We recently took a look at the Kensington USB Power Tips for Nintendo Game Boy and Sony PSP, which made for a convenient solution for charging on the go. While the Mad Catz USB Data/Charge Cable for PSP ($10) won't work with any Nintendo products, it is quite possibly the only cable you'll ever need for the PSP.
On one side, the Mad Catz cable offers a standard USB plug; the other side splits into two, Y-style, with one branch offering a standard mini-USB interface and the other a PSP-style AC plug. Plug the standard USB cable into your PC and the other mini-USB and power nubs into the corresponding jacks on the PSP, and you're good to go--no special software needed. It works equally well for charging the PSP, transferring data (music, videos, photos, game demos, what have you), or doing both tasks simultaneously.
In addition to working with powered USB ports on any computer (PC or Mac), the Mad Catz cable can also handle PSP recharging duties from any standard AC charger that offers a USB port. So if you're traveling without a laptop but you have your iPod charger--be it Apple's or one from a third party--you can leave the bulky PSP-charging brick at home.
Even better, the Mad Catz cable had no trouble charging two devices at once. Using the Apple iPod charger, we were able to juice up the PSP and the Sprint Mogul smartphone simultaneously--that's yet another power adapter. We imagine that any PDA/Smartphone with a USB-charging interface will accept the Mad Catz cable, too. If you have a portable device that recharges via the mini-USB jack, chances are it'll work just as well--deleting yet another charging cable from your travel inventory.
Owners of the new PSP slim should also take notice: even though the new model does allow charging via its USB port, the device must first be toggled into a special charging-only mode. By contrast, the Mad Catz cable works with all PSP models (old and new), and you're free to use the system as normal while it charges. That's also the only time when the 8-foot length--which is otherwise quite a bit more than you'd probably need--comes in handy.
One other item of note: the official name of the product is simply "Mad Catz PSP USB Cable," and it's often depicted at online stores with the wrong photo. Indeed, even on Mad Catz's own Web site, the photo is incorrect, failing to show the unique Y-split and power plug. Rest assured, though, that Mad Catz Product No. 8725 is the one that's enthusiastically reviewed here. (The company's similar "PSP Power Pak" includes the same cable, but adds a huge extension battery, as well.)
Nomenclature and photo confusion from the company notwithstanding, the Mad Catz USB Data/Charge Cable for PSP is an easy recommendation for anyone who owns a PSP. For 10 bucks, it's a slam dunk.