Although it’s probably easy to tell I’m a big fan of the Sony PSP, there are two concerns that even many of the fans share with new users, namely the form factor and battery life. While the PSP has one of the sleekest designs I’ve seen in a long time, it’s easy to get a cramped hand after a few hours of extended play, especially with extended use of the analog nub. And while the PSP’s battery life isn’t nearly as bad as some would make it out to be, an extra boost of power is always a welcomed edition on long trips, especially with 333 MHz games on the horizon. With the PSP Rechargeable Grip, Brando hopes to help address both of these concerns.
Size & Fit
The Rechargeable Grip is basically shaped like the classic Playstation Dual Shock form factor, except nearly exactly as wide as the PSP itself. When the PSP is hooked on the four clamps on the flat surface, the extended Dual Shock style handles hang below the PSP and are used as classic grips. Although I’ve heard reports of similar devices having a flimsy construction and grip, I’ve honestly had no problems with my PSP slipping or otherwise moving around with Brando’s grip. Clipping the PSP on is a simple matter of snapping the small clamps over the top and bottom of your PSP, while a small notch allows for headphones or earbuds.
You won’t be able to open the UMD tray or even change headphones while the PSP is in the grip, however. The fit is a little tight, but in this case I think it’s for the best. I would be nice if the headphone jack was passed through the grip itself, but such extras would probably only increase the product cost and the low price is half of the appeal here.
If you have larger hands and find the PSP a bit hard to hold, or maybe you’d like a bit more support, you’ll probably like this style quite a bit. With the grip, the PSP resembles an elongated Dual Shock controller almost exactly, without the center analog sticks. The battery cord that plugs into the battery charger plug is just long enough to reach but not be in the way. I personally am a fan of using devices without attachments in most cases, but this grip really does look quite good attached to the PSP.
I did find though that in my experience, unless you put it in a backpack, brief case, or perhaps cargo pants, the grip is going to be a bit hard to store. Even though it collapses inward to about 3/4th the width of the PSP, the extra height and the clamps makes storing it in a pocket pretty inconvenient, not to mention the extra weight of the battery pack.
Features & Quality
As far as offering a more comfortable grip on the PSP goes, I have to agree on some games. While I still prefer my PSP without attachments, I found that on games with a lot of analog stick usage like Twisted Metal: Head On the grip really did offer a comfortable feel and greater ease of use. The extra support in the hand makes it much easier for the thumb to reach the analog nub, and to rest the weight more evenly in the hand.
The other major feature of the PSP Rechargeable Grip is the built in rechargeable batteries that help to extend the battery power of your PSP. Charged using the standard PSP battery charger, they plug straight into the AC slot and supplement the PSP’s power for a longer play time. It’s great for longer trips or more demanding games, and for the price it really can’t be beat. However, there are a few drawbacks. Namely, the batteries do add a slight but detectable weight. The PSP is only 10oz to begin with, so it doesn’t take much. It’s a very slight weight however of I believe only two rechargeable batteries, and I’m sure many users will consider it a more than fair tradeoff.
The other downside is that the added power is only 600mAH, which compared to the PSP’s 1800mAH battery, isn’t a whole lot of extra juice. How much extra battery time this will net you is pretty hard to map out since it depends on your usage, but if your PSP usually lasts 4-6 hours of continuous play, I wouldn’t expect more than 1-2 extra. This could be more than enough time to watch a movie or listen to the music off the memory card, or other less battery intensive activities. It’s well known most of the power drain comes from the UMD drive.
So let’s face it, it’s not the be-all, end-all solution to the PSP’s battery concerns, but as a comfortable and stylish grip with added battery power to boot, it’s hard to beat for the price. It looks good on the PSP, it feels secure and well constructed, and it gives you some extra playtime. If you like to do a lot of wireless gaming on the go or other battery intensive activities but don’t want to buy or carry around a big power pack, then the PSP Rechargeable Grip could be just the solution you’re looking for.