Thursday, January 3, 2008
Sony PSP Slim & Lite review
The PlayStation Portable Slim & Lite (PSP-2000), dare I say it, is one hell of a lovely electronic product. Sure it doesn't seem to improve much from the original PSP (PSP-1000 now known informally as PSP Phat) hardware, but there are subtle key difference. The weight difference I really do like a lot. It's like having an iPhone thrown out from my jacket, which is only a good thing.
The PSP Slim is slimmer than the first variant, but only because Sony decided to carve out the two humps that used to adorn the backside on the original, which resulted in a reduction in batter size. The difference in thickness is barely noticeable and some may miss the bumps that allowed for prolonged comfortable gaming. I do hate the fact that the backside is now glossy, as I am no fan of these kind of finishes, especially when it is in 'piano black'. Like the DS Lite, the PSP and PSP Slim's finishes tends to scratch easily, offers less grip and are more prone to retaining smudges and finger prints. Keep a lint free cloth handy if you suffer from some form of obsessive disorder.
Further cost cutting measure is evident in the UMD slot. The original spring-loaded tray (that works similarly to those portable Sony MiniDisc players) has been replaced by manual UMD door, which in my opinion is a good thing. Personally I don't think having to manually pry open the slot is that bad a thing as having not to worry about a spring loosening is a huge plus in my books. Just open the tray, throw a UMD inside the compartment and close. The UMD doesn't rattle in its cage when I gave the PSP a good shake. It takes about 5-7 seconds to boot a game.
The face buttons are in the usual placement with an apparently improved analog pad. The d-pad has a nice 'clicky' feel to it and are well spaced. Like the DS Lite, the face button are not backlit - which could hamper nocturnal gamers. The industry standard miniUSB port on the top side now allows charging (but only via 'USB mode'), as well as other accessories like camera, GPS and 1seg tuner (Japanese only, not compatible with European DVB-H standard). The bottom side contains the headphone jack that allows you to output PSP/PS1 games, films etc. onto your big telly. I can see this as beneficial during prolonged gaming sessions. Unfortunately no TV-out cable is provided with a base pack PSP Slim, so you will be needing to buy this. It outputs in NTSC 480p resolution and supports either 16:9 and 4:3 tellies.
As usual what you get here is the exact same gorgeous and lovely 480x272 resolution LCD. I used to own Sony Clie PDAs with 480x320 screens and I am still wowed by the PSP's screen. The lack of extra digitizer layer used to power a touchscreen clearly allows for better colour reproduction and clarity. Watching films on this is a joy and the capability to output videos in 640x480 resolution onto a TV is like having a little Archos-like device. Very nice, especially when paired with a 4GB/8GB memory stick duo. Now if only Sony would hurry up and bring XviD and DivX support.
Not much has changed over the original PSP, but it is significantly cheaper now. While the size isn't friendly with your jeans pocket, the weight difference, TV-out and RAM upgrade in my opinion are worth ponying up for especially if you haven't already own a PSP. The RAM in particular has been upgraded from 32MB to 64MB which allows developers to cache game files to help speed up the loading in newer games. I didn't find battery to be an issue despite the smaller size (1200mAh vs 1800mAh) as I managed to play WipEout Pulse for a couple of hours and still had 50% of power left. Overall I recommended to those seeking to get into PSP gaming to try to obtain the Slim & Lite version.
With plenty of high profiled games out already plus new ones such as God of War: Chains of Olympus and Patapon due out soon, there is absolutely no reason not to own a PSP any longer. Sure the DS Lite still spanks it in terms of sales, but I see no excuses why someone should not own two portable consoles especially considering the strengths of each products. Bright sunny days ahead for mobile gamers.
The PSP Slim & Lite is available to purchase with free shipping from Amazon UK. None-EU based customers can import from Play-Asia.
04/01: Updated with extra pictures