Sony PSP Reviews
NYKO Theatre Experience Review (PSP)
By Stevie Smith Feb 18, 2008, 15:05 GMT
David Lee puts the NYKO Theatre Experience to the test. How does it hold up under pressure? Credit: Micro-Mobile.
The NYKO Theatre Experience is the latest third-party accessory for the PlayStation Portable that not only claims to add the ultimate multimedia experience to Sony’s handheld, but to also extend its relatively puny battery time by more than 7 hours -- offering up around 11-12 hours of game time courtesy of a stylish brushed aluminium protective case.
The first thing to notice about the Theatre Experience is its rather large size and weight – it‘s around one and a half times the length of the PSP, about twice the thickness of the original PSP ‘fat’ and weighs in at about half a kilogram. It almost looks and feels like a PSP on steroids. From the outset, it’s obvious that this particular PSP accessory hasn’t been designed to promote Sony’s ‘portable’ ethos.
However, the rather cumbersome specs complement the high quality of build and robustness of the case’s exterior, which is more akin to the protective laptop cases used by the military in harsh war zones than that of a handheld console carry case. From a strength point of view, the NYKO Theatre Experience certainly feels as it will absorb a right old battering and should provide adequate all-round protection to the console held within.
Although built like a brick, aesthetically the Theatre Experience still manages to ooze the sleekness and feel of a good quality product. From the brushed anodized black aluminium shell to the surprisingly large number of input/output sockets hidden under the protective plastic flaps at the front of the case, through to the trendy silver NYKO logo strategically placed on the exterior, the Theatre Experience ‘looks’ like serious business. In that sense, it‘s fairly obvious that this accessory is not just another all-but useless unlicensed offering from China released with little more intent than to deprive gamers of their hard-earned cash.
Upon opening the NYKO Theatre Experience it becomes apparent that the stylish and sleek exterior design is continued inside. The first element of note is the neoprene lining -- used to encase and hold the PSP -- which should provide adequate protection against unforeseen bumps and scratches to its precious cargo. The interior then offers up a pair of mesh-free circular speakers built into the underside of the case’s lid. However, while aesthetically attractive, users shouldn’t be fooled into thinking the speakers are made from a sturdy metallic material -- much as this writer did -- only to touch then and discover they‘re made of an impressionable foil-like material that dents far too easily. There is also a useful amp on/off button with an LED indicator, in case users should wish to switch the speakers off to save battery life.
Sadly, the interior cradle in which the PSP sits is somewhat a letdown compared to the rest of the case‘s construction -- it basically comprises of a tilt-friendly plastic brace with a couple of flaps that lock the PlayStation Portable into an optimum viewing angle. Although functional, it seems as if little thought has gone into the design element of this particular part. Some sort of spring-loaded cradle would have been much more satisfying.
The NYKO Theatre Experience offers plenty of options for those gamers that really want to enhance their gaming experience on the PSP. First off are the audio options: there are two headphone sockets allowing two gamers to plug in their headphones simultaneously; then there are the audio-in ports, which allow other audio devices to use the Theatre Experience’s amplified speakers (particularly great for iPod users). Another thoughtful and useful feature is the DC-out socket: this basically allows the gamer to use the Theatre Experience as an external battery source by utilising the supplied DC cable as opposed to having the PSP sat in the cradle.
In terms of performance, the NYKO Theatre Experience really excels in the sound department. The sound quality from the built-in amp/speakers is surprisingly loud and beefy (although a bit more treble would have been welcome). From a gameplay longevity angle, the extended battery life really does make NYKO’s accessory a necessity for any hardcore handheld enthusiast -- the 7-hour battery life claim is certainly realistic whether watching films from UMDs, playing games or listening MP3 tracks.
However, despite all the plus points, there are a few niggling problems to bear in mind concerning the Theatre Experience. The first emerges insofar as the case does not close when the PSP’s safety-conscious hand strap is attached, which means having to remove the strap whenever wanting to use the Theatre Experience as a carry case. Personally, this is extremely annoying as the hand strap has saved this writer’s PSP from certain death on many an occasion. The other minor problem with the Theatre Experience is its lack of internal storage facilities for essential UMDs -- considering the overall size of the case, it shouldn’t have been that difficult to accommodate at least a couple of UMDs.
NYKO Technologies is a company that has built up a reputation for designing and manufacturing innovative, practical and quality accessories for all manner of peripherals and gaming consoles. Apart from a few niggling flaws, the Theatre Experience accessory for Sony’s PlayStation Portable only enhances the company’s reputation and really does bolster the functionality of the PSP.