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Taking a Look at the PSP Go

Updated on September 8, 2014

The PSP Go or the Play Station Portable

This an attempt Sony to take its success in the home video game console marketplace, and place it into the pockets of avid game players worldwide.

This, the third major new version of the PSP since it was first introduced back in 2005, is the smallest yet, and the first that can truly be called a pocket sized device.

PSP GO Features
PSP GO Features

Taking A Closer Look At The PSP Go

That's a nice improvement over the original models that were only portable for those carrying backpacks or large purses.

Looking closer at the device, the PSP Go is a feature rich gaming system that aims to please game lovers of all types. It comes with a variety of means to communicate with the internet and other devices, a fair sized screen and upgradable memory.

It even has a virtual store from which to buy games, a great convenience from some points of view, and a real annoyance from some others.

The device itself is simple enough in design. It has a screen that's just shy of 4 inches that allows for a very high quality display. The resolution is crisp and clear and reviews have yet to indicate any problems with ghosting or similar frustrations that previous PSPs and other devices have suffered from.

That said, it's a significant downgrade from the obviously larger size of other PSP screens.

The PSPs have been known to use UMD drives for their games. That's Sony's special way of referring to a small disk that won't fit in any other device, which may make you laugh if you realize that the "U" stands for Universal. The disks carried the games and also movies that could be played on the handheld systems. The Go, however, has no UMD drive and so those disks are of no use. That's not really a bad thing, it just means you lose out if you wanted to interchange your media.

The PSP Go instead stores data on its built in 16GB flash drive. It can also store data on a removable Micro Memory Stick.

Memory Sticks, by the way, are Sony's special way of referring to SD cards that bear an unfortunately non universal shape.

In my opinion I don't it's a bad thing.

It's just a Sony thing. In fact, seeing as many comparable portable gaming devices such as iTouch that we we looked at don't allow for upgradable memory at all.

Games can be added to the Go via Sony's online PSP store, a place where over two hundred games and thousands of extra "content" can be purchased. "Content" refers to movies and whatnot. Games can be added via a computer, transferred from another PSP (though not from a UMD drive), or downloaded straight to the PSP Go.

Technically, you can even use the Bluetooth to tether the Go to your cell phone and use your data plan to get content.

The Gaming experience on the PSP Go is smooth and fast, and interactive when you use WiFi and Bluetooth to play against other PSPs. It features a slide-out control system, much like the slide out keyboards many cell phones sport, and is quite simple to use for both experienced and inexperienced gamers.

If you want to know more about the Go, check them out at the bottom of this lens..

PSP GO Controls and features
PSP GO Controls and features

The PSP Go is Loaded With Great Features

Whether you're an already avid fan of the PSP portable gaming systems, or whether you're completely new to Sony's portable gaming lineup, you'll find plenty to get excited about when looking at the new PSP Go.

This, their latest offering, being released in October of 2009, is sleeker, smaller and perhaps even cooler than any of its predecessors. Despite its smaller size, the Go comes loaded with great features.

What's the best of all of its features?

Well, that's the size itself. Some would say that the only thing that was actually portable in the older PSPs was the second "P." They were great, of course, but also clunky and impossible to tuck in a pocket for later amusement. The Go stands out from the others in this way. It slides right into a normal pocket quite comfortably, being no bigger than the average smartphone.

Its 3.8 inch screen is something else gamers will love. No, it's not bigger than the other PSP screens. It's actually much smaller; however, the screen is crisp and clear with a sharp resolution. Many of the problems that face portable device screens don't seem to exist here either, you so can probably rest assured that you won't experience any ghosting effects while playing your fast paced games.

Sony's even managed to pack a fair sized controller into this device. While the controller was part of the problem with the older models, if you think the larger size was a problem, they've managed to make the controller better for the Go, yet less in the way. With this model, the controller actually slides out from behind the screen and is actually quite similar in size and feel to old style console controllers.

For people who like playing with other gamers, the features like WiFi will serve you well.

The WiFi on the Go let's you do all sorts of things, and multiplayer gaming is only part of it. It is, though, the best part. It lets you compete, or play along with any other PSP gamer on the same network, even if they have the older PSP models.

You can even use it to connect to the internet and download extra content.

That brings us to the Sony online gaming and content store. This isn't a feature built into the Go, but it's a feature the Go has access to and it's what makes it so great. The store is where virtually all the Go's games, movies, and TV shows come from.

All of those things can be downloaded straight to the device via its WiFi, or by uploading from a PC that's already downloaded it. Because the games come straight from the distributor and are free of packaging, this all results in a lower consumer price.

The PSP Go isn't perfect as there are lots of places future models can be improved. Still, for people who want to carry a first class gaming system with them wherever they go, you can't do much better than this.

Be warned though, any UMD media you have from other PSPs won't do you any good here.

The Areas Where the PSP Go is Flawed

The PSP Go is the latest offering in the lineup of portable gaming devices from Sony that have, some would say, failed to succeed in the portable gaming market.

Now, while they haven't sold anywhere near as many units as Nintendo has with their DS, the PSP lineup does have a loyal following. Many of them are excited to see the Go finally hit the market.

Many non PSP users are looking at its smaller size and are finally considering making the jump themselves.

In the end though, the Go doesn't really live up to the hype Sony tried to build around it. The fact of the matter is, the PSP Go shed more than a few inches. It also shed many of the things that actually made the other PSPs attractive. What's left is a gaming device that isn't anywhere near as good as it could be and should be.

Some would say that the actual design is flawed

To be fair, a lot of aspects regarding design are quite subjective, but many people will still find the cramped controller very uncomfortable. On the one hand, you can argue that you can't have it both ways; they can only make a controller so large when on a pocket sized machine. Well, there are two considerations here.

One, why wouldn't the controller slide out from the sides to duplicate the look of the original PSP?

Secondly, why not come up with a more appropriate interface that goes beyond the touch-pad like its competitors did?

If you're going to give us WiFi

The PSP Go comes with WiFi but uses an old WiFi standard, and a slow one at that. Using it to download games has been known to take hours. At least the WiFi is there. It does make multi-player gaming a lot easier, and even allows the Go to become an extension of your PlayStation.

Peripherals are unnecessarily non standard

Sony loves making things unique to their own devices. In this case, the problem lies in the USB cable and the Micro Memory Stick. The cable is a non standard one, meaning if you lose it you have to go buy a specialized one and not just borrow the cable from your camera.

The Micro Memory Stick, that Sony insists on using still, is built from the same patent as SD cards, yet Sony refuses to make things less expensive by allowing users to buy the more available Micro SD.

Lack of UMD Drive

The UMD Drive is another example of Sony unnecessarily creating their own media; though, in this case, all gaming consoles do it. In the PSP Go, however, the UMD Drive is missing. That's fine because it makes the device faster and quieter, and it makes games less expensive. What's not fine is that there's no way to upload your existing UMD disks onto the Go.

The PSP Go is by no means a bad device and these flaws aren't fatal. It's just that in every case, Sony could have easily avoided them. Nonetheless, if these things aren't important to you, the PSP Go will prove to be a wonderful experience for you.

If they are important to you, you'll still likely be able to enjoy the device as a whole.

Comparing gaming devices
Comparing gaming devices

Comparing the Sony PSP Go With Other Portable Gaming Options

The PSP Go is the latest incarnation of portable gaming devices from Sony that's supposed to target the most serious of gamers.

With that being their objective, they've done a pretty good job.

When it comes to a full featured portable gaming device that offers action packed games, the PSPs are really the only way to go.

When you want all of that in a device that can slip into your front pocket, the PSP Go is your only real bet.

True as that is, it doesn't mean the PSP Go stacks up better than other portable gaming devices in every way. In fact, it has quite a few short comings.

As for what its competitors are, at the moment there are only really two or three of them, not including other PSPs. Two of them are the iTouch and the Nintendo DS-or any incarnation thereof. The possible third is the iPhone, if you choose to separate it from the iTouch as a separate competitor.

The Nintendo offering is fairly straight forward, and that's what people like about it. It's a dual screen, has touch features, and its unique interface allows for some pretty unique game play. The DS games do target a more universal audience though, as does its interface. Until now, it was also the only proprietary gaming device that could be easily carried around, but the Go took care of that.

The iTouch and iPhone use an interface all their own, and the games are often different because of it. Touch screen and accelerometer based controls gives these devices an interface that's all their own. The touch screen though, and lack of buttons, means a lot of screen real estate is often taken up by virtual buttons, so as great as the interface may be, this can get quite annoying for many players.

The PSP Go, like the PSPs before it, has clearly aimed to duplicated the Playstation experience, but in a handheld device.

That's noble, sure, and many people are looking for that, but unlike the DS and iTouch, they've done nothing to take advantage of new interface possibilities. In that way, the PSP Go is totally lacking in innovation then, especially when compared to its competitors.

Also needing to be considered is the price of games. The DS now represents the most expensive games, along with the larger PSPs. iTouch, iPhone and now the Go, all get their games from virtual stores.

It's been noted time and again though that games that are offered on both the Apple devices and the Sony Go are much cheaper via Apple. Sony will remind you here that their games are better because of the standard gaming interface they offer.

Remember, for good or for bad, Sony is out to capture a market made up of hardcore gamers who want physical keyboards on a proprietary piece of hardware, not casual gamers who are only playing video games because their iPod or cell phone happens to have access to them.

Nor do they claim to be targeting gamers who are after the soft and fluffy games Nintendo offers. For Sony, it's quality and games over interface and, if that's what you want as well, you won't do any better than this.

Why I Like The PSP Go

What makes the PSP Go so good are a lot of the same things that make the other PSPs good.

It offers a gaming experience like no other handheld device offers, and it does it very well. The Go is sleek, the processor is fast, and games play smoothly so that users can just relax and have a good time.

Sony got rid of the need for those disks

This is a huge plus, but could also be seen as a negative. Here's where point of view comes into play. Those who have games for older PSP models won't have any way of transferring them (the UMD based ones) to the Go. In all other respects, getting rid of the UMD drive means faster game loading, as they all load from flash memory, and quieter operation. The fact that there's no spinning disk noise to bother you helps as well.

Tether your PSP Go via Bluetooth

If you want to take things to an even cooler level, imagine being able to bring you Go online by using your cell phone. It's possible. By connecting it to any compatible and plan-enabled cell phone, you can access the internet, including the web, from your PSP Go. This may be a bit unnecessary for people with large screened smartphones, but for others it can be a real treat.

You can finally make phone calls off your mobile gaming device

The PSP Go has two features that make this possible. The first is the Bluetooth, which lets you use a Bluetooth cellular headset with mic. The second is the WiFi that lets you connect to a hotspot. With those things working for you, you can start accessing services like Skype and make inexpensive, or free phone calls to anywhere.

Remember that this is a small little device

This isn't like the large PSPs that made you question their portability. This is a pocket sized gaming machine. No bigger than the average PDA, you can slip this into an average pocket and forget about it until you have a few minutes to kill. Fortunately you can pause your games for while it's in there.

The PSP gaming community

Sony is going to make this the perfect mobile gaming device by introducing an online community for Go and other PSP users. Allowing you to create an avatar and talk with other online gamers, it makes the PSP Go a wonderful social networking gadget. Everyone will love this.

These points have probably convinced you to try out a PSP Go. If not, at least take the time to go and play with one for a few minutes. Once you see how much fun the games are and how sleek the device is, you'll no doubt want one of your own.

Great Stuff on Amazon

I have really enjoyed writing the review on the PSP Go even though it was not mine, it was my sons device but now I seem to have a few problems putting it down and it is interfering with my working day...

What Are Your Thoughts About The PSP Go - I like to chat so please place your comments below...

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      Ron 4 years ago from Australia

      @ImmatureEntrepr: Thanks for the support!

    • ImmatureEntrepr profile image

      ImmatureEntrepr 4 years ago

      Amazing quality lens! Really well done. Squid Angel blessings for you.