Sony PSP Go Hands-On

Sony has got a new handheld in town, and we got our mitts on it.

482 Comments

Sony iterates the PSP at a rapid pace. The console has already seen two revamps over the past few years, and the upcoming PSP Go is by far the most radical of them all. Long rumored and then leaked ahead of time, the PSP Go is finally here. To get everyone up to speed, the PSP Go comes with 16GB of onboard storage, has no UMD drive, is substantially smaller than the PSP, and will cost $250 when it hits retail on October 1.

The PSP Go isn't meant to replace the existing PSP but merely to augment the device for a different class of users. Sony made the device for those who have abandoned physical media--hence, the 16GB of storage space, expandable via the M2 memory stick slot. With onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the PSP Go downloads data and games and connects to headsets wirelessly. Sony is emphasizing downloadable games and media for the device, a play to meet Nintendo's DSi Shop and Apple's monumentally successful App Store for the iPhone.

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Physical Details

Previous versions of the PSP have gotten slimmer, and lighter, but their changes are a drop in the bucket compared to the PSP Go. The PSP Go's form factor is closer to that of the iPhone, and it's just as pocketable. Both the Nintendo DSi and Lite look chubby by comparison. A quick look at our comparison shots show how stark the differences are.

The PSP Go weighs 40 percent less and is 50 percent smaller than the existing PSP-3000. Despite its lightness, the PSP Go feels quite solid. The sliding mechanism moves smoothly, and it seems like the PSP Go could take a decent amount of wear and tear. Like the iPhone, the PSP Go does not have an interchangeable battery.

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The buttons have a considerably different feel compared to the original PSP, and the entire setup is much more compact by necessity, which might make long gameplay sessions difficult if you have average- to large-size hands. The sliding mechanism of the PSP Go necessitated a reduced button height and consequently a shorter button throw. Whereas the original PSP's buttons were a bit more squishy, the PSP Go's have a much harder feel. The start and select buttons are also much more recessed into the machine, making them hard to hit during gameplay, which isn't necessarily a bad thing on such a small console. Analog stick play is considerably tighter than with the original PSP. All non-game-related controls have been moved to the top of the machine. As a result, you're probably going to have to pause the game and peer over the screen to raise or lower the volume.

The screen maintains the same resolution as the original PSP's screen, but it's smaller. It's capable of four different brightness settings, compared to the other PSP iteration's three, although you can't access the brightest of the bunch unless you have the console plugged into the recharge cable, and then only via the AC adapter.

Speaking of recharging, Sony indicates that the PSP Go can last anywhere from three to six hours while playing games or three to five hours with video playback. A variety of factors affect battery life, including type of game, screen brightness, and network play. By comparison, the PSP-3000 comes in at a close four to six hours. The PSP Go can recharge via a USB cable, but curiously, you can't play and recharge at the same time unless you use the included AC adapter. Also of note, the USB cable is no longer a generic mini-USB plug; the PSP Go side of it is a proprietary connector.

An M2 memory stick interface on the side acts to increase the PSP Go's already large built-in memory reserve. While we'd rather have a microSD or microSDHC input, the prices on M2 cards aren't too bad if you stick to smaller sizes. 4GB M2 cards can be had for $20, and 8GB and 16GB versions sell for $32 and $82 at retail, respectively. By comparison, capacity sizes in microSDHC would cost $20 for 8GB and about $50 for 16GB.

Pause!

Exclusive to the PSP Go is a brand-new pause feature. As the name suggests, you'll be able to quit out of the game without having to save your progress. The fuction is accessible by hitting the PS button within a game. You'll be presented with the option to either quit or pause the game at that point. Once you've paused the game, the PSP Go will switch back to the main cross media bar and let you browse the Web or watch a video. To resume the game, simply click on Resume Game within the game menu, and a few seconds later you'll be back to playing where you left off. At the moment, you can pause only one game at a time, because the PSP Go will overwrite the original pause state with a new one. We're fans of the pause state, because it makes starting where you left off much easier and is exceedingly useful while commuting or standing in line.

What's your take on the PSPgo? Drop us a line!

PSP Go Load Times

One of the PSP's biggest shortcomings was its kludgy UMD drive. Carrying around multiple games required cases unless you didn't care about destroying the games, and load times were horrible compared to the Nintendo DS. If you didn't already have the PSP asleep with a game loaded into memory, spinning up the UMD and loading a game took quite a while even with the quickest of games. The most egregious offenders almost cleared four minutes, an absolute eternity if you're on a bus or contemplating playing a quick round while in line at a grocery store.

In our brief tests, which were taken from the game load screen in the cross media bar to the point where we're actually playing the game, it's clear that the PSP Go is by far the quicker of the two machines. The results aren't terribly surprising, but they are nice to see nonetheless.

Games and Minis

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Because the PSP Go has no UMD drive, you'll have to buy your games through the PlayStation Network or via PlayStation Network game cards sold at retailers. You can either use a credit card directly to purchase games or use PlayStation Network cards sold in $20 and $50 increments. Initial PlayStation Network game cards include: Gran Turismo, Daxter, MotorStorm Arctic Edge, God of War: Chains of Olympus, Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2, Patapon 2, Secret Agent Clank, Twisted Metal: Head-On, SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 2, and NBA 10 The Inside.

We purchased games via the credit card option and had little trouble navigating the store via the PSP Go to download our games. We couldn't do anything with the PSP Go while downloading games, but the Media Go application for Windows gives you the option of downloading media and games to your computer, which you can then sync to the PSP Go at a later time.

The PlayStation Network is packed with content in the form of both games and videos. You can find 61 PSOne classics, 60 UMD legacy games, and 16 PlayStation Network-exclusive titles that include a mix of games and travel programs like Echochrome, Ape Quest, Flow, and Talkman Travel: Tokyo. On the video side of the spectrum, Sony claims there are 2,300 movies and 13,300 shows currently on the network. Most TV shows cost $2, and movies cost $10 to $15, with rentals ranging from $3 to $4.

All of that doesn't even include Minis or comic book content. Minis are essentially bite-size games in terms of both content and price. Minis will likely cost anywhere from $5 to $15. At GamesCom, Sony revealed that there would be 15 Minis at launch and well over 50 by the end of the year. Time will of course tell, but we're quite excited to see what happens in the Minis space.

Sony previously announced the possibility of a UMD trade-in program. However, recently it revealed that there would be no such thing for various reasons. So existing PSP buyers are stuck with their UMD games and have no way to transfer them to the PSP Go without repurchasing them.

MediaGo

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Media Go is Sony's version of iTunes. Through the Windows-only program, you can purchase games and buy or rent movies and TV shows, as well as manage the loading of music and podcasts onto the PSP Go. The program works well, although if you have a slower computer, the fancy animations will seem a bit clunky. We had a few minor hiccups in syncing with the PSP Go, but nothing that didn't get ironed out inside of a minute or two. Overall, it's a decent alternative to using the PSP Go as a primary download interface.

Is it worth it?

At $250, the PSP Go certainly demands a lot, but at the same time it brings a great deal to the table. It's basically a very capable iPhone-size gaming and multimedia device. The controls might seem squished to some, but its portability sets the console apart from all the other modern handhelds. Outside of form-factor benefits, new PSP Go owners have a lot to look forward to: Minis, comics, PlayStation Network content, and an all-digital delivery service. Existing PSP owners have a much tougher proposition in front of them, since the cost of upgrading will be quite steep once you factor in both hardware and software.

What's your take on the PSPgo? Drop us a line!

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ChiefFreeman

I got one at Target on clearance for $139.99. Ha to snap one up before the were gone for good. I really like it. Nice and small, but the screen has excellent color depth and clarity, and I love the save anytime feature and 16 gigs of Flash memory.

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shadowhunter0

I love my psp go so glad I got it

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oollw

بصراحة هدا الجهاز يجب ان يشترى

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NoahRoalson

Gonna trade my 3000 for this one.

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john_pain09

i buy it all ready and it was great graphics

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SUPERSAMMOSSAUC

Very good device for multimedia, a large selection of games and movies great alternative to ipod touch, good that memory can be upgraded. Brighter screen than PSP-3000, analog stick is more tighter, bluetooth 2.0 Too much hassle in carrying UMDs rather have them in one place.

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gamersdream777

This PSP's price tag is almost that of a PS3 slim so i got a 3000.

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radhityaninja

can anybody tell me why my full version games suddenly can't be played i will appreciate it

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Tevi

its amazing

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Tevi

UMDS are unreliable id rather have the psp go

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by_my_scythe

I feel like the missing UMD slot will be as catastrophic as Apple's "Macbook Air" without an optical drive. It's also going to be tough abandoning the used game bin at Gamestop, because you can only download NEW games off the network. I just bought a PSP-3000 yesterday, and I'm still in awe that I didn't get one sooner. UMD is very convenient, and YES, I can turn off the system during the game, then turn it back on at the same spot I left it. I'm a satisfied customer. :)

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thegamerguy7

this is awesome i probably going to ask for this for x-mas, and most of you guys dont like it once you play it your love it, cause at first i didnt like it but yesterday i played it at best buy and i loved it:)

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24031990

this great!

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Fayt1986

a good buy if u dont own a psp3000 allready otherwise its a miss. *pros* looks cool. 16gig memory+mem stick duo. connect headset wi-fi style. the pause function. *cons* £200 lotta cash. no umd back catalog worthless. smaller screen. only able to download games from online store with much higher prices then umd cost. so if u have the spare £200 and want what u allready have buy a pspgo. unless u dont own a 3000.

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Tung-R

LoOk Great!!!!!!!!!

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gullfounder

One thing is better we got ride of the the UMDs. Otherwaise we have change the lens of it every month! One thing is not good that is slide. Maybe over time it will lose! Can't say that for sure until i get on for my self....!

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linksmario

I must say has a number of great features plus u can expand the memory. I bought one and I am enjoying second of it.

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devilgonnatempt

Looks awesome but what I ask myself is why Sony is bringing out another PSP hybrid when they haven't really released that many strong titles for the original PSP!!! I've had my PSP since the day it came out and I can only recall a couple of handfuls of decent games!!!! Lets looks for QUALITY not quantity!

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7akk

it would be better if you could use UMD games

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assultrider

@Se7en18sHiNoBi Dont insult it until u have it. I cant wait till i get mine!!

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assultrider

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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loveswlegoalot

Im so buying this way beter graphics than the dsi

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Cloud310

I got the white go and so far it is worth the money. With the minis and all the psp games to choose from now the media only psp isn't a let down. I had a psp 1001 and that thing went everywhere, even Iraq. I loved it but its time to look ahead of the times and move on. I traded it in and haven't looked back yet.

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psp_fan1

I HAVE ONE ITS GREAT!

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parsafts

is good

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assultrider

Everyone sutup. People who already have another psp say it suks... they are just trying to make themselves feel better about not having a go, listen to people who go one, they say its really good... even the people who already had a psp before. I am getting this... soon... i hope but my birthdays in december so far away.

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HectorFAO

FYI Just incase for everyone to know.. All new games I get on my PS3 but, for my Go, What i do is get classic PS1 & PS2 games on my go.. Like I just got street fighter alpha 2 & syphon filter. next is Twisted metal 2 and Metal gear solid which are classics.. Im just waiting for Marvel VS Capcon 2 for PSPGo. So plz gamespot let em know to work on that!

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Se7en18sHiNoBi

psp go suxxxx.stick with the 3000.$250? yeaaa another $50 i can buy me a brand new slim 120gb ps3 which has blueray and wifi or xbox 360 elite so thumbs down down down on sony once again.

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HectorFAO

I got the PSPGo! I love it.. I went from the PSP-1000 to the Go!. Either than being lighter/smaller, what I like the most is that I could buy a game(PSN ofcourse) that works for both my PS3 and PSPGo. I deff recomend people to get it. you wont regret it!

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pokemonfan2009

can you only buy certain games with a playstation card and can you add money to it if you have two of them

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pokemonfan2009

I got a question.can you only buy certain games with a playstation. and can add money if you have 2 of them

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HandGems

Do you already own a psp? Buy a 16 gb memory card and guess what, you just got a psp go WITH a umd slot.

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diabloNL11

it's good but the lack of a umd drive and that it's 250 euro is the reason why i will not buy it very soon, maybe never i have a psp-2000 and it's great

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Accel3

It' s nice but it's too small

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Zeus

It's great to see Sony make the same design makes even after a major revamp. They should've opted for the screen side to close onto the controls so the screen is shielded, thus saving the need for a case. This is basic stuff that Nintendo started doing with the GBA-SP and cell phones have done for years. Also, fans have clamored for dual analog ever since the PSP premiered. What do we get? Well, not dual analog! Oh, and the kicker? They still haven't implemented a floating d-pad. Instead you have even stiffer recessed buttons, meaning more pain for anybody who tries playing the PSP-GO for over an hour. Sony might as well hand Nintendo the handheld industry since they're certainly not trying to compete...

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EpiLoN

For me, the pspgo is absolutely worth it. I own one and I was fine with giving away my slim. For one the screen is NOT that much smaller you cant really tell the difference. Its nice to have so much memory, and media go will convert your entire itunes library. I got 46 albums, with tons of music video's and another 7-8g's to play with. The game downloads online are MUCH cheaper, and have an average file size of about 600mb. The downloads are quick. I transfered all my memory from my old psp to the go with ease. But by far the best piece of this psp is the downloads itself. I'm in the military, i live in japan. You cant find american games over here in yokosuka. Pspgo solves that problem, i have been ordering games online for years, now i dont have to. The controls do take getting used to but they are not as bad as everyone says. Last but not least there's nothing greater than rolling around with a single system carrying a 17 games in one. You guys are being far to critical, sony isnt cornering the world to buy its product its just expanding options. Pspgo: a go? or no? --Its a go.

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holtrocks

tomblifter you are so right there was no reason to make a new psp the 3000 is great i mean this was like out of the blue " we are gonna make a new psp" i mean for real why wast of time and money sony

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thegamerguy7

stop talking trash about the go, somewhere inside you, you think the psp go is AWESOME,

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Cloud737

I couldn't agree more with you, tomblifter. The controls part is what also disturbs me the most about design. Because of the design, the controls are at the very bottom of the device, but you can't hold the device by the bottom part (thumbs upwards), because the center of mass is where two slides meet, so this means you have to hold the device from it's sides, thumbs pointing inward. That's not a pretty comfortable position at all, not to mention making it hard to hit buttons properly... I'm not even going to talk about the smaller screen... The old design was better in comparison. I don't even like the looks of the new design, though I generally don't like slideable controls (mostly the same reasons as above). UMD support being dropped is also a big bummer. What is going to happen to the games that have been released to UMD so far? All of them going to be included in the store? If not, then that's really bad. Also, what about newer games? Will both UMD and PSN version appear to satisfy all customers? In the end, I see the PSP Go as nothing more than Sony's desperate attempt to stop piracy on it's platform (unlike it's brothers, it has quite a different architecture and can't be modded or firmware downgraded at the moment). It brings nothing new or exciting to me. It just seems like Sony is trying to trick me into buying it so they can plug their piracy hole (or at least make it smaller), but offers nothing in return.

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mariofool

u have to DOWNLOAD games i don't even get a internrt connection.

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tomblifter

"Don't fix what isn't broken" Everyone seems impressed with the new design and downloadable content. What people fail to see is the major design flaws in things that actually matter. Don't screw up the controls. They are one of the most important things in a console of any sort. Making them so close together will only screw up the control scheme of several games. Confort > beauty Reducing the size might be a good thing if you are an occasional player, but ask yourself; If you're not going to play it that often, do you really want to spend MORE money? The reduced screen size will only hurt your game experience (and possibly your eyes). The downloadable games are a joke; Hackers have been doing that for YEARS now. You can play PSX games on your PSP for quite a while now. If it is moral to download games or not, I don't give a crap. Thats not what matters here. They could have upgraded the PSP's system to include downloadable games. They could make it homebrew enabled without making the costumer use illegal methods to make the MOST out of the product he BOUGHT. The PSP is like a fighter with his hands chained behind his back. And sony has the key. Don't fool yourself. The PSP-Go brings nothing new to the market; Its a pretty fraction of what its predecessor was, but nothing more.

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ajisgood

Its nice!

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Zerosumgame

You touched on some key points which the review failed to mention, assultrider, thanks. Like someone mentioned before. SONY DOES NOT FORCE YOU TO BUY IT, so don't complain.

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flip13787

maybe they'll sell an UMD adapter later so you can upload your games yourself...

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lonewulv

assultrider I recomend you purchase the psp go. I own a psp 2000 and dsi, and I am looking to sell both then buy a psp go.The dsi isn't very reliable in all situations. for example, playing it on a bus or in a car is very difficult because the constant movment will throw the stylus off. sure you can take pictures, upload music and sounds then edit them,but these tend to get uninteresting after a while. you can only record up to ten seconeds of audio. You can upload music onto it, yet it deffinatly would not replace an mp3 player or a psp. mostly due to the fact that you constantly have to pull it out, open it up and scroll through to a new song. the camera is no better than a cellphone camera, and half the editing features, like blending two faces toghether, don't even work no matter how clear someones face is.as for psps, you can play games, watch movies and listen to music much more conviently. when I do get a psp go, I plan on downloading a few psone classics that i know i enjoy onto my ps3, then download them onto my psp go. its like buying two copies of the game on seperrate systems, for the price of one. Now of course this is all just my opinion, but I feel that the dsi is for a more casual gamer while psps are for more hardcore gamers.

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assultrider

Shud i get this or dsi. Im a new user to psp but have a ds so if i get psp go ill have psp and ds but dsi looks pretty cool too. Help me please! ( i find gamespot users very helpful for my game questions lol...)

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GNWPCD

I will most certainly pass on this. To pay more, get less just seems like a bad deal to me. I think they missed out by taking away the ability to use your old already bought games on it. Just doesn't pay to buy a new system at almost $100 more than the current PSP and you can't even play your old games on it. Not to mention the fixed prices now that come with download only games is another con that can't be good for the customers. Nah I'll pass. Nice try Sony but I like that you can have a disk or game cart in your hand and sell it if you don't like it or at least get at a lower price eventually if need be. Its nice that its more portable and user friendly now but too many cons that will keep me away from it.

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vinnie3

hmm it looks pretty cool, i have the original psp but i do find it kinda bulky so i wouldn't really mind an upgrade. i'm just worried about games that you can download, will all games released be available or will some not be downloadable

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dogpigfish

I have purchased a lot over the last year and the biggest problem is if you dowload something you hate, you are stuck with it. For example, Killzone Liberation. The most difficult game in the world. Looks great, but when you start to play it you die every second. Frustrating controls. You trade it in, instead you are stuck with a game you will never play. The solution for this would be if Sony gave us demos of each downloadable game. But that won't happen.

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Odra

This incarnation of the PSP seems to be made more for Sony's sake than for the customer, my biggest complaint (aside from having to re-purchase all my games) is not being able to use multiple batteries or standard cables.