Hands-on with the new ‘slim’ PlayStation 5: a weird goblin of a console


I’ve at all times had a comfortable spot for Sony’s refreshed, slimmed-down consoles ever because the lovable PS One. All of the Sony consoles I’ve owned had been launch variations which might be greater and goofier-looking than their eventual redesigns — giving me large FOMO — however I believe my love affair for “slim” PlayStations is now at an finish with the brand new PlayStation 5.

If there’s ever been a PlayStation in want of a glow-up, it’s the PS5. Sony’s white-and-black obelisk is a gargantuan console with a design that you simply study to reside with greater than you develop to like. The considered course-correcting the PS5 design like Sony did with the George Foreman grill-style PlayStation 3 needs to be a slam dunk, however what we’ve now obtained with the $499.99 new PlayStation 5 and $449.99 new PlayStation 5 Digital Version are some bizarre half-measures.

Design-wise, the brand new “slim” PS5 is certainly smaller. Sony says it’s been diminished in quantity by “greater than 30 %,” however up shut and in particular person, I alternate between emotions of “Oh yeah, that’s a lot smaller” to “Okay, it’s smaller… but it surely’s nonetheless an enormous boi!” The swooping curves and contours of the brand new PS5 can have you ever altering your opinion on its design on a minute-to-minute foundation relying on what angle you’re viewing it from. It’s a byproduct of such a fussy and busy (and admittedly, type of ugly) design.

The slim appears extra refined than its greater, clunkier older sibling because of its shorter white covers, concave high curve, and panel traces reducing throughout its sides that divide shiny and matte finishes. Nonetheless, the brand new PS5 additionally makes some actually unusual design choices: the disc drive appears even extra like a wierd progress jutting out of the console’s facet, the shortage of vent fins on the high makes its gaps look prototype-ish or incomplete, and the cat ear-shaped toes for propping it up horizontally are a joke for an included “stand.” The console stands vertically by itself, although, if you need extra peace of thoughts that it gained’t tip over, the vertical stand is now an extra buy for $29.99. (The unique PS5 had a convertible stand for each horizontal and vertical positions.)

However the brand new PS5 a minimum of has a bit extra going for it than simply Sony’s unusual design selections — it now has 1TB of built-in storage (up from 825GB on the unique) and two front-facing USB-C ports as a substitute of 1 USB-C and one USB-A. The one different tangible profit is that the placement of the detachable disc drive’s eject button means we are able to lastly cease mixing up the ability and eject buttons which have appeared manner too related because the PS4 days.

As for the detachable disc drive, I’ll hand it to Sony for making it simple to detach or connect the drive with none instruments. (It’s even simpler than including an M.2 SSD to the PS5 — which is fortunately nonetheless attainable.) However I’m additionally left asking, “Why?” Certain, somebody with purchaser’s regret over their Digital Version PS5 can merely get a disc drive and add it on themselves, however they’ll find yourself paying extra within the course of because the Digital Version now prices $449.99 and the drive add-on runs $79.99. 

And establishing the disc drive requires an web connection, as was first reported final month — even when the disc drive got here hooked up to your console. Establishing your console with no web? That could be unlikely for most individuals, however if you happen to’re in that state of affairs, you gained’t have the ability to play something till you a minimum of join as soon as to Sony’s servers. You’re even given a warning that manufacturing facility resetting your console requires an web connection to correctly unpair the disc drive, which raises the query of what occurs if you happen to promote or purchase a secondhand drive that wasn’t unpaired. (I’ve reached out to Sony with a number of questions on drive pairing and can replace this publish if I hear again.) I don’t see how this glorified DRM advantages anybody, and it might result in some messiness on the subject of preservation a few years down the street.

The PS5 slim’s disc drive wonkiness, mixed with a few of its stranger design choices, makes it a considerably complicated mid-cycle refresh. Apart from its smaller measurement, modest storage improve, and rearranged port choice, this replace looks like it’s doing extra for Sony than its clients by getting them to pay extra through equipment. When you personal an authentic PS5, there’s hardly any motive to improve, and if you happen to’re shopping for immediately, there’s actually no hurt in going with the “fats” PS5 — a minimum of, till the slim turns into the one choice.

Images by Antonio G. Di Benedetto / The Verge


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