The first step in the process involves configuring the Internet
connection, which you should have already done if you've ever taken the
PSP online to play games or browse the web. If you’re making a call from
a public Wi-Fi hotspot, you might have to fire up the PSP Internet
browser to accept the hotspot’s terms of service before getting online.
You’ll need to update your PSP’s firmware to enable Skype functionality
if you bought your PSP-2000 close to launch. You can find the update on
Sony’s PSP support page
and full instructions on how to
properly update the device. After installing the system update, you’ll
find a new Skype selection under the Network in the XMB menu, nestled
between the LocationFree Player and Remote Play.
The Skype program will give you the option of using an existing Skype
account, or creating a new account directly from the PSP. Making a Skype
account couldn’t be easier. Enter your email address and the desired
login and password, and you’re on your way. Once the account is created,
you can use either your PSP or a PC to hop over to the Skype site to
purchase Skype credits using either PayPal or a credit card. You need
Skype credits if you want to call cell phones or regular land lines
using your Skype account.
The Skype menu has five main sections: My Profile, Contacts, History,
Dial, and Tools. The Profile section lets you adjust personal
information. From here, you can change your status, icon, and mood
message. Other profile settings let you set your location, email
address, and contact numbers.
The Contacts page, as the name suggests, displays your contact list.
From here you can choose contacts to call, but you'll be limited to
audio chats only. You won't have the ability to launch video chats—Skype
didn’t recognize the PSP camera attachment we imported from Japan.
Voice quality will vary with your internet connection, but even with
spotty service the connection is more than usable. Our PC friends did
have to update their Skype program to the latest version to stop
numerous error screens from popping up during our calls.
The History icon keeps track of all incoming and outgoing calls and
records how long you were in the chat for. It's also a quick way to go
back and redial recent calls.
The Dial feature lets you call outside phone numbers with the PSP. You
will of course have to pay real money for this feature to work. We made a
few calls using the service and it functioned as advertised, and voice
clarity on both ends was more than passable. We did notice some lag, but
nothing severe enough to disrupt the conversation.
The Tools menu lets you jump to the Skype page to purchase more air
time, change default sounds, troubleshoot network related port settings,
manage blocked users, and tweak a few other minor settings.
Overall, we found Skype on the PSP to be easy to use and great for voice
chats. We don't miss the text chat interface, as the PSP's text input
mechanism doesn’t make for fast messaging. We’re not really sure how
often you’ll actually use Skype on the PSP, but you’ll be glad to have
it if you ever find yourself without a landline and a cell phone, but
happen to be near an open Wi-Fi connection. Thats about it! =)