PSP Go Hands-On Impressions

Sony introduced the PSP Go at today's E3 media briefing, a smaller, pricier alternative to the already available PSP-3000. That new model was available on the E3 show floor, attached to new PSP games. We got to go hands on when the show opened.

The PSP Go is much more narrow than the original, a tiny little device that features the same visual quality, just with a half-inch smaller LCD screen. That smaller hardware footprint means a much tighter control layout, with the analog control nub moved to the right of the digital directional pad, making for a wider reach with the left thumb.

That move to the right will take some getting used to. It doesn't feel natural, but doesn't necessarily feel bad. It's just that my thumb reflexively went for the d-pad. That's no good for a game like SOCOM Navy SEALs Fire Team Bravo 3, which uses the analog for player control.

On the more positive side, the PSP Go's d-pad and face buttons—square, circle, triangle, X—feel more precise, more "digital" than the squishier controls on the original PSP. They feel really tight.

The new shoulder buttons, which now reside behind the slide up screen feel fine. Not particularly good, not particularly bad. Just something that's going to take a little time adjusting to, if you're used to the beefier L and R buttons on the current PSP.

Weight-wise, we really couldn't tell how much lighter the PSP Go was. It was locked down and attached to a bulkier weight, so no feel impressions there. Same for the slider. That was locked down too.

The relocation of the audio and display buttons from the face of the PSP to the top of the device on the PSP Go makes sense. I had expected those two buttons to be replaced with a software adjustment solution, but it appears the PSP OS is identical to what's already available. Tapping the PS (or Home) button launches you into a familiar interface.

The PSP Go feels solid. Tiny, but solid. Those hands are mine, and they're a bit on the wee side. Adjust the size of your hands accordingly.