Saturday, November 24, 2007

PSP vs. DS

I started planning on buying a game console 2 months ago as part of my having fun in Japan. I initially wanted to buy a Nintendo Wii because of its unique interactive gameplay (tennis! golf!) and also because it is relatively cheaper compared to rival Sony's PS3. However I realized that the Wii is more of a party console, something to play with your family and friends. Since it's just me and my flatmate here, I decided to go for a more personal console instead.

Today's portable systems seem to have significantly evolved from the former systems we had before (think: Brick games and Game&Watch during the early 90's). Portability would mean I can play anywhere inside and outside of the house; also, I can use it while on travel (trip to Tokyo coming from my place would take about an hour via train).

And so, a portable one would be a good buy for me; but, which one? At this point, I got stuck on choosing between Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP. I'm not an impulsive buyer when it comes to electronic gadgets since these things easily depreciate and go obsolete. However, it would take forever for the 'perfect' product to come out. Everything has its pitfall. That is why it takes at least a month of 'research' before I buy a specific gadget. Another good reason for 'delaying' a purchase is to be able to buy it at the convenient price. Electronic products start off with a high price then settle lower according to market demand.

Sony PlayStation Portable Slim vs. Nintendo DS Lite:


(photos courtesy of wikipedia)

I have tried searching through the internet for answers regarding on which is the better portable console system. Consequently, all I got were mixed reviews. It's a draw based on my internet reads. To summarize, the major selling point of each system is between graphics and gameplay.

Hardware Comparisons:

- 32-bits MIPS32 R4k-based with FPU and VFPU (main processor)
- 32-bits MIPS32 R4k-based (for hardware multimedia decoding)
(both clocked at max 333Mhz)
-ARM946E-S (main CPU) @67Mhz
-ARM7TDMI (coprocessor)@33Mhz
- (main) 64MB
- (Embedded DRAM) 4MB
- 4MB

- 4.3 inch, 16:9 Wide screen TFT LCD
-480 x 272 pixel, 16.7 million colors
- 3inch , 0.24mm dot pitch, TFT color LCD screens
-256x192 pixel, 260,000 colors
-of the 2 screens, 1 is a touch screen

Obviously, the PSP wins in the hardware category delivering better graphics and multimedia support. Though the DS lacks in hardware power, it fights back with its unique gameplay through the use of two screens (DS originally meant dual-screen) wherein one is a touch screen. The DS packs with various software which widened its age market. In Japan, there are softwares that make your DS act like an electronic dictionary (Nihonggo), map finder, and various educational tools for the young population. Some even claim that they use it like a PDA.

Basically, the answer on which is the better console varies from person to person. It is good to ask for feedback from current owners but beware of fanboys (and girls) from their biased views. You can get the most balanced views from people who own both consoles but be sure to take note of their preferences because it might differ from yours.

Why I Chose the PSP Over the DS
If I haven't bought an electronic dictionary beforehand, I could have considered buying a DS instead. But still, DS is a toy. Whatever are its added capabilities it can never replace the real thing, a toy's a toy. I have been using my elec. dictionary during our weekly meetings (I need to decipher what they're saying), and imagine what I would look like if I bring in a DS instead. I already have a PDA phone (company issued) and PDA phone is also better than PDA toy.

From the start, I wanted to buy a game console and so it follows that I wanted to maximize game output. With PSP's superior hardware, I could get all the visual candy I want which is just next to PS2 level. Some games really need good graphics to bring out the beauty of the game (i.e. NBA) while others don't (puzzle games). Not to mention the PSP's video capabilities which is highlighted by its widescreen. It's a good way to view portable movies (also good for tv tuning) as compared to my 5th Generation Ipod Video. I recently saw a speaker set capable of mounting both PSP and Ipod Video. What a combo! I think I'm going to buy that thing (5K yen ~ Php2K @HardOff).

When it comes to software, I guess I do have to sacrifice some Mario and Pokemon, in exchange for PS titles like GTA and Tekken. I haven't owned any Playstation unit and so PSP is perfect for me (especially when it is modded, can play PSX games). I have noticed that PSP and DS games have the same price range (2Kyen-6Kyen) even when PSP has larger filesizes than DS'. Value for money, it's the PSP.

There are some distinct hardware specs that I also have to patronize in the PSP. For all those who took CoE113, they should be familiar with PSP's CPU which is MIPS-based. Our thesis project, which was the dual-core DLX microprocessor is also MIPS-based. The other thing I patronize is due to the PSP's LCD which was produced by Sharp. Specifically with Sharp's LCDs, they use color filters produced by Toppan -- and that's where I work now.

Of course there are dozens of hacks and mods for the PSP and DS in which I am not going to discuss here. But when you want to bring out the geek in you and tweak with the PSP, you can turn this gaming machine into a nifty linux machine complete with a keyboard. Well better if you get a smaller keyboard then your setup would look like the small laptops being sold commercially.

Again, the choice is yours. Both are light(PSP slim: 189g; DSLite:200g). If you're not too demanding on the graphical quality of some games, then perhaps the DS is for you. DS units are relatively cheaper (DS: 16200Yen ; PSP:19800Yen ~Php6200)The stylus format of the DS may give you a unique experience compared from the usual controller stick, although only a select few games are able to maximize its use.

Well, if money's not a problem for you, why not buy the 2 consoles and get the best of both worlds.

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posted by ScIoN 2:55 PM


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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

ScIoN is a former Systems Engineer in Japan who specialized in industrial imaging and digital hardware design. He is now back in the Philippines pursuing graduate studies in Finance at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.



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