The design of the PlayStation 3 has sparked controversy since it was first unveiled – some think that it looks sleek and futuristic, while others think that it looks oversized and bulbous. I have to say that I was never a fan of the design when I first saw pictures, and I was even less of a fan when I saw it first hand at E3 last year. However, now that I’ve had a PS3 sitting underneath my TV for a couple of months I’ve started to warm to it’s somewhat full figure. It’s also worth remembering that although the PlayStation 3 is significantly larger than the Xbox 360, the latter uses a truly massive external power supply, while the PS3’s PSU is built into the casing.
Standing the PlayStation 3 next to the Xbox 360 and the Wii really highlighted the fact that the X360 looks more like a computer product than a consumer electronics device. Whereas both the PS3 and the Wii are finished in glossy plastic, that will no doubt complement your shiny new high definition TV, the Xbox 360 just looks a bit dull by comparison. Of course the down side of the glossy black finish on the PS3 is that it collects fingerprints at an alarming rate – especially when you have a 14 month old daughter who likes to press buttons! Likewise, the chrome face plate becomes just as grubby in no time at all. In fact even if you can avoid the fingerprint problem, you’ll find that the glossy finish will be marred by excessive layers of dust in a matter of days.
The front of the PS3 is dominated by the slot loading Blu-ray drive with the obligatory PlayStation logo mounted just below the slot. As with the PS2, the logo can be rotated, ensuring the correct orientation whether you opt for horizontal or vertical operation. In front of the drive are touch sensitive eject and power buttons – yes my daughter loves pressing these at every opportunity! To the left of the Blu-ray drive is a hinged door that hides a memory card reader – this accepts CompactFlash, SD, miniSD and MemoryStick formats. Below the card reader are four USB 2.0 ports – these can be used for all manner of accessories as well as charging the controller.