The PSP (Playstation Portable) was Sony’s first attempt to enter the handheld gaming market back in September 1st 2005 (European market), it was competing back then with the Nintendo DS handheld. It had several re-designed models on later years usually aiming to have a sleeker design than the previous version while trying to retain as much feature from the original as possible. Being that this was not a very popular console back then, (NDS proved to be a very strong competitor) many gamers didn’t get a chance to experience some fine games released for this system. Nowadays this portable console can be found at reasonable prices depending on where you live and its games are usually found at good prices as well. I’m providing this guide to give a brief explanation on the various models that were released as well as some excellent games available for this handheld.
The first version of the PSP usually nicknamed “Phat” or “Fat” (later versions were called “Slim”). When released, Sony aimed to make its handheld different from the competition by offering much better graphics and a beautiful widescreen display that no other portable had in that time. It also offered multimedia capabilities such as a web browser, reproduction of images, videos and music, and other various features. Usually when collecting for this portable, it’s best to go ahead and buy the slimmer models because they had upgrades in RAM and other technical capabilities making this the least powerful of the PSP versions.
This model was mainly used in the homebrew community because of its lack of security features when compared with future versions of the console. Since this is the heaviest of the PSP models it tends to make the other models feel “cheaper” than this one and some people claim that it’s also more comfortable than the later models.
The second version of the PSP, launched in September 5 2007, had an internal redesign that allowed it to be 33% lighter and 19% slimmer. It also had its RAM doubled from 32MB to 64MB, improved WLAN models and a much brighter LCD screen. Exterior design stayed almost the same (making it a little hard to actually tell the difference at first glance from the original PSP).
The next model on the portable console. I personally recommend this version since the LCD screen had increased color range, five times the contrast ratio, half the pixel response time to reduce ghosting and blurring effects, new sub-pixel structure, and anti-reflective technology to improve outdoor playability. There were also slight adjustments in the buttons and printings of the handheld making it easier to spot out from a 2000 or 1000 model. I’ve still got to try play my psp games on TV since this model featured a new video output allowing the use of composite or component cables to connect to a TV.
Before moving on to the next model of the PSP it is worth giving a quick mention to the physical format of games sold for models from 1000-3000 and E1000. The next model, the PSP Go, avoided using them to aim for a smaller version of the handheld. This little discs came enclosed on a plastic cover (which can be replaced) giving it a little extra protection when handling the disc. On personal experience I will advise you to be careful when handling these discs, the plastic cover is very fragile and tends to break very easily after months of use.
This model in particular was the one that had the most radical changes when compared against all models, both internally and externally. This version had the UMD tray removed completely, leaving customers with an increased internal memory of 16GB instead. This means of course that only digital copies of PSP games downloaded from the playstation store could be used to play in this model. Among other changes, the screen was reduced a little from its predecessors and button layouts were changed to fit the slide-up body of the portable console. Size was reduced by 35% and weight by 13% when compared against the previous model (3000). I’ve never had the chance to actually hold one of them in my hands but the 3000 feels right at home with its weight and size, so I’m just assuming this model is best suited for smaller hands.
The last model of the PSP. This was advertised as an economic version of the PSP. Wi-fi capabilities were removed from this version, the speaker was changed to a mono one instead of the original stereo one and the microphone was removed as well. UMD tray was added once again for obvious reasons. Appearance was changed a little bit more on the buttons so distinguishing this console from the rest shouldn’t be a problem.
Models 1000-3000 look very alike in my opinion and at first I wasn’t very sure how to know which one’s which. You can know which version you’re looking at by analyzing the sticker with a code bar on the bottom side of the handheld, as illustrated below the PSP “Fat” version has the sticker on the left bottom side of the console while the other two have it on the right bottom side. It’s also easy to spot the difference in the back of the console too, the 2000 and 3000 models were completely flat while the 1000 model featured two bumps where the console rests on your hands.
When it comes to accessories you need to make sure you’re getting a PSP with a memory card included. Models 1000-3000 featured little to basically no internal memory and you’ll need a memory card in order to save your progress on games, make downloads from the Playstation store, etc. All PSP models use a Memory Stick that’s exclusively made by Sony and they are quite more expensive than an SD card.
Composite or component cables can be found sold from third parties online and should allow you to play your powerful handheld on your TV. I’ve still to try one out so leave us any comments if you’ve already tried them out!