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Sony PlayStation 3 Slim 120GB - Sony PlayStation 3 Slim 120GB

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


Of course, there is one area here where Sony is lagging behind Microsoft: movie downloads. While Microsoft already offers HD and SD rentals on the Xbox Live Marketplace and has done for a couple of years, PS3 owners in the UK are still waiting for Sony's European movie download service to launch. Luckily, the wait should be over in November. Whether we then get the 12,000 TV episodes and 2,200 movies our American cousins can enjoy is doubtless a licensing issue, but if so, this might not be an advantage that Microsoft enjoys for long.

In terms of usability and built-in functionality, the PS3 Slim scores high. There are some remaining niggles - I'd still say that the Dual Shock 3 is behind the 360 controller for comfort and accuracy, while its motion-sensitive properties are grossly under-used - but it's genuinely a great piece of hardware. Sadly, hardware has never been the PS3's problem - it's problem was always cost and games. On the latter side, the PS3 still has yet to live up to its promise. Thinking of exclusive titles on either machine, I can only think of a handful on the PS3 - Ratchet and Clank, Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, Infamous, Killzone 2 - that stand up to the best on Microsoft's platform. I still can't see any real long-term draw in the PS3's much-hyped Home virtual world, and we still have a situation where most cross-platform games look and run better on the theoretically inferior machine (though most of us now accept that the strengths of the 360's GPU against the PS3's RSX balance out any difference in CPU horsepower).

Uncharted 2 could be reason enough to pick up a PS3 Slim

But this picture might be changing. This is the first year when the run up to Christmas sees the two consoles evenly balanced, with Uncharted 2 and Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time on the PS3 holding up against Forza 3 and Left 4 Dead 2 on the 360. What's more, Sony has MAG, Gran Turismo 5 and God of War III early next year to go up against Mass Effect 2, Crackdown 2 and Alan Wake on the competition. After that, things get more interesting with Sony's motion controller and Microsoft's more ambitious Project Natal, but there's a real feeling that Sony has finally rediscovered the plot it lost around E3 2006. I think its high time that we retired the idea that the PS3 is going to give us better, more technically advanced games in the long-term while Microsoft abandons the 360 - both companies are committed to maintaining a long life-cycle this generation - but I definitely think that it will give us our share of great ones. That's enough.

Cost is still an issue. We all cheered when Sony announced a sensible £249 price point for the PS3 Slim, but Microsoft's drop of the Elite to £199 has been a very effective spoiler. Yet, as Hugo mentioned, it's well worth remembering the long term costs of ownership. You're getting 802.11g Wi-Fi in the box (though media streamers would have preferred Sony to match Microsoft's forthcoming 802.11n adaptor), and you're also not paying out for Xbox Live Gold membership. I don't think anyone outside of Sony is under the illusion that PSN is as good a service, but it works well enough and the revamped PSN Store is improving all the time. It's also worth mentioning that many retailers are already bundling the £249 PS3 Slim with a free game, and you can expect more deals in the run-up to Christmas.

Overall, the PS3 Slim feels like the console Sony needed to put out at this time. I suspect that most gamers who are simply in it for the games will still opt for the cheaper, more hardcore-focused 360, but with its quiet-running, Blu-ray playback and media-savvy interface, the Slim is a great choice for the mainstream user. When making car analogies, I used to talk about the PS3 as a BMW to the Xbox 360's Ford Focus. The PS3 Slim is more of a VW Golf and, at this stage of the game, that's exactly what Sony needs, and a more realistic choice for the majority.


A more focussed, more affordable, surprisingly quiet PS3. This is the hardware Sony needs to win mainstream hearts and minds. All it needs now is the software.

Overall Score



September 30, 2009, 4:21 am

I'm sort of on the fence for finally buying a console -- I'm now running Ubuntu 99% of the time, and there were only a few Windows games so far this year that occasionally made me reboot. Plenty of console games that looked nice, though. However, I'm not going to buy both a PS3 and a 360, and since both (or all three, if you count the Wii) seem to have compelling exclusive titles, this makes the choice so hard that I guess I'll end up buying neither, again.

Lord Comben III

September 30, 2009, 4:23 am

What a lovely article. All my thoughts echoed in a sensible manner and now i've gotten used to it i actually prefer the look of the ps3 slim as well.


September 30, 2009, 4:50 am

*Grabs some popcorn and sits back, waiting for this to turn into yet another thread of flaming fanboys*


September 30, 2009, 4:56 am

I would add Metal Gear Solid 4 before the fanboys come out to play...

Overall a very negative review, the competition plays less types of media, is less open or standards compliant, has less built in and has equal or lesser software. Name a big game outside Halo not on the PS3 or which doesn't have a PS3 equivalent? I really would like to know one.

Also about PSN, I suppose you have missed the latest round of rumours, whereby Sony are adding cross game chat, party chat etc... Not sure what XBL would be charging for after that, Facebook and Twatter I suppose...


September 30, 2009, 6:36 am

Total cost of my 360: £120 for my 60GB pro + 2 x £23 for Live = £166.

Total cost of my PS3 slim: £250 + £5 for the HDMI cable.

This total cost of ownership argument is utter crap. Yes the PS3 has more bells and whistles but so it bloody should for the price.


September 30, 2009, 8:10 am


Surely a more balanced argument would be, total cost of your 360: £120 for your 60GB pro + 2 x £23 for Live + £45 for wireless network adapter + £130 for budget Blu-Ray player = £341.

And what price 'peace & quiet'? Every time I switch my 360 on it sounds like a damned helicopter lifting off!


September 30, 2009, 11:36 am


No it wouldn't. My 360 works fine with ethernet and last I checked the games were on DVD. It really annoys me when fanboys use this argument. As I said, yes you get more but you pay for it. And they're nice extras but they're not needed. If the PS3 hadn't had them maybe it would have been £100 cheaper and I would have got one ages ago.


September 30, 2009, 1:03 pm

@ ravmania & needlegun

I think together you've reiterated what this generation has been about, ergo, it depends how much 'stuff' you want, as to whether it's good value or not. My own personal taste is that all the "bells and whistles" have been worth the money, as I place a high value on Blu-ray. (Incidentally, I really wish Apple would concede the blatantly obvious that people still use discs!).

Admittedly, I'm still waiting for that killer game though, and I haven't quite found it yet, though that might be more to do with the state of gaming as a whole, as I want the intense HD graphics of hardcore action gaming, but the simplicity of gameplay found in previous generations, that evades me in today's GTA/Halo world. Or maybe I just suck at video games and should stick to films!

Lord Comben III

September 30, 2009, 1:29 pm

If the games are installed on the hard drive the 360 is not too loud, not like my good old dreamcast, that had a loud disk read, and the ps2 was fairly loud as well


September 30, 2009, 1:29 pm

@drdark - you didn't have to wait very long, lmao!!


September 30, 2009, 1:31 pm

@needlegun - I guess it depends on whether you use/value the wireless networking and blu-ray on the PS3 or are just looking for a console to play games. My PS3 is on a wired ethernet connection, so you could argue that I wouldn't have shelled out for the Xbox 360 wifi adapter if I'd gone down the MS path. However, my PS3 does multiple duty as a blu-ray deck, media streamer and games console, so for my use it is a great device.

@ravmania - slightly pedantic, but it's not really fair to include the cost of your HDMI cable in the TCO of your PS3 - the PS3 does (if I remember correctly) include an AV cable that you could have used, and your Xbox 360 pro doesn't even have HDMI output (only the elite does). Like you, when I got my PS3 I chucked the bundled AV cable in the back of the cupboard and stumped up for an HDMI cable, but it wasn't necessary to do so.

Finally, to your point about Live, why have you only included 2 years' subs? Presumably that is your cost to date, but I expect to get more than 2 years out of my PS3. I guess the same is true for you, right? If so, why not take (say) 5 years at £23? That puts your total cost for Xbox 360 (no wireless, no blu-ray) at £235 and your total cost for PS3 (excluding HDMI cable) at £250. Not so different, right?


September 30, 2009, 1:32 pm

Thanks for the article. Seems balanced to me.

Until recently I was using a (borrowed) XBox360 Arcade, but then it went the way of the RROD. I was exactly half way through BioShock and I now have to decide whether to get another Xbox so I can complete the game and see what happens using the data I have saved, or get a Slim, and start again, safe in the knowledge that I'm much less likely to suffer a hardware failure again.

My overriding impression of the Xbox, along with the impression of my wife, and those of my friends who don't own a console (should that be the "inconsolable" ones?!) is that its just so loud!

As I don't already own a Bluray player, I'm ideal Sony target material, so I am leaning in that direction. The integrated iplayer is a draw too. Can anyone confirm whether the other channels' catch up players work on the PS3 too, albeit through a web browser?


September 30, 2009, 1:33 pm

Superb, and balanced, review. The only thing I'd take issue with is this "you can stream programmes direct from the BBC at something very near SD broadcast quality". iPlayer on the PS3 is not anywhere near SD broadcast quality. In fact it's sub VHS quality, and the frame rate is appalling. Totally unwatchable on anything but the smallest of screens (I have a 37" TV).

@ravmania - can you REALLY buy a new 360 Pro console for £120? Really?

@needlegun - exactly.


September 30, 2009, 1:36 pm


Lets not forget either that the 60gb pro is officially discontinued. The stocks online at the mo arnt going to be around forever. so you can add £80 to that price for the elite.

The other thing about price i would like to add is that i have had to buy two 360s cos of there rubbish reliability while im still on my first ps3.

oh and dont forget those pesky rechargeable batteries u will need for the controllers.


September 30, 2009, 1:36 pm

That's implying that rav has a need or want for wireless (wifi sucks imo + already have enough delay between my console and my lcd to not want to add wifi on top of it), blu-ray player (dont buy dvd's let alone blu-ray's). A console is for playing games, to get a console to your house and play a game is most expensive with the ps3, fact.

The price for me isnt a factor, theres just no games that appeal to me enough that I would buy a ps3 for them yet. Cant see any on the horizon either which is a shame, will prob end up skipping on the ps again this generation. Plus XBL for me makes the system, soon as MW2 comes out im renewing my sub :D


September 30, 2009, 1:44 pm

Guys, please consider: this is not a forum for you to defend your purchasing decisions. So you bought a PS3/Xbox 360/Wii/whatever, that's great, go enjoy it and stop trying to pretend anyone who didn't do the same is wrong/stupid.


September 30, 2009, 1:45 pm

I have the original 40GB PS3 and have probably used it more for Blu Ray playback than games as I can't play all these first person (shooter) perspective games that seem to be the normality these days.

The quieter operation of the slim model does interest me as does the direct bitstream output over HDMI. During the summer months and Blu Ray playback, the original PS3 does get hot and the fan blasts out which isn't ideal when watching a movie.


September 30, 2009, 2:05 pm

''...and how many of us really took the memory card from our camera and plugged it straight into the PS3 anyway?... ''

This is a particularly stupid comment to make. I am one of the people who use the card reader and find it to be very effective and of great benefit. If all digital cameras had DLNA (that worked), wifi, or even bluetooth then perhaps the card reader could be considered useless but thats not the case. Watching your pictures from your digital camera on the ps3 is brilliant. Better than transfering from the camera to pc, then copying to usb then popping the usb stick in only to realise you need to disconnect one of your charging controllers due to the lack of additional usb ports. lol


September 30, 2009, 2:37 pm


How much does the 360 cost now though? Still £120 for a 60GB? Well that would be difficult since it has been discontinued. The Arcade for £140 which doesn't come with a HDD (which you will have to buy a proprietary HDD for £90) or an Elite for £199? Well?

See your 360 may have been that cheap, mine was £99 from Sainsbury's, and they gave me a Pro by accident, doesn't mean people can get one for £99 now...

Hell, my PS3 was only £199, but I don't assume that it is the standard price for all people.

Oh, and 2 years of Live? More like 5 if you are any sort of serious Xbox gamer. Which is around £120-150 for Live alone. Plus £60 for a wireless adapter (which even the Wii includes at standard price because most people don't have ethernet near their TV) and £20 for a play and charge kit (which the PS3 just uses a USB cable for, any USB cable) and £2.50 for a HDMI cable...


September 30, 2009, 2:58 pm


Ravmania claims to have both a 360 and a PS3 slim - why would he need to factor in the cost of an additional Blu-Ray player?

Also, aren't you being kind of presumptious about the need for a WiFi option? I use direct Ethernet connection to my router beneath my living room TV and Devolo 200mbps powerline networking through to the other parts of the house with AV gear (conservatory, study, spare bedroom, etc).

It's all about choice - and not everybody needs or wants the extras Sony includes, at the higher price point - so the savings available on a 360 are potentially still very significant for many owners.

All that said, I'm not a fanboy and I do agree that the PS3 is now a more interesting proposition in it's cheaper 'Slim' guise - but for me, the PS3 still lacks any real killer functionality or stand-out game title to justify the spend or space needed for me to invest in a third 'next gen' console.

I maintain that my launch 360 (now nearly 4 years old) with 120GB HDD is quiet, reliable, offers brilliant upscaled DVD and Windows Media Centre playback, whilst also making the perfect playback device for my home-rolled HD video projects (holiday footage, work training projects, etc) and soon will also be used as a Sky box.

I have a BlueRay deck, which gets some light use via a LoveFilm subscription, but sadly the format is a long way off offering much in the way of diversity (I collect lots of rock concerts, music vids, etc - which simply don't exist in any quantity on BlueRay) - and at normal sofa viewing distances, the benefits of BlueRay are not as pronounced as I'd have hoped.

But *most importantly for me*, when I get a couple of hours to play Gears, Forza, Call of Duty, Beatles Rock Band, Trials HD, Geometry Wars, etc - I can easily communicate with and 'meet up' with friends and colleagues regardless of what they happen to be doing on their 360. I can spend my leisure time alongside people whose company and humour I enjoy - and that counts for a lot.

In comparison - Sony's networking features have always felt like an ill-conceived and flakey afterthought to me. But again, this may be something that Sony have rectified with the PS3 'Slim' and it's refreshed firmware?

Interesting to see if I get flamed here for widening the discussion to cover some key factors not discussed in the review.


September 30, 2009, 3:26 pm

Nobody cares about what you bought and how you use it. I bought a new toothbrush yesterday, want details?

Nice article. I'm certainly going to be grabbing one now - as I chose the 360 Elite over the PS3, and now this has given me good enough incentive to purchase one.

Paul Blakeman

September 30, 2009, 3:51 pm

Having owned a 360 while in England for a couple of years and now a PS3 and Wii here in Portugal I have to say that for playing purely games the 360 is better, the controller is much more comfortable and xbox live is worth the money they charge hands down the PS3 has some nice exclusive games like MGS4 etc but I still feel the 360 is best I am tempted to purshase the new Elite I miss it so much, but then I think to my self how long until the new Xbox comes out???


September 30, 2009, 4:04 pm

@John Mclean

It's fair to add the cost of blu-ray and wifi to the 360 but not HDMI for the PS3? Even taking the fiver out the argument still stands. And my 360 does have HDMI but I use the component cable that came in the box and it works great. Only a moron or someone without a HDTV would use the PS3 with the included composite cable, especially if they bought it for blu-ray.

The Live was for the two years worth that I have paid so far. I definitely agree that I will add another three years to this which will take it towards the current PS3 price. However if I could have paid for the slim in the same way I would have happily bought that ages ago instead of waiting for the price cut. It definitely lightens the hit.


Got it for £180 from Play with Gears 2, Fallout 3 and PES which I traded for £20 each. And they were all new and top games at the time. A similar PS3 bundle at the time would probably have approached £350.


Play and charge kit for a fiver from HMV. Using AAs was very annoying. Sorry, should have added that to my total cost! RROD hasn't been an issue yet but I happily bought it knowing about it and the 3 year warranty helps. The slim does just feel like nicer hardware and the quality is definitely better than my 360. No arguments about that. Again, you get what you pay for. The same argument could be used for Live.

I now have all three consoles and I'm not just sticking up for Microsoft. I wouldn't have just laid out £250 for a console just to then rubbish it on online forums. If anything I'm an ex Nintendo lover who now can't stand the big N (anyone interested in a second hand Wii by the way?). I've been wanting the PS3 for ages and I love it now I have one. I didn't actually make a negative comment about it. I was just specifically questioning the total cost of ownership arguement. Yes I hunt for good deals but with the PS3 even the best deals weren't that great value to me up till now.

No more comments for me now. Off to play Uncharted. :-)


September 30, 2009, 4:31 pm

Well im a long time xbox owner, upgraded to an elite early this year.

Twice ive been in store about to buy a PS3 and only one thing has stopped me both times, The choice of games! There are a few good games and with GT5 coming soon and uncharted 2 its getting better but still the 360 has forza and ODST :D

If there was a better choice of exclusive games I would have bought a PS3 a long time ago, I dont really want a blu ray player but at the £250 price point its a nice extra.

The comments about the controller being not as nice I can understand but I dont see that as a deal breaker.


September 30, 2009, 4:43 pm

I have an xbos 360 120GB and a ps3 slim. they're both awesome, and so am I. You all lose.

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