You're Sony. You've seen Nintendo transform the clunky DS into the suave and sexy DS Lite, surpassing your sales in the process. You've been told by countless sources what needs to be addressed with regard to your current design. You've got the opportunity to repackage a great, feature-packed, yet faltering product, and release it in a way that looks genuinely new. What do you not do?
Welcome to the "new" PSP. "They've sent us the wrong pictures," we thought, as we opened the two press shots of the new model. "These are pictures of old PSP." Then it hits - this is the new PSP. Lighter, slimmer - basically everything that you can change without actually changing it. Bah.
OK, so we do get some welcome data cache functionality, where some data from the UMD is stored in flash memory to enable quicker loading. It's also got proper TV output (although your old compressed movies will look awful on a big screen) and there's the added ability to charge through USB while data is transferring. But we've got a USB charger cable for it anyway...
Above: The one on the right is the new one. Or was it the left one? *cries quietly over picture*
We're not ungrateful, we just expected so much more. We could have had a shift-around of buttons for a more ergonomic feel. We could have had an improved analog nub (a PS2-style stick would have been nice, even if the inclusion of a second one is impossible due to future compatibility between new and old PSP games). We could've even had that built-in hard drive we wanted. Could have, could have, could have.
We're left with an improved spec, which of course we welcome. Heck, we're also almost certain to buy one ourselves - after all, we just love the smallest, sleekest gadgets. But with the list of notable aesthetic improvements reading "nothing," we're reminded of that Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror episode. You know - where Bart says to Lisa: "Hey, you know what would have been better than 'nothing'?" "What?" she asks.
Click here to get a slightly better idea of the differences.
July 12, 2007