I got my hands on a Japanese import PSP.
Basically, the screen is beyond belief. The resolution is so dense for such a small screen that the image quality is better than my $450 Planar LCD. Movies, FMVs, etc. run at a flawless and liquid 60 fps, or so it felt. The fact that the screen isn’t really beveled and kinda blends into the rest of the device makes it even more engaging, as if there’s no window you’re peering through. It’s huge and pretty and beautifully saturated.
The loading times aren’t nearly as bad as some people are complaining about. Ridge Racers, what I heard was the hugest offender of loading, took only about 15-20 seconds, so basically perfect time to yawn, stretch, and come back to it.
Graphically, the PSP was amazing, but not as stunning as the screen itself. Models are detailed, nice effects can be done. The texturing could do with some work, though, especially in the game I played most, ridge racers. Graphics look about on par with the earliest PS2 games, which is a promising thing.
My only major buff with the device is the controls. The analog disc is great, but it’s just a little too low. That’s bearable, though, no worse than the analogs on a Dualshock2. The really annoying thing is the placement of the buttons - they’re riiighht up against the edge of the device. This makes it really hard to grip the device, because the way you end up holding it is with the last two sections of your 3 middle fingers to accomodate your thumb. The left hand is fine, but the right hand tends to get really tired after playing for 5+ minutes of constant gaming, especially in racing games where the button needs to be held down constantly. The square button does tend to stick like they claim, but it’s very very minor, only happened to me once.
I tried the whole UMD-ninja-star-projectile trick, but you basically have to be trying to break the thing to get it to work.
Overall, it’s an excellent console. The screen is the most stunning part. It blows the DS (which I also finally played) clean out of the water and into the stratosphere. Excellent promise. Definite buy.
edit: Nearly forgot about the battery. Naysayers begone, I can attest that it can withstand a solid 6 hours of the most grueling game, ridge racers, without a problem.