Sony has been a baller in the gaming consoles division with the PlayStation 4 and the story seems not so different with the PlayStation 5. Ever since the teaser of the gaming console came out, people had been waiting with bated breath when they’ll be able to get their hands on one of these. Well, it’s here now and has piqued my interest. Also Read - E3 2021: What is it, entire schedule, how to watch livestream for free, what to expect
More than just the design, the gaming community is in awe of what the console offers in terms of its gameplay and that’s exactly what got us gnawing about whether it will be able to live up to the euphoric hype that’s been created around the console. Also Read - Battlefield 2042: Launch date, Price in India and more
We had the PS5 for about 14-days and weren’t really able to dive deeper into intricate details about Sony’s flagship console, but we have enough details that’ll help you make that final buying decision. So, is the whole “I want a PS5” trend just early day excitement, or is it really worth all the foofaraw? Let’s find out. Also Read - God of War Ragnarok delayed until 2022: Here's why
Right off the bat, the PS5 is a massive piece of hardware standing at almost 40 centimetres off the tabletop. The matte white plastic plates do add to the overall attraction but are very difficult to clean. Where the digital version of the console weighs 3.6-kilograms, the disc version weighs 4.5 kilos.
The entire world was raving about the design when it was unveiled by the company last year, however, there have been mixed reactions by people who have bought the PS5.
No doubt that this is the most futuristic design given to a gaming console and it’s even better than the chicken frying design KFC gave to its console. It’s clear that with this kind of ostentatious design philosophy, Sony has literally thrown minimalism out of the window with this one.
It’s made of multiple casings compared to before which adds extra weight. You also get a detachable stand to keep the console horizontally. The two-tone design and the sheer size of the console make it stand out from any electronic equipment in your house.
I loved how the console’s lighting that reflects off the fans. During my use, I could only see three colours, yellow, white, and blue. These are the same colour accents that have been carried forward from the original PS4.
It’s a good thing that Sony supplies the stand in-the-box; otherwise placing it horizontally can be a problem for many. Although, I would like to point out that the stand does not stay in its place if you move the console around a lot. Not like you’ll be doing that a lot once the console is set up.
The central part of the PS5 is black glossy plastic which adds to the overall aesthetics but it will attract a lot of micro scratches. The standard white panels are an invitation to a lot of smudges and it will get dirty. So, I recommend that you remove the panels manually and customise them the way you like. Yes, the white panels are removable, and this doesn’t void your guarantee of the console.
I’m not really thumbs up with the material used in the overall architecture, although the micro logos that have been infused into the plastic looks cool. A testament that Sony’s innovation department had been busy last year.
For connectivity, you get a USB Type-A port and a Type-C port with the power button and the eject button camouflaged in the glossy black frame. You also get an ultra-HD Blu Ray optical drive, although the digital version misses the same. The back houses an HDMI port, two type-A USB ports, a power 8 port, and an ethernet port.
Performance and UI
The user interface is completely new and leverages the faster SSD. The current generation of the PS5 is using a CPU that is based on the X86 architecture. In terms of the processing power, it’s running a Ryzen 8-core 3.5Ghz processor and a custom RDNA 2 GPU clocking at 2.23GHz.
It comes bundled with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM with 825GB of storage, however, only 667GB is usable. You also get an extra slot for M.2 SSD expansion, but Sony hasn’t unlocked that feature as yet. It gets support for Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and HDMI 2.1 for TVs that offer support for 4K content and a 120Hz refresh rate.
It’s great that the PS5 now transitions to solid-state storage drive that radically boosts the performance and loading times. Its reading time is also faster than the Xbox Series X. So, in terms of your journey from the home screen to actual jumping around building or just shooting the bad guy, the time is going to be much lesser – thanks to a faster SSD.
I was able to load from the home screen to the actual gameplay in Spider-Man: Miles Morales in less than 12 seconds. Even the load time for a heavy-duty game like Cyberpunk is much faster than on the PS4.
Though we did not have a TV that supports 120Hz refresh rate, we were able to run Spider-Man: Miles Morales at ultra-high performance with ray tracing. The gameplay is a visual treat and makes the overall gameplay more immersive. What is good is that now you don’t have to sacrifice your frame rates for visual fidelity. The PS5 packs enough power inside that you’ll be able to max out your performance requirements without having to compromise in any department.
Heat management is a key aspect of the PS5 which is why it comes with a large fan, liquid metal cooling and a massive heatsink. Even at the end of my 4-5 hour gaming session, the console didn’t turn into a blast furnace, which is normally the case with older generation consoles.
I won’t say that the console was absolutely quiet but even that minimal sound isn’t a deal-breaker.
In terms of the user interface, your games and streaming apps are now separated which I feel is a better way to go about it. Overall, the UI is cleaner and Sony with this new interface wants users to focus more on visual content rather than text.
Setting up the device is a breeze and it even lets you migrate some of the PS4 content via simple steps. The home screen interface gets a new look although you move closer to familiar territory once you dive into the menus. What works against it are the smaller icons and thumbnails and because of that, you might miss out on some of the discounts and offers in the PS Plus store; which on the PS4 are right in your face.
One good thing with the PS5 is that you have access to all your PlayStation 4 content and even content on PlayStation Plus is now available on the home screen and you don’t have to wait for a separate interface to load. Quick access to your game library and other content is always a welcome addition.
The remaining options like Search, Settings, and your profile icon are all located in the top-right corner now. You will end up using the control center the most which gives you quick access to music, mic, accessories, and games switching options. The UI has now introduced a new feature that looks like cards. These are mostly populated with game tutorials, locked trophies and other gaming content.
I was happy that backward compatibility was not an issue as I could play most of the PS4 games in my library on the PS5. The only caveat? I could not use the save games of the PS5 on my PS4. So, after my review unit went back, I had to play ‘Miles Morales’ all over again to reach where I had left off on the PS5.
Game controller experience
There’s a new universe of the haptic feedback that the DualSense now provides. Not only do the triggers come with a respectable amount of force feedback but the vibrations have reached a whole new level. At times the triggers also repel in the opposite direction which brings an immersive experience in the gameplay.
I didn’t get to try out a lot of games with the resistive feedback but Sony’s Astro BOT Rescue Mission (which is a free game) is a good game to try if you really want to see what this controller is capable of.
The DualSense control seems like a bolder yet elegantly evolved avatar of the DualShock 4 controller. Most of the basics remain the same. You still have a touchpad, the Share and Options buttons and most of the other buttons are similar. Except that they now have a glass-like glossy finish.
The controller is bulkier than before and bigger compared to the previous generation. The gap that was there between the R1 and R2 buttons is gone now. On paper, the battery capacity has increased, and we agree with that. Not to mention that the USB type-C charging helps kill the charging time.
There is also a built-in microphone this time around though naturally, I saw myself using the headphone mic more often. However, one has to be careful while using the controller as many might leave the mic open during gameplay and not realize it. Save yourself the blushes and turn the feature off in the Settings.
It is no doubt that the new DualSense is more robust and does not feel janky. The large real estate of the controller might be a concern for some gamers since you have been using a more compact architecture till now, but rest assured it won’t take a lot of time to get used to the new controller.
The DualSense houses actuators that can be customised as the developers to send feedback. However, if the vibrations and feedback are getting overwhelming, you can always turn them off in the console’s Settings. A few changes that I noticed is that now clicking the PS button on the DualSense brings up the control centre which takes you to options like your profile, power options, Settings, and more. A long press gets you back to the home screen. This will take time getting used to as opposed to the older controller as you’re battling almost 7-8 years of muscle memory.
There is a massive jump in performance over older generation controllers but the company has opted for more sensor-based experiences with the DualSense.
What about game titles?
The upcoming library of the PS5 is looking bright for the company with titles like Horizon Forbidden West, Far Cry 6, Pragmata and even the new God of War 2: Ragnarok to hit the store this year. Not only that, but there are also plenty of other third-party games coming to the console so there’s a lot to look forward to.
The good thing is the way the PS5 has been set up as it offers back-compatibility to older PS4 games. This means I don’t have to wait for new PS5 titles to come and can head back to older titles and replay them. What’s good is that some of the games like God of War, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End look visually better.
Should you buy it?
The PS5 is a beefed-up version of the older generation console when it comes to design and performance. Many might consider it as a seismic shift. Rest assured that you’d be lucky if you get your hands on one of these because even now, it’s running out of stock in most places. I still believe you can wait a few more months for new PS5 titles before you decide to upgrade.
I loved gaming on the PS5 and it truly is a breath of fresh air. I feel that right now it’s the best gaming console out there that will make your gaming experience both a visual treat and an immersive experience.
As for new console buyers, you can consider buying the new PS5 as it truly enters the realms of next-generation gaming. The PS5 Blu-Ray variant retails at Rs 49,990 and the digital variant at Rs 39,990.
In the roughly two weeks with the console, I did not run into any issues or problems but that’s a perception thing as many PS5 owners are reporting issues online. Most of the problems are about nitpicking and I would not want to dive into that now. I feel you can still be happy with a PS4 and not miss the PS5 because not a lot of games are out yet for the PS5. However, if you are looking to buy a new gaming console then the PS5 should be on the top of your list.
We’d like to remind you that the PS4 is currently available at a retail price that’s half of what the PS5 is selling at. Just think about it.