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Sony Next Generation Portable: Hardware

What makes the new mobile gaming device tick?

Article comments

Not only is it real, but GamePro got some face time with Sony's sleek new handheld. We take a look at what makes the Next Generation Portable tick, and how it stacks up against the PSP.

You've watched the liveblogs, you've seen the press shots, now let's get into the nitty gritty details of what's under the Next Generation Portable's hood:

  • Operates with a ARM Cortex-A9 4 core CPU
  • Approximately 182.0mm width x 18.6mm height x 83.5mm depth (the original PSP is around 170mm x 74mm x 23mm)
  • 5 inch/16:9 OLED multi touchscreen display, at 960px x 544px (the original PSP has a 4.3/16:9 TFT LCD display, at 480px x 272px)
  • Multitouch pad on the device's rear
  • Built in microphone, with dual front/rear cameras
  • Six-Axis motion sensing technology, gyroscope, accelerometer, electronic compass
  • Built-in GPS system, Wi-Fi location service support
  • Face buttons, shoulder buttons, PlayStation button, directional pad, and dual analogue sticks (emphasis on the "sticks", these aren't nubs)
  • 3G mobile network connectivity, IEEE 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR compatibility
  • New flash memory based game media (the PSP uses Universal Media Discs or UMDs)

My take: I was fortunate enough to get a bit of hands-on time with the device behind closed doors, and I have to say, whatever lofty expectations my jet-lagged brain had concocted during the press conference, they were completely blown away once I got the sleek, slick and sturdy device between my thumbs.

Tomb raider and gunslinger extraordinaire Nathan Drake handles just as he does in his console iterations, and while I won't immediately give up the face buttons and analogue sticks to use the NGP's rear touch pads to climb vines, or the gyroscope technology to headshot baddies with the Dragon sniper rifle, each of the device's flourishes were implemented expertly and accurately.

The Next Generation Portable: Under the Hood

I had no trouble vaulting over fallen logs by sliding my finger on the touchscreen, and I was even able to get a glimpse at the device's augmented reality feature late in the demo, tilting the device to examine Drake's stunning surroundings in real-time, and even snapping a few pics.

I also got a few minutes of hands-on with Little Deviants, where I was really able to test the rear touchpad's mettle. More than anything, I was surprised at how incredibly responsive it was. Tapping the touchpad instantly augmented the on-screen environment, creating an incredibly cool experience that I'm anxious to see explored in a full retail release.

I also tried pinching the front and rear touchpads at the same time, stretching the Deviants' landscape and sling-shotting the critters across the screen as soon as I let go.

Admittedly, my time with the NGP was short, but it was more than enough to get a feel for the device's impressive potential. The touchpad, gyroscope and Six-Axis tech all impress even at this early state, and the dual analogue sticks really help establish the console experience Sony's aiming for.

It's early days yet, but I'm already anxiously awaiting what we'll see from Sony and the NGP come E3.


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