Just when we thought Sony had its full attention on the upcoming PS Vita, they announce a new version of the PSP, this time with no WiFi to keep the price extra-low. So far it's only been announced for Europe, but if it does well there, it could be released in other regions, too. Although the PSP-3000 has been slowly dropping in price to the point where it is now significantly less expensive than Nintendo's current DS model, the 3DS, it seems someone saw a demand for an even less expensive PSP than that. See the end of this article for a full list of the specifications.
Less Is Better Than More
While the PS Vita seems aimed at giving gamers absolutely everything they've ever wanted from the PSP but didn't get (except maybe an add-on keyboard, but I wouldn't be surprised if a third-party peripheral came out at some point), the PSP-E1000 appears to be attempting to remove everything it's possible to remove and still have a device that can play PSP games in all formats.
Pretty much all of the PSP's connectivity options have been removed. The PSP-1000's IR receiver has never made a return, and nor will it here, but gone also are the PSPgo's Bluetooth, and the WiFi that has been standard on every other PSP model, including the Xperia Play (which isn't really a PSP), and its successor, the PS Vita. The only way to get PSN content will be to download it to a PC (not a Mac, sorry) via Media Go, and then transfer it to the PSP-E1000 via a USB cable (at least it still has that.Smaller Is Better Than Bigger
Perhaps in an effort to address the somewhat-less-portable-than-a-cellphone size of the previous PSP models (with the exception of the PSPgo, which was ultra-portable, but a commercial flop), the PSP-E1000 is a little bit smaller than its siblings. It isn't a huge difference, and it also means the screen is a little smaller (but then so was the PSPgo's), but it might be enough to tempt folks looking for a cheaper, more portable PSP.
Another difference in the design is the bar at the bottom of the device's face. It looks like it could be a touch-sensitive area, making it an technological advance over other PSP models, but it could also simply be that the buttons are recessed under a smooth, flexible cover plate. Either way, not having the buttons protruding adds to the device's trimmed-down look.
A purely cosmetic change is that the finish will be matte to match the thinner PS3, rather than glossy like all the previous PSP models. While this could help with reducing the plague of fingerprints common to shiny devices, at first glance it also makes the case look cheaper. Perhaps in real life it looks just as good as the shiny PSPs, though.
One Is Better Than Two
One final change is that the PSP-E1000 has lost a speaker, giving it monaural instead of stereo sound. One hopes that sound through the headphones will still be stereo, and since the PSPs speakers are rather less than powerful anyway, the move to mono probably won't make a big difference.
At Least It Has UMD
For all that gamers like to complain about the UMD--it loads too slow, it's stupid to have another proprietary format, etc--the lack of a UMD drive was probably a big part of why the PSPgo failed. By keeping the UMD drive and making downloaded content available (via the circuitous method of Media Go on a PC), the PSP-E1000 will be able to play any gamer's full collection of PSP games. Whether or not this model does well enough to expand beyond Europe remains to be seen, though.
All-in-all, this new version of the PSP seems intended to appeal to the bargain shopper rather than the serious gamer. One group who may find it rather appealing, though, is parents. It's a bit less of a cost outlay, especially when you have kids who tend to break stuff. Plus, it might make a good second handheld for the hardcore Sony gamer who will buy a PS Vita, but still wants to be able to play their old library of PSP games on UMD (and all the games that'll no doubt hit the bargain bin soon after the PS Vita debuts).
PSP-E1000 Hardware SpecificationsExternal dimensions
- Approximately 172.4 × 73.4 × 21.6 mm (width x height x depth) (excluding largest projection)
- Approximately 223 grams (including battery)
- 10.9 cm or 4.3 in (16:9)
- Full transparent type
- TFT drive
- Approximately 16 million colors
- Built-in monoaural speakers
- UMD drive
- Memory Stick PRO Duo Slot
- Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0 compliant)
- Headset connector
- DC IN 5V connector
- DC OUT connector
- POWER button
- Directional pad (up/down/right/left)
- Action buttons (triangle, circle, cross, square)
- Left and Right Shoulder Buttons
- Left Analog stick
- START, SELECT, volume (+/-), PS buttons
- Universal Media Disc Video: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Main Profile Level 3.
- Music: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Main Profile Level 3, Linear PCM, ATRAC3plus