Handheld Gaming Slap Fight: Sony PSP go vs. Nintendo DSiBy Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
It is tempting to get nostalgic about the types of games we played when we were kids, but I’ll save that for after Christmas when you’re going through buyer’s remorse. For now we have a decision to make about our kids. I know my kids would have built the replacement for the space shuttle with the amount of time and mental energy they have expended on handheld and online games by now. But they wore us down, and it’s the way they parent. I know you think we are the parents, but they train us as much as we them. They know that more than anything else, all we want is “quiet!” (Yes, I know I stole that from Bill Cosby, but it’s true.)
The whining starts around this time of year, and by December all we can think about is the hope that if we buy this it will give us some peace. They know this and are relentless toward their goal. My wife has threatened that she will change our phone number when our kids become parents and they start calling for advice. (My mom went AWOL years ago. If anyone finds her please send me her number.)
I have been receiving many emails from people asking which handheld gaming device is less evil and thereby will give us the least amount of parental guilt. The two most popular are made by Sony and Nintendo, and to make matters more confusing, there are different models to choose from. I have broken down the differences for you here.
Sony makes the PSP 3000 and the PSP go. Do you remember when the former president of Sony said that all Americans were lazy? Well, if I could get myself out of this chair and away from my PSP I would write them a letter, I tell ya.
The PSP 3000 is about a year old and still supports the tiny UMD CDs from which they install the games. It also supports the same USB connection as the older models, but the new PSP go does not. If you spent all kinds of money on peripherals, then the PSP go would be a waste of money already spent. The new PSP go also has one more insidious feature: You have to download every game you want to buy from Sony’s store. No more reselling your old games or giving them away to swap with your friends. You can backup your games in case of a hard drive crash. For me that’s a deal breaker. I want control over what I buy. Plus, that eliminates discounts for buying games elsewhere.
Nintendo’s DS and DSi are the competition to both of Sony’s handheld games. Far more of these have been sold than Sony’s games, and they both support the cartridges. The DSi no longer supports the Game Boy cartridges like the DS does, but there are lots of other features that outweigh that loss.
So here is the list of both good and bad features about each product:
Sony PSP 3000
Good: One large screen, built in microphone, can be connected to a TV, reduced glare, web browsing, online updates, interfaces with Playstation 3 files, can play movies, supports a memory stick.
Bad: Shows fingerprints, not as good battery life, slow to load games, web browsing is a security issue for younger players, no touch screen, game CDs get scratched too easily.
Sony PSP go
Good: Better control button layout, better battery life, web browsing, built in microphone, internal and external cameras, Bluetooth capability, can connect to TV, interfaces with Playstation 3 files, can play movies, will interface with Playstation 3 and ITunes, cool slider feature .
Bad: Much higher cost, peripherals from PSP 3000 won’t work, can’t buy games from anywhere but Sony, must order games online, browsing is a security issue for younger players, non replaceable battery by consumer, smaller screen.
Nintendo DS lite
Good: Two screens, touch screen, plays Game Boy Advanced games, wifi connectivity to chat and play against other people, built in microphone, great battery life, cartridge based games are durable, bright screen for outdoor use, more game titles and mostly lower cost games, can buy games new and used at more locations, download play allows many players to play with just one game cartridge, web browsing.
Bad: Smaller screens than PSP single screen, doesn’t play movies or mp3 music, hinges crack after extended use leaving the device to flop open and closed, no camera, GBA games stick out of the unit when plugged in, wifi connects only to old fashioned WEP security, browsing is a security issue for younger players, in 2007 the browser was discontinued so many DS lite users don’t have it.
Good: Larger screens and slimmer body, touch screen, wifi connectivity to chat and play against other people, built in microphone, decent battery life, cartridge based games are durable, bright screen for outdoor use, more game titles and mostly lower cost games, can buy games new and used at more locations, download play allows many players to play with just one game cartridge, two digital cameras (one for snapping picture in game and one as a regular use camera), music player, downloadable games option, web browsing, internal memory slot for storage, handwriting recognition, newer wireless encryption options, brighter screen, less fingerprint matte finish.
Bad: No Game Boy Advanced slot, no movie player, browsing is a security issue for younger players, web browsing isn’t quite as good as the PSP, not as long battery life as lite version, handwriting recognition not without bugs, hinges may still be a problem.
Now you know the different features, both good and bad, to help you decide how your youngin’ will mush up their brains for the next couple of years. As you can see, the DSi made some great improvements over the lite version overall. I believe the under twelve crowd should go with a DSi, and the teenagers will probably be happier with the PSP. Having the ability to see movies, interface with iTunes, and play the more mature games makes that an easier decision.
If you want to know what your kids will look like after buying one these devices, then go see the zombie movie that recently came out. The resemblance is mind blowing.
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