(R) PSP Go Hardware Review

October 5th, 2009 -

“PSP Go, it’s like a piece of cheese you can slide outside…”

First Impression:
*opens box*, *puts system in hands* “hmmmm” *puts system back in box to return* … I literally had a rocky start with my Go. I knew going into it that it was small and potentially uncomfortable, but I ignored my better judgment because I can now have the Nurburgring in my pocket anywhere I go (I’ll expand on that in my GT review)! The controls being flat induced my hatred for the first 6 hours of playing it; I played it until the battery ran dead. I was going in and out of love with it. Buyers remorse comes to mind…

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Hardware:
It’s very light, but it doesn’t feel flimsy like a cracker you could snap; it’s pretty solid. The sliding hinge is pretty smooth, but there is an issue with it: when the screen is up you can feel the screen rock a little, which is kind of worrying. I guess that’s to be expected with anything that has a hinge. The screen looks fantastic! … yep, it looks fantastic; next. As lots of other sites have said, it feels like an improvement over the 1000 – 3000. It definitely feels like the premium PSP out of the line up. Oh, and it also collects finger smudges and dust just as good as its predecessors…


Controls:
While I originally hated them, I have started to love them. The D-pad and face buttons feel less mushy, comparative to a Dual Shock or prior PSP model – they feel more responsive. They feel more like a click then a press; it’s kind of hard to explain. It makes quick precision movements on the D-pad feel quicker. The analog stick has a lot more feedback now which is nice, although I still don’t plan on using it much since i never did on my 1000. I don’t understand why everyone is complaining about its location on the Go. It feels just like the dual shock. You have to reach down on that in the same respect that you have to reach down on the Go. Unless your thumbs are an inch long, this shouldn’t be an issue at all.

The shoulder buttons can be pressed from the side now as well as the top for more comfort. While the shot I took of the quarter over the face buttons is intriguing, have no fear, because you would have to have thumbs bigger then a roll of quarters to have issues pressing these buttons. My only complaint on controls are the volume and brightness buttons. They are now located on the top of the unit, which is fine, until you open the screen… I’m pretty sure even after I’ve used this thing for a while I’m still gonna look behind the screen to find the screen brightness button. Also, I’m not too fond of the lanyard loop when I’m playing it while laying down, because of the Go’s smaller size my arms fall together and my palm sinks into the loop, causing mild discomfort.


Bluetooth:
This is a major feature on the Go that allows you to do some pretty amazing stuff. For instance, you can connect a PS3 controller to it and use the controller to operate anything on the system: from the XMB to any game, demo, or movie. When connected to the PS3 controller it doesn’t even acknowledge that the 2nd (right) analog stick exists, along with L2 and R2 being the same as L1 and R1. This “sounds” like a cool feature, but it’s truly mind blowing when you try it.

The bluetooth feature can also be used for any major bluetooth headset. For playing games online or even using Skype. It can also be used as headphones for the system in general (wireless headphones anyone?). I tried making a call to my computer using Skype and it works surprisingly well. I understand Skype has been a feature on the prior PSP systems, but this is the first time you can use a bluetooth to talk on it. If you think about it, this is basically a WiFi phone. I’m not suggesting that you cancel your cell phone contract, but it’s a neat feature to fall back on.

And lastly, Sony has just added bluetooth tethering to the Go via the 6.10 firmware update. Tethering is when you turn a mobile device like a blackberry or iphone into a modem and use the 3G internet from the phone service via bluetooth. Thus basically giving you internet access anywhere on your PSP, which is a feature I’ve wanted since I got my 1000. I attempted to try this out, but I’m not sure if Verizon supports this or if my LG Voyager even supports it. Then again I haven’t looked into it too hardcore outside of trying to pair my phone to it (which worked, it just can do anything with it).


Storage:
Got a bunch of UMD’s? Throw that shit out. Got a bunch of Memory Stick Duo’s? Throw them away too, because that shit don’t work here either (of course right?)… The duo slot has been replaced by Sony’s cell phone card: the “M2″. I guess I can understand why they opted for this. The Go is a smaller device and the card drive is smaller, but still; you ALWAYS have to upgrade every freaking time you get something new…ugh. On the bright side, if you don’t want to invest in M2 cards you could always just use the 16GB internal storage (which is actually 14GB after compression and the system stealing some room for “its own purposes”). Thinking realistically though, it’s nice to have all that space on the unit itself so that you don’t have to carry anything but the system. However, that convenience comes at a cost; what kind of cost? The kind where you are at the whim of Sony’s trigger finger on releasing and re-releasing titles for you to buy (via thePSN). This can be a bummer since big name titles like FF7: Crisis Core, Lumines, and GTA are not available yet.


Bottomline:
I could rant more about features and specs and sales numbers, but you can get all that somewhere else. What you can’t get is my hands-on final opinion of the system. It’s a tough and nearly impossible break down of whether or not I should suggest the Go or who I should suggest it to, because there are so many variables with the Go. One could argue there is hardly any games on the PSN while someone else could argue you don’t need anything but the unit itself. Ultimately, I
would say that Sony got out of the box with this a little early. They really should have built a stronger line up of software that people actually buy (really? Brunswick pro bowling but no Crisis Core? or GTA?).

I honestly can’t finalize this like a software review and just say “buy or rent”, because the Go is such a wish washy device. Somethings about it are amazing while others are depressing; I don’t recommend making your decision on buying a Go based on my review nor do I recommend you do so from IGN, or CNET, or anywhere else. if this was just another UMD based PSP, the story would be a lot different. The problem here is Sony is a little ahead of their time, which is good… and bad. Initially I hated my Go, but now I love it and I cant imagine going back to UMD. Are you going to have the same experience? It’s very possible.


Cliffs:

Are you okay with not being able to use your old PSP games? Yes
Does it make you cringe to know you’re not going to have a box? No
Do you have $250? Yes
Do you have to have the latest in technology? Yes
Are your thumbs as big as a D size battery? No
Do you buy all your PSP games from bargain bins ? No

If you had the same answer to 4 out of 6 of the above questions, I would recommend a PSP Go. If not, I would say you need more time to think about it.

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