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First Look: Sony PSP

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A Day in the Life of a PSP Owner

Since I received the PSP a few days ago, I have been using it day and night so I can provide you with an honest overview of how it performs (at least that is what I am telling my wife!). The following will highlight what I found.

I purchased my PSP the day of its first release. The moment I left the store I tore into the box and put all the various pieces together. I next plugged the PSP into the car charger and turned it on to check for dead pixels. Thankfully there were none, so I proceeded to enter the date information, my name, etc. This process was a bit tedious at first as I worked through the virtual keypad screen that operates much like the standard cell phone (three letters per button). This was complicated by the fact that I didn't read the manual and had to figure out the purpose for each of the buttons.

With the PSP all set up, I popped in the Spiderman-2 movie that came with the package and was amazed at the quality. As previously mentioned, you can buy other UMD movies for your PSP if you are willing to pay about $20-$25 per title from sites like http://www.dvdboxoffice.com. You can also make your own movies and put them on a 1GB Duo Stick. This is accomplished using Sony's Image Convert 2 ($10) or the 3GP Converter (free) program to convert your DVD's into MPEG4 files. Just be sure to place the movie files in the "\MP_ROOT\100MNV01" directory or your PSP will not detect them. For detailed instructions on how to do this, check out the tutorial at http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000980024404/.

After goofing around with the controls of the movie player for a few minutes, I popped out the Spiderman 2 UMD and replaced it with the Need For Speed game I purchased with the PSP. Once again I was amazed at the graphics. One person stated that they felt dizzy after playing it because the PSP really sucks you in. There are about 24 game titles available in the US, but PSP games are not regional as is often the case with gaming consoles. In other words, you can buy Japanese games if you wish.

I pulled myself away from the PSP after this and drove around town for a bit running errands. Now I know driving while using a cell phone is a bit dangerous, but let me tell you that attempting to use a PSP while driving is REALLY dangerous. I don't recommend it! Once I looked in the manual, I realized that Sony must have already tested this because they specifically warn users not to use the system while driving.

Once I was home I plugged the optional USB cord into my PC and transferred over some pictures. To do this, I just had to select the USB Connection option from the home menu. Windows XP automatically figured out there was a device connected to the cable and a new drive appeared in the My Computer screen. After transferring the images across to the root of the drive, I scrolled over to the camera icon on the home menu, but nothing appeared. I soon realized the PSP expected the pictures to be in a \PSP\PHOTO folder. Once this was fixed, I turned on the slide show and watched the pictures scroll sideways across the screen every few seconds. Cute!

Next I wanted to listen to an MP3, which I transferred into the \PSP\MUSIC folder. This accomplished, I scrolled over to the Note icon on the home menu and was able to listen to my music. I plugged in the headphones with the inline remote and was able to move ahead, pause, change the volume, etc. with the press of a button.

Finally, I wanted to see how the network connection would work. Since there was no one else around to connect to, I figured I would attempt to connect to my WLAN and try out the network upgrade. After spending a few moments looking at the PSP's network menus I found to my delight that this little device could be a handy WLAN hotspot-detecting device. Not only does it list the WLANs in my area, but it also gives their signal strength in an easy to read and understand percentage format. After locating my router and selecting it, I noticed that the PSP only supports WEP encryption. As a security guy, this really irks me because WEP is extremely broken. Since the PSP only supports WEP, my entire network has to be downgraded. At a bare minimum, the PSP should support WPA-PSK.

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