Saturday, September 08, 2007


So by now most retailers have gotten in their shipments of the new PSP Daxter Entertainment pack ... which is also the public's first gander at the newly redesigned PSP (dubbed the PSP 2000 in the press, but carrying an actual PSP 2001 model number). I decided to bite the bullet and pick this up, and I've gotta say that I'm impressed so far by what I've seen.

First off, I've gotta say that if you're in the market for a PSP, this is definitely the way to go. For just 30 buck more than the core unit's $170 retail price, you get a copy of the HILARIOUSLY fun Daxter game ($20 MSRP), a copy of the Family Guy Freakin' Sweet Collection UMD (another $20 MSRP), AND a 1G Memory Stick Pro DUO (ringing in at an MSRP of $50). So, all in all, you'll save about $60 total ... even better, this weekend, Target has the pack listed at 15% off ... making it the same $169.99 retail price as a core system. And keep in mind, you've still got a week or so until the new PSP models hit stores in the Core packs.

Moving along to the system itself ... I'll skip any mention of the cool "Ice Silver" (bad pun) color. The first thing I noticed when I pulled it out of the package is that the new system feels ... well ... fake. I'm not knocking the system, but it's just SUCH a huge change. Basically, Sony has swapped the heavy metal outer body of the original PSP with lighter, seemingly durable, plastic body for the new model. The result makes the new model feel ... well ... like a cheap prop when compared to the original.

Another physical tweak to the design is the new UMD loading tray. Gone are the days of sliding in the UMD and trying to get the spring inside to lock into place. Now, you just pop open a small door, lay the UMD inside, and everything just falls into place. I'm a little split on this design. I LOVE the way the UMDs fit into the tray now, but I'm not a fan of the elimination of the eject button. Every time I manually pop open the UMD slot, I'm afraid I'm going to snap the damned thing off. Maybe I'm just being paranoid since it's new ... and since the rest of the PSP feels like a prop.

On the original PSP, the speakers were situated on the bottom side of the unit (where the serial number and wrist strap loop are). This was fine, but occasionally, depending on how you held the system, your fingers couldn't help but cover them. With the new speaker placements, at the upper portion of the main menu, this isn't a problem. As a result, the new system SEEMS to have sharper sound. It really isn't much of a difference in terms of hardware, but without players' hands getting in the way, the speakers sounds richer than before.

Now, maybe it's just me and maybe I'm losing my mind, but I'll be damned if the new screen isn't somehow sharper looking than the original. Playing games like Dead Head Fred on the system, everything looks about as crisp as if I was playing it on my HD LCD. Right now, I'm just itching to get my hands on the video cables to see just how this stacks up when actually ON the LCD TV. I think Sony kinda missed the boat by not including the AV Out cables, especially considering that the video out function is one of the new system's biggest draws. Either way, it looks like I'll have to wait til a little later to see the AV out in action.

Now, I do notice a slight decrease in the load times with the new PSP over the old one. I bring this up because, while it HAS been described as a feature in earlier material from Sony, some of the press has said there wasn't much of a noticeable change. Others have said there was a measurable change. For my personal experience, I'm in the latter group. While still not exactly lightning fast in some cases, the UMDs do, by and large, load up quite a bit faster than they did before.

So, if you already have a PSP, should you buy this new models? Eh ... I guess it's a matter of preference. For me, and in my line of work, the video out option alone was worth a look ... and the extra onboard memory and such was a nice added bonus. Would it have been a necessity to get the new model? No. But was there enough for me to justify it? Personally, yes. For others, maybe not so much. But if you DON'T already have a PSP, this is definitely the way to go for getting one.

I'll write up an update later to discuss more of the software features of the new PSP, as well as the infamous video out function. In the meantime, the PSP 2001 is definitely worth a look.

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