Up until now, the original Xbox has usually been the device people reference when talking about big-ass video game consoles. But with the arrival of the PS5, there’s a new sheriff in town.
Measuring in at 15.4 x 10.2 x 4.1 inches and weighing a hair under 10 pounds flat, the PS5 easily bests the OG Xbox (12.5 x 10.5 x 4 inches and 8.5 pounds) as the new heavyweight console champ. And when compared to newer consoles like the Xbox One and the largest version of the PS4 (the PS4 Pro), the PS5 looks almost gigantic.
Like many other journalists, I’m currently checking out the Playstation 5 ahead of its launch early next month. While I can’t go into details on a lot of features quite yet I have spent enough time with the PS5 to comfortably talk about just what a big boy it is. When standing up, the PS5 towers over ever other console in my house. But when you lay it down horizontally, between the added height from its included stand and its curvy sides, the PS5 actually seems even bigger. And while I haven’t had the chance to check out the digital version of the PS5 that skips the optical drive, the only real difference is a small reduction in thickness down to 3.6-inches.
All that said, I must admit that while the PS5's dimensions are quite commanding, unless you have a tight media cabinet, it’s size isn’t really an issue during everyday use. The bigger impact is one of aesthetics. That’s because while I personally don’t mind the PS5's design, I do have to say that its two-tone color scheme really stands out among the rest of my consoles, which kind of puts a dent in the matchy matchy look I had going on in my media center. Though this won’t hold true for everyone.
However, every once in awhile, I feel like the PS5's flowing curvy design is almost an unforced error on Sony’s part. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very eye catching, and from certain angles, I enjoy how the PS5 looks like a sci-fi manta ray. But at the same time, because of its curvy flowing design, it seems like Sony had to make the PS5's stand more complicated than it would’ve been otherwise.
For anyone who prefers to use the PS5 standing up, you’ll need to screw the stand into the bottom of the console. Meanwhile, if you prefer the system laying down, you can stow the screw for the stand inside a hidden compartment in the base of the stand. Also, when resting horizontally, don’t forget to position the prongs of the stand so that they line up with the edges of the button icons printed on the back of the system.
It feels like a lot of extra stuff to be mindful of and all that work is there to support a design that’s definitely futuristic, but not evocative enough to make people turn their noses up at the Xbox Series X, which is an attractive system in its own right. I feel like if Sony wanted to go in this direction, they needed to commit 1000% and add more RGB lights or a see through window or something, anything that would be a real jaw-dropper.
In front, the PS5 still offers two USB ports, except that one is a USB Type-A port while the other is USB Type-C. And around back you get two more USB Type-A ports, Ethernet, HDMI 2.1, and a power jack. One small note for anyone upgrading from a PS4 Pro is that because the PS4 Pro uses a different power cord than the standard PS4, you will need to switch out your cables. And for anyone with a newish 4K TV hoping to take advantage of the PS5's 120fps potential, make sure to use the HDMI 2.1 compatible cable that comes included as well.
Finally, there’s the DualSense controller, which is really just a slightly larger DualShock 4 with a matching two-toned color scheme and a few tweaks and upgrades, which is generally a good thing because like its predecessors, the DualSense is comfy as hell. To the left of the touchpad, the Share button has morphed into the Create button to better label its role for capturing all sorts of screenshots and clips. The DualSense’s lights now also peek out from the sides of the touchpad so they’re more visible from in front. But by far the biggest additions are the DualSense’s new haptics and adaptatively triggers.
The resistance of the trigger buttons can be adjusted on the fly, allowing a game developer to help convey the feeling of specific items like a bowstring. It’s a neat effect and it’s most obvious in Astro’s Playroom, which is quite enjoyable in the short time I had to play it. As for the haptics, Sony has sort of taken a page out of the Nintendo Switch’s playbook and its 3D rumble, which gives you a much greater range of sensations instead of just rumble, rumble more, and rumble a lot. Like the adaptive triggers, it’s a neat little feature, but only if developers take advantage of it. And if the PS5 ends up being like the Switch in this manner, that means it will be mostly first-party titles that really lean on the advanced haptics.
Ok, that’s pretty much everything I can say for now, but stayed tuned for more info about the PS5 as we get closer to its official release on Nov. 11.