To be hardcore in the video game scene, one must make a painful sacrifice. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you just can’t buy one system and call it a day. No, you must do what is necessary: you must buy every single piece of hardware that has ever been made. Yes, even a Nuon. So, with that in mind, I begged my girlfriend to buy me the new streamlined PSP. What? I didn’t say you couldn’t ruin someone else’s life in your pursuit of hardcore-ness. And guess what? The damn fool agreed to it! Can you believe that shit? Oh mercy.
So with that quick anecdote, here are my quick impressions on the new Ice Silver Sony PSP (the unit bundled with Daxter), officially referred to as the PSP 2000.
My initial response when I opened the package was how insanely light the thing is. I seriously thought it was fake, like some bum put the plastic casing in the box just to fuck with me. I compared it with the original one (yes, I already had a PSP), and it feels much lighter. Sony says it weighs only 33% lighter, but it felt closer to 50%. Now that’s the kind of PR I like.
The outer casing also feels different. It’s made up of a different kind of plastic, and it doesn’t feel as nice as the original one. The PSP-1000, in some ways, felt like cheap glass, whereas the new model feels like cheap plastic. With the original one, I hesitated before touching it, knowing I would leave greasy fingerprints all over it. But with the new one, it feels like the grease is coming from the PSP itself. It’s not the worst thing Sony could have done, but it feels like a step backwards in terms of quality.
The D-pad feels a little stiffer, but testing it out with Lumines, which utilizes it fully, I found zero problems with its responsiveness. It still works like a charm. It may not be the Genesis controller, but at least it ain’t no Xbox 360 pad, either.
Sony also fixed that issue with the Square Button. In the original PSP, a thin metal bar would block the button from going down too far, making it feel really stiff, but on closer inspection of the new model, it seems that the bar is no longer there. Yes, high-fives all around.
The speakers have been moved to the front of the unit, but don’t expect to lower the volume now. It’s still a quiet system in terms of audio output and I still recommend using headphones when using the system.
As for faster loading times, I tried a few of my games out, but I didn’t notice that much of a difference. After reading a few reports on the Interwebs, I found that some titles see better results than others, so don’t get your knickers in a bunch just yet.
One of the biggest fixes with the new unit is the battery efficiency. It’s leaps and bounds better than the original unit. I played about two hours of Daxter, watched a good hour of the Family Guy UMD, and still had like 40% of the battery left. And this was with the highest brightness setting. If I did the same thing with the old PSP, it probably wouldn’t have made it that far. If you have the old PSP, I would recommend getting the new one, just for the battery life.
Sony also gives you the ability to recharge the system with a USB cable, but they still make you manually connect to another system through the XMB (Cross Media Bar). I would assume the moment you hook the wire up to a PC, it would start charging, but you have to remember, this is Sony we’re dealing with. When we get good things, we also get bad things. It’s just how they work.
As of today, the firmware version is at 3.70, which finally lets you listen to music as you view your photos. Yeah. The PSP just got that. I know. It’s horrible.
If you’ve been holding out for a PSP since 2005, now would be the time to dive in. The actual system was always more than capable, but with a nice tune-up, this baby’s ready for the big leagues. I still think the Piano Black is the nicest looking version, but that’s just me.
Also, I have not purchased the component cables for the unit as of yet, so I’m sorry to say I can’t tell you how good or bad the video-out option is right now. Hopefully I will purchase the cables on Saturday. Expect impressions soon after.