates online etc… many future possibilities)

Not even 4days past its launch, PSP Wipeout Pure was hacked to make web browsing possible. I expect emulators and other programs to be in the works.

Instant online and tunneling.


Cons (-):
Easy to smudge (I recommend giving the unit a quick wipe with the included cleaning cloth after use.)

Screen easy to scratch (micro scratches are seen when looking close under good light, but does not affect the function of the unit when on... I can't even see it)

Dust gets underneath the screen over time due to generous space around buttons (but is not detectable when using the unit, especially on the higher brightness levels.)

Small external speaker size but puts out generous volume. I would recommend using the included head phones.

Final statements:

This handheld never fails to put a smile on my face. Every time I play it, I feel as if I am a kid back in the day playing a classical GB... this thing is really up there IMO, no hype here, just telling you how it is.

The unit is beautiful, the screen is gorgeous, and the gaming quality is striking…. Yes, PSP was worth the 1year wait for me, and $250 for the value pack is a generous asking price for what the machine can do.

I rate this handheld a solid 8.5/10 to 9/10, and I highly recommend it to that demanding gamer who does not seek to accept mediocrity.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/08/05

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