One thing that everyone who has dropped $250+ on a PSP is concerned about is protecting their investment. Logitech introduced the PlayGear Pocket a few months back, and while it does a great job of protecting the system, its lack of room for games or additional memory sticks means that itís not the right solution for everyone. Now Logitech has released the PlayGear Street, a case the not only protects the PSP, but also has room for three UMDís and four memory sticks. Like the Pocket, itís not the perfect solution for everyone, but for anyone looking to transport a bunch of accessories and their system, all in one case, itís a good investment.
The PlayGear Street is made from the same lightweight plastic molding that the Pocket is made from. The actual case is black molded plastic, and thereís a large clear shield that not only covers the top of the case, but actually extends over the sides as well. This makes the case look more stylish, but it also makes it quite a bit bulkier than it already is. If the case was smaller, then a little extra size wouldnít matter, but youíd be hard-pressed to fit it in your pocket without the clear plastic piece, and with it, itís nearly impossible. Itís attached to the black plastic case at 26 points, so removing it is not an option. You also canít slide pictures under the clear shield, so customizing your case, like so many people did with the Pocket, isnít an option.
The inside of the case is very nice. A small black button on the side opens the case like a clamshell to reveal three places for UMDís on the inside of the top piece. The discs are held steady by a flexible strap, and even if the strap were to break, the discs would still be held in place by the compartment. The bottom of the case is made with a solid, yet light rubber mold that holds the PSP firmly in place. There are four slots for memory sticks Ė two on either side, though itís doubtful anyone has five sticks (one in the PSP and one in each slot) to require this much storage. Perhaps carving out some more foam so you could place a cleaning cloth, earbuds, or even an extra battery might have been a better idea.
One of the nice things about the PlayGear Pocket was that even with the case closed you could charge the system, turn it off and on, plug in headphones and even access the shoulder buttons to change tracks. The Street only allows you to plug in headphones and nothing else, which is disappointing. Itís also puzzling that you canít charge the system while itís in the case Ė you have to pull it completely out, which leaves the system vulnerable to damage for hours at a time.
Also included is a strap that allows you to wear the case over your shoulder or across your chest. It works just fine, but itís not very practical to carry your system like this. It would be far easier to get a smaller case and stick it in your pocket, even if that meant buying small cases for the UMDís.
Thereís no doubt that the PlayGear Street is a quality case, and it will protect your system, but it doesnít seem like usability was a key part of its design. If youíre going to use the case to transport your system and games in a backpack, carry on luggage, or inside a suitcase, it will work fine, but other than those applications, there are better solutions out there, like the PlayGear Pocket.
9/27/2005 Aaron Thomas