Entertainment

It’s Go Time: PSP Go Review

Sony PSP GoSony has finally answered the demands by the media, blog community, and well just about everyone else outside of those two demanding sources. I have be waiting for an upgraded PSP with a built in Hard Drive for some time since I have always wanted a more digital gaming handheld. Well enter the PSP Go, a screen sliding, hard drive equipped, much more smaller and sleek looking PSP brings with it a new way of playing gaming while on the go. Instead of a media drive such as a Game Card slot like the Nintendo DS or the UMD with the current PSP, the Go relies solely on downloading anything and everything.

While most who have a brain will welcome a device like this no problem, there is a large group who are screaming about this device in the negative. For a good reason with a lot of bad reasons. I will address all these issues as we go along here, but for me, this is a device that can very well be a preview of the future for portable gaming. Its the same as when the iPod first came out and met all the critics with all there negative thoughts and ideas towards this device. Many people said that who is this device marketed towards and what is the the benefit of owning a device that does not take any media at all? Well, here we are Apple has single handedly reinvented the way we all listen to music.

PSP Go Box: http://i34.tinypic.com/33nx40n.jpg

The PSP Go: http://i35.tinypic.com/2wd9fn9.jpg

The PSP Go features all of the hardware specific elements of the current PSP minus two, the UMD and the Memory Stick Duo. They have been replaced with Digital Downloads and the Memory Stick M2. While the PSP UMD games are not compatible with the Go, you can transfer your game saves over to your PSP Go if you do purchase the digital version of that game. Yes, I know, why should you buy a game again that you already own. I agree completely on this, but in the end, is everyone out there going to take there entire library of PSP games and play them all over again simply because they have a newer version of the PSP? Now, I am a big advocate for Backwards Compatibility.

I was one of those who shouted at Sony and Microsoft with there decisions to minimize and or eliminate the feature from the PS3 and Xbox 360. Now I am not going to change my stance on backwards compatibility, its something that is and should be mandatory. However in this sense, the PSP Go is more of a digital device for a digital lifestyle rather then a portable gaming device. At its core, the PSP Go is a gaming portable, this is the main purpose of the system, however, it is more of a media device as well then the current PSP. No need to swap memory sticks like the current PSP or the need to hold the device a specific way since the controls are on the sides, you can simply collapse the screen and the PSP Go turns into a MinI TV for your movies, TV Shows, and a Radio for your Music, Podcasts, and so much more. This device features so many things that the current PSP cant do due to its design factors.

The PSP Go also is fully Bluetooth Enabled, unlike the current PSP, this device can attach itself to almost ANY Headset so you can do your Voice Chat without wires while your online playing SOCOM or any other of the many great PSP Network Games. You can also attach a PS3 Controller to the PSP Go, this is a huge feature since you will no longer need to hold the system to change scenes while outputting to your TV. You can also use the controller to control your Movies, Photo Slideshows, as well as use the controller to play your PSone Classics on the system. You do need the PSP Go Dock to output to your TV, the PSP Go also features Composite and Component Cables for both standard and HD output. The system also features a smaller screen, but only a inch, but the resolution on this screen is much more better then the current PSP.

Watching video on the PSP Go is much more enjoyable then on the original PSP. The screen ratio is improved for video playback and playing games on the PSP Go even looks better in comparison. While I have yet to download a PSP game to my Go, I have downloaded the included Rock Band Unplugged as well as FInal Fantasy VII, Gex 3, and Metal Gear Solid. I bought those three PSone Classics for $25. Playing PSone Classics on the PSP Go is identical to the way they are played on the PSP. The only difference is the screen ratio and audio quality. While I love the new screen ratio for the PSP Go, the speakers are very weak in comparison to the PSP. They are stereo and they are clear but the audio output is weaker and the lowest volume setting produces high output, so there is room for improvement in the audio department.

Accessories: http://i38.tinypic.com/2zeyt6v.jpg

White PSP Go: http://i38.tinypic.com/2u8yn48.jpg

The PSP Go also eliminates the USB MinI connector for a Proprietary Connection much like the iPod’s dock connector. In fact, it IS the iPod’s Dock Connector. While the shape and form are a match, the iPod and PSP Go connector’s are a pin here and pin there in difference that prevents the competitors hardware to be used with one another. The PSP Go is a fully download only device, there is included software called Media Go, which is the iTunes like application. It is in box and it is free, but Windows Only for now. Which I find ironic since all of the video that you download from the Playstation Network is formatted with Quicktime. Wether or not Sony will support Mac is debatable since they retail and manufacture there own line of Windows Based PC’s and given the issue Apple and Sony had over laptop batteries, I think there will be a need for the two companies to stay away and cool off until that issue is fully resolved in paper work.

The application is fully enabled and free, no serial number required and you can even download it for your current PSP without the need to use the installer that comes with the PSP Go. The application is compatible with the PSP as well, this is not a PSP Go Only affair. Once you dock your PSP Go via the Dock or the USB cable, Media Go scans yours device much like iTunes scans your iPod. Everything is cleanly laid out and easy to understand. Everything is in categories and is accessible for anyone to easily understand. You can connect to the Playstation Store using this application all you need to do is log in with your account from PS3 or PSP, or you can create your own profile for free and let the downloading begin. All the downloading via this method will use your PC’s internet connection and while it is downloading, the PSP Go & PSP will receive the content, it will not be placed onto your hard drive unless you back up your data. This backing up feature is huge since no other portable gaming device allows you to do so.

XMB Is A Go: http://i36.tinypic.com/2ugp5zb.jpg

There is lots to be downloaded for everyone who owns a Go. This content is also available for the current PSP owners as well, but with the launch of the Go, Sony blitzed there Store and uploaded hundreds of thousands of pieces of new content. Now, what if your not connected to your PC, who do you receive content. The system is fully Wireless so you can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. The Playstation Store is available for all PSP’s, the store features the same content minus the PS3 since the PSP is NOT a PS3, this is obvious. You can however remotely connect to your PS3 and push a PS3 download to it. This Remote Play feature has been out for a long time, I will not give points in the review on this feature since it is irrelevant due to not being a new feature, Now, downloading wirelessly is great to do however it has two MAJOR drawbacks.

One, the battery life on the PSP Go is horrendous, sadly, its true. I was expecting a new battery type for this device but due to all the Pirating that was based on the removable battery and Memory Stick Duo, Sony dropped both for the M2 and the enclosed battery. Now you cannot remove the battery at all without voiding your warranty. The battery life can be improved with doing custom settings in the systems options. You can also keep wireless off when you are not online. Bluetooth is only enabled when you are attached to a device. So be wireless only when it is necessary. You also have to put your charger together, its in three pieces this time! Can I ever get a charger that was just a cord? The middle device of the charger is hollow as well, its just an empty plastic shell with a small power conversion chip inside. I believe this is there to prevent overcharging and potential power surges from destroying your device. In the end, it is so small and the device charges via the USB cable and not an AC Adapter connector. You can also charge this device while connected with the USB Cable and in USB Mode so when you are downloading content to your PSP Go or PSP from Media Go, your battery will be taken care of.

The second major issue: Wireless Speed. For a digital gaming handheld, you would think that this device will feature all of the fastest standards of 802.11, well it only is compatible with 802.11B which is the second slowest speed, well in all honesty it is the de facto standard in most home with wireless internet and most basic hotels offer 802.11 while you have to go to a high end hotel for the much more faster speeds. While the other PSP do not offer 802.11G or N yet, it would be nice to have that option available if you are outputting that strength of signal. However, this is a battery life concern if your downloading at a higher rate of speed so I can understand why they left that speed out. There are ways to boast your speed at the expense of your battery life but if you connected to your charger, this is not a problem really.

Also, the content your downloading wireless is large and will take a length of time to get downloaded. But what I do not like is the fact that these games you download have to install themselves to the hard drive. I understand why they have to since there large game files that need to communicate with the Operating System, but at the same time DSiWare downloads and its ready to play. The larger the game, the more time it takes to download and install which is both time consuming and annoying. Sony also allows you to download to your PSP Go while connected to your PS3. This is awesome since you can view the entire catalog of the Playstation Store on your TV Screen rather searching through on your portable. Like I mentioned, the stores are the same but remember, PS3 content will not work on a PSP, unless its a media file such as music, movie or photo. I would like to see some sort of speed increase in downloading and installing.

The sliding screen also introduces the new Clock and Calendar Applications. This is a nice new addition as well as a new screen saver and digital alarm clock. The Dock turns your PSP Go into an alarm clock and its a nice feature to have and you can have it connected to your charger to keep your battery fresh. This is an indication that Sony will be introducing its own APP Store much like iTunes and DSi, however, currently they have the PSP Mini’s. These Mini’s are small file sized games lacking online play and are sold at low prices. I cannot wait to see if there will be an App Store Community like that of the iPod and iPhone, This brings me to another complaint that people have about the PSP Go. Its more of a negative comparison that is unfair for a couple of reasons. One, the iPod has been out longer the the PSP and there are many more people who have the iPod then those who have the PSP and DS.

Also, the iPod is both compatible with Mac OS X and Windows. It also features iTunes which has way more licenses then Sony for content, so the iPod and iPhone have more ways of gathering content. Plus the biggest factor that iTunes has over the PSP Go, the App Store SDK, which is Software Development Kit, is available for ANYONE to download for FREE. And these apps are made by anyone and everyone and are either free or so cheap there downloads rates are high. Sony does not offer a public SDK for there users to develop applications for the PSP Go. Im not so sure Sony will allow the public to upload Applications to there servers for the public to use. However, with all the games on the PS3 and PSP that allow users to upload created content, its only a matter of time that Sony would allow users to upload apps to there store and make that its own section in the store. The PSP Go is NOT an iPod/iPhone and is not intended to be, the Go is its own thing. The iPod/iPhone are Media Players and Phone while the PSP Go is a Gaming Device with Media Player Capabilities. Huge difference there since the PSP Go is more tailored to gaming more then the iPod/iPhone. Do not get a PSP Go with the intent of replacing your iPod, for it is not the same thing.

It’s Go Time: http://i34.tinypic.com/35lx8vn.jpg

Also, the Internet is running wild making satirical videos showing people trying to click the sliding screen like a touch screen…really people? Why waste your time putting up a video about this when we all know that the PSP Go is NOT a touch screen handheld. The PSP Go is also NOT replacing the PSP, it is also not a rip off either. The price tag is high, but what people fail to mention is the fact that perhaps maybe the price is high due to the built in hard drive. I remember buying my first 10GB iPod for over $300! And back then the device did not have iTunes for Windows. It was well before there were versions of iTunes for Windows, I had to use Music Match Jukebox. Which is an horrendous program in comparison to what they have now and back then but since it was locked to that application I had no choice.

The PSP Go is also not cheaply made, it is not something that was thrown together either. The PSP Go also allows you to connect to the internet via Tethering, what other portable gaming device allows that? If you have Tethering enabled on your cell phone, you can connect to the internet. Remember data usage charges apply from carrier to carrier but most providers are reasonable with there usage fees. Just do not go over your limit or you will pay a fee for overage. Also, the PSP Go is not a Phone either, people love mocking the fact that you cannot call people with the device. I also love how everyone in the media was demanding a revised PSP with more features and more ways to gather content…well here it is and now they feel its necessary to slam the device for 3 shortcomings. Granted one of them is MAJOR, the UMD Elimination is a problem that Sony should figure out a work around. But to pick on this device for lack of touch screen, high price tag, and the lack of a phone is insane. If you want those use a iPhone, if you want touch screen gaming use a DSi. Also, in reference to backward compatibility, I have one more major point to make here.

The Nintendo DS has three models, DS, DS Lite, and DSi. The DS and Lite both let you play Gameboy Advance Games, the DSI does not. The DSI has built in Cameras and an SD Card Slot for expansion with a built in Media Player, the others do not. The DSI has allows you to download games much like the WiI Shop Channel. This is known as DSiWare, its only available for the DSI and not the others. The DSI also allows Facebook integration, the others do not. There are also DSI Specific Cartridge based games on the way, so the point is this. Why is Nintendo allowed to get away with all these backwards compatibility eliminations but Sony is not allowed to eliminate one? Why is it ok for Apple to boast about there App’s when there developers kit is free and available to the public and with iTunes compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X?

Bottom line: The PSP Go is a great portable device that does have a couple of Major Issues that can or should be resolved in time. The device introduces gamers to a new way of thinking when it comes to obtaining all your content. Its not an iPod, its a gamers iPod. The PSP Go is now available for an MSRP of $249.99. Accessories are also PSP Go Specific, so you cannot use certain PSP Accessories on this device but I bought a screen protector pack and an awesome carry case for under $25.

Hits:

-Fantastic Media Player

-Fantastic Screen Resolution

-Super Light Weight And Small

-Great New Design

-New Way To Own And Play Your Games

-Tethering & Bluetooth Enabled!

-Media Go Is Easy To Use

-Load Times Are Quicker

-Hard Drive Based Portable Gaming Is The Future

-Awesome Accessories

-Download Whatever You Want Wherever

-Sliding The Screen Open Never Gets Old

-Up To 16GB Expansion Available (Currently The M2 Is Maxed Out At That)

-New Analog Stick Feels Right

-PSP Mini’s Are A Potential Preview Of An App Store

-Playstation Network Account Sharing Makes It All Easier To Download

-Download Wirelessly Or Via USB

Misses:

-Wireless Speeds Are Slow But Can Be Adjusted

-Battery Life & Battery Cannot Be Replaced

-No Second Analog

-No UMD Support Or Method Of Transferring (As Of This Writing)

-Not Compatible With Any PSP Accessory, PSP Go Has It’s Own Line

-Audio Could Be Better

-Shoulder Buttons Are Perfectly Shaped But To The Contours Of The System

-Stupid People In The Media, Nintendo & Apple Fanboys
———————————
Official Rating:

Sony PSP Go Rating: 4 Stars Out Of 5

Editor’s Choice
———————————

Click Here To Buy The PSP Go In Piano Black.

Click Here To Buy The PSP Go In Pearl White.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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