PSP Go Hands- on Preview

The PSP Go, Sony’s big announcement for E3, crept out way early. The PSP Go was leaked ahead of schedule in a video with Qore host Veronica Belmont and John Koller, director of hardware marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America. A basic rundown of the portable console reveals that it has 16GB of onboard storage, no UMD drive, is substantially smaller, and will cost $249 when it hits retail on October 1.

According to Sony, the PSP Go isn’t meant to replace an existing PSP but merely augment the device for a different class of users. It made the device for those who abandoned physical media; hence, the 16GB of storage space, expandable via the M2 memory stick slot.
With onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the PSP Go downloads data, games, and connects to headsets wirelessly. Sony is emphasizing downloadable games for the device, a play to meet Nintendo’s DSi Shop and Apple’s monumentally successful App Store for the iPhone. Representatives indicated that there’s a good will plan in the works to prevent alienation of existing PSP owners. Basically, if you already have a ton of PSP games, Sony will likely offer some sort of program so that you don’t have to repurchase them.

The PSP Go weighs 40 percent less and is 50 percent smaller than the existing PSP-3000. Despite its lightness, the PSP Go feels very solid. The sliding mechanism moves smoothly, and it seems like it could take a decent amount of wear and tear. Like the iPhone, the PSP Go does not have an interchangeable battery.
While we haven’t exactly had a prolonged gaming session with the device, the smaller screen doesn’t seem to detract from gameplay much. The Go’s screen has the same resolution as the original PSP, except it’s squished into a 3.8” LCD.

Surprisingly, the PSP Go isn’t much larger than the iPhone. It’s roughly twice as thick and extends slightly over the iPhone’s screen to totally cover it. As a result, the controls are also squished together, but they don’t seem to suffer for it. The buttons and D pad work well, and the analog stick functions about the same as the one found on the original PSP.
We didn’t get to try out any of the wireless capabilities of the console or even the software that will come with it. From a hardware standpoint, the PSP Go seems remarkably well built and fit for consumption. We’ll have a more in-depth analysis of the handheld once we have a retail kit.


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