While a bunch of the gang was at Tokyo Game Show, the G4tv.com home team played around with Sony's PSPgo. While the potential of the new handheld greatly depends on how well Sony will support it with digital content, there's no denying that the PSPgo's industrial design is a dramatic departure from the original's. Here are four editors' thoughts on how the PSPgo hardware.
Andrew Pfister: The more I hold it, the more I like the Go. Especially the high-set shoulder triggers, which put my index fingers in a more comfortable and natural position than the old PSP shoulders. The D-pad is a noteworthy improvement -- I'm a big fan of the click-clicky -- and I'm just generally impressed with its svelte form factor. It seems more travel-worthy, and it wouldn’t make me decide between it and my DS: there’s capacity for both! If only it didn't cost more than it should, I'd totally buy one to replace my first-gen Japanese import PSP-1000. Too bad!
Raymond Padilla: When I first played with the PSPgo at E3 2009, I loved it. The shape and feel were fantastic. However, that was with a big, heavy security device attached to the back of the unit. What surprised me about the Go is how light it is -- I wasn't expecting that (though I probably should have). I'm still not sure about the system's weight -- its lightness makes me feel like I'm going to break it. I love the Go's feel (especially the D-pad), looks, and pocketability. I don't like its price, smaller screen, and M2 slot (I really don't need to buy more Sony proprietary memory...like ever).
When I first saw and touched the Go, I thought it was a definite purchase for me. After spending some time with it, I'm on the fence. I have a perfectly fine PSP-2000 with a 16GB Memory Stick. While I'm pleased that UMDs are going away, I can just go right ahead and keep filling it up. Still, I'm awfully tempted by the PSPgo's feel and form factor. It's pretty cool, but maybe not as cool as I initially thought.
Stephen Johnson: I never really had a problem with the design of the original PlayStation Portable or the 3000, but when I got my hands on the PSPgo , I realized that perhaps I should have been more discriminating. The new PSP is slick, man. It’s so much lighter and thinner than the older models, it reminds me of how impossibly clunky a first generation iPod feels compared to an iPod Touch.
In spite of its smaller size, the Go doesn’t feel small, if you catch my meaning. You don’t get the feeling that your ham-like hands are about to crush a delicate little machine or you need to contort your fingers to reach the shoulder buttons. The PSPgo feels solid and ergonomically sensible…plus the sliding screen cover will impress ladies.
I imagine the change in relative placement of buttons will take a tiny bit of getting used to, and the screen is slightly smaller, but overall, the PlayStation Portable feels 63 percent gooder in your hands than the first PSP, and 43 percent more-better than the PSP 3000.
Jake Gaskill: I was actually quite impressed with how sleek and sexy the PSPgo is, even when it’s just sitting there doing nothing. It’s also a bit lighter than I was expecting, and the slide-screen moves smoothly, and the screen itself offers crisp and vibrant visuals. The shoulder buttons fit snugly in the crooks of my index fingers, and the buttons themselves have a satisfying feel. The same goes for the redesigned D-pad. The thumb nub is fluid with just the right about of tension and snappiness. I’m not sure if this would ever be an issue during an actual play session, but the Select and Start buttons are practically flush with the casing, making it difficult to tell if you are pushing them, or to differentiate which one you’re pressing.
It’s hard to not be impressed with the straight up design of the PSP Go. It’s all future-y looking, sports a compact design and it fits comfortably in your hands (unless your hands are abnormally large, in which case the comfort factor of a portable gaming device is probably the least of your problems). I’ve only played one game on it so far, and it felt great, but I would imagine there might be some games that won’t translate quite so well. But that’s an issue for another day.