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PlayStation 3 Slim review

The good: More affordable $299 price; slimmer, more compact design with quieter operation; all games in high-definition; easy-to-use interface; doubles as a Blu-ray and upscaling DVD player; built-in Wi-Fi; 120GB hard drive; HDMI output with 1080p support; no external power supply; built-in Web browser; free online gaming service.

The bad: Lacks backward support for PS2 games; no infrared port means non-Bluetooth universal remotes aren’t compatible; online gaming, media, and commerce options still aren’t as fully developed as Xbox Live, though they’re getting better.

The bottom line: With a smaller design, more energy-efficient operation, lower price tag, and built-in Blu-ray and multimedia capabilities, the PS3 Slim delivers a compelling package for an affordable price.

Earlier this year we brought you news of the PS3 firmware update, The good news for PS3 owners is that this simple firmware fix will render your console 3D capable. An extra £23.99 buys the 3D update with playable demos of Wipeout HD and Motorstorm: Pacific Rift and others.

A second firmware update will be along later this year to enable 3D Blu-ray playback. So four years after it’s launch, is the PS3 overreaching itself or is it still pushing the envelope of home entertainment? We paired the PlayStation 3 with Sony Bravia HX803 3D TV to find out.

Sony PS3 Slim: Performance

As a Blu-ray player, it takes a little longer to load and play a disc than dedicated players like the Sony BDP-S470 and it doesn’t come with an IR remote, although the Sixaxis game pad is in some ways better. Otherwise it plays regular Blu-rays with a crisp and clean 1080p/24fps clarity.

When you download the 3D update the only visible change is a new menu option within the video output settings that asks how big your 3D TV is, we used the Sony . But when you switch to a 3D game, like the newly enhanced Wipeout HD, you will begin to understand what the buzz surrounding 3D is all about. The anti-gravity craft hover just in front of you in a way that makes you want to reach out and touch it. Hurtling along at insane speeds becomes all the more engaging when you see your ship bouncing off the walls in 3D.

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift provides a slightly more pronounced 3D effect, especially during the spectacular set pieces when your vehicle crashes out of a race. It’s not much fun for spectators that don’t have 3D glasses, but for the player, it’s a thoroughly immersive experience. Pause the game and you’ll notice that the scenery looks a little softer in certain areas in 3D mode and you might detect a slight flicker from the glasses, but there’s not enough of a quality dip to put you off the action.

 

Sony PS3 Slim: Design and features

So can the PlayStation 3 Slim rival a standalone player? Well it is significantly larger and heavier, but then it is packing a 250GB hard drive, a powerful Cell processor and Wi-Fi. All this, and the ability to play games, gives the PS3 an unfair advantage over the dedicated decks, but the price compares favourably. So where’s the compromise?

The fact is, Sony was playing the long game and making a big loss on each console sale in the early days, in order to establish a user base. It’s still something of a bargain now when you consider the tech inside: media streamer, hard drive and a Blu-ray player.

The big hard drive is perfect for storing music, movies, photos and games and it’s all immediately accessible from the groundbreaking XMB interface that has now been copied by Sony’s home entertainment division.

All of the Bravia Internet Video features, like the LoveFilm library and excellent BBC iPlayer app are available on the PS3 too. The user experience in general is much better on the PS3 than a standalone deck thanks to the speedy processing and attractive interface.

Sony PS3 Slim: Conclusion

The PS3 Slim was already a fantastic console and this 3D update has made it even better. It’s most likely to be the gaming community, who have no problem wearing glasses while they play, that drive the 3D revolution. The 3D gaming experience bodes well for the consoles 3D Blu-ray update, the date and price of which has yet to be confirmed. What is clear is that the PS3 represents a very good value as a 3D source for games and in time, 3D Blu-ray as well

What’s missing

 

 

250GB PS3 Superslim
120GB PS3 Slim
160GB PS3
Product code CECH-4000 CECH-2000A CECH-Pxx
Price $270 $250 $300
Color Charcoal Black (Half Glossy) Matte Black Piano Black (Glossy)
HDD 250GB 2.5-inch SATA 120GB 2.5-inch SATA 160GB 2.5-inch SATA
Dimensions 11.42 x 2.36 x 9.06 in. 11.42 x 2.56 x 11.42 in. 12.75 x 3.86 x 10.8 in.
Weight 4.62 pounds 7.05 pounds 11 pounds
Power 190W 250W 280W
Vertical Stand Optional ($15) Optional ($24) Not necessary
Compatibility PSOne PSOne PSOne, Linux
PS2 compat? No No No
BRAVIA Sync (HDMI-CEC) Yes Yes No
Bundle Wireless DualShock 3 controller, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception GOTY Edition, $30 in Dust 514credit, one-month PS Plus subscription Wireless DualShock 3 controller Wireless DualShock 3 controller, Uncharted: Drake’s FortunePaindownloadable game voucher

Also like the last model, the Superslim features no backwards compatibility with the PlayStation 2 — a feature we’re still sore about losing in the last PS3 redesign. Sure, PSOne support remains, but we’d really, really like to play our old PS2 games on the PS3 rather than buying HD re-releases of PS2 games on Blu-ray (ahem). The same two USB slots sit up front (down from four on the original), and the SD card reader from the first model remains stuck in the past. Similarly, the Superslim won’t allow a Linux or OtherOS install — admittedly, not a widely used feature — but it’s yet another example of how starkly different the current model PS3 is from the original console.

Wrap-up

At $270 — a full $20 more than the already existing 120GB model, albeit with the addition of a year-old game and $30 in virtual money for a free-to-play shooter that isn’t available yet — the PlayStation 3 redesign is hard to suggest. Barring the price, the generally cheap feel of the hardware and sheer unattractiveness galvanize our position: you’re better off picking up the older, less expensive, more attractive (and functionally identical) PS3 Slim. And that’s without mentioning awkward design choices like a top-loading disc tray, or the return to glossy black plastic that holds fingerprints and dust so dear to its heart. If you’re in the market for a new PS3 — and honestly, who are you people? — we can’t suggest the Superslim.

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