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Thinking about buying a PSP Go? Read this first

1)The screen is sublime
Yes, I know I just said it was a bit dark at times, but that's only 1% of the experience I've been having with it. The other 99% is an absolute joy. I wouldgo so far as to say it's the best handheld screen I've ever seen. Ever. While DSi's two screens may be slightly brighter and feature better low-end contrast, they're simultaneously smaller and lower-resolution than PSP Go's.

On top of that, the way the screen is only slightly framed by the speakers and PS button means you feel like you're looking at a massive screen. It even feels bigger than the old PSP's screen, although it's actually smaller. The 3000's interlacing issue is gone too and the 'ghosting' that plagued PSP's early life is almost completely absent. In short, it's a joy to play games on it.

Above: It's hard to argue with a display like this on such a small handheld

2)The analogue nub is better
After all the criticism about the lack of a second stick yet again (which was a bit unfair considering it would be impossible to implement universal control schemes across all PSP formats),I'm happy to report that the stick is way better.

There's much more movement, and bigger circles mean more precise movement to the point where you can even use Dual Shock techniques like 'always pushing forwards' to get the smoothest steering in racing games.

3)The store is full of quality demos
So what if you haven't got enough money left over for full games? I'll admit feeling a bit weird when I switched on the system but couldn't play any games on it right away. But to help my now empty pockets, the PS Store has plenty of game demos to try out.

Without spending a single penny on top of the Go's asking price, you can sample God of War: Chains of Olympus, Rock Band Unplugged, Ridge Racer 2, Final Fantasy: Dissidia, FlatOut: Head On, Secret Agent Clank, Space Invaders: Extreme and plenty more. That's plenty to keep you occupied until you raid the back of the sofa for your next game fund.

Above: Try all of this and more on your PSP Go from day one. For nothing

Even though they're 'only' demos, handheld gaming is perfectly-suited to quickfire gaming. So a quick zip around a hi-res version of Ridge Racer 4's Phantomile for free is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

4)Upgrading from your old PSP opens up your entire downloading past
If, like me, you've had to shuffle around content and start deleting previously-purchased games to fit on a 4GB Pro Duo memory stick, the Go is a godsend. No longer do I have to choose between Super Stardust Portable or Final Fantasy VII. I don't need to delete Crash Bandicoot 1 to keep hold of Crash Bandicoot 3. I can have it all - and easily too.

You see,with a quick click of the 'downloads' button at the top of the store, you can easily find all your previously purchased games again and get them all back with no repeat fee. Suddenly your PSP Go games collection is already large – even before yourfreebiescome through.

Above: The downloads button in the top-right contains your store history

5)It makes everything feel new again
This is the most subjective of all the plus points, but I have to say it's the most important of them all. Despite the annoyances and missing functionality, there's no getting away from the fact that the new system is beautiful.

The slimmer, smaller design is gorgeous. It's light to hold and fits invisibly in your inside pocket. Its huge proportion of screen surface area is entirely about presentation instead of aesthetic compromise. It makes PSone games look like full-priced PSP games with its vivid colours and super-fast screen update.

In my opinion, it looks more modern than an iPhone (that silver band on Apple's machine makes it look dated to me, while iPod Touch still looks ace). And while my fellow Radar-ites may have been joking about me upgrading yet again, don't Apple users do that all the time? iPod, iPod Video, iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS...

While the price point may be premium, I feel it only adds to the feeling that PSP Go is the elite object PS3 was always supposed to be.

If you're considering buying one, look at the pros, look at the cons, and make an informed choice. It may or may not be the handheld for you. If it helps your decision, know this:

If I had a do-over, I wouldbuy it again -without hesitation. And I don't think there'sa much betterrecommendation than that.

06 Oct, 2009

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Justin Towell
Justin worked on the GamesRadar+ staff for 10 whole years. Imagine that. Now he is a contributor, specialising in racing games, retro, and Sanic.