Costly and compatibility-conflicted, Sony’s PSP Go marries design elegance and disc-free gaming with worrisome pricing and upgrade uncertainty.
Here’s to the new PSP, same as the old PSP–except not quite. It’s smaller, lighter, and conspicuously missing that noisy trap-door you could open and fill with discs, lint, cat hair, potato chip crumbs…err, did I mention discs?
Our review’s still forthcoming, but here’s a glimpse at the system, fresh from its cardboard housing.
Lo and behold, a box inside a box! I’ve trimmed the picture to give you a better look at it, making it seem larger than it is. It’s actually comparable to the DSi’s retail package, or an ultra-compact digital camera’s.
See the lower-right corner of the box? It goes out of its way to highlight the Go’s internal 16GB of flash memory, suggesting (by way of distinction) that Sony’s already planning to market higher-capacity branded models. Imagine future models with internal storage banks ranging from 32 up to 64GB. It’s too bad Sony didn’t introduce more than one model at launch, opting to sell the current 16GB model at PSP-3000 pricing ($170), and justifying the Go’s $250 boutique price tag with a 32 or 64GB model.
The box also offers a disclaimer in fine print (that’s it in the upper-left-hand corner):
This device does not have a UMD drive. PlayStation Network account and Internet access are required to download games and other copyright-protected content.
No surprises then, but dispiriting for gamers with sizable UMD libraries (who’ll have to buy their games online all over again) just the same.
You won’t get this little pamphlet with yours, but it harbors a few modestly intriguing bits. Inside there’s a page called “Games to look for” with shots from forthcoming titles like LittleBigPlanet, Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier, and Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake. Also: A peripherals page listing the Memory Stick Micro M2 (upgradeable storage), charge cradle, carrying cases, screen protective film, in-ear headset, the Dualshock 3 wireless controller and Bluetooth wireless headset, AV cables, an AC adapter and car adapter, and the Go’s proprietary USB cable.
Taking a cue from Apple, the PSP Go comes sheathed in stiff, translucent plastic. Even the wrapping’s similar, with the bits of adhesive on flaps that peel away in multiple places. Nicely done, though an included neoprene slipcase would’ve been even nicer.
The first thing you’ll notice pulling the PSP Go out of its vermillion-striped packaging is that it’s surprisingly tiny, almost wallet-sized, as if someone lopped the plastic sides off the old PSP–which more or less describes what Sony’s done. The Go nestles comfortably in the palm of a medium-sized hand–a test the older, wider models fail.
The box unboxed, with manuals, quick start guide, the Media Go sync software disc (no Mac OS X support, boo hiss!), the AC adapter and cord, and proprietary USB cable.
Curious about the USB cable? Here’s a close-in shot. The proprietary bit’s on the left, a thin, flat connector that looks like a pancaked HDMI plug. I’ve no idea why Sony dropped the mini-USB standard, but guesses that it had to do with size and placement seem misguided–this thing’s even bigger.
The backside of the AC adapter. Not the sort of thing you’d usually see in an unboxing piece, but it’s important for gamers like me, who write exclusively about 110V devices from an island that’s exclusively 220V. Wisely recognizing that gamers on the go travel increasingly internationally, Sony continues to provide a 100V-240V auto-switching power “adaptor” (odd if acceptable spelling) with the Go.
The PSP Go and PSP-3000 side by side. And that’s with the Go splayed. The Go actually looks less than two-thirds as big as the 3000 when its parallel plates are snapped into alignment.
Sidewise comparison. The left side bulge under my PSP-3000 is the extended 3.6V 2200 mAh battery I picked up last summer. Still, while it’s not as evident here (amateur photographers weep for me) the Go is definitely thinner, top to bottom, than the 3000.
Of course size and weight count for only so much. Stay tuned for our full review, where we’ll analyze, among other things, the system’s value in light of what’s new, what’s not, and what’s radically different.