PSP Review Once again I have imported yet another console on the handheld market. Now I’m not going to automatically say that PSP is the best and this isn’t a comparison review so what I will do is review the PSP. Finally the packaged arrive, to my surprise faster than any other package I have received before and this one came from Japan. I opened the box to find the system box and my copy of Ridge Racers. When I pulled the PSP box out it wasn’t as large as I thought it would be. I purchased the Value pack and because of all the accessories I assumed it would have been slightly larger. However, Sony have managed to package everything into this little box nicely. When you first open the box you will notice Layer 1 as I like to call it. This consists of the Softcase. The Softcase is just a pouch for the PSP and it works great. It’s a very tight fit for the system when trying to get it in, so as design by Sony the Strap stops you from putting the system in analogue stick first. Layer 2 consists of the Leather Strap, which is quite large when you first see this item, its also very hard to get into the system, with the tiny loop hole, I thought I was going to break it. Also on this layer you will notice the Headset. The headphone are in one bag and the remote half of the Headset is in another bag. The remote feels very cheap and flimsy. Its very light weight and feels as if the buttons have no function, kind of as if it was there to look good. It also looks like it came from the land of iPods but unfortunately will not fit in the iPod Mini. Next layer which is the last for the box contains the Instruction manual and Memory Stick Duo 32 MB Card. The card is incredibly small. So small that when I first try using it in my card reader it wouldn’t work and almost fell in. I only own an 8-1 Card reader but I thought it was worth a shot. The memory card comes in a little sleeve which offers very little in terms of protection, more like a dust preventer. The instruction manual is very think and has a lot of stuff I can’t read. There also seems to be a registration slip and a warranty slip of some sort. The next part of the box contains another box with part 1 of the power adapter shoved down the side. In the second box is the PSP and part 2 of the power adapter, it also contains the battery for the PSP. The PSP is wrapped in the foam type of wrapping which stick to the PSP’s screen and need some breathing before being able to lift it. That means just a slight blow into the bag to lift it off the screen. That is the whole unwrapping process of the newest handheld on the market. The PSP Shell The PSP is actually quite light. This is with the battery inserted. The weight feels even across the whole system and not just lop-sided to the battery compartment. It is slightly noticeably but hardly. The size of the system is on everyone’s mind I would assume. Well everyone has comparison shots and ill include mine. The system is just larger than the DS, so if you have been playing that for a few months then you won’t really have to adjust your hands. For first time users your hands maybe become cramped just like when I first used the DS. The shell at the top right has the Sony logo imprinted on it and the Playstation symbol to the top left. On the bottom centre is the words PSP in the square writing. On the bottom left to next to the analogue stick is the magic gate symbol and an indicator light below that a transmitter symbol and indicator light. On the opposite side of the system is the word Power in green and an indicator light which is the same green from the PS2 and turns orange when in charge mode and flashes green for low batt. Below the power button is the word Hold and an indicator light. Also on the shell of the system is a grid of speaker holes at the top, which aren’t speaker holes. To the bottom corner of each side of the screen are 2 little holes which are the speaker holes and pump out the sound. The shell also contains the IR Port at the top on the left, in the centre a USB 2.0 Port and to the right the UMD open switch. At the back of the unit you will notice the battery compartment but besides that you will notice the UMD drive. By sliding the button at the top the UMD drive springs open and is ready for a disc. If a disc is inserted it works much like the Sony Mini Discs where the disc will be slightly ejected so you can easily pull it out. Once loaded or unloaded you just push it in toward the system and its done. The spring loading happens very fast and feels like it could just snap off but let me inform you if you haven’t been already, it is very durable, it may look delicate but it can stand the test of time, or hard hits. The Screen The screen is one of the major selling points of the system and with good reason. Its huge. You really cannot go past the size of this screen. The screen as is with the rest of the system contains a protective coating or as I like to say a finger print magnet coating. Finger prints are not just drawn to the screen but the whole front of the system. Sure it offers a great glossy finish and looks incredible but it always looks dirty, and apart from looking like a million bucks because of the hardware itself, there are finger prints all over it. They can easily be cleaned off with a tissue but will just keep appearing. The screen covers the majority of the system and is the largest screen to ever appear on a handheld. Buttons The system contains a large array of buttons, similar to some found on console controllers. The top of the system see that shoulder buttons which are both transparent from a front on view and from a top view you can see the L and R letters on each side respectively. The shoulder buttons are very “clicky” and feel more responsive than the rest of the handheld. On the left hand side is the digital direction pad which is the same as the one found on the PS2 controllers and that means in size to, the pad is huge. It is almost as if they don’t want you to use the analogue stick. The D-Pad is very smooth and feels soft. Just like the PS2 version. However is quite responsive as one may tend to think not. Below the D-Pad is my personal favourite part of the system. The analogue Stick. This is the best thing about the handheld. It makes it feel just like a console system and feels great. It has a plastic type grip which if you thumbs become sweaty they will just slip off which can be a hassle in driving games and action games need the best precision. It can move in every direction you can think but is quite small on the face of the system. Moving across the system left to right on the bottom is the Home Button which only need just a slight push just like the others and is very responsive. Next is the Volume – and + Button then a Button with a screen in it which is brightness control and beside that a button with a music note in it which is for the system tone. Next to that are bother the Select and Start Buttons which serve different purposes depending on what the user is doing. On the right hand side of the system are the action buttons. These are the Square, Triangle, Circle and X buttons which just like the D-Pad are the same size as the ones found on a PS2. The feel “clicky” just like the shoulder buttons and are very responsive which is important in games. The UMD open button is located on the top of the system, the Wireless Network Button on the left and the On/Off switch on the right. With all these buttons there seems to be a lot to play around with on the PSP but my hands fit snug on the system and its like riding a bike. System Settings When you first turn on the PSP you are greeted with a the PSP writing on a white background and black writing. As soon as the chime has finished on the intro you will be promoted to enter your language setting and then time and date and other personal settings such as your network name. Once these small pieces of information have been setup you are now in the main menu. The Tool Box picture are all the settings for the PSP. This is… Network Update, USB Connection, Video Settings, Photo Settings, System Settings, Date and Time Settings, Power Save Settings, Sound Settings, Security Settings, Network Settings. As you can see there is quite a vast range of settings on this little device. Across n the menu is a picture of a Camera which is for photo viewing using the memory stick. Next across is a Music Note for playing music, next to that is a Film Roll used for viewing movies and last is a Playstation Controller for Games. If you choose the game option, if there is no UMD inserted in the system there will not be a picture of a UMD. If there is one inserted and you scroll over the UMD a preview of the game inserted will play. The system settings are easy to control once you have a look around and get a fair idea of everything. The System Capability This thing can handle anything. The screen shots you see of the games in play do not do the system justice. They are double the quality in the game compared to the screen shot which normally isn’t the case in most games, it tends to be the other way around. From system start up it looks amazing and writing it in works is nowhere near as good as it is. The graphics are crisp and bright and look amazing on the huge screen, pictures and movies look better on the screen then they do on a computer. The sound pumps from both sides of the system and at stereo pace. It is clearly noticeable in Ridge racers when you can hear the waterfall in one ear but not the other and it sounds even better through the headphones which might seem cheap but can pump out a good sound. The sound sis also mind blowing. It wasn’t as loud as I thought it would be but it is considerably loud. I haven’t had the chance to compare it to the NDS but it clearly beats that system in the crispness of the sound. This brings me to the end of yet another import review which I was happy to do. This time it was just a system review but I will be sure to include a Ridge Racer preview soon which should go more into depth about the graphic quality of the system.