Logitech PlayGear Amp review: Logitech PlayGear Amp

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The Good Styled to match the PSP; includes case and adjustable PSP stand; can use both AC adapter and battery power; compatible with any device that has a standard headphone minijack.

The Bad Closer to backpack size than pocket size; weak bass response results in thin sound; exposed speaker cones are vulnerable to damage.

The Bottom Line The Logitech PlayGear Amp is a great audio solution for users looking to get more sound out of their movies, music, and games on the PSP.

7.5 Overall

As gorgeous as the Sony PSP looks, the sound from its two small speakers leaves much to be desired. The only decent audio option for the PSP thus far has been a good set of headphones. Usually, this isn't much of a problem since the PSP is meant to be played on the go, where loud music and noise from a game or movie will likely disturb people nearby. However, for those times when you want to ditch the headphones without sacrificing sound quality, Logitech has developed the PlayGear Amp. The latest release in Logitech's line of PSP accessories, the PlayGear Amp is a portable speaker system with an adjustable stand that holds the PSP in place while you watch movies or listen to music. Though the PlayGear Amp doesn't provide anything close to the full surround sound of a home theater or the balanced tones of a good pair of headphones, it delivers clean, loud sound in a convenient and stylish package.

The Logitech PlayGear Amp comes with two speakers (each utilizing two tiny drivers) that are attached to a central connecting bar. The bar has an adjustable piece in the back that lets you prop up the speakers at the angle of your choice. The removable clip holds the PSP in place between the speakers for hands-free viewing and listening. The speakers themselves pivot, so you can fold them down until they are flush with the bar, which makes it easier to carry the amp around with you when you aren't using it. When collapsed, the entire unit is about 11.5 inches long, 1.4 inches thick, and 2.3 inches wide. It's small for a speaker system, but at nearly a foot long, it's about twice the size of the PSP.

Since the speakers are relatively small, they don't require much in the way of power. The amp comes with an AC adapter you can use when you're within a cord's length of an electrical outlet. But if you want to take the speakers anywhere else, you can slip in four AAA batteries. One set of batteries will last several times longer than an average charge on the Sony PSP.

The Logitech PlayGear Amp comes with a soft case that has various compartments to stow cables and such. However, it can't accommodate the PSP, so you'll need a separate case for it when you're traveling. You'll want to use the case as often as possible since the speakers are exposed on the front of the plastic housing. The case is about the size of an average CD wallet, so it isn't terribly cumbersome, but it isn't exactly a take-anywhere item like your PSP or iPod.

On the subject of iPods, it's worth mentioning that these speakers are compatible with any portable audio device that has a standard audio jack. Rather than taking up space on your PSP's Memory Stick, you can keep your MP3s on your digital music player of choice and use the PlayGear Amp when hosting impromptu dance parties on street corners.

Aesthetically, the Logitech PlayGear Amp looks like a natural extension of the shiny, black Sony PSP. The PSP feels secure when clipped to the stand of the PlayGear Amp, and with the adjustable viewing angle, it's usually easy to see the screen as long as you aren't sitting more than four or five feet away. However, if you are watching with several other people, you'll need to get pretty familiar with each other if you want to have a good view of the screen. That's no fault of the PlayGear Amp, but it's worth considering if you are planning to pick up these speakers to screen movies with your friends.

The most important feature of the Logitech PlayGear Amp is, of course, the sound, which is loud and crisp, although the highs sometimes seem exaggerated and the lows are pretty much nonexistent. The amp sounds best when watching movies or playing games, but if you listen to bass-heavy music, you'll notice that the speakers lack some much-needed punch. If, on the other hand, you listen to music that doesn't rely too heavily on low-range noises, the PlayGear Amp is a suitable alternative to the onboard speakers of the PSP.

The collapsible design, attractive styling, and loud sound of the Logitech PlayGear Amp make it an easy choice if you're looking to expand upon the multimedia capabilities of Sony's handheld. However, if you want to get the best possible sound out of your PSP, a nice set of headphones is still the way to go.