The new PlayStation 5 arrives seven years after the release of the original PlayStation 4 console in 2013. Although Sony launched the PlayStation 4 Pro in 2016, the Pro was a mid-cycle refresh focusing on targeting higher resolutions rather than a full generational upgrade.
The PlayStation 5, however, is more of what you’d expect from a next-generation console. It is more powerful, yes, but it also features fast flash storage, improved connectivity, a brand new UI, a new controller, a new set of accessories, and support for a new generation of games that can take advantage of all its features. Meanwhile, the PS5 remains backward compatible with existing PS4 titles, which should run better than ever on the new hardware.
In this review, I will look at the features and the performance of the PlayStation 5, and how it compares to its extremely successful predecessor. As someone who has owned every PlayStation home console since the PlayStation 2, I have been looking forward to this for quite some time now and Sony India, who launched the console in India just this week, was kind enough to lend us one for a few days before launch. Let’s see how the new PlayStation 5 stacks up.
The PlayStation designs have always been fairly conservative, featuring simple geometric lines and primarily a black color scheme. With the PlayStation 5, Sony has gone in the opposite direction, with a much more striking appearance that is sure to spark some debate.
The PlayStation 5 has a sandwich layout consisting of two large removable panels around the main body of the console. The panels act as an exoskeleton for the console and also have convenient gaps for the cooling system to pull in fresh air.
Our review unit was the standard edition, which includes a UHD Blu-ray drive for games and media. The disc drive isn’t neatly integrated into the design and just bulges out the right side of the console in a somewhat unsightly manner. Designing it this way allows Sony to swap out just a handful of parts to make the Digital Edition, which makes the manufacturing process simpler. If you prefer a more symmetrical design, you may want to consider the Digital Edition.
One interesting detail about the side panels is that the inner portion that is visible when the panels are closed feature a pattern made out of the PlayStation square-triangle-circle-cross icons. The pattern is extremely fine and can only be noticed when seen up close.
Moving on to the sandwiched part in the middle, Sony has opted for a glossy black plastic strip to cover the entire portion visible when the panels are closed. On the front of the console is a USB-A 2.0 port along with a USB-C 3.1 10Gbps port. You also have two buttons, one for power and one to eject the disc.
As you move towards the top of the console (assuming it is placed in vertical orientation) you find the LED lighting and the input vents. The lighting is courtesy of two LED strips on either side of the black strip that bounce colored light off the insides of the side panels. The lighting is similar to that on the PlayStation 4; blue for when the console is powering on, white when it is on, and orange when it is in rest mode.
On the back of the console are two USB-A 3.1 10Gbps ports, one HDMI 2.1 port, one gigabit Ethernet port, a power connector for the internal power supply, and on the opposite edge a Kensington lock switch. As with the PlayStation 4 Pro and updated PlayStation 4 models, the PlayStation 5 does not have a TOSLINK connector. While this interface does not support uncompressed surround sound, it is still great to have for connecting inexpensive speakers without having to invest in an AV receiver, so it’s disappointing that it was left out.
The PlayStation 5 can be placed in a vertical or horizontal orientation. In the past, the vertical orientation required an optional base that needed to be purchased separately. The PlayStation 5 is the first Sony console that requires a base regardless of how you place it, so it comes with the base as part of the package.
Attaching the base in horizontal orientation is easy; you just slide the base on as is on the back edge of the console using the two clips. The shape of the base perfectly fits the contours of the side panels to create a flat side. The contours otherwise make the PlayStation 5 totally unstable when placed sideways without a base.
For vertical orientation, you first need to twist the base, which shifts its design to match the contours of the bottom of the console. Twisting it also reveals a hidden compartment inside the base that holds a single screw that will attach it to the console. The hole on the console where the screw attaches has a dust cap, which can then be placed securely inside its own slot in the hidden compartment of the base.
The PlayStation 5 can be made to stand on its own vertically without the base but this does make the console potentially unstable. After attaching the base, which takes just a minute or so, it’s nearly impossible to topple it over without using force and intent.
Compared to the base you had to purchase for previous PlayStation consoles, the one you get with the PlayStation 5 has significantly more engineering effort put into it. It’s debatable, however, whether Sony needed this level of complexity at all and if they could have just designed the console to be placed in any orientation without a base, like the Xbox Series X or the original PlayStation 3 revision.
Removing the side panels is fairly simple. You lift it up on the top corner of the panel and then slide it downwards. The main reason to remove the panels would be to vacuum the insides. Sony has designed the ventilation path in a way where there are deliberate spots for the dust to accumulate. These spots also have convenient holes on top of them so you can just place your vacuum over them to pull as much of the dust out as possible. This doesn’t mean no dust gets into the rest of the cooling system at all or that it won’t eventually get clogged up. It just signifi