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back to article Handheld games console three-way shoot-out

For the last few years, the handheld games market has been dominated by the now-traditional rivalry between Sony’s PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS Lite. This year, though, there’s a surprise new kid on the gaming block: Apple’s second-gen iPod Touch. Apple is touting the new Touch as "the funnest iPod ever" (sic), and …

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dontforget...

the PSP as an interface to your PS3 :)

wireless hotspot, PS3 at home PSP in hand = the ability to play many downloaded games, view photos from your home media server and watch films...

then, if you have play TV you can even watch TV or set programs to record form anywhere round the globe!!

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No Open-Source Handhelds?

A decent round-up of the best commercial handheld devices. But it would have been nice to see some mention of the open source handhelds coming out in the near future. For example the Open Pandora project: http://www.openpandora.org and the new Game Park Holdings console, the whiz: http://gp2x.co.uk/

Maybe we'll get a nice review when they're actually released?

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Dead Vulture

Ipod touch 2nd gen

I got the new 8gb touch as I saw one game I like for it.

only problem I have is the keyboard is to small for my adult fingers

and the apple store does not take visa electron. My money is as good as any one's

Good job it takes my credit card LOL

I have owned all the systems listed but most controls are to small for my hands

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DS Lite Game on Page 5?

Out of interest... what is the game on the DS Lite on page 5?

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A little misleading...

Although admittedly it's supports WEP and not WPA, the DS does actually support wireless security and I've had it working on few routers including a BT Homehub with no issues.

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DS wifi

My 2-day old DS worked immediately with my (encrypted) router. Sounds like a BT problem to me! The 2-screen approach is brilliant, IMHO - you can play throwing games, like darts and bowling, and you can hold it like a book. Did you mention sales figures..?

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Silver badge

So this is a gaming review...

...but you use percentage review totals for the devices as a whole, which kinda distorts the result. The Touch gets a higher score *as a device*, yet this is a gaming review, and its gaming capabilities are clearly another Apple accelerometer-based marketing gimmick.

Come on, the PSP is the best portable gaming device, hands down. It's massive range of features compared to the DS, its integration with the PS3, its battery life, its selection of games and its gorgeous screen make it a straight up winner. I have a DS, but it only has one game, because most of the games on the DS are like most of the games on the Wii - crap.

And as far as I can tell, every game on the Touch has to - by law - be based around either "wooo, accelerometer" or "woo, touchscreen."

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Interesting "review"

I'd say that the ipod Touch is best for us commuters.

You have it with you anyway to drown out the din of the other passengers and the train, so why not fire up a game to make that train delay go quicker. Beats pulling out a PSP and looking like a 14yr old anyway (or DS and looking like a 7yr old).

I highly recommend Trace, Aurora Feint (incredible time buner), Solitaire City, Galcon, Jellycar, Lux Touch and ESPN Camerman. All free last time i checked.

The only ones i've paid a quid or two on are Dizzy Bee, Topple, Everest:Hidden Expedition and Missile Command. All were well worth the puny asking prices.

My PSP gathers the dust now, though it still is handy for very long journeys, movies look ace on it.

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@Greg

Sorry you've missed out on the great games for the DS. There have been plenty of them, as my increasing collection and shrinking bank balance will testify. Advance Wars DS, a selection of Castlevania titles, Mario Kart, the Phoenix Wright/Ace Attorney series, and a whole slew of platformers, RPGs, card games, adventures. Not to mention the whole back catalogue of GBA titles.

That's not to say the PSP doesn't have a great selection of titles either. It's had its dry patches, but it's got a whole host of classics too, as well as some quirky titles. Currently getting my handheld gaming fix from R-Type Command...

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Gates Halo

Re: No Open-Source Handhelds?

Maybe we'll get a nice review IF they're actually released?

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hmmm

@ "A decent round-up of the best commercial handheld devices. But it would have been nice to see some mention of the open source handhelds coming out in the near future. For example the Open Pandora project: http://www.openpandora.org and the new Game Park Holdings console, the whiz: http://gp2x.co.uk/

Maybe we'll get a nice review when they're actually released?

"

problems with an OS device such as these are:

:: OS people are notorious tight and dont like spending money (j/k)

:: how will they crack down on copying titles? yes, bootlegging saves us all cash but when are EA/etc going to release games for a console that has no protection? never....

:: money is usually lost on the units - but made up on the game licences - how will this work under OS?

:: the wizz website looks like a child made it - wtf is up with all the artifacts? the console itself looks ok but whats up with the stupid button config?

:: the other website looks so boring - like a crap powerpoint presentation.

why is OS s/w always so shitty looking (yes, ubuntu makes winxp LOOK amazing lol) i know there are some ok looking stuff but still - not an area full of designers and artists is it? :)

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mhj
Jobs Horns

Voip? In your dreams.

You will never get any form of voip on the Ipod touch, because then it competes with the iphone...

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IT Angle

DS WiFi

It does WEP and 802.11b & only allows you to use WEP password/key #1 of 4.

It doesn't do WPA/WPA2 or 802.11a/g/n.

The type of router shouldn't make any difference as long as it's set up within the limitations of the DS.

Nintendo's DS WiFi help pages are very helpful if you're having any probs.

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@ mhj

voip already exists for the iPhone and iPod Touch and has done for a month or so now. So, wrong!

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New DS in spring..

Nice article but doesn't mention the new Nintendo DSi that comes out in spring next year. Its a DS but has bigger screens, mp3 and web browser built in. And I believe better wifi options. So an even better contender.

http://www.nintendo.co.uk/NOE/en_GB/news/2008/nintendo_introduces_dsi_9691.html

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@Matt

An iPod Touch can also be used as a remote for a Mac or AppleTV . You can even even use them to remotely view your iSight camera on your laptop :-)

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@Tom Richardson

Not doing WPA is basically the same as saying the DS doesn't support secure wireless networks these days. It is a bit surprising that Nintendo hasn't added the feature through a firmware update or with one of the hardware refreshes.

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Skype on the iPod Touch

I use Fring - yes, it's in the iTunes Applications store, and it's free. It gives me Skype-compatible VOIP. No hacking required.

I love my iPhone but wouldn't call it a gaming device any more than other mobile phones are. The processor is too slow and the battery too lame to cope with anything other than simple puzzle games.

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waste of space review

PSP is the best games console. Best screen, best games. END OF REVIEW.

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Go

Pros and cons

I have all 3 of these devices (well, an iPhone not iPod Touch - but basically the same) and they all have pros and cons - but the iPhone wins for me for a really small reason - I tend to actually have it on me.

The PSP has a great screen and is such a nice shiny object - but slow load times, short battery life and bulky media (well, Sony had to do something with mini-discs i guess!) makes for a less than stellar experience.

DS is awesome - the best games (IMHO), great design (folding design is so elegant) and fun to play (touch screen etc..) but, well, it's a bit dull as technology. It's cheap, kinda feels cheap and just doesn't really excite me to want to get it charged up and carry it around with me for the day.

iPhone / iPod Touch - pretty sexy, no additional media required (as games are built in), good battery life, easy to use, a fair mix of games (though I agree not quite the dizzying heights of Nintendo) - but ultimately wins because... I tend to have it on me.

And as the quote says: "if you don't play the game, then how are you going to win..?"

I'll get my coat.

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Linux

RE: Re: No Open-Source Handhelds?

snork, most amusing.

the pandora will dump all over these. from a hardware point of view alone, OMAP will revolutionise portable linux. but you carry on spending way over the odds for crippled devices. and i'll carry on feeling superior to people like you.

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RE: AC 10:21

That it may do, but as Liam so rightly said:

"but when are EA/etc going to release games for a console that has no protection? never...."

great, your gonna have your portable Linux device, but no (major release) games for it, lucky you

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Stop

RE: AC 10:21

i know this may be a really Difficult Thing for you to grasp but there are loads of great games that have been around for ages. i still play Q3A even now. hell, i still play R-Type!

another facet of this whole thing that's obviously proving tricky to grasp is that this thing is bloody powerful and can emulate a PS1, at full speed, without even using the graphics hardware (yet). bearing in mind that the CPU is (IIRC) twice as powerful as the PSP's, it's a theoretical possibility that it could emulate that too. or a DS.

if your point is 'i want to hand over cash and have something limited but requires no effort' then, yeah, you do have a very good one.

my point is 'i can apply a bit of effort and get a device that can do some very snazzy stuff from a variety of different applications'. it's a linux box. that means i could bung a 3G dongle in it and use it as a pocket sized web terminal. or skype handset. the first thing i thought when i read the spec was how many possibilities there are and what i could do even with my limited knowledge.

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Stop

Oh Brave New World that has...

Once upon a time, handheld computer game round-ups in November were assumed to be buying guides for parents. For the posters arguing that nobody reviewed next year's 'haven't actually been invented yet' toys, toys that play telnet and rsync, or brown corduroy toys that make a political statement, I can only assume you like the sound of children crying on Christmas day.

Perhaps you think you can justify playing 'Lego Toilet Puppies II: Scoopy Doo' yourself as a 20, 30 or 40 something commuter, but really.. trust me on this, you WILL look like an immature twat.

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Paris Hilton

One overlooked pro-PSP point.

Some people have commented on the bulky media involved with the PSP. This is quite true, but most of the people I know who own one don't play many UMD games on it.

Personally, I use mine mostly for playing old SNES/MegaDrive/PSOne games from memory card. It also comes in handy as a PDF reader, IRC client and on occasion I've used it to VNC into my home PC from afar. I'm sure this holds true for the other consoles reviewed as well; the really interesting uses are those unofficial ones that homebrew people invent.

Paris knows all about interesting homemade content.

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Coat

@dontforget...

> the PSP as an interface to your PS3 :)

And don't forget that the DS is an interface to your Wii, either :)

And I agree, the DS does support encrypted WiFi, although it's limited to to the particularly weak WEP key system. I've been using it with an AzTech, and before this an SMC, and it works surprisingly well.

Mine's the one with the Animal Crossing logo on the back.

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Go

RE: Oh Brave New World that has...

'Lego Toilet Puppies II: Scoopy Doo' made me splurt my coffee, man!

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What about retro?

The PSP is pretty naff it only really comes into it's own when the firmware is "opened", you can then get to play so many great homebrew apps, games and for me retro emulators. Nintendo 64, Megadrive and my favoruite ZX Speccy! Modern 3D, state-of-the-art games? Sorry too boring, they all look the same and have next to no gameplay worth speaking of, all trying to cram too much in at once. Nothing like playing Glider Rider and Skooldaze on the way to work!

Forget the rest, get the best, PSP!

(Yes I had a GP32 and GP2X, neither can beat a PSP! )

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about retro?

The DS can do all that too, without butchering the firmware. And in the case of the Spectrum / C64 etc with the added bonus of a touch screen keyboard.

DS FTW!!

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Anonymous Coward

DS all the way

I own all three, the DS gets the most usage for games, the iPhone next and finally the PSP. Generally the PSP just sits in its charging cradle unless I feel the need to play some emulators. The PSP has had some good games (GTA:LCS, GTA:VCS, Burnout Dominator, Wipeout Pulse, etc) but it's not had anything particularly exciting for a while it seems.

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Alert

PSP games not in shops!!

The PSP is in my view the best of the game machines, however my son has to buy games online as Zavii no longer stock any PSP games and Game and other shops have a very limited stock. My daughter who has a DS however cam find almost anything in these same shops that she likes. But as review says, the DS is not a Boy's toy.... Me? I'm getting a iTouch for Christmas, Not for games, but because of the host of others things available that nether the PSP or DS support very well - Like music, Web etc, ect. But I don't count the iTouch as a games machine.

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Coat

re: PSP games not in shops!!

My local stores have hundreds of great PSP games. In addition, if you get the V5 firmware, you can download loads of games for it from the Playstation Store.

The PSP is by far and away the best of the bunch.

As for Open Source gaming platforms. I assume you also want to pay 4x the price for it, as without the guarenteed LossLeaders of selling hardware cheap, and making it back on software, the hardware will have to be sold at a profit...

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i've got a ds and a psp

and i spend most of my gaming time on my gba....

both systems have there merits but they're just to chunky to carry around easily

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