PSP-3000: Hands On

The success of the PSP over the past four years has been a bit of a mixed bag, for long periods it has struggled to gain traction outside of an enthusiastic homebrew community, who are attracted by the machine’s undoubted power and the memory card slot which aids them in their work. But for gamers the machine has certainly had its ups and downs.

Back in 2004/5 when the original PSP (phat, fat or fatty) made its début people were amazed at the sheer graphics power hidden away inside a handheld, Sony was looking to take the dominance of the PS2 into the world of mobile gaming and to take market share from Nintendo’s Gameboy and Gameboy Advance. The machine also launched another storage format… the UMD

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About a year or so ago the PSP received an overhaul when the PSP 2000 called ‘PSP Slim and Lite’ was launched, Sony had managed to shave a fifth off the width and a third off the weight, and doubled the amount of on board RAM to help alleviate the workload on the battery draining UMD drive.

Now onto the 3000, well it’s still called the PSP Slim and Lite which should tell just how similar it is to the 2000 series, so just what is the fuss about, and what are the differences?  To be honest: not much. Most people know by now that the additional features are the inclusion of a built in microphone, a better screen and more curves.

I’ve had God Of War: Chains Of Olympus running side by side on the 2000 & 3000, and the display is noticeably better, as on the 2000 the colours appear washed out. The 3000 really does make games shine, unlike the screen coating which is now anti-reflective making playing under bright lights or outdoors much better but still not perfect.

Battery life is reportedly the same, because even though the screen draws more power this is balanced out by some hardware optimisations.

I believe there are some things missing from this PSP update such as the analogue stick still isn’t great, the UMD drive is probably living on borrowed time,  not including two cameras seems strange now the new DSi has 3MP on the exterior, and a lower resolution one on the inside for video chat, and possible future use in games.

On to whether it’s a good purchase or not: the 3000 is an evolution, not revolution, so it depends what machine you already have. If you have a slim and lite 2000 I would say the differences do not warrant a purchase, but if you have the original PSP and it’s getting a bit rough around the edges then it may be worth taking the plunge.

If you have a PS3 but don’t have a handheld and are considering getting one, then this new PSP is the only way to go, the benefits of Remote Play, PSP Plus and a commitment from Sony to bring more games developers on board, will make 2009 the year of the PSP.

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