Playstation 5 was officially released to the world on November 12th. After a generation that rises figuratively above its rivals with the monstrous success of PlayStation 4, Sony fights hard against its peers… literally. Because the 5 is a huge console, however, what it lacks in subtlety it more than makes up for in potential, thanks in part to its incredibly fast SSD, but above all to its truly remarkable new control, the DualSense.
While a good deal of what people are going to be able to squeeze out of the 2020 salvo of shiny new hardware can be jammed to some degree by the screen they own, the PS5’s exclusive DualSense democratizes a next-generation gaming experience for everyone, offering an amazing new level of feedback that really needs to be felt to be believed.
On the PS5, the matt and white finish of the plates feels good in person, the sloping vents that flank the glossy black plastic strip that wraps around the edge of the unit are eye-catching. It’s obviously not the first white gaming console but, in concert with its size and shape, it’s surprisingly ostentatious for something destined to sit under or next to black TVs, black sound bars, black subwoofers, and generations of black AV equipment and gaming hardware.
On the front you will find access to the Ultra HD Blu-ray optical drive, a Hi-Speed USB Type A port and a Hi-Speed USB Type C port, as well as the power button and eject button. These buttons are adjacent to each other, but the eject button is noticeably smaller, so, if you’re like me, there’s now hope that you won’t spend an entire generation trying to remember which button is which. On the back is the power connection in Figure 8, an HDMI 2.1 output, two super-speed USB type A ports, and an Ethernet port. Unlike the PS4, the PS5 does not have an optical audio output.
Leaving aside appearances, there is one element of the PS5 that cannot be so easily ignored, and that is its large size. Positioned vertically and perched on its support, the PS5 is about 40 cm high. With the support changed, that figure is a fraction less when positioned horizontally, reaching about 39 cm, but even in this orientation, the PS5 is still a little over 11 cm high at the point where its top plate curves towards the sky.
Fun and simple
The initial setup is extremely simple; beyond a mandatory software update, you’ll be up and running within minutes. For PS4 users, the PS5 manual describes the ability to connect your PS4 and PS5 console to the same network to transfer saved data, downloaded content, and user information, although it does not describe the process.
The user interface of the PS5 doesn’t feel very far from its roots on the PS4, especially when you go deeper into the menus, but it is definitely different, and significantly more elegant in several ways. Now, with a single touch of the PlayStation button in the center of the controller, you’ll see what Sony has called the Control Center, which is a bit like a taskbar on a Windows PC. To check things like current downloads and which of your friends are connected to the network on your PS4 requires a lot of changes from side to side, up and down and left and right through the menu icons; the Control Center on your PS5 puts all that information at your fingertips at the touch of a button.
The user interface of the PS5 makes some important changes for those who like trophy hunting, as well as for those who want to customize their settings. In the first case, trophies can now be easily accessed for viewing by game from the home page of each game on the board, while information about the trophies can also be included in the new activity card view.
And in the second one, PS5 doesn’t have general themes that you can select, so your dynamic themes won’t be moved. However, each PS5 game seems to have its own mini theme; by selecting a next generation game on the board, each game presents a great work of art along with some music from that specific game. You may not check the buttons on the user interface as a dynamic theme might, but it’s nice that each game in your library offers a showcase for itself.
One of the most important improvements of this generation is the change from traditional hard drives to solid state storage drives, which dramatically improves overall loading times and potentially allows games to be loaded onto new objects effectively on the fly. The PS5’s SSD can read 5.5 GB in just one second (which, on paper, is twice as fast as the X-Series). In practical terms, it means that I could go from being on from a complete blackout to being perched on top of any building in Manhattan where I left Miles Morales in just 45 seconds.
It’s only a fraction larger than the DualShock 4 and has a more premium look, especially on the translucent buttons that look almost like glass. The Options and Create buttons are also higher than on the DualShock 4, so they’re much easier to find without having to blindly rub your thumb next to the touchpad to find them, or look down (the Create button is basically the PS5 equivalent of the PS4’s Share button). The DualSense also has a built-in microphone, which makes headphones unnecessary, but still has a 3.5 mm jack for those who prefer to use them. The charging port is USB-C.
The range of feedback that the DualSense can provide is quite amazing.
The pre-installed Astro game room is a wonderful technical demonstration for the DualSense and is worth experimenting with. It’s a rich and fabulous demonstration of the new level of feedback that the DualSense can offer and a lovely tour of the long history of PlayStation hardware to boot.
Despite all the horsepower under the hood, the PS5 is impressively quiet, and IGN tests have set it at an inaudible 44 decibels (at 58 degrees Celsius) in the middle of Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It’s a refreshing change from my current PS4 Pro; launching Marvel’s Spider-Man makes it sound like it’s ready to be catapulted from an aircraft carrier.
With a launch line dominated by games that are also available on PS4, and at the back of a generation already peppered with increasingly powerful hardware reviews like the PS4 Pro, the PS5 hasn’t just landed as a knockout, but definitely has the power and speed to be a true contender (although the jury is out on that little 667 GB SSD). However, while the PS5’s user interface and the speed of loading PS5 games make it a pleasure, the DualSense driver has proven to be the surprise I never saw coming, and leaves the other controllers with a primitive feel in comparison.
@citilennial Fuente: IGN