D-pad: A little “tighter” than the DualShock’s but otherwise identical to your trusty PS2 pad’s.
Memory Stick access indicator: Flashes orange whenever the PSP loads or saves to your stick. Important only so that you never remove a Memory Stick when it’s being accessed (otherwise you could lose or corrupt data).
WLAN access indicator: Lights up green when using wireless networking to connect to other PSPs or the Internet (which drains your battery faster).
Hold indicator: Turns yellow when the power switch is pushed down and locked into hold mode.
Power indicator: Lights up solid green when the PSP is in use, flashes when the battery is low, and glows orange while the PSP is charging (once it’s fully charged, the light goes dark).
Analog stick: Unlike typical controllers, the PSP’s stick doesn’t tilt—it always stands straight up, like a little plastic mushroom. Its base can be pulled and pushed away from the middle to different degrees (it always recenters itself if you let go). And that, Billy, is where analog control comes from!
Volume buttons: Duh.
Home button: Push this at any time for the option to return to the PSP’s main menu; also handy since it brings up the time, date, battery life, and volume displays.
Display button: Adjusts the screen brightness to one of three levels (the darker you keep the screen, the more battery life you save), with a special fourth, brightest setting available only when the PSP is plugged in via the AC adapter. Hold down this button to turn off the display (handy for saving battery life while you listen to music, for example).
Sound button: For use only when you have headphones plugged in, this switch changes the tone of the PSP’s audio with every press, with four settings (heavy, pops, jazz, unique) of different bass and treble combinations. You can also hold down this button to mute the PSP at any time.
Speakers: Yes, these two little holes, and not all the tiny ones on top, are where the PSP’s stereo audio comes from.
Memory Stick Duo slot: Guess what goes in here?
WLAN switch: Just for you paranoid conspiracy-theory types, you can manually disable your PSP’s wireless abilities with this. Big brother is watching, and he wants to know your high score in Lumines!
Power switch: Push this up and quickly release it to turn the system on or put it in sleep mode (which will effectively pause whatever you were doing at the time) or hold it up for a few seconds to turn the PSP off. You can also lock it in the down position to enter hold mode, to keep your PSP from turning on accidentally.
IR port: Has no real use...yet. Could be used to communicate with other electronics in the future (use your PSP as a universal remote?), perhaps including the PS3.
USB connector: This USB 2.0 slot is the same kind most digital cameras use, but if you don’t already have a compatible cable (and you ever want to move stuff to and from your Memory Stick), you’ll have to buy one—it doesn’t come with the system.
Open latch: Push this to eject your UMD the old-fashioned way (as opposed to twisting your system and taking advantage of a glitch in some PSPs that fires the disc out like a cannon).
Accessory holes: Future peripherals, like the digital camera and GPS system Sony teased us with when it first demoed the system, may use these to clamp down onto the PSP.
Headphone jack: Sure, you can use normal headphones with your PSP, but the nifty white ones that come with the system include an iPod-style mini-remote that you can clip anywhere and use to adjust the volume and fast-forward or rewind.
UMD: Games, movies, and music will be sold on the PSP’s proprietary Universal Media Disc format, which, at 2.5 inches in diameter, is a little bit smaller than a GameCube disc.
Memory Stick Duo: Remember that word Duo—a regular-sized Memory Stick (roughly twice the length of a Duo) won’t fit. The 32MB stick that comes with the system has plenty of space for your game saves, but if you want to store movies, music, or photos, you’ll want something bigger. Check out our accessories rundown on pg. 98 for more.
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.