The advantages of Sony’s latest PS5 iteration are somewhat elusive, even with the introduction of a (relatively) smaller console, a change welcomed by many. My affection for Sony’s revamped, slender consoles dates back to the endearing PS One. The launch versions of all Sony consoles I’ve possessed were more massive and quirkier than their eventual makeovers, inducing a profound FOMO within me. However, my fondness for “slim” PlayStations may have concluded with the advent of the new PlayStation 5.
Evolution of PlayStation 5 Design
If any PlayStation cried out for a transformation, it’s the PS5. Sony’s white-and-black monolith is an immense console, its design something you adapt to rather than adore. The prospect of rectifying the PS5’s design, akin to Sony’s correction with the grill-style PlayStation 3, should have been straightforward. Yet, what we now have with the $499.99 new PlayStation 5 and $449.99 for its Digital Edition are peculiar half-measures.
In terms of design, the novel “slim” PS5 is undeniably reduced in size. Sony claims a volume reduction of “more than 30 percent.” However, my perception oscillates between “Oh yes, that’s noticeably smaller” and “Alright, it’s smaller… but it’s still a substantial entity!” The undulating curves and intricacies of the new PS5 can prompt a change in your viewpoint on its design, varying from minute to minute based on your vantage point. This stems from a design that is intricate, bustling, and, frankly, somewhat unappealing.
Intricacies and Peculiarities
The sleek appearance of the slim version surpasses its bulkier, more cumbersome predecessor, thanks to its abbreviated white covers, concave upper curvature, and panel lines intersecting its sides, demarcating shiny and matte finishes. Nevertheless, the new PlayStation 5 also incorporates perplexing design choices: the disc drive appears even more like an anomalous growth protruding from the console’s side; the absence of vent fins at the top lends a prototype-like or incomplete aesthetic, and the cat ear-shaped supports for horizontal placement are a mockery of a “stand” included with the console. The stand is an additional $29.99 if you prefer a vertical stance. (The original PS5 had a versatile stand for both horizontal and vertical orientations.)
Despite its strange design decisions, the new PS5 has more to offer, including 1TB of integrated storage (an improvement from the original’s 825GB) and two front-facing USB-C ports instead of one USB-C and one USB-A. Another practical enhancement is the relocated eject button for the removable disc drive, finally eliminating confusion with the power button, a similarity persisting since the PS4 era.
Is the PlayStation 5 Slim Worth the Upgrade?
Concerning the detachable disc drive, Sony deserves credit for its tool-free attachment and detachment. However, one is left pondering, “Why?” While a Digital Edition PlayStation 5 owner with buyer’s remorse can attach a disc drive, the cost is higher since the Digital Edition now retails for $449.99, and the drive add-on is $79.99.
Moreover, the setup of the disc drive mandates an internet connection, even if the disc drive comes pre-installed with your console. Although this scenario may be improbable for most users, playing anything is only possible once the console connects to Sony’s servers at least once. A warning emphasizes that factory resetting requires an internet connection to correctly unpair the disc drive, raising questions about the consequences of purchasing or selling a secondhand unpaired drive. This convoluted DRM implementation lacks tangible benefits and may lead to preservation challenges in the distant future.
The disc drive intricacies and the perplexing design decisions render the PlayStation 5 slim a somewhat bewildering mid-cycle refresh. Beyond its reduced size, modest storage upgrade, and revised port selection, this update serves Sony’s interests more than those of its customers, enticing them to spend more on accessories. For current owners of the original PS5, upgrading seems unwarranted, and for prospective buyers, opting for the “full-sized” PS5 may be a prudent choice at least until the slim version becomes the sole option.