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The PSP is a triumph of design, and it looks incredible even before you switch it on. Finished in gloss black, with silver highlights, the PSP does for hand-held gaming what the iPod did for portable music players – it’s desirable on an aesthetic level, rather than a purely functional one.
The fascia of the PSP is dominated by the 4.3in TFT screen and I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve never seen a display like this on a hand-held device before. The screen has a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, making it ideal for watching movies as well as playing games, with a resolution of 480 x 272 and a full 24bit colour depth. The screen also incorporates Sony’s X-Black coating, so the image is amazingly bright and vivid. The image produced by the PSP display is just breathtaking, and I’ve yet to show this device to anyone that hasn’t been impressed by it.
Unfortunately the screen on my PSP has three dead pixels at the top, which is somewhat annoying. I don’t really notice them when I’m playing games or watching video, but just knowing they’re there bothers me. Having looked around the Internet, it’s clear that dead pixels on the screen is common with the PSP, and some users have found as many as 10, so I guess I’m reasonably lucky. I also noticed while I was surfing that users of Nintendo's DS hand-held console were also complaining of dead pixels. That said, I know of at least two people who bought their PSPs after I did, and they have no dead pixels at all.
To the left of the screen you’ll find a digital gamepad, while below this is an analogue stick. The latter is a master stroke, and means that the PSP will be able to offer its users more accurate control. The majority of console games use analogue controls these days, so adding an analogue stick to the PSP makes it easy to keep the same feel while you’re on the move.