The PlayStation Portable (PSP) is a great little console that marked Sony’s foray handheld gaming. But with all of the different hardware revisions over its 10-year run – PSP 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs PSP Go – it can be difficult to know which model is right for you.
What are the differences between the PSP 1000, PSP 2000, PSP 3000, and the PSP Go?
- Original PSP system
- Thicker than later revisions, but durable
- Thinner and lighter than the original model
- Brighter screen
- Video out port to display on a TV
- Display is even brighter and more responsive than either of the previous two models
- Also has a video out port to display on a TV
- Replaced the “Home” button on previous models with a PlayStation-branded button
- Features a slide-out screen
- Ditched the Universal Media Disc (UMD) drive in favor of an all-digital console
As you can see, aside from the PSP Go, there aren’t a ton of obvious differences between the handheld’s various hardware iterations. But just because each console’s specifications and features are more subtly different doesn’t mean each model is without a unique set of pros and cons.
Which model is the best? Which PSP is right for you? Well, that’s for you to decide. But to make your decision easier, we have laid out all of the positives and negatives of each PSP iteration.
- The least expensive PSP model
- Ergonomic and durable
- High-quality UMD slot
- No video out port
- Display isn’t quite as nice as the other models
- Durability and ergonomics come at the expense of sleekness
- Only PSP with 32MB of RAM; all others have 64MB
How To Tell It Apart From The Other Models: Obviously, the model number is the easiest way to tell the consoles apart. If you’re browsing consoles online and the vendor doesn’t have images of the model number, however, there are other ways to tell. The simplest way to identify the 1000 is by locating the speakers, which will be on the bottom half of the console; the 2000 and 3000 have the speakers on the upper portion of the handheld.
Overview: The first PSP model is pretty solid, but it doesn’t come with all of the bells and whistles the later iterations have. Luckily, however, it does come at a lower price point on average. (Used prices do fluctuate, but check out our continuously updated article – How Much Is A PSP Worth? – in order to stay up-to-date with going rates from the entire PSP family.)
Additionally, the original PSP also has a great ergonomic feel to it, partially in thanks to its thicker form factor. And while the 1000 isn’t quite as sleek as the later models, it is quite the durable little handheld.
The real drawback to the 1000 is its screen. It’s not nearly as bright and responsive as it’s successors. Games play just fine, but they don’t look quite as nice as they do on the other models. Lastly, the 1000 is also a little bit slower than the other consoles.
Bottom Line: Yes, the PSP 1000 is generally the cheapest model, but not by that wide of a margin. Ergonomics is more of a personal preference sort of thing – but if it is that important to you, maybe consider taking a look at the 1000. Otherwise, we’d recommend one of the revisions instead.
- Brighter screen than 1000
- Slimmer and sleeker than its predecessor
- Video out port to display to TV
- Cool limited editions
- Screen isn’t quite as bright or responsive as the 3000
How To Tell It Apart From The Other Models: The PSP 2000 looks very similar to the 1000 model, but its speakers are on the upper half of the console and it is significantly slimmer.
Overview: The PSP’s first revision really got it right. It comes with two times more RAM than the original model in addition to a brighter and more responsive screen. Also, it has a video out port to display to a TV. Also, the PSP 2000 (and 3000) have some of the console’s best looking limited editions, so look out for those too.
Honestly, the only knock on the 2000 is that the display isn’t quite as bright or responsive as the 3000. But with scan line issue on the 3000, some users actually prefer the PSP 2000.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “Scan lines” have come up quite a few times in this article, so I thought I’d offer a little bit of my own personal perspective. The PSP 3000 is my preferred model, and honestly, scan lines aren’t something I really notice. This seems to differ from person to person – but after doing some investigating online, it seems as though most people prefer the 3000’s screen as I do, scan lines or not.
Bottom Line: It really comes down to the screen here. If some minor scan line issues are likely to bother you, maybe look into getting the 2000. If not, opt for the brighter and more responsive display on the 3000.
- Fantastic display
- Maintains the sleek design and video out port from the 2000
- More cool limited editions
- Scan lines
How To Tell It Apart From The Other Models: The PSP 3000 is extremely similar to the 2000 model, but the “Home” button was changed to a PlayStation-branded button to match the PS3.
Overview: Copy all of the pros from the 2000 and paste them right here. Add in the fact that the 3000’s display is even brighter and more responsive, and you know pretty much everything you need to. We’ve already talked a lot about scan lines, so we don’t dive any deeper on that. And that (minor) issue is really the only negative we could find.
Bottom Line: Between the 2000 and 3000, it really all comes down to personal preference. The scan lines (this is the last time we’re mentioning it, we promise) aren’t something that many gamers are likely to notice – and most of the people who do notice it get used to it after a bit. If you find an extremely good deal on one or the other, go with the cheaper model. Otherwise, the PSP 3000 will be the console of choice for most people.
- Extremely compact and portable
- Looks and feels great
- Cool Nintendo Switch-like docking accessory (sold separately)
- Sony no longer supports the PSP so buying games is kind of a hassle without the UMD drive
- The battery isn’t as easy to replace in the Go as the other models
How To Tell It Apart From The Other Models: This one is easy. The PSP Go doesn’t look anything like the other models; it’s much smaller, the screen slides out, and there is no UMD drive.
Overview: The PSP Go looks extremely sleek, and that’s possibly its biggest selling point. Otherwise, the Go has a lot of negatives that keep it from being the definitive PSP.
Most notably, the PSP Go ditched the UMD drive and went all-digitial. And that’s cool if you’re into that sort of thing, but Sony has stopped supporting the PSP’s digital store years ago. This isn’t the end of the world, however, as PSP users can still purchase games on via the PlayStation Store’s website. Still, going all digital requires an SD card in order to store games.
The last thing we’ll mention is that there is a pretty cool Cradle accessory (see pricing on Amazon) exclusively available for the PSP Go that allows users the ability to dock and play their PlayStation Portable games on the television. Like the console itself, the accessory is pretty pricey – but it is definitely cool.
Bottom Line: If console aesthetics aren’t that big of a selling point for you, look at the 2000 or 3000 (both of which are also great looking handhelds). The Go’s high price point and lack of a UMD drive are probably deal-breakers for most prospective buyers, but those hypnotized by its admittedly sleek design will probably still be happy.
Bonus: PSP Street (E1000)
- It’s kind of a collector’s item
- It’s a budget model that is more expensive than the other standard models because Sony produced limited quantities
- No brightness setting buttons
- Only a single speaker
- No wi-fi
Let’s just skip to the bottom line for this one, shall we? The PSP-E1000 (also referred to as the “PSP Street”) was originally released as a stripped-down budget console at the tail end of the PSP’s run. Since Sony didn’t make a ton of these consoles (and it was only released in PAL regions), it’s seen as something of a collectible these days even though it is, by far, the most stripped-down version of the console.
The fact that this (once-)budget console is now expensive makes this unit pretty pointless. If you see it online, probably just skip right on by unless you’re looking to add this model specifically to your collection.