It’s interesting that while Nintendo are upsizing their latest DS model, Sony have taken their Playstation Portable and made it smaller. So which is the best? It’s a bit like comparing apples to oranges, but we’re going to give it a try anyway.
Let’s start by comparing each model’s size to it’s last incarnation. The Nintendo DSi XL has two screens; that are about 93% larger than on the Nintendo DS Lite. The Sony PSP Go is around 43% smaller than the previous PSP. Both companies have released these portable game gadgets in addition to the devices already available. The result is that they give gamers more choices and options rather than replace the older models. Could this mean that the new models are simply experiments that aren’t necessarily here to stay? I’ll let you chew on that for a few moments. Let’s continue with our comparison…
The DSi is great for sitting at a desk, and has a very good base that sticks nicely to the table so it won’t slide about. It’s also portable, and just a nice weight to hold. Similarly the PSP was built to be small, light, and portable. It’s certainly a more wieldy creature than its predecessor. The irony is that because the DSi is a clamshell design, its screens are protected, and it feels far safer to carry it around than the PSP, which usually demands a carry case for those of us who hate to see the screen getting scratched. So for portability it’s hard to pick a clear winner, and depends on personal preference. If content to throw the PSP go in a pocket and hope for the best, then it does nudge ahead of the DSi.
The Nintendo DSi XL sports two 4.2” touch screens whereas the Sony PSP has a single 3.8 inch wide screen. The DSi offers a much wider viewing angle than its predecessor, whereas the PSP is all about portability. Here the Nintendo DSi is a winner. Smaller is not always better. A gaming device just cries out for a larger screen, and games can be enjoyed much better and in a much more natural way.
Both devices say good bye to physical games. The DSi doesn’t support cartridges and the PSP go has gotten rid of UMDs. Both get their games off of WiFi and memory sticks.
The DSi XL has its beautiful screens and of course it’s biggest feature is the touch screen that gives the player much more control than is possible with direction pads. For core games there’s still the d-pad and buttons. The PSP on the other hand has always been a very serious gaming device and only has the controls. One big plus is the inclusion of an analogue stick, but Sony’s refusal to ever take any opportunity to add a second analogue stick is exasperating. It makes first person shooters unplayable on the PSP, which is a shame because they are overly common among the new releases. This puts the PSP in the uncomfortable position of being a hardcore gaming device that’s useless for the most hardcore of gaming genres.
Both devices have internet connectivity through WiFi, but good luck browsing the web on the PSP. The Nintend DSi XL isn’t the greatest device for surfing the web, but it clearly trumps the PSP. Typing on the DSi XL using the touchscreen is fairly easy and browsing up and down a web page using the stylus is a breeze. The PSP on the other hand is not as smooth, navigation and typing with the direction pad is a much less attractive proposition.
Both devices are intended to support ebooks. The DSi has a design that makes books a more interesting proposition, though both devices will no doubt function very well.
Looking at the hardware it’s very hard to pick between them, but the DSi XL does have a few more things going for it. Without considering games, which is a big part of any decision, and going on hardware and functionality alone, it’s clear that bigger is better in this instance.