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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hands on - PSPgo Bluetooth remote PSP-N270

Finally my PSPgo Bluetooth remote-- the PSP-N270-- came in the mail from Play-Asia! I charged it up and have been trying it out today.

It doesn't come with any headphones, which surprised me because I thought they might at least include those white earbuds that are included with the previous PSP remotes. Not that I need any; I'm using my fave earbuds, Creative EP-630, which I find have great sound.

One thing I was not really prepared for was registering or "pairing" it with my PSPgo (and my Toshiba NB205 netbook which also has bluetooth)... I knew that this is a Japanese product and the instructions would be in Japanese, but I honestly thought that there'd be more pictures in the instructions! Preferably using cute anime-style characters, hehe. But there's very little by way of diagrams, so I was left guessing as to how to pair the device to my PSPgo.

It comes with a 2-sided foldout:

page 1

page 2

If anyone can translate these and give me some tips on pairing multiple devices, please let me know.

I don't have a cellphone and have never really used/set up a bluetooth device before. But it seems that you hold down the POWER button when you start it up, and the flashing blue light turns into a flashing orange light & I believe it's ready to be paired. So then you go into the PSPgo SETTINGS menu and register it under the BLUETOOTH® DEVICE SETTINGS. It was not too difficult.... I was online looking for info about the bluetooth remote when I read that it could be paired with up to 8 devices. So after I paired it with my PSPgo, I then registered it with my NB205. And it worked well enough... but then it lost "pairing" with my PSPgo, so I'm not sure if I'm not doing things right or what. I re-paired it with my PSPgo... it's a shame I can't yet figure out how to use it for both because I have to say, for some reason it sounds really good with my NB205 netbook! The bass comes out much stronger than with the PSPgo. Maybe the NB205 bluetooth transmitter is stronger?

During normal use the PSPgo Bluetooth light stays on steady, while the remote light flashes about every 3 seconds.

As you can see, it's a bit larger than the PSP-1000 & PSP-2000/3000 remotes, but it has a better clip. And it's really light weight.... it's hard to believe there's a battery in this, it's so light.

The (non-removable) clip is good for clipping it to my shirt or a pocket.

Controls are basic, similar to the previous remotes: PLAY/PAUSE, FF, REW, and VOLUME.

There appears to be a microphone on the remote for Skype and maybe cellphone calls if you have a cellphone paired with it?

On the right side there's the POWER and MODE buttons, as well as the mini B USB charging port.

On the left side there's "telephone" button, which I assume is for answering incoming cellphone calls. And also a pinhole RESET button.

The remote comes with a small standard to mini B USB cable, and notice that the standard side has the notches specific to the PSPgo power adapter, meaning that you can charge the remote using the adapter or a PC.

Since this effectively turns the PSPgo adapter into a mini B USB charger, can we charge a PSP-2000/3000 with it using the USB port? Probably... but the PSPgo battery is lower capacity than those PSP models so I'm not sure how effective it would be.

Once it's paired with the PSPgo, as long as you have the BLUETOOTH® CONNECTION set to ON in your SETTINGS menu and the wi-fi switch on, it will usually connect to the remote if the remote is powered on. When it's connected you see the Bluetooth® "B" symbol in the volume bars:

When the PSPgo is connected to the bluetooth remote, the standard audio jack is disabled; plug in headphones to your PSPgo and there's no sound. And if you have BLUETOOTH® CONNECTION set to ON when you connect the PSPgo to your PC or TV using the USB, a warning message pops up that the Bluetooth will be temporarily disabled-- even if you don't have the wi-fi switch on.

So ultimately, how do things sound listening through the PSPgo bluetooth remote? Pretty good, actually. There is some background hiss-- but the earbuds I'm using are very sensitive to sound quality. You can't hear it using the stock PSP earbuds from previous remotes, for example. Even though you control the volume, you're not actually adjusting the volume on the PSPgo-- it's on the remote only. For those who complain that the PSPgo's volume isn't loud enough (a common PSP problem) this remote can boost the volume A *LOT*. You can turn up the PSPgo volume, then turn up the remote volume some more.

The range seems quite good. I think it's listed at about 30 feet, but I found it works even farther. I tested it at about 60 feet between PSPgo and remote... there were some dropouts past that range. At short range it seems fairly solid. I never keep my PSPgo too far away from me, but there are times when I walk into another room leaving it behind while listening through the remote with no problems.

I've always considered the PSP headphones remotes to be an essential accessory for me... I bought my first PSP (PSP-1001) in 2006 as an MP3 player, and the remote lets me put the PSP in my pocket and control basic functions with it clipped to my pocket. Because of the ease of control, it's actually a bit more handy than my dedicated, smaller mp3 player. But the PSP K-series are relatively big & bulky, the PSPgo is nice & small and I hoped that the bluetooth remote would return that convenience & functionality that has been missing from this model of PSP so far.

It comes close, but it's not quite as good as the previous remotes. Yes it controls the same basics, but with the previous remotes I could pause the music, and the PSP would eventually go into SLEEP MODE. Then when I was free to start listening to music again I would press PLAY on the remote and it would wake the PSP up, press PLAY again and it resumes playing where it left off.

The problem with the bluetooth remote is that it can't wake the PSPgo up from SLEEP MODE. So yeah, you use the remote to pause the music and if it's left alone for 10 minutes the PSPgo goes into SLEEP. But if you want to resume, you have to pull the PSPgo out, turn off the HOLD switch, slide it up, make sure that the remote is powered on... it's a lot more unwieldy. The big gain is that there's no cable connected to the PSPgo itself.

But the biggest problem with the Bluetooth remote is that there is a slight delay in sound; noticible when watching video. It's not so bad that it's unwatchable, but there is a very small delay. With music of course there's no problem since there's nothing to compare it to.

Then there's the additional power consumption of having the wi-fi/bluetooth switch on. It does shorten the play time of the PSPgo. The remote's power consumption seems not bad. I turn it off when my PSPgo is off (the remote will also shut off by itself if there's no signal for a period of time) I'd estimate the battery time of the remote to be about 5-6 hours.

And when you use the play/pause or track buttons, there's a BEEP through the remote, I guess to let you know it registered the button press, but it would be nice if I could disable that. There doesn't seem to be a beep when adjusting volume until you reach the maximum volume on the remote.

So this is the evolution of the PSP headphone remote. There are definite drawbacks: not being able to wake the PSPgo from SLEEP MODE is a big one. Shorter battery life for the PSPgo and having to recharge the remote is another.... it's nice that the USB cable fits into the PSPgo adapter, but that means both your PSPgo and the remote are competing for the adapter. It would've been nice if they made it a splitter so both devices could be recharged simultaneously. It's just lucky that a few days before I happened upon an open-box PSPgo adapter at Future Shop for like $4.83 or something.... I thought, "do I really need another adapter?" but at that price, what the heck, y'know? Good thing I got it so now I can charge both devices.

And like I said, there is a bit of a delay in sound, most noticible when scrolling through the XMB or watching video, though it is a very SLIGHT delay.

The big advantages to this new remote is of course not having the PSPgo physically tethered to your ears. And the remote gives you the choice of using your own headphones. Plus it adds volume on top of the PSPgo's regular volume, so that's a boost.

I don't think that bluetooth, or at least this implementation of bluetooth remote, is quite "there" yet as a proper replacement of the previous inline PSP remotes. But it's about the only choice we have for the PSPgo.



Anonymous said...

English manual for your PSP-N270, checkout this website:



Don said...

Yes! Thank you!


Anonymous said...

I think the bluetooth delay is pretty standard for all bluetooth devices. I'm using regular bluetooth headphones (ordered the remote because of this review, though), and I'm experiencing the same thing. It's a little distracting, but I'll make due.

Thanks for the details!

How long did your shipment take? Mine was shipped yesterday.

Don said...

Yes, delay seems to be standard for Bluetooth audio, but it definitely varies from device to device. The Jabra Halo headphones I tried out had no noticible delay compared to the PSP bluetooth remote which has more. I wish I could've kept them, but they just wouldn't stay connected to the PSPgo... too annoying.

Shipping for my PSP-N270 took almost a month (to Canada) but I ordered mine the last week of Dec 2009, and Play-Asia was really sawmped with Xmas orders so that might've been why it took so long. Depending on where you are, it should be a few weeks. Hope you enjoy your remote as much as I do mine!

I solved the delay problem with the PSP-N270 BT remote thanks to d@@b who posted the english manual in his reply. If you hold down the MODE button for 2+ seconds, it switches the BT to a low-latency mode which eliminates the audio delay! But the signal may drop out from time to time. It's a trade-off.


Anonymous said...

I got mine this weekend and love it. Delivery took about a week.

Haven't experienced too much audio delay, and I love that it boosts the volume on this darn thing.

Can't thank you enough for letting me know about this. appreciate it!

Don said...

Glad you're enjoying it as much as I'm enjoying mine!


Anonymous said...

How do you navigate through the files, say to switch artists? Can this work in the XMB like the PSP-2000 cradle remote?

Thanks, David.

Don said...

Navigation on the remote is limited to skipping forward or back one track at a time. It will go to the first track in the next folder if you're on the last track of a folder, but generally if you want to switch between folders/artists you need to do it manually using the PSPgo d-pad & buttons.

Yes, the remote does work in the XMB, it usually takes 2 PLAY button presses to start/restart a song from the XMB.


Anonymous said...

Will the remote work within an application like SensMe?

Thanks, David.

Don said...

Unfortunately, no. I recently discovered that the FF/REW PAUSE features on the remote won't work while playing tracks in SensMe. I think it's because SensMe is seen as a game-- note the white PSP startup screen that's indicative of PSP games-- and the PSP remotes have never been able to affect functions while playing games.

Only the volume controls on the remote work while playing tracks in SensMe.


eduardo said...

I ordered mine on Friday December 17 and just got it today on December 20th (ordered through FedEx Priority). Love it. Thanks for showing me this on the Playstation Boards or else I would have never known of its existence. I also read that originally SONY was going to release this over in America the following year after the PSP Go was released, but that never happened from what I am aware of.

Regardless I am glad that Play-Asia sells this product. Love the volume increase though I wish SONY would do something about the battery life on the PSP Go because that is one of the major turn offs of the device and why many people shy away from purchasing a PSP Go (I love mine BTW). Thank you once again for reviewing this and mentioning this item. If there are other special products for the PSP Go that can help I will gladly keep my coming back to check if you have any to recommend.

N33k5 said...

Dear that is a mini b usb port on the remote not a micro b. Micro b's are about half the thickness of a mini b end. Not trying to be mean just trying to help.

- N33k5

Don said...

Indeed you are correct-- MINI B USB, not Micro B. I will correct it right away. Thanks!