Reviewed: April 3, 2005
Type: System & Media Protection
With the release of any new gaming system there is always a ripe opportunity for third-party hardware manufacturers to capitalize with a line of support peripherals and Pelican is no stranger to hardware. The Sony PSP has the most incredible screen of any handheld gaming device to date, and you are certainly going to want to protect it from scratches and fingerprints.
Enter the Pelican Face Armor & Disc Jackets, a hinged hard shell cover that fastens to your PSP protecting the screen and the control surface. To sweeten the deal Pelican is throwing in four of their Disc Jackets to protect your games when they arenít in their original cases.
I really loved the entire concept of both of these items but there were several problems in their usage. Installing the face armor is simple. On either side of the USB port on the back of your PSP are two threaded holes. The Face Armor has two thumbscrews that fit into these holes and then the armor hinges from the back with detents so it snaps firmly down, and again at a 90-degree position and once more at 180-degrees, or straight back. At the 90-degree position you can tilt the PSP just right and block out any annoying light that would otherwise reflect off your screen. Ė thus the anti-glare feature.
There are three problems with the Face Armor however; the first being the glassine finish that actually attracts fingerprints and smudges even more than the surface of the screen it protects. Admittedly, Iíd rather have smudges on the armor than the screen but it would have been so much better to give the armor a matte finish or even a textured finish like the bottom of the PSP.
The second problem is significantly more serious and had me nearly halfway back to the store to return my PSP before I realized what was going on. If you examine the PSP you will see there is a dual layer construction between the inner and outer shell. When you attach the Face Armor with the thumbscrews it is entirely too easy to screw them down so tightly that you can no longer eject your disc. The two shells pinch together prohibiting the eject switch from sliding. There is a very fine line on just how tight you can screw these thumbscrews down. Too loose and they loosen on their own Ė too tight and you canít eject a disc.
The third problem is that the thumbscrews stick so far off the back that you can barely fit the PSP back into the soft case that came with it and good luck fitting it in any third-party cases, even ones from Pelican. Basically, if you use the Face Armor you sacrifice a lot of other case options.
The Disc Jackets are really cool but also suffer slightly in design. I appreciate the transparent slip-over design that lets me easily see the titles, unlike the Mad Catz opaque cases that force you to open them to find the game you are looking for. These jackets are perfect for protecting that exposed square section on each game disc, but the jackets fit just a bit too tightly and any game disc I have used them on now have long scratches where the plastic hooks have dug into the bottom surface of the UMD casing.
$10 is a pretty fair price for everything you are getting here. Itís certainly more substantial protection than you get with the Screen Guard film protectors for the same price. I still have some reservations about having to constantly tweak the pressure of the thumbscrews, the abrasions on my UMDís, and my inability to use the armor and any other travel case.