Sony announced its updated PSP-3000 system at last week's Leipzig Games Convention. Pictures of the new system have already popped up online, but GameSpot has the first hands-on look at the new PSP here in the United States. Click
The PSP-3000 plays the same games and offers the same media support as the older PSP models, but Sony has upgraded the system with an improved LCD screen and a new built-in microphone. The LCD is the same size and resolution as older PSP displays, but it has a "wider color gamut and anti-reflection technology," according to the latest Sony press release.
The wider color gamut means that the new PSP screen is capable of displaying a wider range of colors. The new LCD also features five times the contrast ratio and quicker pixel-response times than the old PSP display. The response time has doubled in speed and will help eliminate ghosting or blurring during gameplay and video playback.
The increased color gamut and improved contrast ratio was noticeable when we placed the PSP-3000 system right next to a PSP-2000 (PSP Slim); colors looked richer and more vibrant on the PSP-3000. The vivid, ghost-free screen does draw more power than the old screen. John Koller, Sony director of hardware marketing told GameSpot that the new screen will reduce battery life by "about 20 minutes."
UPDATE, 09/03/08: Sony has informed us that the PSP-3000 will actually have the same battery life as the PSP-2000. The new screen does require more power, but Sony engineers have reduced the power draw from other system components to make up the difference and ensure that battery life remains the same for both gameplay and UMD video playback. Check out the PlayStation blog update for the full details.
Sony added the antireflective technology to improve the PSP's outdoor playability. We took our two PSPs outside for some side-by-side testing under the bright California sun. Neither system was playable in direct sunlight, but the PSP-3000's display performed better than the 2000's when we took a look at both systems in a shady area beneath a tree. We had difficulty taking pictures of the PSP's antireflective screen in action outside--please bear with our angled indoor shots.Mouse over the captions to see additional images.
The new system has the same video-out port and uses the exact same video cables as the PSP-2000, but Sony has upgraded the PSP-3000's video output to support gameplay output on interlaced displays using composite video cables. The move will surely excite gamers dismayed over the fact that the PSP Slim can output gameplay video only to progressive scan displays. Now they can buy a new PSP instead of an HDTV.
The PSP-3000's other major upgrade is its new built-in microphone. Sony put the integrated microphone into the PSP design roadmap after seeing the success of the headset-enabled SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo. Sony placed the microphone pickup beneath the screen to the right of the volume buttons, well out of thumb reach, to prevent any inadvertent muting.
(For viewer reference, the PSP-3000 is the silver system, while the white PSP is the older PSP-2000.)
Sony hasn't moved around any buttons or switches on the PSP-3000, but the system does have a few external design changes. The black PSP-3000 will have the same glossy finish as the older models, but the silver and white PSP-3000 systems now have a textured surface that provides better protection against fingerprints. The Sony logo that was located on the upper right of the system face has moved to the upper left, and the PlayStation logo that used to be in the upper left is now on the home button beneath the LCD. In addition to rotating the logos, Sony designers have replaced the brushed metal ring on the back of the unit with a thinner chrome ring. The PSP's edges have also softened along the sides while hardening in the corners.
The PSP-3000 will be compatible with the same accessories as the PSP-2000. However, Koller did tell us that the PSP-3000 power adapter might not be 100 percent compatible with older PSP models. Sony has seen a very small number of cases where the PSP-3000's AC power adapter was unable to charge older PSPs.
The silver PSP will be available first, on October 14, 2008, in a $199 Ratchet & Clank Entertainment Pack. The package will include a silver PSP-3000, a Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters UMD game, a National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets UMD movie, a PlayStation Network download voucher for Echochrome, and a 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo. The black PSP will ship in November in a $199 PSP 4GB Memory Entertainment Pack that includes the black PSP-3000, a 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo, and a PlayStation Network download voucher for Everyday Shooter. The black PSP-3000 will also make it into the basic PSP Core Pack, priced at $169, sometime later this year.