First look: Sony PSP



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1 April 2005 | 0

Everything about Sony’s newest console indicates quality and solid manufacturing. The device fits comfortably in your hands. Its layout, with control buttons on the right and a directional control pad and analogue pad on the left, means it should be instantly familiar to anyone who has played a PlayStation or PlayStation 2.

The display is sharp and crisp and the handful of games released make good use of the bright, 4.3-inch widescreen LCD, with graphics that sometimes seem to glow. Based on our early tests, the battery lasted through 2 hours of game play.

The system browser uses Sony’s cross-media bar interface, which arranges menu options in rows and columns and is very easy to navigate. A nice feature is that the background of the system browser changes colour with the date. December is red, and in coming months it will cycle through silver, yellow, light green, pink, green, purple, light blue, dark blue, dark purple, dark yellow, and brown.

The system settings have their own menu and there are also main menus for games, movies, audio, and photos. Music and video can be stored on the Memory Stick directly or by connecting the PSP to a PC and switching the unit to USB mode. The Memory Stick appears as a USB mass storage device and so should work with almost any modern operating system.

Six games were available at launch in the US: “Ridge Racers,” a racing game; “Minna no Golf Portable;” “Lumines,” a sort of Tetris meets sound and light puzzle game; “Armored Core – Formula Front,” a futuristic robot battle game; “Mahjong Fight Club,” a Chinese chess game; and “Vampire Chronicles – Chaos Tower,” a vampire fighting game. The games really showed off the PSP’s graphics, which appeared better than anything released on a handheld console to date. The LCD screen lent itself well to the games. All in all, we have a very favourable impression of Sony’s newest baby, although only time will tell whether consumers will prefer the PSP to the Ngage or the Nintendo DS.


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