When Sony launched the PlayStation 4 console seven years ago they ran the popular “Greatness Awaits” marketing campaign which reinforced the idea that video games make gamers feel good when they play. High-quality flagship titles like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, and more helped push that narrative even further and contributed to over 113 million units being sold as of today. While Sony fully intends to keep supporting the PS4 for at least the next few years, all the focus will now be shifted towards their ninth generation console appropriately titled the PlayStation 5.
After spending some extensive hands-on time with this highly anticipated next-gen hardware, I can honestly say that I have absolutely no intention of going back to playing on my PS4. While PS5 might not be perfect in every way imaginable and no console ever truly is, Sony has taken some interesting steps forward in developing this system and have in-turn implemented some really cool features that will definitely impact the way we play video games for many years to come. Here are more of my in-depth thoughts on the pros and cons of the console and why it may or may not be worth investing your hard-earned money into down the road.
Massively Remarkable Design
Chances are that you have probably seen plenty of PS5 unboxing videos and photos by now and came to the conclusion that the system looks absolutely massive. While that is the right assessment to make, the truth of the matter is that no video or photo compares to seeing the actual system up close and personal for yourself. The fine craftmanship on the design along with the weight of the system makes this feel like a high-end item that should be treated with the utmost care at all times. This PS5 teardown video that was released last month went into great detail about what’s inside the system and why it is as big as it is. If you own a massive 4K TV with HDR, space might become an issue depending on your setup but it definitely is well worth your time finding the right spot to place this device.
Regardless of if you decide to use your PS5 horizontally or vertically, the stand provided by Sony is something that I would strongly recommend that you use every time. Because of the uniquely shaped design, you’ll definitely run into balancing issues if you try to position it without the stand. Setting up the stand is extremely easy and once you slide it into place, you won’t have to worry about ever moving it again. For my reviewing purposes, I decided to use the system vertically as I honestly think this is the way that Sony intended for us to use it anyway and I don’t have a problem with that.
What Else Does The PS5 Come With?
In addition to the console and stand, the PS5 comes packaged with a DualSense wireless controller, an HDMI 2.1 compliant cable, a power cord, a USB-C-to-USB-A cable to charge the DualSense controller, Astro’s Playroom preinstalled, and of course, the user manual and warranty info. Since I’m reviewing the standard edition console, I also tested out the 4K Blu-ray player which works perfectly fine. Sony confirmed in an IGN Italy article earlier this week that the PS5 won’t support 1440p resolution but 1080p, 4K, and 8K setups will work perfectly fine.
The other bit of information that you will notice on the box is that the system only has 825 GB of storage as opposed to 1TB or higher. After taking into account the operating system, the actual amount of space is 667 GB. As Sony confirmed in an article over at The Verge yesterday, the system won’t support SSD storage expansion at launch but will definitely come sometime later. This may disappoint some people because it’s a reminder of when the PS4 launched with only a 500 GB hard drive.
The big difference here though is that the SSD is incredibly fast when it comes to performance and load times and using any drive that isn’t compatible means that players won’t get the full benefit of what this drive has to offer. I usually delete games off of my drive if I haven’t played them in a while to free up space so this issue doesn’t bother me, but I fully understand why it can be annoying for others. Soon as I find out more concrete information from Sony on compatible SSD drives for PS5, I will be happy to share that information with you all.
Switching Over From PS4 To PS5
When starting up your PS5 for the very first time, the sign-up process is very straightforward just like it was for the PS4. You navigate through all the same account setting options and there is even a 2 step verification process as an extra security measure. Once logged in, you’ll notice right away that the interface runs a lot faster this time around which is once again thanks to the SSD.
When I made the comment earlier in this review about not feeling the need to go back to my PS4, this was one of the reasons why. The switch from one console to another can be done in no time. It’s also worth noting that if you have plenty of PS4 games stored on an external hard drive then you do have the ability to either transfer that data or plug that drive into your PS5 and continue playing those games directly from your hard drive. If you have a physical copy of a PS4 game, you can also insert the disc into your PS5 and start installing the game on your SSD too.
The Importance of the DualSense Controller
The DualSense controller is another reason why it was easy for me to accept that switching over to the PS5 was the right move to do. Much like the console, this controller felt great in my hands and has the look and feel of pristine quality, making it well worth the $69.99 price tag currently attached to it. The adaptive triggers and haptic feedback has the ability to change gameplay experiences depending on how they are effectively used within certain games. Currently, at the time of this writing, I have only managed to play a few PS5 exclusives including Astro’s Playroom and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. In my personal opinion, Astro’s Playroom makes the best use of these features so far and you might be surprised by just how fun that game actually is.
If there is one criticism that I do have about the Dualsense, it would be that the battery life on the controller feels about the same length of time as the Dualshock 4 controller. I would need to spend more time with this accessory to accurately confirm this but I do recall having to charge multiple times throughout my Spider-Man: Miles Morales playthrough which wasn’t long at all.
Control Center User Experience Is A GameChanger
When it comes to gaming on Xbox and PlayStation, I absolutely love getting achievements and trophies. The PlayStation User Interface video embedded above piqued my interest for many reasons, one of which being just how intuitive the Control Center actually is. The social aspect of easily communicating with friends in party chats is one thing, but giving players the ability to jump to different points within a game to complete a task or unlock a new trophy is a definitive gamechanger for me.
As I mentioned in my Spider-Man: Miles Morales review, it was very satisfying jumping to a nearby objective right away as opposed to having to wait later to access it. This activity feature will most likely work best with open-world games but I’m very much intrigued by how it will be utilized across different types of games of varying genres. Fans who are completionists and trophy hunters will definitely love this feature along with the ease and use of the entire control center as it is a significant step up from what we experienced on PS4.
One Next-Gen Console With A Promising Future
In just the short few weeks that I’ve spent with the PS5, I can honestly say that this impressive piece of hardware has well exceeded my expectations and is a great step forward into the next generation of consoles. While the reduced SSD space and lack of major AAA launch titles might not mean you need to buy this console on day one, there is no denying that this is definitely the console that you should consider buying at some point this generation. If on the other hand, you were fortunate enough to pre-order a PlayStation 5 console, then you certainly are in for an absolute treat.
This hardware review was written based on a PlayStation 5 Standard Edition console provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment.