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Design/Usability

When Apple makes a product, it’s almost guaranteed to be visually appealing and have a slick interface. The iPod meets all expectations of this presumption. On top of that, Apple has to be credited with creating a truly unique and fun interface. Their "dial pad" is fun to use and actually makes scrolling through and finding the desired song quite easy. So the iPod gets a nod of appreciation in this category.

The PSP also is a nice-looking device and has a unique interface of its own. One clever addition is the analog joystick that Sony placed on the front of the PSP. Despite this ruling, however, comparing the interface of the PSP with that of the iPod isn’t quite fair. Why? Well, the PSP was never meant to be just a music player. It was built to be a portable entertainment system. The end result is that the interface has to be much more complex. Unlike the iPod, which is basically a passive device, the PSP was designed to support constant interaction.

I think the iPod and PSP both have nice designs. Both have unique and clever interfaces. And both have obviously been well thought out. On that note, I do have to mention that the iPod has received numerous negative remarks over how easy it is to scratch the screen (try Brasso!). While the PSP can be marred, it has a scratchproof screen that’s set back far enough to avoid most accidental nicks. However, many users have complained that the PSP is prone to a lot of smudging. Still, it’s a lot cheaper to wipe off a fingerprint than to replace a face plate!

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