"PS3 Report, part 1
posted at 11/17/2006 03:06 PM PST
Ok, it's been an exciting day today. After resisting the urge to sell this baby, I've decided to enjoy it. Ebay, be damned!
First, the actual hardware. It has a glossy exterior, not too unlike the PSP, ironically. The system can stand vertically, or sit horizontally, like it's predecessors. But, this time, you can rotate the 'PS' logo so it's upright no matter which way you have it--a nice touch. All of the ports are in appropriate places to hook up accessories and cables to. No daunting, arm-stretching is necessary. I will note that there are no USB ports on the rear side. Not a huge deal, but I would've appreciated one or two for a camera, in order to hide some of the cables.
The controller, as mentioned before, is quite a masterpiece. I know rumble is gone, but you have to appreciate what is still in there. The controller is light as a feather. I found myself wondering where the battery was. It is internal and from what I could tell, you cannot remove the battery--odd. There is a small reset button on the back of each SIXAXIS, in case you need to re-orient your controllers to the system. Plugging in the controller was as easy as plugging the USB cord in and then plugging the small end into the controller. It immediately worked. Sometimes when switching between media, you need to press the 'PS' button in order to re-assign the controller again, but that didn't happen to often to become annoying. While in wireless mode, the controller performs great. No wireless-lag that most cheap wireless controllers suffer from. It's perfectly responsive and impossible to tell the difference between the wired and wireless during a game. One thing that you Xbox 360 players will notice is a lack of a headset port. This is a shame, but hopefully Sony will release a wireless headset, negating the need for a port on the controller. Wireless>Wired after all.
The system buttons themselves are a marvelous thing, let me tell you. First of all, when you turn power on, you barely have to touch the thing. I makes a very quiet, but almost tactile beeping noise when it powers up...almost aircraft like. It really did fool me the first time, because at first glance, I thought to myself no way THAT is the power on/off button. It's something you need to do yourself before you can appreciate it. The eject button is the same way--just a feather touch activates it.
Perhaps my favorite hardware improvement is the slot drive. As dependable as tray drives are, having a slot drive really adds some sex appeal to your entertainment center. Someone else had mentioned the bright lights on the front of the console. I have to agree that the blue and green power and disc lights are nice to look at and not distracting, even when watching your favorite blu-ray movie. There is also wireless activity and hard-drive access lights, but they are hardly noticable, and an amber color.
Next thing I noticed is the noise the Playstation 3 puts out, or the lack thereof. I can confidently say that it's at least as quiet as a PS2, probably closer to Gamecube quiet. You will not notice any noise from it when you are playing. This, to me, was the most suprising part of the experience today...a quiet machine that's as powerful as this. When I placed my hand on the right side, I could indeed feel some heat coming out of the machine, but it doesn't feel like an oven, like the Xbox 360 does. There seems to be 2 different major areas where heat dissipates from the system. It's hard to tell where exactly the intake is, since there are just so many grill holes throughout.
Ok, now on to the testing of the system. First off, I poppped in "Talladega Nights" movie that came with it. It looked great in HD (720p mode). I watched the whole movie, just to see if there would be any hiccups, glitches, or bugs during playback. Not a one.
Next, I played "Resistance: Fall of Man". It ran flawlessly.
To test the backward-compatibility, I ran Okami, a PS2 game. It requires you to make a virtual hard drive memory card. I made one with no problems. It even lets you select which slot the PS2 games will see the memory card, slot 1 or 2. Okami played great and had no glitches.
Next, onto the PS1 test. For this test, I selected a generation 1 PS1 game, "Raiden Collection" from 1995. The game loaded up without a hitch.
I have to say, seeing your older PS1 and PS2 games being played through an HDMI compatible TV is amazing. I'm glad Sony decided to support older games.
Next, the Cross Media Bar (XMB). Upon turning on the system, the PS3 plays a short symphony orchestral clip as it's power-up tune. Very classy. It reminds me of a sound you might hear if heaven were to open up and bright lights beam down on your mortal face. Once into the interface, it prompted me to do an update to the software. This part was clunky and not nearly as user-friendly as the Xbox 360 updates are. It required me to agree to a user agreement, followed by several "I agree" and "hit enter to start" messages. Not a huge deal if you are patient. After the update was complete, I browsed the interface some more. It appears to support a USB mouse and keyboard out of the box. I didn't test this, but will soon.
Going to the internet browser, it feels almost exactly like the PSP browser. It contains much of the same functionality. If you don't have a keyboard/mouse, it's going to take you forever to type any URL, so it may not be useful to you unless you don't have a computer in your house. The browser does work just fine. I went to Sony's webpage and clicked around. The browser software isn't extremely pretty, but it get's the job done. It's no Firefox, but I like it ok just the same.
Just like the Xbox 360, the PS3 requires you to register your information if you are to play multiplayer games or use the online store. I registered and got a username within 5 minutes. It was nice to see the Sony network was performing well, despite it was system launch day. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that no one is playing a PS3...everyone's selling them. I digress. After registering a user name and password, I browsed the online store. There were only two games available for download. I was hoping to see some PS1 games available. Nope. The prices for the two games were 7.99 and 9.99 respectively. A little pricey for some games that no one's heard of yet. Especially when compared to XBL download gems like Geometry Wars Evolved and Hexic. I will say I appreciate Sony not using "points", and instead going with actual dollar amounts. Yay for logic!
Browsing further, I discovered just how many devices the PS3 could theoretically support. It allowed me to register a bluetooth device, which I can only suspect would be something like a PSP, ect.
On the front of the PS3, you will find a compact flash, type 1, an SD slot, and a memory stick slot. I plan on using the memory stick slot, since it's compatible with my PSP memory stick Pro Duo.
I haven't had a chance to test all the features, but I plan on posting more of my findings after a week or so. Thanks for reading.
Sleek, Sexy exterior. Powerful new hardware, backwards compatible too. Ultra-quiet. Blu-ray player.
High price. Not 100% backwards compatible. No intuitive chatting system. No headset capability out of the box. Online service lacks polish. Not many Downloadable games.
Is it worth $600? Yes"