PSP Browser - Flawed Masterpiece

I picked up a Playstation Portable the other day in anticipation of the Flash 6 update and to use as a mobile web browser. The PSP was designed for games but I'm a PC gamer, and the Flash update isn't out yet, so I'm considering it here for use as a mobile web browser.


First off, I was stunned by the ability of the PSP to render websites in much the same way as a desktop browser. I thought I'd be using Gmail's mobile interface for example, but I'm using the ordinary interface - because it does such a good job of rendering HTML.


Even with nested tables and complex layouts, it does very well. Any blurriness in these images is down to my lack of photographic skills - the text and images are sharp - it's easy to read from, even with small text that fills the whole screen.

There's some Javascript support - but as soon as a page tries to change its own elements (to repopulate a drop down list for example) - it runs into problems. I tried checking an airfare on Travel Spy - I chose the destination country, the webpage tried to update a drop-down list with the available locations and this caused the browser to crash. I can live without Javascript though - it's not integral to many of the most usable websites. Also lack of Ajax on the PSP may be an opportunity for Flash developers to strut their interactive stuff.

I had hoped to use the PSP to respond to e-mail and support forum queries on the move. However it's clear to me now that it is of no use for this purpose. The text entry interface is horrendously bad. There's a good summary in the comments of this blog entry -

The PSP's on-screen keyboard is the worst implemention of an on-screen keyboard ever. It blends the disadvantages of a plus pad with the disadvantages of a phone, leveraging the strengths of neither.


I suspect Sony developed this interface for limited use like entering once off details like Wifi passwords and connection names and then later released the browser deciding it already had 'good enough' text entry. It's a pain to use even for small things like URLs, usernames and passwords - but it is unusable for more substantial text entry for e-mail, forums or blog entries.

There's no details yet on when a keyboard might be available - Logic 3 had announced one, even releasing a product photo, but it was later cancelled. I'm guessing it's because Logic 3 just assumed they could build this but that there may not be a keyboard driver in the PSP firmware.

I can see the strengths and potential of this device and I'm still excited about it but it's a flawed masterpiece. I can use it only to check e-mail not respond to it. I'm waiting for better text entry or a keyboard before I can leave my laptop at home.

Posted by Alexander at March 27, 2006 04:09 PM

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I'd like to have a more robust DOM, CSS and Javascript support for the browser.

I'm kind of disappointed in the support in this implimentation of the NetFront browser.

Posted by: John Giotta at March 28, 2006 04:23 AM

This browser has problems with SSL connection. The browser reports that there is an error during SSL handshake and I couldn't find a solution to this problem on the web. There are several users in the PSP forums complaining about this problem, yet no response or acknowledgement by either Sony or Access company.

Posted by: Arikan at December 17, 2007 01:22 PM

Excellent review. I have a DS Lite and picked up the Opera browser for that. I found it useful in airports that had Wifi, but that was about it. At least the text entry wasn't too bad.

If only we could have the display, rendering, and playback of the PSP with the keyboard and touch-screen of the DS....

I am considering getting a PSP if I can save up a little more just for a better browser, video playback, and emulation (there aren't too many PSP games that interest me). But it sounds like text entry is the biggest issue right now. Does practice make typing any easier?

I think the only things I would use the browser for would be checking GMail (which looks nice in your screens), Checking Bloglines and/or Digg, and maybe checking in on my forum.

Posted by: racketboy at January 4, 2008 08:02 PM

I eventually hooked it up to a Targus Universal Keyboard using the piKey homebrew software . . . it's not ideal, a few keys are mismapped but it is easier than using the PSP keyboard.

Looking for a mobile Gmail, Bloglines etc . . . I'd consider an eeepc at the moment.

Posted by: Alex at January 4, 2008 09:02 PM

Hi, I can't made my PSP's browser to access to gmail.
I always get a mistake when i tried to login.

How can you make it??

Posted by: Royal at July 30, 2008 11:55 PM

Hmmm. I haven't tried in a while - try for the mobile service, maybe that'll work better for you.

Posted by: Alex at July 31, 2008 10:50 AM

I'm typing this on my PSP, and I can't get Gmail to work at all

Posted by: Kris at October 16, 2008 04:43 AM

does anybody know if the PSP company intends to make an update available to better the email situation???

Posted by: Corey at December 21, 2008 09:30 PM

Somewhere in the 5.x firmware update, (I think it was 5.03, I could have sworn that it was not there in 5.02), Sony added a 2 keyboard designs. One keyboard design mimics a standard Qwerty keyboard, and one immediately after which includes accented letters. Keyboard designs are changeable using Select

Posted by: slxception at February 19, 2009 08:50 PM