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Hardware Review - 'Logitech PlayGear Amp'

by Inexhist on June 12, 2005 @ 12:56 a.m. PDT

Upgrade your PlayStation Portable's audio and enjoy full, rich sound. Versatile power and storage options make PlayGear Amp the ideal companion when you need great audio to go. PlayGear Amp's matched quad micro drivers deliver remarkable performance in a small package.

Platform: PSP
Manufacturer: Logitech
Release Date: June 7, 2005

Buy 'LOGITECH PLAYGEAR AMP': PSP

The PlayStation Portable is an amazing device capable of feeding our varied senses like no other before it. It has stunning graphical capabilities, a wonderful tactile feel, great sound potential and it tastes like plastic! Okay, so maybe it could taste a bit better, but I don't think the makers intend it to be eaten. Audio aside, it meets its entire potential straight from the box. The exception is because the speakers on the PSP are only capable of emitting sounds that range from the high to the animals-only spectrum, and while that might make dogs rejoice, it doesn't do much for humans. It's one of the very few shortcomings that this device has shown. However, the fact that we are used to less audio quality in a portable device does not mean that our ears don't deserve the creamy chocolate goodness that the machine is potentially providing. This is where Logitech steps in with its PlayGear Amp, providing a "portable" speaker system for your new toy.

The first thing I am going to say is that the term "portable" isn't very accurate. Something along the lines of "packable" or "transportable" might be a little bit closer to the truth. Even in their smallest configuration, the speakers are really not going to fit in anything smaller than a satchel or backpack. They are capable of being powered by batteries or an AC adapter so you can use them on the go. (The carrying case measures in at around 11 x 5 x 2 inches, which is altogether too big to be considered the same type of portable as your sleek PSP).

The design of the speakers themselves is very slick, with polished black casing and silver speaker-cones; this device looks like it was born from the same raw sexy mass from whence the PSP came. Minimizing on wires to be tangled, the speakers are connected to by a long plastic casing, which causes the ungainly size and shape while simultaneously providing a place for the batteries and circuitry. The casing also supports the stand, which can be used to prop up the speakers as well as mounting the PSP in order to watch movies on it. The design of the stand was perhaps the most intelligent part of this speaker set, as it solves one of the common problems I have seen when it comes to watching UMD movies – I don't really want to hold the PSP for two straight hours.

The speakers come with a lightly padded carrying case, two audio cables, the stand and the AC adapter. While the case is a nice touch and fairly important for a portable speaker setup like this, I couldn't help but wonder why it didn't have space for the PSP as well. As is, you will also have to get a separate case for the carrying your PSP, which is a little disappointing. On a slightly less related note, I was able to fit my mp3 player in the case while all the speaker stuff was in there …

Speaking of mp3 playing, I found that this was perhaps the best test for these speakers. While the increased impact they provided games and movies was nice and appreciable, it didn't compare to the difference when listening to music. Using the PSP as a music device with its built-in speaker is a laughable proposition at best; using it as such with these speakers was very impressive. I ran a bit of a comparison to all the varied speakers I have around the house, and the only ones that these couldn't compare to were the studio monitors and my high-end surround system. The speakers have surprisingly clear sound with a strong bass end, which suits them exceptionally well to music, and they are loud to boot. Speaking of music, the audio input on them is your basic headphone cable so they will work with any portable player you have. I was able to use the speakers with my mp3 player, CD player, and even my computer to great effect.

The battery life is far more than would be necessary: my last test ran 20 hours and was still going when I got tired and shut it off. Since the PSP only has a few hours before it needs to charge, you will be able to use these speakers for quite a few full charges on the PSP. All things considered, these well-crafted speakers have huge sound for their small profile. Assuming there is a situation that you would like to use "portable" speakers with your PSP, then these are the best you can get.

Score: 8.0/10

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