PSP: Battery life, load times, and build quality

With the PlayStation Portable now officially available and nearly all of the 200,000-unit Japanese launch allocation already sold, word is getting around about some of the key issues that Sony has been unable or unwilling to address directly in the run-up to its December 12th launch. Sony has previously said that the battery should last for around six hours while gaming. Having seen the units running at E3 and the Tokyo Game Show, not too many people believed this. Nintendo's various executives have even been taking the Mickey out of it while the rival DS handheld enjoys its moment in the spotlight.

However, with PSP units now in gamers' hands, word is spreading as to what the battery life of the unit is really like, and it's an interesting if somewhat disappointing tale. According to a number of reports from various sources, simple games like Lumines will happily run for several hours, but graphically intensive titles like Ridge Racers will, as had been speculated, rip through the battery in very little time at all. GameSpot has been bandying around a figure of between 90 minutes and three hours, although it's not entirely clear if the figure at the lower end assumes the power-hungry wireless networking functionality is turned on. IGN has a similar piece dissecting battery life in the form of a Battery Journal.

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