It’s been just over seven years since the PlayStation 4 hit the market. It’s almost hard to believe that it’s been that long since it feels like it was not that long ago that I went to pick up my console. We’ve had a great number of amazing Sony first-party titles over the years such as Bloodborne, God of War, and Horizon Zero Dawn to name but just a few. However, I digress. The next Sony console, the PlayStation 5, has been available to the public for just over a month and it’s a great console with some fantastic features, even if there are issues that need to be fixed.
The first thing that you’ll notice about the console itself is just how large and also how heavy it is. Excluding the base, the console measures in at 390mm x 104mm x 260mm (width x height x depth) and weighs in at about 4.5kg (this is specifically for the disc version of the console). When unboxing the console, the size of it alone was enough to take me by surprise. The surprise was then doubled when feeling its weight, something that wasn’t at all expected.
Ever since the console was revealed, I was immediately taken with its futuristic design. Having it in front of me, however, was another experience altogether. It looks incredibly sleek with it’s two white panels and glossy centre. To be completely honest, I expected the console’s build to be a little more flimsy when initially seeing all the marketing images. However, looks are certainly deceiving; it is incredibly sturdy and the panels are quite firmly secured to the console itself. Surprisingly, they can be quite easily removed too, which should make for some simple installation of custom plates a little way down the line. One thing that should be noted, however, is that the glossy centre is quite prone to collecting dust, quite similar to the launch PS4 console with its glossy top half. Additionally, it gathers scratches a little too easily, even when using a microfibre cloth.
Depending on where you’ll be keeping your console, this will determine the position in which it will be kept. The PS5 can be kept in a horizontal or vertical position thanks to the stand that’s included and the only tool you’ll need is a flat-head screwdriver. I opted to keep mine in a vertical position due to space restrictions on my desk (although I might switch to horizontal once I make some more space), but changing it is such an easy feat thanks to the clips that are utilised in both positions. However you display it though, it looks fantastic and like a true piece of next-gen hardware.
When it comes to the console’s specs it’s powered by a custom 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU and a Custom AMD RDNA 2 GPU which makes it capable of delivering a graphical performance of 10.3 teraflops. It also makes use of Bluetooth 5.1 and IEEE 802.11ax. There are also a number of ports dotted along the front and back of the console. On the front you have a Superspeed+ USB-C and a USB-A port with USB 2.0. On there back there are two Superspeed+ USB-A ports with USB 3.0. In addition to these, there are the HDMI and Ethernet ports, along with the input for the AC adapter. Each of these is barely noticeable against the glossy finish, making it look rather clean pretty much all of the time
The PS5 also features a custom 825 GB SSD, but the reality is that a fair amount of this space (158 GB, to be exact) is locked up by the system’s software. What you’re left with is storage of 667 GB, which can be filled up pretty quickly if you aren’t careful. The initial discovery of this reduced space is a bit of a bummer, but it’s actually quite manageable, even if you play more than one game at a time. It’s possible to install a good handful of games before you run into the issue of having to delete games in order to make room for another. Currently, I have 10 next-gen games/upgrades and 2 PS4 games installed and still have just under 100 GB of space available. That’s not even counting the 60 GB of video footage I have stored on the console. Maybe avoid installing Destiny 2 or Call of Duty: Warzone for now and you should be alright.
A solution to the space issue is making use of an external HDD, just like it was possible on the PS4, however, the only caveat is that this can only be done for PS4 games; there’s currently no way to transfer your PS5 game to the HDD for safekeeping. NVMe M.2 SSD will be supported further into the console’s life, but this remains a fairly pricey solution for your storage issues. Let’s hope that more options become available as time goes on.
When starting up your PS5 console for the first time, you’ll be faced with the standard path of setting up the date and time, along with signing in to your profile. Additionally, you’ll be presented with the option of transferring all of your data from your PS4 over to your new console. This can be done wirelessly on the same network but is a much faster process when connecting the two consoles via ethernet cable. All of your save data and games installed on the PS4’s internal storage will be moved over and thanks to the ethernet cable, can be done in a matter of minutes. None of your video content or images created using the Share button will transfer, however.
One of the first things that you’ll notice about the PS5 is just how quiet it is. Gone are the days of PS4 jet-engine jokes! Seriously though, the console emits a sound that’s just above a whisper. It has the tendency to get a little loud when initially inserting a disc, but it never gets as loud as its predecessor did. It also stays relatively cool, even after hours of use. This is thanks to the console’s design, as it features a host of vents all around the body.
The PS5’s UI is a fantastic improvement to that of the PS4’s. A host of features have been streamlined in such a smart way that makes navigation quite smooth. Tapping the PlayStation button on the controller will bring up a dashboard at the bottom of the screen, giving you access to almost anything you could need, from Party Chat to your Downloads. The best part about this is that it can be done while playing a game, removing the need to minimise the game before you’re able to tweak settings. You’re also able to customise the items that appear on the dashboard, so it can have as few or as many items as you require. The new UI is really something special and runs so smoothly without any hitches or slowing down even when knee-deep in a game.
When it comes to games, the PS5’s library is one that is growing rather quickly. Aside from its launch titles such as the Demon’s Souls Remake, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, each console comes standard with a digital version of Astro’s Playroom. The latter is a really great tech demo for what the DualSense controller can do, but more on that a little later. There are also a number of games on the PS4 that have PS5 upgrades; Destiny 2, Maneater and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are but a few that are currently available, however, many others have been announced that have release dates in the near future.
The next-gen upgrade system works fairly well on the PS5, but it can be a little confusing when navigating the PlayStation Store. You’ll need to view the game in question in the store, select the ellipsis, select the PS5 version and then opt for the upgrade. While a little convoluted, this has worked pretty flawlessly for the digital version of games that I own. However, it was a bit of a pain when the time came to upgrade Destiny and I had to find each piece of DLC and upgrade them individually as opposed to just upgrading the base game and it taking care of the rest.
Upgrading a physical game still poses a bit of an issue, however. As a security measure (I’m guessing) the PS4 disc is needed in order to play the PS5 upgrade. This is all well and good but the system constantly installs the PS4 version from the disc while the PS5 version is already present, taking up more space on the SSD. This happens every single time the system resumes from rest mode, requiring me to cancel the installation. This is more of an annoyance than it is a problem, but it’s still something that needs to be fixed because it just feels counter-intuitive compared to the rest of the system.
The PS5 also features backwards compatibility with a large portion of the PS4’s library. In fact, I think that it might be all of it, except for 11 titles that aren’t supported. This is bolstered by the existence of the PlayStation Plus Collection, a library of some of the biggest games from the PS4 era such as Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, Resident Evil 7 and inFamous Second Son. The latter even features an upgraded frame rate of 60FPS and improved load times. Sony hasn’t really commented on whether the Collection will be expanded upon down the line but right now, it’s a fantastic start, especially for first-time owners of a PlayStation console or those who didn’t have access to all these titles during the PS4 era.
The PS5’s SSD is a game-changer not only to the console’s speed as a whole but also to loading times in-game. It’s amazing how little I’ve had to wait to start playing a game once the console was switched on. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to the console’s launch line-up, so I’m not able to comment on how long it takes to get into the games that were optimised for the system, but I did have some pretty incredible results from third-party multiplatform games. In most cases, it took a matter of seconds to get from the console’s home screen to the gameplay. Immortals Fenyx Rising loaded so quickly that I didn’t even have time to read the tips on the loading screen! It’s actually amazing that we’re able to get into games in such a short time now and leaves me feeling excited that we’ll be spending more time playing and less time waiting.
One of the best features of the PS5 is the new DualSense Controller. It features haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, which seriously enhances the gameplay experience. If anything, aside from the shiny visuals seen in games and the insanely fast load times, this is what makes the PS5 feel truly next-gen. As mentioned before, Astro’s Playroom is a brilliant tech demo for what the DualSense can do. It makes a clear point of taking all of the features of the DualSense and integrating it into the gameplay, to great effect! I remember when I first felt the resistance of the adaptive triggers and how it was applied to the gameplay happening on-screen; it was truly incredible. This has been used in a few games already such as Immortals Fenyx Rising and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with the triggers applying more tension when you’re about to fire a bow. I really think it’s great and I certainly hope that more developers will make use of the feature as time goes on. The haptic feedback is also pretty special and is perfect for immersing you in a game. An example of this is when playing Astro’s Playroom, there was an area that had a beach and the subtle vibrations that occurred when his little robot feet crunched in the sand was amazing. It really felt like I had just experienced the next step after the standard rumble that we had in the previous gen.
Aside from its shiny new features, the DualSense also looks and feels like a sturdier build compared to the DualShock 4. Plus the presentation of the D-pad and face buttons in clear plastic really adds to the overall aesthetic.
Another thing which I was really quite pleased about is the battery life of the DualSense. Currently, it maintains a charge for about 5-6 hours of gameplay before needing to be recharged, but honestly, it feels much longer than that. This also depends on the controller making use of the haptics and adaptive triggers. However, the settings for these can be adjusted, meaning you could actually make a charge last longer.
The PlayStation 5 is incredible. It does have some missteps here and there, namely the convoluted upgrade system and also the way in which it utilises the PS4 physical games in order to access the PS5 upgrade. Not to mention that the lack of an option to transfer PS5 games onto an external HDD even just for storage seems a bit restrictive. However, it both looks and feels like a proper next-gen console and these issues can be ironed out by means of a patch. The blistering speed of the SSD is something that has me incredibly hopeful for this generation as we’ll be spending more time playing than actually waiting to play. This, combined with the amazing features of the DualSense controller and Sony’s reputation for delivering top-tier exclusive titles makes the PlayStation 5 an incredible place to experience what the current generation has to offer.
If you are looking to purchase this console, check all local online and offline retailers.
Please do not purchase from scalpers marking this up to a very high price.
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