PlayStation 3 : The Beginning
Late last year (on November 17, 2006), Sony finally got around to launching their long-awaited (and long-delayed) PlayStation 3. The launch prompted eager gamers to brave long nights in the bitter cold while standing in line. But the elements weren't the only concern to some others, there were plenty of mishaps as well.
However, there has been a recent wave of units hitting some stores lately. I happen to run across one such unit (a spanking new 60GB model) at our local Wal-Mart. That caught me offguard as I did not expect to see any in stock for the next few months.
So here I am, one of the few lucky owners of a Sony PlayStation 3. I will not be running (too deeply) through all the fancy hardware of this wonderful console but instead, I offer you a first hand account of using the PlayStation 3. An end-user's perspective, if you will.
In short, I am offering you, our readers, a gaze into the side of the PlayStation 3 that you won't see in retail shops. Also, you won't find a comparison of the PlayStation 3 against the other consoles because first of all, I am unqualified to do so. I don't own a Wii or an XBOX 360... YET. . In addition, I don't really wish to get caught up in the console wars as it undermines the greatness of each console.
So here it is, ladies and gents - the Sony PlayStation 3!
PlayStation 3 : The Console
The Sony PlayStation 3 is HUGE and that's an understatement! But if you come to think of it, so are all the other next generation Blu-ray and HD-DVD players.
In fact, the Sony PlayStation 3 is actually one of the cheapest Blu-Ray players you can buy. Hah! Another excuse to get one! With that said, the PlayStation 3 is still pretty heavy for a console. Its specifications say it weighs a hefty 5 kg (11 lbs)!
The chassis is made of semi-transparent black plastic with the Premium version coming with chrome trimming for some bling bling. It must be said that the PlayStation 3 has a very shiny surface (think smudged fingerprints) which looks great but invites dust and fingerprints.
Sony fitted the PlayStation 3 with a Blu-ray slot drive. I personally prefer slot drives over tray drives. For more information on the PlayStation 3's Blu-ray drive, click here.
Underneath the slot drive is the PlayStation logo. Where are the buttons, you ask? Well, the emblems are the buttons. Sony is using touch-sensitive buttons for their power switch as well as the eject button. Classy! Below the power button are two status LEDs that light up when the unit is powered on and if there is a disc in the Blu-ray drive.
Right beside the Blu-ray drive are the card reader slots. Sony ships the Premium version of the PlayStation 3 with a multi-card reader. To access those slots, simply lift the cover upwards. These slots allow you to transfer files to and from the console using Memory Stick, SD card or CompactFlash cards.
Below the card reader slots are four USB ports as well as two more status LEDs. The four USB ports may mislead some people into thinking that the PlayStation 3 supports up to four controllers. The fact is PlayStation 3 allows up to seven controllers to be connected!
Some of you may be wondering, "Aren't the PlayStation 3 controllers wireless? Why do we need USB ports for them?" Well, the truth is that while the SIXAXIS wireless controller can be assigned to a port wirelessly, it recharges using the USB cables. We will have more on that later.
Next to the four USB ports are two status LEDs that shows the PlayStation 3's hard drive activity as well as WiFi connectivity and activity. Flipping over to the rear end of the console, we can see the various output options that come with the PlayStation 3, as well as the power connector.
The PlayStation 3's power supply is fitted within the chassis, as with the other first revisions of past PlayStation consoles. There is a power switch right above the power port.
I would like to point out to those unfamiliar with PlayStations that when you turn it off the usual way, it's really putting it into a 'sleep' mode. The only way to actually turn off the console is to use the power switch.
Sony offers several output options as well as a Gigabit LAN port. On the very left is the single HDMI port that can be used to send out audio and video to your TV or A/V receiver. Next to it is the RJ45 LAN port that supports up to Gigabit LAN. After that, we have the TOSLINK Digital Out port that you can usw with a TOSLINK fiber-optic cable to transmit digital sound to your receiver.
Finally, we have the AV multi-output connector. It allows other means of connecting the PlayStation 3 to your TV/AV receiver, like component output, RCA audio, and composite video (on a HD console?!?!?!).