2. Ebay or not?
Like many users, we first looked at ebay for a brand new PSP. I was very impressed with all the offers I saw, until I started investigating them carefully. After having monitored many online auctions and contacted sellers about shipping costs, the overall cost wasn't very different to buying from a retail shop.
You must be very careful with Pink, Blue and White PSPs being sold, at least, from ebay.co.uk. Most of them are imports from Japan. Ebay sellers claim that they are better, with sharper screen, which maybe so but we cannot confirm this.
My next question was, is this item covered by a warranty? The answer I got was "...there is a warranty card in japanese...". So if you live in the European Union, as I do, how can you have a warranty from Sony Europe? I don't imagine that Sony has a worldwide warranty for PSPs but then I could be wrong. Probably in the US, ebay is a better solution, but then again, be careful about firmware revisions. There is also the issue of stuck/broken pixels. In the event the screen is not working properly or as it is supposed too, you have to return the item back to seller. That means additional shipping costs. With a retail store, you can complain and get it exchanged with a new unit, no need to wait.
Many users sell used PSPs with 1.50 firmware at inflated prices, since with the new PSPs there's the risk that they aren't downgradable. Of course they claim "...we ship up to 80 games with it.." that afterwards proved to be ISO pirated games on DVD media. More profit for the seller, more loss for the user. So if you do want to buy a used PSP and save money, visit a local store that sells used PSP consoles. Go there and investigate the console, see what its condition is like, check the firmware revision and make a smart buy.
- Memory cards
There are several packages of PSP, the base pack, the giga pack and the value pack, with different bulked games and accessories. We would suggest buying the base pack and grab an at least a 2GB Memory Stick Duo Pro card. Here, you'll need to be very careful if you go through ebay. There are many dangers lurking. After having looked at many auctions and contacted sellers, we understood that most of the currently sold Memory Stick Pro Duo on ebay are "fake". A big price difference should tip you off there. There is a very detailed guide on how to identify a "fake" MS Duo Pro, but that's after you've bought it. It's very possible that even retail shops sell fake MS Duo pro, it's simply very hard to identify them.
"...So what's all the fuss about "fake" MS Duo Pro. I bought one from ebay and it works perfectly. I saved myself 50% off the retail price..". That's true, you may save money, however, there are hundreds of reports of "fake" MS Duo Pro media breaking down after 3~6months of use. Of course, no warranty can be given by Sony/Sandisk, only from the seller (who will probably send you another fake one). You can read more users' opinions at the Afterdown.com related forum thread.
As many other users have suggested, Sandisk products are slightly cheaper and faster than Sony's. We confirmed this claim. If you look carefully at ebay.co.uk, not many Sandisk products are on sale, especially the Sandisk II (Fast version) MS Duo Pro.
To our question if this product has a warranty, a seller answered "...Yes this is an original product with 2 years warranty...". Hey wait a minute, Sandisk offers 5years warranty and that seller offers only 2?
Something is wrong here. Of course, we never got a reply to our query. So before you consider buying a Sandisk MS Duo Pro, ask many questions. Ask if there is a warranty card so that you can register the product with Sandisk. Yes, that's right, you can register even memory products at the Sandisk website.
Overall, we suggest you avoid buying MS Duo Pro from ebay, unless you are 100% sure it is genuine. Users who wish to use homebrews should buy at least a 2 or 4GB MS Duo pro memory card. We suggest the Sandisk Extreme II/III series that provides very fast reading/writing speeds. The retail price for the Sandisk Extreme II 4GB MS Duo Pro can be up to ~ €150, which increases the overall cost. Prices are expected to drop after the 8GB MS Duo Pro hits the market.