(CNET.com) -- Like Logitech's inexpensive PlayGear Pocket, Sony's Travel Case for the PSP ($20 list) is a simple yet sleek case made of hard, clear plastic that's lined with firm, black foam rubber, so the case appears to be predominantly black.
For creative types, the good news is that the rubber lining slips out, allowing you to slide your own artwork between the plastic and the foam, thereby customizing the look of the case. That said, many will opt to stick with the simple white-on-black PSP logo that ships inside the case.
Your Sony PSP fits snugly inside the Travel Case, and because there are cutouts in the plastic, you can plug your headphones in as well as charge the unit while it remains in the case; likewise, power and Wi-Fi switches remain easily accessible. In fact, you'll probably remove your PSP only when you're swapping in a new game (or memory card) or transferring files via the USB port.
That's right: like the PlayGear Pocket, this case is designed to be attached to your PSP while you're playing games. And what's interesting is that, by essentially widening your Sony PSP, it seems to make the PSP more ergonomic, particularly when it comes to repetitive use of the shoulder buttons.
While Sony's and Logitech's cases are similar, the Sony case is bulkier because the top half of the case includes molded storage compartments for you to store two UMD discs (games or movies) and two Memory Stick Duo cards; add the game disc and memory card stored in the PSP itself, and you're really traveling with three of each.
We liked how the UMD discs and memory cards didn't move at all once you push them into their respective compartments, so you won't have to worry about them falling out of the case each time you open it. And while we would've liked the ability to stow away our headphones, there's just not enough room.
Aside from the storage spots, Sony also made a couple of other improvements: it added a clear, hard plastic screen cover (it is removable if you don't want to use it) and some rubberized "feet" to the outside of the case. Like the Play Gear, the top of the case folds down, effectively turning the case into a stand or an easel for viewing movies or videos. But with the added rubber feet, the easel holds its form better, especially on smooth surfaces like the tray tables on airplanes.
Ultimately, the only significant downside of this case is that it's a bit bulky. On a more minor note, the case will get scratched up over time. But that's kind of the point--the outside of the case takes a beating while your PSP remains safe and pristine on the inside. Bottom line: it's one of the best cases that you can buy for the PSP, and -- at under $20 -- it's a steal.
Editor's Note: Two important distinctions: first, a new version of the case will be available for the new, slimmer PSP when it's released in the fall. Second, a product with a similar name, the Sony UMD Case (PSP98597), carries eight UMD discs and two Memory Stick Duo cards, but it has no room for the PSP console itself. E-mail to a friend
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