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TAKE ME OFF. . . of your Christmas shopping list

Pros Sleek, durable design with multiple uses, cool navigation screen
Cons Price of unit as well as price of specialized media
Recommended it? No
The Bottom Line:  If you must buy it, wait until the price comes down. Who knows, maybe the next device with mp3 playing capability will do your laundry too.
The marketing for Sony's PSP Console was amazing - replete with Michael Jackson "Man In the Mirror" special effects and rockin' Franz Ferdinand music. But that doesn't mean you should spend $250 on this thing for your kids. The box actually calls it a VALUE PACK . . .hmmm.

The advent of the iPod changed most of our ideas about what an acceptable price is for anything with mp3 playing capabilities, but keep in mind that whereas with the iPod you'll pay 99 cents a song even at the pricy iTunes store, PSP games don't cost less than games for the Playstation 2 console. And the selection is not as great. Expect to pay anywhere between $30 to $50 per game.

We bought the PSP for an 11 year-old in April. He is a SERIOUS gamer and even slaved over a bathroom renovation project in order to earn part of the money for this product.

In short, he never uses it with the exception of once during a road trip. It's still a prized possession, but I give it a few short months before he'll be asking to pawn it for new games for his XBox and PS2 gaming consoles. Now that his sister has an iPod however, his PSP may have a bit of a renaissance when he discovers that he too can download songs on his slim little contraption and jam to his favorite tunes. Most people that want to download mp3's purchase an iPod seperately though.

There are at least 50 other reviews of this product on epinions, but I had to give my two cents before Christmas rolls around for people that want to get something good for their cherubs at home. I will link to other thorough reviews below for you to look through.

The unit itself
An adapter and a power cord
A battery pack (lasts 4 hrs. on average per charge)
Sleek, white headphones with remote control
32MB memory stick
A relatively comfortable wrist strap (as seen on the commercial)
Protective pouch
Cleaning cloth
Software and the manual in English and French

Play movies and games but only in UMD format (smaller disc than your average CD or DVD)
Play UMD music or mp3's
Save images in JPEG format and zoom in on images
Connect via wireless internet with an additional purchase of compatible LAN (Compatible with IEEE 802.11b 2.4 GHz wireless LAN)
Use your home PC Internet Service Provider to gain internet access on the PSP
Connect your DSL to the PSP, but it will be a hassle
Connect to your computer with a standard USB cable
Travel to foreign lands without having to change the time/date settings manually
Lose the remote control without any dire consequences
Use the following memory storage devices: Universal Media Disc or UMD, Memory Stick Duo, MagicGate Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo

Make a phone call like you can on a Blackberry.
Play regular sized CD's and DVD's
Count on the battery pack lasting indefinitely. Some built-in obsolescence is at work here and with more charges and age, you will become increasingly annoyed with the shortened length of a charge.
Play the PSP if you are prone to seizures with any more of a degree of safety than you get with other gaming consoles
Take your memory stick from your PC to your PSP without risking having to reformat the stick completely (not your PC, thank goodness)
Find a good selection of movies and games in the UMD format
Feel like it was $250 well spent

I was impressed with the sound, but I my suggestion for music lovers is to invest in an iPod or other device specifically for mp3s. Firmware updates periodically become available, so be sure to look for those every now and again.

The navigation screen is also very impressive, far more advanced than regular gaming consoles. I'm obviously not an expert, but I hope this review helps the average buyer to answer some basic questions.

Other great reviews of this product written by my epinions colleagues are linked below:

Another Sony Review
Sony SACD 5-CD Changer

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