So today is the first of October and it’s a special day. Not only is my ridiculously expensive ren due, it is also the official release date of the new black, slimmer, PSP. Let me tell you, I have been waiting for this baby to come out for MONTHS and I finally got my hot little hands on it. Actually, I got my hot little hands on it about a week an a half ago. How did I get it before it was released, you ask? Well Anne and I were walking through Target, picking up somethings for our apartments and I went to the game section to do my routine scour for any games that I wanted. I reached the PSP section, looked down, and pooped my pants.
There it was in all it’s glory. The black PSP I’ve been eying for months. I was going to wait for the white PSP with the silkscreen of Darth Vadar on the back but I just couldn’t wait and I thought the silkscreen of Darth would become tacky over time. Can’t go wrong with black, right?
After a week and a half of playing with this bad boy, I’ve come to the conclusion that I love it very much and have successfully alienated my girlfriend, (sorry Anne!) My first impressions were that it was extremely light compared to the first generation PSP and also a lot slicker looking. They ditched the matte black finish on the back and went glossy all around. It is obviously a finger print magnet but it’s so pretty… I also noticed that a lot of the buttons and switches feel very fragile. It is obvious that cutting the weight 33% had an affect on the materials used. The UMD door feels flimsy and does not have an opening mechanism . All you do is pry it open and haphazardly lay the UMD down and pray it seats correctly. Not the most elegant execution but it has worked fine thus far.
As everyone knows, the PSP is primarily a gaming machine but it does so much more. It plays videos, displays photos, and plays back MP3s, WMAs, ATRACs, and AACs. The audio support is pretty impressive as it supports the most common formats though people to use OGG and other formats will surely be disappointed. Video on the other hand is more complicated, at least for me. I have a lot of AVI and DIVX video because I own a Creative Zen Vision: M and also because I use Windows. All of my videos can not play natively on the PSP until I convert it to MPEG 4. This is defintily a bummer but iPod users will have no problem putting their movies and videos onto the device.
Photos display well on the large screen and users can set their wallpapers with any photo on their PSP. Another cool thing is that every month, the PSP will change the default color background to a different color, signaling the beginning of a new month. It’s a neat little touch.
What I like best is the cross bar interface that Sony has been known for and included with the PS3. It’s simple and straightforward.
Of all the supplementary features that are included in the PSP, I enjoy the web browser the most. It is so convenient to use around campus because I can have access to news and my e-mail all the time. The web browser renders most pages fine, though a little slow. Pages with lots of images will not load because it overwhelms the cache and RAM so be weary of that. I wish that Flash and Java were fully supported for a better web surfing experience but for what it is, it is very good (though typing is annoying but if you’re a good texter, you’ll be good at typing on the PSP virtual keyboard.)
As good as all these features are, you will never get away from the fact that the PSP was meant to play games and it plays games well. The UMD disk spinning around loading is a bit loud and makes a scratching sound but it is just the laser inside moving around. Once the game is loaded up, you will find that the D-pad buttons have been given more travel, making the gaming experience better. The analog stick remains the same and is still a bit “sticky” when trying to be precise. So far, I have bought 4 games and wasted a good portion of my life playing them. There are a wide variety of games for the PSP and feel more adult than the titles for the DS, which is ultimately why I ended up buying the PSP over the DS. It has always been about the game titles and Sony has done right by releasing a good amount of titles for the PSP to keep gamers like me wanting more.