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Ralf Jurrien : July 9th 2007 - 02:11 CET

Sony PS3 review

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SonySony PS3 review : For a while now, there has been a true hype around the Sony console. Of course caused by Sony, but also by the consumer himself. And honestly I have to admit that it is not just nonsense. We are speaking of a very high-class device for which very large investments have been made. The Sony PS3 is not only a game console, but can be considered as a high-tech media center! Those who grew up in the time of the Sinclair, Atari and Commodore gaming consoles, or those who entered the gaming world solo or online with their PC, but who chose digital photography as a ‘serious and responsible’ hobby, will reminisce, with melancholy, about last March 23rd 2007 when the Sony PS3 was introduced officially in Europe.
Sony PlayStation 3 review
Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to remain nostalgia. I found the perfect excuse to account for the purchase of a Sony PlayStation 3; the Sony PS3 console has a few built-in card readers that make it possible to play your digital (family) photos in large format in a digital photo album! All right, I have to admit that the Sony PS3 is too expensive to purchase just for this purpose, but the way it shows digital photos has given a lot of admiration by friends and family. Therefore, the Sony PS3 is not only a game console, but can be considered as a high-tech media center!

Sony PS3 Design

Sony PS3 - Design
Those who pick up the box of the Sony PlayStation 3 for the first time will immediately notice the weight of the console. With a weight of about 5 kilogram, it will be clear right away that the Sony PlayStation PS3 is not a lightweight. You can take this literally as well as figuratively. The PlayStation 3 is a magnificent piece. The shining deep black material and the nice design ask for a striking and prominent place in the living room. You don't even have to be a high-tech freak for this; even those who do not have a clue as to what kind of device they have in front of them can appreciate the design. With measurements of 32.5 (W) x 9.8 (H) x 27.4 mm (D), the Sony PS3 takes up a reasonably modest spot. The many connections, which the Sony PlayStation3 has, are remarkable but are not immediately visible because of the fine design.

Sony PlayStation review - Connections
Standard, the Sony PS3 is supplied with a power supply cable, USB cable, Ethernet cable, AV adapter and an AV cable. A lot has been said and written about the lacking of a HDMI cable, but let’s just say that it is a pity that such a cable doesn’t come with the standard equipment. Besides the documentation, a SIXAXIS wireless controller is supplied, to operate the Sony PS3. Those who are only interested in the Sony PS3 for its built-in Blu Ray player can purchase an optional Blu Ray remote control. The non-gaming freaks will have to get used to operating the SIXAXIS and will need the proper practice to be able to use it blindly. The wireless controller will have to be connected to the Sony PS3 physically in order to be recognized and for wireless operation.

Sony PS3 memory

PlayStation 3 review - Front side
When we look at the front side diagonally from above, it contains two halves, on the right the Blu Ray player and on the left the flap that hides a series of built-in card readers. The card slots support CompactFlash type I & II, Microdrive, Secure Digital, miniSD, Memory Stick and Memory Stick PRO Duo flash memory cards. Strangely, the SDHC (SD High Capacity) is not being supported; it seems to me that it is time for a firmware update. Below the left side there are four fast USB 2.0 Hi-Speed connections with besides them two LEDs that serve as indicators for the hard disk and WLAN access.

Sony PlayStation 3 review - HDMI connection
The back of the PlayStation 3 accommodates four interfaces and the connection for the adaptor with above it the main switch to turn the Sony PS3 console on or off. A connection with which the reproduction’s quality is guaranteed is the HDMI connection; besides this there is a LAN interface, a (optical) Digital Out connection and a so-called AV Multi Out connection. The large airstrips at the back show clearly that the Sony PS3 can discharge a substantial amount of heat. The PS3 can be placed horizontally as well as vertically.

Sony PS3 connections

Sony PS3 - SIXAXIS controller
The Sony PS3 has standard been provided with a wireless controller, the so-called SIXAXIS. The SIXAXIS is a futuristic looking controller with a large collection of buttons with which games can be played, but also the virtual keyboard can be operated or the menu of movies that are played by means of the Blu Ray player. The operation is a little getting used to and those who have never worked with such a controller will need a bit of practical experience before it becomes logical.

PS3 review - Highest quality HD resolution
The Sony PS3 system can produce two different kinds of video resolutions, HD (High Definition) and SD (Standard Definition). Those who own a HD ready or Full HD LCD screen will connect the Sony PS3 with a HDMI cable; the Sony PS3 will then automatically set the highest quality HD resolution. This consists of 1080p (16:9), 1080i (16:9) or 720p (16:9); the SD resolution consists of 576p (16:9/4:3) or 576i (16:9/4:3). Moreover, the i stands for Interlace, the p for Progressive. Progressive is preferred, for it results in a high video quality with the least flashing in the screen.

Sony PlayStation 3 review - USB devices
Furthermore, it is possible to connect external USB devices, as long as they are USB Mass Storage Class compatible. After connecting it, the device will almost immediately be shown on the screen and the contents can be checked. File formats, which can be played or shown, are, amongst others, ATRAC, MP3, AAC, JPEG and MPEG-4. It might occur that only a single file is shown while several files have been stored. By choosing ‘show all’ in the menu, all files stored on the medium will become visible.

Sony PlayStation 3 storage - 60GB hard disk
In Europe, the Sony PS3 will, for the time being, be supplied only with a 60GB hard disk. The hard disk serves as storage; this way you can transfer all your own files to the hard disk in the Sony PlayStation 3, by means of, for instance, the USB interface. Besides this, the storage can also be used to store contents, which have been downloaded through the Sony Network. The Sony PlayStation 3 is truly a multi media console. The name game console does actually not cover the full cargo, but Sony will undoubtedly give more clarity about this through different campaigns in the coming period.

Sony PS3 photoalbum

Sony PS3 - Digital Photo album
As mentioned, the Sony PS3 also has a built-in photo album. By using the menu of the PlayStation 3, the relevant component can be activated and the photo’s, which have been stored on the hard disk of the Sony PlayStation 3, can be viewed. If there aren’t any photo’s stored yet, or if you want to complete your library, this can be done by sticking, for instance, the memory card, DVD, CD-ROM, USB-stick, digital camera or a USB hard disk with photo’s in one of the compatible card readers or USB interfaces; the recordings can now be uploaded. Once on the hard disk, it is possible to play the pictures in a slideshow. With this option, a collage of your photos is being made and this is connected to the picture’s data itself, like the day they have been made.

Sony PlayStation review - Firmware
Thanks to the continuous connection to the Internet and the regular availability of the newest firmware the Sony PS3 gets more and more functionality. One of the recent firmwares, for instance, has seen to it that your existing DVD collection can be upgraded to HD quality. Furthermore also compatible Playstation and Playstation2 games can be upgraded. At this moment, such a feature can only be found on the better DVD-players. Updating the Sony PS3 station is quite simple in practice, follow the instructions on the screen and the rest is easy.

Sony PlayStation 3 - Streaming
By means of the Remote Play function, it is possible to view stored pictures on a PSP. The most recent firmware update has enriched this function with the possibility to stream through Internet. As long as there is a wireless portal in the neighborhood, you will have access with your PSP to the stored content on the hard disk of the Sony Playstation3; this way you can view photos and videos or listen to music on your PSP, wherever you are (you will need the system software version 3.50 or higher).

Sony PS3 conclusion

Sony PS3 review - Conclusion
For a while now, there has been a true hype around the new Sony console. Of course caused by Sony, but also, not lastly, by the consumer himself. And honestly I have to admit that it is not just nonsense. We are speaking of a, in technical terms, very high-class device for which very large investments have been made. Besides this, the PlayStation3 has been developed for the coming decennium, and the possibilities that the Sony PS3 shows us now are not representative for what the console actually has to offer. I can imagine that different kinds of consumers are interested in what the Sony PS3 offers. Even though, the game experience is being highlighted at this time, for the film lovers, the Blu Ray function is definitely a very interesting feature. Right now, a separate Blu Ray player is at least twice the price of a Sony PS3 console. Besides this, the multimedia features like the possibility to show, for instance, digital photos might be attractive to a generation of consumers that Sony may not even have thought about…

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