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March 24th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

So today is PSP day. Sony’s Playstation Portable finally hit the U.S. market, and no I won’t be buying one any time soon.

Last week a coworker of mine asked me what I thought of the PSP. I answered simply: “I will never buy a first generation Sony gaming product.” The PS2 is infamous for its hardware issues (which they subsequently fixed), but at least it was a follow-up to an already existing console (the original playstation). With the PSP you’re looking at a completely new device that wasn’t built off established procedures or using existing methods, it’s a completely new venture for Sony. I may buy a PSP someday, but only when its prices falls below the $200 mark and after they’ve had a chance to upgrade the hardware a bit.

Anyway, if you’re someone like me who reads news from several gaming web sites you can’t help but read a PSP article or two or ten. Two of these reviews really got me fired up because they might as well have been ads paid for by Sony. Engadget’s Switched On Column on the PSP and MSNBC have the two reviews in question. Both reviews (if you can even call them that) didn’t even MENTION any downsides to the device. Not a single one.

Come on folks. A little thing called PERSONAL PREFERENCES means that, inevitably, when using something you’ll always, ALWAYS find something you think could be improved. I don’t care if it’s the best built device in the world, you can always find something that could be better or something they left out that would’ve really been cool.

Head on over to TheGadgeteer.com to see what I mean. In every review there’s always a few items in the Negatives category no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.

In response to these mind-blowingly biased articles I fired off an email to the author of each review. And here they are:

To Switched On:

Your article on the PSP was well worded and drew several good comparison/connections in the gaming world, but I couldn’t help but notice how you didn’t even mention the topic of battery life.

Yes Sony has included some serious convergence factors in the device, and yes it has great graphics, screen, sound, blah blah blah. Regardless, Sony still faces problems when their release battery (which I’m sure they’ll improve over time) only lasts 2 hours on the most intensive games.

Once upon a time there was another device with a big screen and great graphics: The Game Gear (which I was happy to see you mentioned). The PSP and Game Gear have another thing in common as well: You’ll see plenty of people using them with AC adapters 🙂

Give me a 20-hour DS without music (that’s what my mp3 player is for) without a gigantic unprotected screen (that’s what a tablet PC is for) and without the ability to shoot game carts from the slot like a nerf gun with a simple twist.


Instead of writing your own review, why didn’t you just link to Sony’s PSP web site? You didn’t even bother to mention the PSP’s drawbacks (like 2 hour battery life when playing the most advanced games) or Sony’s history of having to issue multiple hardware revisions because the first generations always, ALWAYS ends up having issues.

And in case you haven’t seen this yet, a PSP game can be shot from the device like a nerf gun.


To be honest, your PSP review does make sense after I re-read your DS article, which also neglected to point out any defects/problems/low points of the device (hey, I might be a Nintendo fan but that doesn’t mean I don’t look for the standard parts that should be in any review).

If you’re going to completely avoid pointing out any of the bad points in your reviews then please, at least say that somewhere in the article.

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  1. March 26th, 2005 at 18:42 | #1

    I’m the editor of Engadget, and I can say that you completely confused the work of one of our columnists with a review of the PSP. Our review of the PSP was published back in December and can be found here: http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000510024287/

  2. March 26th, 2005 at 22:46 | #2

    Hi Pete. The letter was in reference to the Switched On column found here: http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000410037324/

    Ross was kind enough to write me back via gmail:

    Thanks for writing, Jason. Sure, every mobile device would benefit
    from greater battery life and the PSP’s is relatively short compared
    to many other devices (iPods, cell phones, DS), but actually pretty
    good compared to, say, portable DVD players. I think it’s an
    acceptable sacrifice for the level of performance the PSP delivers and
    that the battery life is far better than the Game Gear’s was (I still
    have mine) which I think tapped out after about an hour, maybe less!

    To which I responded:
    Ross –

    Agreed, the PSP does have decent battery life for a muti-platform
    device of it’s type (not that there are that many out there like it).

    Thanks for taking the time to write me back. This is the only time
    I’ve ever felt compelled to write because normally I’m in complete
    agreement with everything engadget posts. Keep up the good work 🙂

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