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PSP - mans true best friend...
Member Name: deets
Advantages: gaming and video on the go
Disadvantages: not cheap, poor battery life
PSP - mans true best friendÖ
Ah, I couldnít help myself! Im back and writing a review of something thatís really changed my life recently. Yeah itís a PSP and yep I am as much of a geek as you all assume. So why write a review on the machine now, its been out an ageÖ Well a few reasons recently, one ive been using it on a daily basis now for so long that I think I know it well enough know and secondly its actually started to get some decent games out for itÖ
Sonys little machine has sort of under whelmed the whole gaming world. Which while I can understand, doesnít alter my belief that this truly is THE most important gadget to come out in the last 10 years. A bold statement I know, but ill explain some more later onÖ
As a pure gaming machine, the jury is stil out to be honest. If you want a pure games machine, stick to a Nintendo DS for now. Saying that, the games are getting far better and I shall list my top 4 later on for you to have a look at, but for now, some details.
Well its not a small thing thatís for sure, its around 8 inches or so wide and at least 3-4 high. So this is no clamshell GBA, it needs a decent sized pocket to fit into. Not that itís a bad thing mind, because most of its size is taken up with a big (and I mean big) widescreen display. Boy, itís a joy to play games and watch video on this puppy, so I forgive it the large size. Its also not too light either, the battery on the back takes up a nice chunk of weight. It also manages to fit a nice analogue control stick AND a d pad onto its left size. Despite its size, after some adjusting, you do get used to it fitting into yout hand when playing games. I must confess that it did take some time to adjust to the analogue D Ė pad and I did fear I just would never get used to it, but I did.
The machine plays its games and movies on UMD discs. These a small discs in a plastic cover to prevent scratching. Of course having a spinning disc has its downside, it needs to be powered so the battery life is cut compared to solid state portable devices like the GBA. Thatís the only real major downside of the PSP, its battery life is awful. The large LCD screen, UMD drive and powerful CPU really do drain the power. You are lucky to get 3 hours on game play on one charge, so consider this. Its not all bad though, you can get spare batteries for about £15 (non sony) and even double size ones for £25. I have 3 batteries and they are small enough and can easily be swapped over, a bonus over the GBA and ipod.
Oh yep, this doesnít just play games. The PSP on its latest firmware is a multimedia wizz, itís the most advanced media device out there. Its handling of audio and video is unsurpassed. It plays mp3, wma and AAC for the audio and plays mpeg4 ASP and AVC. Not to get too techy, but mpeg 4 ASP is the Divx/xvid format that you may be aware of online. AVC is its newer bigger brother, a far more advanced and powerful video codec. I know the ipod also handles AVC (or h.264 as its also know), but sadly the square ipod screen is poor and does not do any modern TV or movie justice. The PSP does though, and you can encode your own TV shows or DVDís for free. In fact I have an ultra tech site devoted to the whole subject:
if you follow those guides, you will be able to fit hours of TV onto a single 1gb card, which is amazing.
Ive recently been flying back and forth to the US and I can say the PSP has changed my travel for good. No longer do I have to watch whatever BA are showing, or wait for the next movie to start. On my last trip I watched an episode of lost, desperate housewives and also managed to watch the film Go, which really made the trip fly along. Ive also recently become an uncle, so have to go upto bath a lot, and the 90 min train from Paddington to bath is 2 episodes of lost ;) a joyÖ.
The video is amazing, the audio uses the same formats as the ipod (in fact I use itunes to rip my CDísÖ.) So as media player, its amazing. All you need to do is make sure you get as large a memory stick as you can afford and you will be laughing.
Hmm, I know that if you look at online review sites, the PSP doesnít appear to be doing too well. I think things have changed these last few months though and you have at least now got some 5 star games to chose from. Sure it has no Mario kart or animal crossing like the DS, but it does have GTA, burnout, daxter, lumines and virtua tennis. If I am honest, I have played my PSP every day since its purchase at xmas. I find myself loading up burnout if the TV is getting a little dull, I play the PSP version more than I do the PS2 version. Also, GTA is fantastic. A little lacking compared to the PS2 versions, but still a classic game, if it does feel a little rushed. Im still amazed that I can drive around the same liberty city on my PSP as I did on my PS2. Also, one game that was a classic on the dreamcast is virtua tennis 2 and itís a classic on the PSP as well. All of the games I own are extremely involving and have gameplay that lasts for ages, in fact I have yet to complete any of my games, but I still load them up frequently.
The graphics are by far the best on any portable system seem to date, at least upto playstation 1 standards and make my GBA look very dated. As well all know though, games arenít just about looks, so the DS would still probably be my first choice as a pure games machine
The loading times can sometimes be a little slow due to the disc being accessed, but luckily not so bad as to put you off playing. I have heard that games like pro evo really suffer, but I hope thatís something they learn to work on in future version.
Yeah, its sexy but boy does it pack a punch. As a games machine, its getting there, as a media device its already top of the pack and looks like its not going to beaten for a while. If youíre a games player who does a little traveling, this puppy is ideal. I am off again to the US next month and the 11 hour flight doesnít phase me at all, in fact ill be saving up a few weeks of lost and housewives, just to make it nip along even faster! The down sides are the cost of UMD movies, why pay out twice for a film if you own it on DVD. My advice is to follow my guide and rip your own
I really couldnít recommend it enough, to me itís the walkman on the current generation, finally bringing portable video to the masses when you get bored off playing GTA or daxter
Summary: the walkman of the current generation, a must own
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