"Excellent device with problems"4.0 starson by Jive01
Pros: Very large screen, knock 'em dead graphics, sexy design
Cons: Tinny speakers, poor battery life, overly delicate, expensive
Summary: I hate Sony. I just want to say that out of the gate. I've had almost nothing but bad experiences with their products and company. When I saw the PSP for the first time, though, I absolutely had to have one. Overall, I am pleased and excited at the prospect of future games.
The PSP had the best launch I can think of. The only system that was even remotely comparable in quality and quantity of games available at launch was the Dreamcast. These high quality games are also the PSP's first stumbling point. They are all just PS2 games. If you've already played them and if you got a system at launch I assume you to be a relatively hardcore gamer, then the system is effectively worthless. Wipeout Pure is good, and the only other game that is truly ONLY for the PSP, Metal Gear AC!D is really strange and hard to get into. The games are all great, but we've already played them.
And played them for longer as well. The battery life is very, very poor. I played Tony Hawk via wireless and the battery pooped the bed in less than 3 hours. I immediately had flashbacks to the Game Gear where it gobbled up 6 AA batteries in 3 hours. Without any wireless play I was able to play for over 4 hours. I also bought a second battery (Which I recommend everyone do) effectively increasing on-the-road life to 6-8 hours. I pine for the days of 20 hours on my Game Boy Advance.
I also pine for the tank-like structure of my Game Boy Advance. If Nintendo has ever done one thing well it's make systems that take a licking and... well you know. I have an old NES that has been punished for the last 2 decades and continues chugging along. If you can find a single Sony product from 2 decades ago that still works at ALL, I would be impressed. The PSP is no different. I get the overall feeling that the device I hold could spontaneously disintegrate at any moment. The DS, on the other hand, feels indestructible (although I'm sure I could manage). The screen especially feels delicate. It can get scratched with immeasurable ease and sucks up finger oils like an Oxy pad. I found myself cleaning it multiple times per day.
The quality of the screen materials is somewhat lower than I expected. I have noticeable LCD shadow in many applications. This may seem like a small complaint, and to be true, I didn't notice it much playing games. But watching movies it was VERY noticeable. Spider-Man 2, which the unit came with, is a giant blur during the fast action scenes. This severely limits the devices ability as a true, pocket-sized, multimedia hub. This is especially disappointing since Sony has hyped the movie-playing aspect of the PSP to a great extent. Now I discover the screen isn't up to the task. LCD shadow aside, the screen is insanely crisp. Games all look bee-u-tiful.
The screen is also the largest source of complaint from everyone I know. I was lucky. I received a screen with some chips, and a couple scratches, and a little dust, but no dead pixels. I also made the point to buy the extra warranty, so when a fresh batch of fault-free PSP's come in, I can trade mine in for one. Even if you didn't buy the extended warranty, Sony should replace it. Do not take the excuse that "LCD screens are made with highly precise technology, but in some cases black spots may appear... this is not a malfunction." (PSP Manual, P. 118). That is, for lack of a better word, BS. For $250, the screen should work.
Just below the screen lies the other problem; the speakers. They, well, they suck. It's apparent that Sony intends for you to use the headphones, but if you're going to bother putting the speakers on there at all, you should put good ones on. In the end, if you're in a quiet environment, the speakers will get the job done. Anything more than a murmur, though, and you can't hear a thing.
Overall quality and design is good, and I feel I got a $500 toy for half the price. It's incredibly sexy, and sexy is the only word for it. Sony got the aesthetic design down wonderfully. The device feels good in my hand, looks even better, and just screams "I'm a kick ass toy!" with the brushed aluminum circle on the back.
You're going to pay for the "kick ass" factor, I'm afraid. And this is the one reason the PSP's usefulness as a combo device is severely limited. $250 will net you the system. But you NEED the warranty, so that's another $25, and you likewise need game cases, another carrying case, second battery, screen protectors, and better ear-buds. That's $50 right there. If you want to do anything besides play games, you'll need a memory stick. The 32MB stick included sure as hell won't cut the mustard. Music will require 256MB or more, and for video you really need a 1GB stick. The 1GB stick will set you back $150-175. Combined with a high game price of $50, you'll want like 2-3 games to start with, let's say you're broke (From buying everything else) and you only get 1. That's another fifty bucks. 250 + 25 + 50 + 150 + 50 = $525 + 36.75 (at 7% sales tax) = 561.75. That absolute steal at $250 just got a whole lot more expensive. Don't even get me started on buying movies, which range from $20-30 each.
If I had expected more from the movie angle, I might have given this a lower grade. But I went in expecting a game machine, and I'm rating it as a game machine. And as a game machine it's very good. The quality control issues will soon be forgotten, but the poor battery life and high price will not, I feel. Those matters aside, I have had a great time with mine, and expect to continue having a great time. That is why I give it an 8. A wonderful game system, if that's all you expect.