Sony finally announced the long-rumoured redesigned Sony PSP during its E3 2007 press conference, writes James Yu of GameSpot. A recent patent update sparked speculation that the new PSP would have a swivel screen and mobile phone capabilities, but Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai revealed a more modest PSP redesign at E3.
The new 'enhanced-design' PSP is a smaller and slimmer version of the original, with a third less weight -- down to 189g -- and about four-fifths the thickness (now just 19mm). Sony plans to phase out the current PSP design and replace it with the new model by September. There's no definitive UK price yet for the new model, but it should be the same as the old version: £130.
The new weight is immediately noticeable as soon as you hold the PSP in your hand. It's so light that you might think that it's missing a battery or doesn't have a UMD disc inside. Sony was able to slim down the battery size while maintaining the system's 5-hour battery life by decreasing the power draw of the unit. You'll be able to use old batteries from the original PSP to double playing time, but the standard battery cover won't be able to fit over it. Sony will offer a high-capacity power kit that will come with its own cover to fit over the larger battery.
The difference is really slight, but several colleagues have noticed that the D-pad and buttons on the new PSP provide a little more tactile feedback for a better overall feel. Other changes we noticed include a springless UMD retention mechanism and new speaker holes just above the D-pad and button areas.
The remote jack has changed -- headphones will still work with the standard headphone output, but new systems will ship with a new headphone/remote unit to fit the new remote jack. The memory stick slot remains on the left side, shifted over a little, but the Wi-Fi switch has moved from the left side of the system all the way to the top of the unit where it's far more difficult to hit accidentally.
The 4.3-inch display remains the same, but the new unit will now include a video output that will let the PSP to output gameplay, movies and photos to a TV display. The component cable we saw also had audio connectors to offer complete AV connectivity. The actual composite, S-Video and component cables will be sold separately (price to be announced). The PSP we tested was able to play back a Spider-Man 2 movie clip at 640x480 pixels. The video on the big screen looked sharp with minimal loss.
Sony has doubled the built-in memory from 32MB to 64MB, and the new PSP will also be able to speed up game load times by storing UMD data in temporary memory. The new PSP will also be able to recharge over the USB data connection.
The redesigned PSP will be available in Piano Black, Ice Silver and a limited-edition Star Wars model in ceramic white with an image of Darth Vader silk-screened on the back battery cover. Sony currently has no plans to release a ceramic white unit after the Star Wars edition sells out, but that can always change.
Additional editing by Nick Hide