To the right of the screen is the familiar PlayStation button array – the four buttons are marked with a triangle, a circle, an X and a square, just like a PlayStation controller. There are also left and right shoulder buttons, again mirroring the console controller.
There are a further seven buttons below the screen. Most recognisable will be the Start and Select buttons, which have the same functions as on the full size consoles. There’s also a music button which toggles through various pre-set equaliser settings, while the brightness button toggles through three levels of screen brightness. The volume + and – buttons are pretty self explanatory, while the Home button will take you back to the XMB graphical user interface (GUI).
The PSP fits in your hand comfortably, and both the controllers and the buttons fall under your thumbs easily. It’s surprisingly light and finding the perfect viewing angle is simple, even with strong ambient light sources. There’s a wrist strap supplied with the PSP, and although it doesn’t look particularly cool, it’s worth using, just in case someone knocks it out of your hand.
If there’s one problem with the PSP’s slick black design, it’s the fact that it’s a magnet for fingerprints and greasy smears. It sometimes feels like the PSP just pulls fingerprints out of the atmosphere, because even after you’ve just wiped it clean, fingerprints will appear before you’ve even picked it up!
The power switch on the right is spring loaded – push it forward and it will power the unit on and return to its original position; push it forward again and it will power the device off and once again return to its place. If you push the switch backwards it will click into place and lock all the buttons on the unit.