Sony PSP: Frustratingly Beautiful

A Deluxe Photo Album

Once they'd sold us the games and movies, Sony was kind enough to let us choose our own music and photos. Still via the Memory Stick and USB, you can drag and drop your photos to the appropriately named folder. The console immediately recognizes JPEG files and displays a thumbnail. The loading time obviously depends on the size of the file; it's roughly the same as on an Archos, for example. The PSP will resize photos so that they display correctly, but the best thing is to resize them yourself to 480x272. If you do that, your PSP will become a very high-quality photo album - much better than any A/V player we've tested until now. But there again, you'll have to invest in Memory Sticks.

The interface is very user-friendly, with thumbnails and slide shows with very good transition effects. You can turn the image, zoom, move around, and more. After zooming, the analog pad lets you move around in the picture with perfect smoothness. So, photo browsing gets top marks.

MP3 Player

The PSP can also be used as an audio player, and - incredible but true - the console recognizes regular MP3 files (as well as ATRAC3+). Here again, you can drag/drop to the Music folder of the memory card. The quality is also very good - with the speakers, it's just listenable, but with the earphones it's excellent. The bundled earphones are quite good, if a little bright. A wired remote control is also supplied for controlling the player functions, and even has a hold button. Unfortunately, there are no fine sound adjustments. Even though this isn't its primary purpose, the PSP is a decent audio player, though one that's held back by the price of its memory medium.

An Exemplary Interface

The PSP's interface is deserving of some additional attention, because it's a model of ergonomics that could teach other manufacturers of A/V players a thing or two. As is always the case with Sony, the interface is very handsome to look at, with shadowed text on a pastel-colored background. But the cross-style navigational principle is what stands out. It's intelligently distributed over numerous buttons, yet you never get lost. Even if you do, a very informative help file summarizes the commands for each activity.

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