Sony PSPgo - Sony PSPgo

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Like the iPod touch and most modern PMPs, the PSPgo uses an internal, non-replaceable Lithium-Ion battery, now rated at 960mAh over the PSP3000's 1200mAh cell. The smaller screen size, the lack of UMD and some unspecified changes to the internal components mean that the PSPgo is more power efficient than its predecessor, but the lower capacity cell means that battery life is roughly the same. If you have a PSP you'll know that it's almost impossible to give solid figures on battery life, so much depends on screen brightness and the processing demands of the games you're playing (God of War: Chains of Olympus and Gran Turismo use a lot more juice than the more basic titles). I'm getting around five hours of decent gaming or movie watching out of the PSPgo, which is around iPod touch levels, but not as good as Nintendo's (rather less demanding) DS or DSi.

With UMD gone, a lot depends on Sony's online store. The first thing to note is that - in terms of firmware and software - the old and new PSPs are functionally identical. Anything you can download and play on the PSPgo, you can download and play on the PSP3000 or PSP2000, providing you have a memory stick with ample space. The second thing to note is that download speeds over the PSP's built-in Wi-Fi are painfully slow; anyone with any sense will hook up their PSPgo to a PC and purchase, download and transfer titles using the supplied Media Go application. As this also provides brains-free video conversion and music transfer, this is one of the few bundled media management apps that will actually see active use.

At the time of writing, the software line-up is respectable and growing, with major recent releases like Gran Turismo, MotorStorm: Arctic Edge, Need for Speed: Shift and FIFA ‘10 all onboard. There are still some inexplicable absences - no God of War: Chains of Olympus or Dissidia: Final Fantasy, for example - but classics like WipEout Pulse, LocoRoco2, Ridge Racers 2 and Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters can easily be found.

For all the talk about the huge range of games on the DS or the vast library on Apple's app store, it's still worth remembering that - when it comes to producing mobile versions of what you might call traditional console games - the PSP remains unchallenged. Sure, Firemint's Real Racing on the iPod Touch is great, but Gran Turismo looks significantly more impressive and - with physical, analogue controls - offers a more enjoyable and accessible drive. MotorStorm: Arctic Edge and WipEout Pulse leave any iPhone or DS rivals in the dust, and only a fool would even compare any iPhone action game to Chains of Olympus or Ratchet and Clank.

Turin

October 9, 2009, 5:17 am

I think the PSP only has 802.11b not g. No mention of the downside of digital content? Being locked into the Sony Store, games more expensive than their UMD counterparts, swapping/can't buy second hand copies etc. Call me a Luddite, but digital games have far too many compromises to be a realistic option at this point.

Digital Fury

October 9, 2009, 10:24 am

Thanks for the review, but this PSPgo is definitely a very bad move and I would never buy it, not because of the smaller screen, but simply because there's no way to buy/sell used games - as they are dematerialised. It's a good move for Sony's bottom-line, but not for consumers.

Ripsnorter

October 9, 2009, 1:51 pm

@Stuart Andrews





Excellent review, in fact the best I've read to date, with every nail hammered squarely on the head. It really is hard to get a grip on Sony's thinking here. Playing the Conspiracy Theory card, maybe the PSPgo has been so priced as to drive PS3 sales instead! Sooner or later, of course, the PSP3000 will be dropped and UMD games unavailable. One of my local branches of Saturn (a very large shop here in Berlin) has very few UMD games on display. Fine! The secondhand market will boom. Sony's dumping of previously loyal customers, by not offering an exchange path, is a leaf straight from Microsoft. If you gave me a PSPgo I would become your friend, but I am a long way from handing over any of my own money for one. I love my Nintendo DS and am keener than ever now on an iPod Touch. Not what Sony intended, I think.

TheDude

October 9, 2009, 3:14 pm

@Ripsnorter,





I'm intrigued by your closing statement "am keener than ever now on an iPod Touch" given the rest of your argument about 2nd hand games market. If you don't like the concept of 'downloadable games', what does the iPod Touch do for you that the PSPGo doesn't?





The article mentioned that PSPGo mini's will be filling the same market the iPod/iPhone games occupy. But the PSPGo also will have its typical 'big title' games that you can choose to buy if you feel that way inclined.

Max

October 9, 2009, 4:30 pm

PSPGo has plenty of issues, but I think it is just too early and too poorly equipped. I mean it only has 802.11b, no 3G access and no touch screen even for media functions or the (very awful) browser. The pricing is horrendous and frankly an insult to people's intelligence.





But you can see why Sony did it, with an estimated profit of 9000JPY per device sold even shipping a lowly 2m of these offsets sales of 6-7m of the loss making PS3s.

b o d

October 9, 2009, 4:45 pm

Nice review that covers the good and bad points of the device. The only thing I disagree with is the 'sky-high price tag'. £199 for a 16GB (expandable) dedicated games machine that also doubles up as a perfectly functional PMP seems like very good value to me. It is priced competitively against a non-expandable 16GB ipod touch, which although they are aimed at different markets, there is some overlap. The S9 16GB PMP is the same price as the PSPGo. The S9 has better codec support slightly better sound and longer battery life. The PSPGo plays games and has external speakers.





I’d like to have seen a little more codec support as switching between various formats can be a pain. MediaGo does on the fly conversion, but naturally this is slower than just copying the file over. Another negative is the web browsing. Whilst it works fine, I personally don’t find it a particularly enjoyable experience due to the screen size and cursor.





On the whole I think that it is a great piece of hardware and easily worthy of a 9. It has enough to differentiate it from the other gaming systems.





Ultimately it’ll only be as good as the availability (and pricing) of games, and content delivery. If Sony does follow through with their promise to retailers to sell games using redeemable codes, we should hopefully see some price competition.

Ripsnorter

October 9, 2009, 4:50 pm

@TheDude





I'm not against the concept of downloadable games in the least. I am against Sony's concept of charging too highly for them and leaving present PSP owners, of which I am one, in the lurch. I am sure the PSPgo's day could come but Sony has started off on a bad footing and has to do to persuade me to hand over my money for one. The iPod Touch offers me, as I see it, a cheaper and better portable solution for gaming, emailing, surfing etc.

Chris Beach

October 9, 2009, 5:31 pm

For existing PSP owners I see zero real benefit (certianly none worth the cost) in the Go.


Against the DS and iPhone/Touch/Phones, it does have better games, but less of them and they are more expensive, and often more 'serious'. It was the best thing about the psp is it wasn't silly kids games, it was games for adults, it was a portable console.





However I think that market is shrinking quickly, and unless Microsoft enter it with a portable xbox equiv, I think it will disappear. The mobile phone games will get better as more phones get better procesors, and that will satisfy our 'adult' portable gaming need.

Jay4d0

October 9, 2009, 5:44 pm

@ Turin: nope both have wireless G nothing uses B anymore

markypants

October 9, 2009, 6:54 pm

@Jay nope they're both wireless b I'm afraid!

hankb6d

October 9, 2009, 7:07 pm

Gaming on the Apple in your hands is the future. Look at the amazing depth and quality the appstore has to offer.





Wait...

b o d

October 9, 2009, 7:32 pm

@Jay I had my router set to accept only g connections. The psp wouldn't connect until I allowed b connections.





@TheDude The ipod touch is great for emailing, surfing and casual gaming, but doesn't have the control system to match either the DS or PSP for more involved gaming. Motion controls are ok, but doesn't give you the same precision as button controls (or maybe that is just my lack of co-ordination). Some games are fun, but is isn't a gaming system and not designed to be one.





I love both the PSP and DS for differetn types of games. Upgrading from a PSP1000 was quite an easy decision to make. Not sure I would if I had the slimline version.

Giles Morgans

October 9, 2009, 8:45 pm

As far as handheld gaming devices are concerned - they are mean't for casual gaming, which is only 'gaming' to a certain standard. The PSP go is too expensive, a familiar story with Sony hardware - and as for Apple, well, Apple and gaming do not go hand in hand, so other companies such as Microsoft will offer a platform that developers can seriously get their teeth into. Ultimately (agreeing with b_o_d) I find the controls on these devices only hinder the 'gaming' experience too much - and let's face facts - gaming on a hand held is hardly a 'fantastic' experience. Game and Watch, here we go again.

PSV

October 9, 2009, 11:29 pm

On page two of the review, you have the screen size of the original PSP wrong - it was 4.3 inches, not the 4.8 inches that you quoted; I would assume that it would be obvious that the original's screen isn't over an inch bigger than the PSPgo's screen in the picture where you have them side by side.

jingyeow

October 10, 2009, 5:18 am

"inexplicable absences"





Not that difficult TR. I believe an early interview with a Sony about the PSP Go mentioned that getting licenses for these games and working out the royalties with external developers was a major hurdle. It isn't difficult to actually make the game available to download. The games you mentioned were not developed in house and are important franchises for their respective developers/publishers. So I guess it's them holding up the process.

Jay4d0

October 10, 2009, 5:56 pm

my apologies you are totally correct it does only have b wireless I too had just g enabled and have just changed it to b and g and now works fine but it was pretty annoying having to enable WPA and WP2 just for the fact it doesn't support WPA2

Zero

October 11, 2009, 1:27 am

For the price its going to cost i won't buy it. Plus whats really improved??? This is the 3rd update to the PSP and nothing has changed. I would really exspect something good from sony. But this lets them down

rav

October 11, 2009, 3:11 pm

Just can't see why someone would buy this compared to a 3000. Costs way more and does less. This is the most positive review I've read of it, most are very negative. I'd rather choose where I buy my games and have the option to swap/borrow/trade them.

jingyeow

October 11, 2009, 6:07 pm

My opinion of why TR gave this a favourable score is because it's a forward thinking site. Downloads are the future of gaming, and whilst not a perfect foray into digital as Sony would like, its a huge step for them. I used to want my games to come in a nice large cardboard box with a hefty manual and all the trimmings, however nowadays this is resigned to collectors editions and all you get is a game on a disc in a DVD case. Since this is the future of retail games, I would rather have the simplicity of downloading my games like iTunes does for music. Easy to store, portable etc...





Plus as for the price of downloadable games, when more store start offering downloads, you'll get the price competition from retailers such as Play and Amazon. Further down the line, it may even be possible to trade codes and hence games with a debit card payment making up the price difference.

DrDark

October 12, 2009, 5:42 pm

If I took time to comment on everything this post would be too long. So here's a summary.





I agree with the score.





I don't like the review text. Too much time spent bashing the DS instead of listing the Pros and Cons of the Go's redesign.





The DSi supports 802.11G





The facts are you're paying for a redesigned casing with no added features over its predecessors. Given that (as I predicted), any new digital download features could easily be implemented through firmware updates and that's exactly what happened. Buy a 3000.





@darkspark88: "further down the line" is at least 10 years away, so certainly won't be within the PSP's lifetime. 2nd hand game sales are more of a threat to publishers than so-called "piracy" but they aren't likely to admit that.





@someone else whose name I can't remember: the PSPGo's digital game prices are actually pretty fair. Go look at Steam or other PC stores which have to make sure not to upset Retail, thus their prices are way higher than Amazon's. When you buy a game heavily discounted to £9.99 or similar at a supermarket for example, next to none of that money gets to the developers making those games you love to play. Not sure that makes a difference, but now you know.

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