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Review: Sony Playstation Portable

by Nick Haywood on 14 April 2005, 00:00

Tags: PlayStation Portable, Sony (NYSE:SNE), PSP

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Does size matter?

First impressions are that for a handheld, the PSP is just about as big as it could be and stay within the limits of what I would call a handheld. Remember the Atari Lynx or the Game Gear? It’s roughly the size of one of those coming in at just under 17cm in length. Fortunately it’s a bit slimmer at about 7.5cm across and roughly 2cm deep, but with that 17cm length, that’s a fairly deep pocket you’ll need to stuff it in. Put it inside the protective soft casing and that adds another 2cm in length, 2cm more in width and 1cm in depth meaning that as a pocket gaming platform, this is more of a backpack machine unless you’re Fagin and have uber-sized pockets in your jacket.

One of Sony’s headline games for the PSP, Ridge Racers

So why’s it so big? The answer is in that huge screen Sony have crow-barred into the PSP with a viewable area of 9.6 x 5.5cm, the unit has to be large to then allow for the control buttons at each end. To the left of the screen are the four digital direction buttons and beneath them is a cloth covered analogue joystick, ideal for thumb action and superb in the game that came with the unit, Ridge Racers. Over on the right hand side are Sony’s now standard 4 action buttons and on top are two shoulder buttons for other gaming functions.

The function buttons run across the bottom of the screen. There’s a standard D-pad on the left with an analogue joystick just below. The action buttons all fall nicely under the right thumb.

Across the bottom of the screen, nicely moulded into the all in one plastic facia are buttons for volume control, screen adjustment, and the game select and start buttons as well as two more: a ‘home’ button which drops you back to the PSP main screen from whatever app you’re in and a music button which lets you select different tone presets for the type of music you’re listening to. On the left hand end is the switch for turning the WIFI on or off while over on the right hand end is the main power switch, which also doubles as a button lock key so if you’re listening to music with the PSP in your pocket, slide it to ‘hold’ and any accidental groin induced button pushes won’t interfere with your listening pleasure.