Sony knows he’s upstairs. The PS4 surpassed virtually all other consoles of the previous generation. But instead of banking on its success, The company remains aggressive with the PlayStation 5. It usually matches the fast hardware of the Xbox Series X and has one of the most innovative controllers we’ve ever seen. While the design of the PS5 may be a matter of taste, Sony has at least managed to deliver something Microsoft could not: must-have games that actually use the hardware.
Much of the PlayStation 5 screams “next Generation” – and that’s a good thing when a lot of gamers are looking for a reason to upgrade. Because let’s be honest, the last round of the systems was a little confusing. The PS4 and Xbox One aged so badly when consumers assumed that 4K TVs practically required an update to the old hardware mid-cycle: the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. And while these systems were certainly powerful and brought us closer to the dream of 4K gaming in our living rooms, they were blocked by slow mechanical hard drives and hardware slightly outperformed by simple gaming PCs. They were a Stop-Gap measure and nothing more.
Material: so, so big
The PlayStation 5 is so big that it dwarfs any other console under my TV. It dominates the Xbox Series X, which in itself is a big boy. The PS5 is 15.4 inches tall and 10.2 inches deep, and it weighs a hefty 10.2 pounds with its required Stand. However, the extreme scaling of the PS5 is mainly based on its unique Design: in the center of the console are all the internal elements, but they are flanked by two large sets of slats. The whole system looks like Sony a Vintage PlayStation 3 explodes. The aesthetic reminds me of the cheesy retro style of Back to the Future 2.
Each his own, right? As someone who has spent most of my life adoring Sony’s industrial design, I don’t care how it looks. But I was surprised at how thin and precarious the PS5 was when I first held it. This is exactly the opposite of what I want from a console. I think my main problem is those side panels-Sony basically stuck its new Premium console between two thin pieces of plastic. I always feared it would fall if I held it, and I don’t expect it to survive even a small drop. The Xbox Series X may look duller in comparison, but it’s a solid, rugged device.
I understand: Sony wanted to optimize the airflow as much as possible to keep the PS5’s CPU and GPU cool, so that the plastic fins serve a real purpose. That’s why Microsoft has made its system a mini-PC tower. But Sony could certainly have developed a Design that was not so heavy.
While I’m concerned about the look and feel of the system, the PS5 under the hood is ready to deliver a solid 4K gaming experience. It is powered by a custom eight-core Zen 2 processor and a 10.2 teraflops RDNA 2 GPU. On paper, its GPU seems to lag behind the 12-Teraflop Xbox Series X, but keep in mind that Teraflops can be a notoriously sloppy method of determining how fast a system can actually run.
Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X have 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, which allows each system to handle a little differently in terms of overall memory bandwidth. Next-generation consoles also rely on NVMe SSDs for storage, an upgrade that allows your games to load much faster than older mechanical hard drives. A big plus in Sony’s column: you can connect a third-party SSD by removing a side panel, which gives you much affordable storage upgrade options than Seagate’s 1TB SSD expansion card. However, keep in mind that you can not add a new SSD at boot, and disks that meet Sony’s specifications are not inexpensive.
Sony’s new dualsense controller is your gateway to the PS5 and, for once, doesn’t exactly look like the original PlayStation controller. Sony stuck to this proven design for decades, but this time it was something else. The DualSense is larger than the DUALSHOCK 4, with thicker handles that make the outfit much more pleasant. The basic layout is the same, except that the buttons now look like transparent jewelry and there is a button to mute the built-in microphone. The generally white Design certainly looks more messy than the PS4’s controllers over time, but after a week of testing it still looks relatively clean.
What’s most impressive about DualSense is what it contains-mostly some of the most advanced haptic controls I’ve ever felt. Analog triggers can be manipulated on the fly to give the impression of pulling an arrow out of a bow or losing the ammo in your weapon. And you can forget about the basic Vibration of the DualShock 4, the DualSense almost feels like it’s living in your hands. I almost jumped out of my seat when I loaded the Astros game room for the first time. The Vibration of the DualSense is so fine that you can feel a significant difference when Astro walks on sand, wood and metal surfaces. It really feels like the next generation in a way that the Xbox Series X controller does not.