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Logitech PlayGear Amp Review - PSP

PlayGear Amp brings PSP audio up to par

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Logitech PlayGear Amp Review - PSP

PlayGear Amp - PSP

Logitech
I. like most of you, absolutely love my PSP. The video, the games, the tiny little tinny speakers... OK so the audio output needs some help, and luckily, Logitech delivers with the PlayGear Amp. The PlayGear Amp looks similar to many of the iPod speaker sets out there, it's powered by AAA batteries or an included AC adaptor. This little speaker set delivers surprisingly large sound, and will easily fill a room with MP3 music, or sound from a UMD movie or game.

PlayGear Amp, first look

When I pulled the PlayGear Amp out of the box, I was immediately impressed by its traveling case. It comes in its own black soft sided travel case. It hold the PlayGear Amp, the accessories, including adaptor cables, the AC adaptor and PSP attachment. My only disappointment is that it is so good looking, I would have loved to have it just large enough to also carry my PSP in. But, alas, PSP DJ Rahj will have to carry two cases to his next rave.

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 is easy to set up. Simply unfold the speakers, flip out the stand, plug in your PSP and go. The unit is powered by either AAA batteries (which last a surprisingly long time) or a standard AC adaptor (included).

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 most important aspect of any speaker set is its sound. The PlayGear Amp delivers solid, but not spectacular sound. The micro-driver technology delivers surprisingly crisp, clear sound. I was surprised at the amount of volume the unit could deliver, without distortion. The techno tracks of Lumines easily filled the room, and I could hear them throughout the home. The speakers could be turned up to a volume that far exceeded a comfortable listening level.

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.

Sounding off

In the end, the PlayGear Amp is a solid speaker set for the PSP. It is versatile and stylish. The sound is quite good but not great. The design is clever, but minor issues such at the button location and PSP attachment clip could use some more thought. It is certainly a bargain and would be a worthy accessory for anyone looking to upgrade the sound of their PSP, or turn it into a desktop music system. It is also proof that Logitech is committed to the PlayGear line of PSP accessories, and is a great followup to the excellent PlayGear Pocket PSP case.
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