Review Snapshot

Directional pad is sturdier and easier to use; comes with a built-in microphone.


Image quality has worsened.


Not a great improvement; stick with earlier models if possible.

Reviewed by:
Annie Oh : I am a 20-something freelance writer who specializes in technology and health re...Member Reputation 124 • 110 active Krits
Playstation Portable PSP-3000 Core Pack from Sony
Playstation Portable PSP 3000 Core Pack Review
Annie Oh rates this 3/5
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How Does the Playstation Portable PSP-3000 Core Pack Stack Up to the Competition?

An upgrade from the PSP-2000, the Playstation Portable PSP-3000 Core Pack returns with drastic visual improvements to the display screen, making game-playing more enjoyable and enticing.  It's not without its problems though: What are considered visual improvements are called weaknesses by customers, with some experts recommending reaching for the PSP-2000 instead for a more optimal game experience.  Here is my review.

  • Directional pad is sturdy and more responsive
  • Increase in contrast and resolution quality
  • Comes with a built-in microphone

  • Its visual improvements didn't translate well; image issues are frequent
  • Some of the buttons are still loose; not sturdy
  • Changes too minor to justify buying it over the PSP-2000


Design-wise, the Playstation Portable PSP-3000 Core Pack has only received minor modifications from its predecessor, the PSP-2000, changes most people wouldn't readily notice.  Its biggest change lies in the texture of the device--now featuring a matte finish, making it easier to keep clean.  Good news for gamers: The new finish should also make it easier to grip during long game play, since the matte feel should make it easier to grip even with sweaty hands.  Sony has also made minor improvements in the direction pad, making it sturdier and easier to use--a small change, but one that should improve game performance, making it a valuable change for gamers.  Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the other buttons, which still feel loose.

"Another thing you'll notice is it's slimmer, and all the fat has been trimmed off," says one customer.  "The D-pad is built better and it concaved on the inside instead of just flat like the original model."

Its most noticeable change lies in its display screen, which, although looking the same, has undergone minor readjustments to intensify the resolution and contrast quality.  This, according to Sony, should improve the image quality, though many customers and experts have reported otherwise.


Aside from sturdier directional controls and an improved visual interface, the Playstation Portable PSP-3000 Core Pack contains a new feature: a built-in microphone.  Though not a useful feature for most gamers, unless you plan to use it for online play where communication is a must, it should prove handy for those who use the PSP for other purposes, such as chatting online with Skype.

Aside from this, expect all of the features you'd find on a standard PSP: built-in WiFi, a clear anti-reflective screen, a rechargeable battery pack, and functionality to support music and movie playback (it also doubles as a DVD player) are all contained here.  To store files for later playback, you'll need to use a Universal Media Disc, or UMD.


Luckily, there aren't any serious issues that affect the PSP's playability here, aside from a few grumblings about poor image quality.  The improvement in the directional pad enhanced the gaming experience, according to customers, and the anti-reflective screen made it easier for people to play without having to deal with annoying light glare.  Sony did not make any significant changes to the shape of the PSP, so gamers are also in luck here: It still feels comfortable to use, even after hours of intense game play.  

Unfortunately, several customers--and experts--have noted its supposed "visual improvements" have actually worsened image quality. 

"The expanded color gamut does make colors notably more vibrant, yes, but it does so at the expense of white balance," says Scott Lowe of  "When compared side-by-side to the PSP-2000, the PSP-3000's screen adds a tinge of yellow to neutral colors, most noticeably white tones."  More problems surface when moving from menu to menu as well--during menu transitions, scanning lines appear, which can be distracting.  Although it's not an issue that will drastically affect playability, it's still a fairly concerning distraction, one that Sony does not appear to be changing.


Despite hosting a few new strategic changes, I can't say there's much to like about this model--though it's improved in some ways, the changes are so minuscule that few people would notice the difference between it and the previous model (PSP-2000).  My recommendation: If you prefer a sturdier D-pad, then consider this.  Otherwise, you're best off sticking with newer models, such as the Playstation Vita.Wi-Fi Portable.
Date Reviewed: May 9, 2012, 12:09 pm
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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