Sony PSP vs Sony NGP (PSP2)

The announcement of the Sony Playstation NGP or PSP2, as some are referring to it, looks to have set a hyperactive cat amongst some, until now, rather lethargic pigeons. The world was still a little sleepy from CES 2011 and then, wham, we’ve got the next generation of portable gaming on our laps.

One of the big questions that comes out of all this is going to be - just how revolutionary is the Sony NGP? Fortunately, the company has been pretty specific about the details of the device so far and that gives us at Pocket-lint the chance to match it up against the current emcubent, the PSP, and see how it comes off. That's just the way we do things. So, this is the Sony PSP vs Sony NGP. Is the new kid really that much better and should all the former’s owners simply accept defeat and start counting down the days to pre-order?

Engine Room

Winner: NGP
2GHz ARM Cortex A9 CPU, SGX543MP4+ GPU

Loser: PSP
2 x 333MHz MIPS32 CPU, 2MB GPU


It’s not too important what you do and don’t understand from the alphanumeric soup above. What you need to know is that the NGP is a beast. It’s a blue whale to the plankton of the PSP. It’s got a quad-core processor, which means some serious multitasking powers, and is just the kind of thing Sony Playstation needs if it really means business with the AR and geo-location gaming side of the promise. It runs at a clock speed well in advance of the twin units of the old PSP and there’s plenty of graphics number crunching to back it up. What we’re saying is that if the NGP flops, it’s not because of the heavy hardware.

Dimensions

Winner: PSP
128 x 16.5 x 69mm

Loser: NGP
182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm


Well, it’s got to lose out somewhere and with all that new, exciting and suped up technology in there, there was little chance of the NGP being a more compact system. It’s fatter, longer and taller than the most recent PSP, the PSP Go, by a long shot. You will notice the difference when carrying it around but then you probably never had the PSP in your pocket in the first place.

Display

Winner: NGP
5-inch OLED, 960x544px

Loser: PSP
4.3-inch TFT-LCD, 480x272px


The upgrade to both the screen size and technology is a serious plus for the NGP. The OLED display will make for better contrast and colours and also save on battery power at the same time. Probably the biggest thing you’ll notice though is the increase in screen resolution to almost four times what you get in the current models. All in all, combine this with the guts of the machine and it’s going to make a really impressive gaming and video consuming gadget.

Wireless Connectivity

Winner: NGP
3G, b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1

Loser: PSP
Wi-Fi (802.11b), Bluetooth, Infra Red


We can chit chat about the addition of the further reaching n-standard Wi-Fi and IrDA (infrared) capabilities - the latter of which we don’t know as yet whether or not it’ll be included in the NGP - but the headline news here is that the latest handheld from Sony Playstation is going to come with a mobile broadband connection and presumably a SIM to go with it. Naturally, there are no details on which of the UK mobile operators will carry it, how much it will cost or if you can get a contract but the fact that it’s there at all is a very interesting signal of intent. You’ll be able to download games wherever you are and play online as well.

Controls

Winner: NGP

Loser: PSP


Whereas the controls on the PSP were a pretty standard affair - D-pad, PlayStation buttons and an analogue nub - the NGP brings virtually full PS3 functionality to the party. There are two analogue decent looking joysticks along with the more traditional controls plus not just what appears to be a capacitive touchscreen display but also an equally large multitouch touchpad on the underside of the device as well. Add to that lot a six-axis motion control system made up of gyroscopes, accelerometers and an electonic compass - and you’ve got one very sensitive and interesting games handheld to control. The possibilities are fascinating indeed.

Imaging

Winner: NGP
Front and rear-facing

Loser: PSP
None


Imaging has been a pretty massive omission from Sony’s handheld gamer up until now. The NGP jumps right in with rear and front-facing cameras to make up for it, though. Without a shadow of a doubt, it’ll let you take both pictures and video which you can upload to the web as well makes video calls too. What’s more, they’ll both be key in Playstation's plans for augmented reality and geo-location gaming.

Audio

Tie: NGP
Stereo speakers and mic

Tie: PSP
Stereo speakers and mic


The audio set up on the PSP was always pretty good in the first place and, so long as the NGP ends up offering the same kind of file support, there’s no reason to want for anything else at all save perhaps the lossless FLAC codec if we really want to be picky.

Games

Tie: NGP
Digital and removable

Tie: PSP
Digital and removable


As the consoles progress, we can expect the games to come along with them as well. While we have an idea of the NGP line-up, not only is it too early to say if there are going to be any big hitters but one would expect the same kinds of producers and developers to be at work. Doubtless, there’ll be more interesting and profound interactions with other Sony devices but all of that is as yet to be seen.

So, instead we focus on the method of delivery. There’ll be no UMD disks, which disappeared with the last incarnation of the PSP, but we do know that the NGP will feature the ability to download games and to play them off memory cards as well. For the moment, they look something like SD cards but we’ve a sneaking suspicion we’re looking at proprietary modules instead.

Features

It’s really far too early to know quite the level of features that Sony Playstation plans to offer with the NGP. What the company has said is that the device will include GPS for as many location based services you can think of - the important ones being gaming, entertainment and maps. As well as that, there’s the much publicised new UI known as the LiveArea which becomes the gateway to the PlayStation Network and Store. It’s also the place where you’ll get your badges and achievements, so we might well see some integration of the Room for PSP feature which is where you can invite other users to enjoy real time communication.

There’ll certainly be web browsing, as found also on the PSP; more than likely we’ll see the same Skype VoIP tie in and, fingers crossed, the digital comic reader application as well. The big interest has got to be over the multimedia link up powers of the NGP. The PSP had the hugely popular Remote Play which allowed users to share content wirelessly with their PS3s. Now, that wasn’t allowed for PS3 games or copy protected files on the console’s HDD but it’ll be interesting to see what limits Sony imposes this time around.

Conclusion

As we’d expect, the NGP is considerably better than the PSP. That’s probably why they named it the Next Generation Portable for the time being rather than just a new iteration of the PSP. It outclasses the current handheld in just about every department. Sure it’s a bigger lump to carry around but it’s set to blow mobile gaming out of the water leaving phones and tablets a lot to do to catch up. It might not have as big a screen as the latter group but the hard controls and gaming pedigree look to put it in very good stead. The only question that remains is - why didn't they make it 3D?