Sony PlayStation 3 slim review

Smaller, lighter and a darn sight cheaper, but is it better?

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We don't like to say we told you so...

T3 broke the news about the PlayStation 3 ‘Slim’ earlier this year. Well it’s finally reached our shores, smaller, lighter and while Sony has left out some features, it still boasts outstanding gameplay and multimedia. This time at a much more affordable price.

- Watch our unboxing video with the PlayStation 3 slim

- Sony PS3 Slim review - including 3D gaming

While the original PS3 went on sale at £400, the Slim version is £250 - much closer to its big rival the Xbox Elite at £200 and FINALLY making it a machine the majority of us can afford.

At 290 × 65 × 290 mm, it’s 32% smaller that the original and the difference is considerable, with the availability of an additional vertical stand, it’s clearly designed to sit horizontally in your AV rack.

Weighing 3.2kg, the console is 36% lighter, but the payoff is that it’s transformed from a stylish, meaty console, to something much more ordinary and (dare we say it) boring. Sony calls the new styling ‘a casual look,’ in reality it’s now got an inoffensive matt finish a bit like a car engine cover and the gorgeous touch-sensitive controls, which we have to admit weren’t the most responsive, have been replaced with normal buttons.

Pleasingly Sony hasn’t tampered with it’s gaming prowess, at heart the PS3 Slim is a still powerful gaming machine - just stick on Metal Gear Solid 4 and it looks fantastic. Inside storage has jumped from 80Gb to 120Gb (equalling the XBox Elite), so there’s plenty of room for music and pictures, and it consumes 34% less power.

For hardcore gamers, the PlayStation 3 still comes up short, for now. The online experience is still no match for Microsoft’s Xbox Live subscription service, but remember Xbox Live started in 2002, so has a massive head start. Additionally, despite more and more titles available on both consoles; with Gears of War 2 and Halo, XBox still has the edge.

Perhaps the change that will have die-hard Sony fans complaining the most, is that the PlayStation 3 is no longer backwards compatible with PS2 games - although since August 2008 this feature has been dropped from the PS3 anyway. But consider what you do get for the money, and that seems minor.

Accessible through Sony’s slick XMB (XrossMediaBar), it’s the multimedia features that are really exciting and they haven’t changed much. Store and view photos, browse the internet, play music and stream content from your laptop. You can also access an optimised version of BBC iPlayer.

Let’s not forget the Blu-ray player. We hooked up Con Air via HDMI to a 42in plasma and it looked really impressive; John Malkovich’s snarl appears more lifelike than ever. Visually, it’s not quite as good as a £400 Blu-ray player, but for most people it’s fine - and easily equal to a cheaper decks. Support for lossless DolbyTrue HD and DTS-HD formats now means you can enjoy the full effects of a high-def soundtrack.

If you’ve already bought a PS3, there’s no reason to upgrade, but if you’re looking to get your first console, the PlayStation 3 is well worth considering. As a pure games machine it still lags behind the Xbox in terms of titles and online play, but it’s a far more rounded multimedia machine, so if gaming and Blu-ray movies are your bag, this is the console to go for.

Link: Sony PlayStation

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