Apple’s iPhone may be forcing its way into the handheld gaming market, sidelining the Nokia N-Gage gaming platform, but console kings Sony and Nintendo have no plans to back off yet. With the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) 3000 and PSP Go, and Nintendo’s DSi in the market, Christmas holidays will be the best time to bring home a portable gaming console. So, which of these small behemoths is right for people looking for handheld gaming device?
Price: Rs 13,990
If you are into a portable gaming console for the multimedia it offers, then Nintendo DSi offers Wi-Fi browsing as well as tons of downloads for the console itself. Along with a 3.25-inch touch-screen, the latest console also sports a Web browser that can easily connect to any wireless Internet connection. Download speeds will depend on your Internet connection.
One of the most hyped new features is the pair of digital cameras on the console — one on the hinge of the system, pointed at the player, and the other on the reverse side of the top screen. Each captures a 0.3 megapixel image, which can be saved to the system’s 256MB of internal memory or an SD card, which can expand the system’s memory up to 32GB. You can share the photos wirelessly or transfer them via an SD card to a PC. None of this functionality is going to replace your dedicated digital camera, but the cameras are quick, easy to use, and fun to play with.
The battery life of the DSi is between four and five hours per charge at maximum screen brightness. Nintendo’s dual touch-screen, foldable console is the hands down winner as far as the number of games available for the gaming console goes. The Nintendo DSi costs around Rs 13,990, including several free game titles. This handheld console can put a smile on your face, whether you’re a gaming newbie or a hardcore enthusiast.
Sony PSP 3000
Price: Rs 9,000
A 4.3-inch display that is capable of decent game plays falls short when compared with Nintendo DSi’s display capabilities. Although the PSP 3000 can play the same games and even offers the same media support as the older PSP models, Sony has upgraded the console with an improved LCD screen and built-in microphone.
A strong selling point for us was the new matte finish on the console, which is far easier to keep clean and is more comfortable while gaming. If that does not cheer you up, then perhaps PSP 3000’s ability to connect to the TV might help. The PSP also has built-in Wi-Fi capability, video playback, and can pass off as a music player too.
With a price tag of around Rs 9,000, Sony PSP 3000 can be a great tool for those looking to adopt their first ever Sony portable system.
Sony PSP Go
Price: Rs 13,000
A more compact and lighter version of PSP 300 is the Sony PSP Go. It comes with a 16GB flash drive, further expandable via the M2 memory stick slot. In-built Wi-Fi and Bluetooth mean the PSP Go can download games and connect to headsets wirelessly.
The PSP Go is roughly the same size as an iPod Touch, just a bit longer because it curves out on each side and a bit thicker as well. Downsizing, however, doesn’t mean diminished gaming experience as the PSP Go’s 3.8-inch TFT LCD screen slides up to reveal all the usual in-game PSP control suspects.
For a product that is tethered to digital downloads, the process of getting to the content is oddly annoying. There is no background downloading, which means that once you begin to download a game or an application, you can’t do anything else until it is finished. But the new device comes with a brand new pause feature. Players can quit a game without having to save their progress.
Once paused, the PSP Go will switch back to the main media bar and let you browse the Web or watch a video. Syncing files on to the device should be simplified by the new Media Go software, and users will be able to download music and television shows directly to the console over a Wi-Fi network without first having to go via a computer.
For owners of older PSPs, the Rs 13,000 PSP Go is probably going to be the upgrade they have been waiting for. For the iPhone or iPod Touch users, the decision to buy the PSP Go will probably come down to the affordability, quality and variety of the games available with the device.