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iPod vs. PSP: Comparing the hardware

by Frank Hedley  |  June 6, 2008

You can almost say that the world of media has passed a turning point once with the release of the video iPods since 2005. The media scenery has become nonetheless more interesting when Sony's Portable Play Station, or simply PSP, received an important opponent on the media device market. It has been a while since then, with Apple constantly improving its gadgets and software related components, and now the aftermath is about to be revealed.

If we take a look at their most obvious physical features, which consist of size and weight, we can definitely get a glimpse on what we're talking about. Apple's iPod design is fashionable forward , with a slender figure and extremely light package, measuring 4.1-by-2.4-by-0.43 inches. On the other hand, we have the heavy serious Sony PSP which comes up to more than half of pound in weight and measures 6.7-by-0.9-by-2.9 inches. It will take more than on oversized coat or pocket to store this media tool, although it comes with a free protection sleeve.

The classic iPod has a 2.5 inch display with 320-by-240-pixel video that doesn't really fits to watch a movie or a video clip. After being criticized for such a small screen, Apple forcefully took over and came up with the new iPod Touch that's supposed to take over the Sony PSP. The iPod Touch offers a 3.5 inch Multi Touch display and 320 by 480 pixels but when you take a look at the 4.3-inch screen that displays a widescreen format of 480-by-272 pixels in millions of colors of the PSP, decisions are harder to make between the two of them. The PSP screen is a wonder for movies and playing games.

Another hardware feature to compare is the storage capacity, at which Apple is by far the winner. With its 160GB for the iPod Classic it can play videos for up to 200 hours, used with H.264 1.5-Mbps video at 640-by-480 resolution combined with 128-Kbps audio. Meanwhile, the PSP is limited to the storage capacity of its Memory Stick Duo flash media card which only goes up to as much as 2GB, 2GB that will have to include the saved game files. A good thing about PSP are the new Sony trademark Universal Media Disc format on which Hollywood has started releasing plenty of movies. The downside is there isn't enough room for movies, maybe just for two or three heavily compressed ones and if you want to use it for long trips, the Sony PSP may not do the job for you.

An important aspect about such media tools is their battery life. The Sony PSP has got some really bad reviews for its overstated battery life which are still a subject of debate. The problem with the PSP is that when you watch movies from the UMD disk the drive keeps spinning and that sucks up a lot of battery power. If you use at the same time the WiFi connection to navigate over the Internet in order to play some multiplayer games than you will be left with no more than three hours of media fun. On the other hand, playingback movies from the Memory Stick Duo is not that power draining, since the drive doesn't have to move.

Apple iPods start at a playback lifetime of at least 5 hours, so that's a white mark for Apple. But what Apple doesn't have, and Sony does, is replaceable batteries. If you're on a plain or just travelling and just ran out of battery, you can simply remove the back panel on the PSP and replace the battery with a fully recharged one. External batteries for PSP are now becoming more and more available on the market so they are easy to find.

As concerning the add-ons and peripherals that can improve your experience with these two media devices, the Apple iPod leaves behind again the Sony PSP. There are numerous offers of accessories like arm bands, protections sleeves and socks, universal docks, remotes and adapters. Now they even got a partnership with Nike by creating a Nike+iPod running kit. Nevertheless, there a lot of products that are specially created to work only with the Apple iPod, from which some already work with the pre-existing iPod models but are designed to adapt to future models too.

That's not the same case with the Sony PSP, altough it has been a steady product in factory lines, for almost an year in Japan, and it's creators have kept it's formation in reasonable lines, so there is a sufficient amount of products on the market that go with the PSP.


Related articles:

PSP 1000 vs PSP 2000 vs PSP 3000
Portable vs. Home Entertainment / PSP vs. Playstation

Becoming PSP - PlayStation Portable vs. Creative's Zen Portable Media Center
Becoming PSP - PlayStation Portable vs. the Nintendo DS
iPod vs. PSP: Comparing the software capabilities

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