With the release of the PS Vita, PSP's have been coming down in price and more people are looking to snap them up.
To date there have been 5 major incarnations of the PSP (Playstation Portable), the 1000 (or Phat), the 2000 (or Slim), the 3000 (or Brite) the PSP Go (or N1000) and the PSP Street (or E1000). They are all slghtly different and all have their Pro's and Cons.
I am writing this as I have recently been looking to buy three PSPs, one for me and one each for the two boys. I was surprised at how many people and sites were miss-selling PSPs. On a few occasions (like the ones I bought) it works to the buyers advantage as I have bought PSP3000s that were listed as earlier models. However you can find earlier model PSPs listed as more advanced counterparts, with the relevant price hike. I will not go into depth about what each model can do, but it will try and give you a few clues as to the major differences how to tell which PSP is which from the photos available by sellers .
In this guide I refer to the PSPs by their series code (1000, 2000, 3000 etc) but you will see other variations listed on the various sites. The last 2 digits of the code tell you which region encoding the PSP has, and so which UMD films it will play (the games are not region encoded and so this will not be an issue unless you want to watch films). The codes are:
X000 - Japan (although it is also used as a generic model code)
X001 - USA
X002 - Australia & New Zealand
X003 - UK
X004 - Europe & india
X005 - Korea
X006 - Hong Kong, Singapor and Malaysia
X007 - Taiwan
X008 - Russia
X009 - China
X010 - South America
So a 1000, 1003, 1004 1006 etc will all be PSP 1000s but will have different region coding when it comes to watching films.
PSP games and films are supplied on UMDs (Universal Media Disc) which are like mini CD's in a plastic case. These slot into the back of the PSP and can hold full length feature films and complicated games (each UMD can hold 1.8 Gb)
So you are looking at a PSP on the internet, how can you tell which one it is and what are the differences? (there is a simple checklist to follow at the end of the guide if you want to skip to it)
PSP 1000 (or Phat)
The original PSP was released back in 2004 and is by far the most common one you'll find on sale. The PSP 1000 has a few unique viusal features that set it aside from it's later counterparts, if you see any of the following you are looking at a PSP 1000:
When looking at the front of the PSP, the speaker holes (two small holes either side of the screen) are at the bottom of the faceplate, just above and to the side of the Home button on one side and the Start button on the other.
The top edge of the front of the PSP has a grille like appearance.
The yellow power socket has a square bottom to it.
In 2007 Sony released the PSP 2000, a slimmer and lighter version of the previously quite chunky PSP 1000. Other than a brighter screen, and being easier to hold the main advantage over the 1000 series was that the memory and internal storage had been doubled resulting in better performance and shorter load times. The 2000 differs quite a lot from the PSP 1000 in physical appearance, however unless you have them side by side, the size of the system may not be enough to go on for identification. With these models, the yellow power socket is round, there is no grille on the top edge, but most importantly the speaker holes are towards the top of the Screen just above the D-Pad and action buttons. This is one of the main things to look out for if you don't want an old PSP 1000.
A year later the PSP 3000 was released. In this incarnation the PSP has a much brighter and faster LCD screen with a larger colour range giving much more vibrant images and a reduced pixel response time. Also Sony included Anti-Glare technology to improve gameplay outside and a built in microphone.
The PSP 2000 and 3000 are very similar to look at and side by side there are only a few subtle visual clues as to which is which, the first is the positioning of the logos. On the PSP 2000 the word Sony is to the right of the screen and the PS logo is to the left of the screen. On the PSP 3000 the word Sony appears on the top left of the PSP. The other minor difference is the shape of the PS (which is a home button ont he 2000), Select and Start buttons. On the 2000 they have a flat top edge, on the 3000 they are rounded. If you look carefully you can also see the microphone hole to the left of the PSP initials underneath the screen.
Very similar in style to the earlier 1000, 2000 and 3000, this was intorduced in 2011 as a budget model. The PSP was stripped of it's microphone, Wifi connectivity and one of its speakers. Given the cost of buying second hand PSPs, unless you can get one of these at an absolute rock bottom price then don't bother.
The main differences with the PSP Street to earlier models are the speaker holes and the button bar at the bottom. The PSP Street has only one speaker and it's to the top left of the screen, it's opening is made up of four small holes in a diamond pattern, and it is the only model of this style that has that arrangement of speaker holes. Secondly the PSP Street doesn't have physical buttons sticking out for you to press under the screen but a flat bar with the buttons printed on it.
Easiest to identify as this is the only model that slides open to reveal the buttons. If you see buttons either side of the screen it's not a PSP Go
The PSP Go is the Odd ball of the bunch in that it has no UMD drive. You can't simply walk into a store and buy a game for it, everything has to be downloaded to the internal 16Gb storage from the Playstation Store. Also the PSP Go uses a different brand of Memory stick to all the other PSPs and has a slightly smaller screen.
So that is the PSP family. If you're looking to buy a second hand PSP for some gaming fun then you really should be looking for a PSP 3000, it is the best of the bunch. It's the successor of the 1000 and 2000 with improved performance and displays, any price difference between the 3000 and Street models is not worth quibling about when you consider the Street doesn't have Wifi and also has only mono sound. The PSP Go looks impressive, but there is a lack of cheap games and films, as you can't buy things second hand you have to download everything new, which means paying full price. If you're happy to do that then get yourself a PS Vita.
So theres the basics, if you are scouring ebay or second hand shops looking for a PSP I've written a simple checklist for you. Given how many times I've stumbled across what seemed to be a bargain, only to find that the PSP 3000 listed was actually a 1000 or street, you may find it useful to run through this each time you look at the pictures.
- Does it slide to open? If so then it's a PSP Go
- Look for the speaker holes, if they are at the bottom of the screen it's a PSP 1000, if there is only one to the top left it's a PSP Street.
- Look at where it says Sony, if it's to the top right it's a 2000, if it's to the top left it's a 3000.
- Be aware that the faceplates of PSPs are easy to change, if there is no logo or if the front is a different colour to the back take extra care and try looking for some of the other things I mentioned above.
I hope that helps someone out there, and as one last little nugget of advice. As I mentioned above you can replace the faceplates of PSP 1000, 2000 and 3000s very easily, so if you're looking at one and there are scratches, or the plastic front is cracked, or even if the joystick cap is missing, for a couple of quid you can get a replacement on eBay and for 10 minutes with a screwdriver you could have a new looking PSP for a very hefty discount.