Review by kirkinout

"Simply brilliant."

I took my time to see what the PSP really had to offer, and I am pleased with the results. I never would have expected this power from a handheld device but the PSP blew me away. The PSP is a big step up from the usual handheld, the Gameboy Advance, as is the DS, but the PSP takes handheld gaming to the next level. I have no problems with Nintendo's handheld, seeing as I am a major Nintendo fan so I hope this review proves to be unbiased in that respect. In any case, here we go:

Design: 10

The PSP looks amazing. Though a bit wide for my taste, the PSP has a sleek exquisite design. The button arrangement matches fairly well with the PS2's controller, minus the L2 and R2 buttons and the joysticks. Because the PSP has a similar design to the PS2 controller it is very comfortable to hold and to play. The 4.3" 16:9 widescreen TFT LCD screen sits beautifully in the center of the console. Replacing the joystick for the PSP, the analog nub is pretty weird at first but it gets pretty comfortable and I prefer it to the usual joystick due to the feeling of precision it adds to my gameplay. Along the button of the PSP are the home, start, select, screen brightness, volume, and sound buttons. The home button basically takes you to the home screen (never would have guessed, right?) and is used to quit a game. The sound button basically switches music styles such as rock or jazz volume balance. The other buttons are pretty self-explanatory so I won't go through them. Now for durability, the PSP's main weakness. If you drop your PSP it's pretty much done. The PSP isn't very durable at all. This can be fixed however with the PSP's many accessories, mainly Logictech's Playgear Pocket. If you can spare the money I suggest you buy it, otherwise take really good care of your PSP. Another problem with the PSP is that although the PSP is very sleek and shiny, it is highly prone to smudges and fingerprints. Not a big concern but you will need to clean it often. In addition the battery life for the PSP isn't as good as it could be but Sony recently released a stronger battery with 20% more power for those gamers who like to play for hours and hours, like myself.

Games and Movies: 9

The launch for the PSP was very successful, holding a wide variety of appealing games, however I was disappointed to see that the PSP's launch titles were focused more on shooters, racing and sports games. Being an RPG guy myself, the launch looked grim. Currently however, the games are getting better, with many new games that fit my interests, such as GTA: LCS, Legend of Heroes, along with many others. PSP had and still has a solid line-up for its console and looks even more promising with upcoming games, such as Street Fighter, and Ys. Though primarily focused on sports games, the PSP is suiting my needs as time progresses. Sadly, my RPGs arrive on the PSP; it won't receive anything higher than an 9 from me in the games category. Not only playing games, the PSP also plays movies. The PSP has a wide selection of movies, basically what you would normally see being released for DVD, only on a Universal Media Disc (UMD), which the PSP utilizes. Sadly, some of the movies for the PSP cost more than a DVD which, in my opinion, is a large annoyance. I suppose it makes some sense as you can now watch movies on the go but because of the price difference, I would rather buy a DVD instead. Still being able to watch movies on a handheld is nothing less than spectacular and some movies are worth buying to see on the go.

Graphics: 10

The graphics for this system are beautiful. The PSP's graphics are on the same level as the PS2 which is nothing small for a handheld. Now, graphics really aren't important when playing a game, but it does add a certain quality to whatever you're playing. Most games for the PSP have exceptional graphics such as Ridge Racers or GTA: LCS. The graphics are fluid, clear and really make the PSP stand out from other handhelds. You'll notice the clarity of a 16:9 ratio in an instant. I must admit, however, I thought the graphics for the PSP were choppy and jagged when playing Dynasty Warriors, but that was only for that game in particular. Seriously the graphics for the PSP, although not a big factor for me when buying games, are a big plus.

Sound: 10

The quality of sound on the PSP is truly noticeable. It's as if every sound the PSP emits was meant to be there and is really enjoyable to listen to. The sound is crisp and clear, not skipping at all. The sound can also be altered with the Music Button I mentioned earlier. You can heighten the bass and the range without distorting the overall sound production, which is rather remarkable comparing it to other handheld devices. The PSP met and surpassed my needs in the sound category. I can almost guarantee if you listen to a song on the PSP you will notice how fluid it is. The PSP's sound was truly perfected and gives you the feeling you got what you paid for and it was worth it.

Capabilities: 10

In addition to playing games, the PSP has a variety of other features. It can play music, videos; store pictures and has internet access, so let's break each part down. The PSP plays MP3 files along with Atrac music from the memory stick and is pretty simple to put on your PSP. As said earlier the sound quality for the PSP is brilliant, making this feature really worth having. The PSP plays videos in an MP4 format, which is somewhat difficult to use seeing as I can't find a really good converter. I was able to convert some files to an MP4 format, but was disappointed with the results. Still this problem will most likely be fixed by Sony. The Photo Viewer is used to view photos and other image files from the Memory Stick and the UMD drive. Images can be viewed either by browsing through them, or as a slideshow. The menu and controls are similar to the PS2's DVD playback options. The PSP has established an internet browser that works off a home network. Though a bit slow, this is a great feature to have and can be utilized through various hotspots in one's area. Each webpage on the PSP isn't incredibly small as many have thought, but you do have to scroll a lot more to view a page completely, which is understandable seeing the size of the PSP's screen. Also, recently added to the PSP was the LocalFree Player which allows you to watch TV on you PSP, though the price of the LocalFree Router isn't really worth it in my opinion. Still, it's a nice feature to have.

Pricing: 5

PSP's biggest problem is its pricing, being over $100 more than Nintendo's DS handheld. The price of the PSP varies, depending on what type of package you get, such as the 1GB package and the price currently ranges from $200-$300. The price makes sense in some respect, considering what you're getting for it but is still very steep. Hopefully the price will steadily decrease soon; otherwise you'll have to dish out some serious cash for this piece of technology.

Overall: 9
•Beautiful design, very sleek
•Very Light
•Variety of games
•Perfect sound
•Amazing graphics
•Various multimedia features
•Large screen

•Battery Life (possibly)
•Smudges very easily

The PSP is awesome, simple as that. It comes with loads of features and is one of the best multimedia devices around in my opinion. The pricing is my only real concern with it and is the only thing that holds back this handheld from a 10.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/28/05

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