When I first got my PSP and started to dig into the games I purchased at launch, I found that I started to get hand cramps very quickly. The PSP definitely was not designed for people with big hands. Over time I found that I could play longer and longer, but I was always looking for something that could help alleviate the cramps that were inevitable. I saw some pictures of the Brando PSP Rechargeable Grip on Brando’s website, and it definitely looked like something that would help.
When I finally got my hands on it, the first thing I noticed was how flimsy it felt. The two halves of the grip slide out on a wide but thin track, and I was really afraid that I might break it. Anyways, I proceeded to snap my PSP in, making sure the four plastic clips on the unit were keeping it secure, and loaded up Wipeout Pure, a game sure to give me sore hands. This unit looks and feels like an oversized PS2 controller, and was VERY comfortable. This is something that Sony could and should have included with it’s PSP as a snap-on accessory. It feels that good.
The grip contains a nice little bonus as well. Inside the 2 handles are rechargeable batteries, so you can extend your gameplay, and enjoy that extra time playing in comfort. This was a nice touch.
As usual when testing PSP accessories, I slapped in Wipeout Pure and tried to get the last of the gold medals I was missing. I messed around with Wipeout for a little while (no cramping by the way!) but decided to play something else. That’s when the unit’s second fault cropped up. You see the UMD tray is trapped behind the track that the unit slides on, forcing you to remove the grip from the back of your PSP before you can open the UMD door. While this is not a huge deal, as I would normally only use this accessory when I was going to play for a long time, having a way of switching games without taking the PSP out would have been nice. This is even more scary considering how flimsy the track already felt to me. Removing and attaching this device a couple times per gaming session doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.
As mentioned earlier, the Grip also comes with a built in 600mAh battery, which is about half as powerful as the PSPs built-in one. I gave the unit a full charge (or so I thought I did; there is no charge indicator on this device), attached it to my dead PSP, and popped in Spiderman 2. I was able to get through the movie on one charge, which surprised me due to the voltage listed on the box. So for most games this extra battery should get you an extra 1.5 to 2.5 hours of extra gameplay. This is not too bad for a device designed initially for more comfortable gaming.
So, after spending a week using this every time I played my PSP, I definitely would recommend this to anyone who experiences hand cramping while playing Sony’s gaming device. Even with the drawbacks, this add-on is still worth the $12 retail price. For me, this is a must have accessory.
Adds comfort to your PSP
Built-in battery extends playtime.
No battery indicator or switch
The UMD door is blocked when this device is on.
Feels a little flimsy when sliding it apart.
Overall: 7 out of 10