Comparing the iPod Touch to the PSP Go may seem like an apples and orange comparison. One is a personal multimedia player with the ability to play games, while the other is a gaming console with the ability to playback MP3s and perform other web-based activities. But this review will focus on the areas where these two devices overlap, which are significant and definitely consciously designed by Apple and Sony, respectively. If you’re looking for a portable video game device, this review is geared towards you.
Screen Size – Winner: Tie
The screens on the iPod Touch and the PSP Go are comparable. PSP Go has a 3.8 inch screen with a resolution of 480x272, while the iPod Touch has a 3.5-inch screen with a resolution of 480x320. So, with the iPod Touch, you have a bigger resolution, while the PSP Go has a slightly bigger screen. In either case, the differences aren’t enough to be a gamechanger for either device. Both look excellent in most lighting situations.
Price – Winner: iPod Touch
The PSP Go is priced at $250, while the iPod Touch starts at $199. You can get larger model iPod Touch devices with higher memory capacities for up to $399, but if you’re looking to spend the least amount of money, the iPod Touch is your best bet for one good reason: games. The PSP Go has two sets of game libraries: PSP classic games and PSP Minis. The PSP classic games run $40+ while the PSP Minis range from $1.99 to $5.99+. Granted, PSP games are full-featured games that are more robust, more immersive and longer than iPod Touch games or PSP Minis, so the high price is justified. But some of the titles that are available in the PSP Minis library are the exact same titles available in the iOS App Store—but often, they sell for prices that are $5 or more on the PSP Go.
In terms of overall cost of ownership, the iPod Touch will likely cost you less, even with the larger models.
Games – Winner: PSP Go
The PSP Go is through and through a solid gaming device. It plays many classic titles from the PSP, which even includes some classic PlayStation title. Plus, PSP Minis include many of the most popular titles in the iOS App Store. You’re basically getting the best of the both worlds here. You get addictive timewasters such as Tetris, Sudoku, Hero of Sparta, Funky Punch and Field Runners as well as the serious games for hardcore gamers, such as LittleBigPlanet, Madden NFL 2010, Medal of Honor Heroes 2 and Metal Slug XX.
One thing to consider, however, is that the PSP Go does not have a touchscreen. That’s the main advantage that the iPod Touch has. Some games like Touch Touch Revolution, Angry Birds and other games that rely on the touchscreen simply won’t be available (or as fun) on the PSP Go.
Performance – Winner: PSP Go
As mentioned above, the PSP Go and iPod Touch have comparable screens. In general, the PSP Go is capable of better graphics and, in theory, will run faster. But in most tests, there’s no discernible speed difference between the PSP Go and iPod Touch.
Controls – Winner: PSP Go
Touchscreens are fun and novel, but for serious gaming, you want the tactile analog controls offered by the PSP Go. PSP Go has a slider design that reveals an analog joystick and real physical buttons, just like a PlayStation controller. For games where precision is key, this is really the only way. The iPod Touch, on the other hand, relies on virtual joysticks and virtual keypads that can be tough or impossible to get used to.
Of course, some games are better with a touchscreen—such as tower defense games—but for platformers, shooters and other popular game types, the PSP Go is the best in terms of control.
Depending on the style of gamer you are, the PSP Go might be a better platform. It has more titles that are well worth the $40+ price tags as well as some of the PSP Minis that make the iPod Touch a popular distraction. If you’re using the device primarily for games, the PSP Go is better—but if you have other priorities, it’s a different story.