PlayGear Amp, first look
The unit itself matches the PSP perfectly. The speakers and amp are encased in glossy black plastic that looks, and takes finger prints, just like the PSP. The micro-driver speakers are exposed, which always frightens me, and the unit props itself up on a chrome stand. The speakers can be adjusted to various angles and fold over for easy transport and storage. The volume controls and power switch are located at the top center of the unit and are not accessible if you have your PSP attached with the holding clip. The blue power light is quite bright, and it unfortunately was powerful enough to light up a dark room when I was watching a UMD movie.
The PlayGear Amp is stylish, and if it weren't for the Logitech branding, I'd think it was a Sony product.
Using the PlayGear Amp
The PlayGear Amp comes with two connector cords, a short one for when the PSP is in the amp's cradle, and a longer one. The longer one was a stroke of genius, as it allows you to pick up and play the PSP and blast Lumines or Ridge Racer through the amplified speakers.
Another design aspect for which I am thankful is that the PlayGear mp uses a traditional mini headphone/microphone jack. This means that any standard MP3 player (including the pint sized iPod Shuffle), CD player, computer, or even old-school cassette Walkman can be enjoyed through the PlayGear Amp.
The PlayGear Amp's controls are in an awkward position, however, as they find themselves behind the PSP when it is in the cradle. Also, the cradle which attaches to the PSP is a clip that doesn't feel as sturdy as the rest of the unit, and is just another thing to loose. It would have been better if the attachment mechanism was somehow built into the amp.
Pump up the jam
The highs and mids are clear and delicious. Every note is distinct and the mid range has that rich woody texture that usually is reserved for much larger/expensive speakers. However, the bass is MIA. While it is sufficient at lower levels, it is weak and shallow once the sound it turned up at all. Unfortunately, this seems to be the bane of all small electronics speaker systems. Without a mini sub-woofer, it is hard to deliver decent bass. I think it is fair to say that they deliver the same bass as mid-quality computer speakers (sans sub-woofer).
In the end, for the $50-ish price tag, the PlayGear Amp is an excellent speaker set with vibrant sound. On the plus side, your downstairs neighbors won't be complaining about your bass thumping during your late night gaming session.