PS3: The Essential Guide

Everything there is to know so far about Sony's next gen console. Which is quite a lot!

Yes, you heard right Blu-ray media will be the food and drink of the PS3. It had been widely anticipated and to be fair Sony is the driving force behind the format so it isn’t the biggest shock in the world. Still, discs with 50GB worth of goodness will be yours and there’s more. The drive is also capable of reading CDs and DVDs while there are slots for SD, CompactFlash and Sony’s Memory Stick Duo along with six USB2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, dual HDMI outputs (multi-screen heaven) and connections for analogue and digital audio.

Better still is the news that the PS3 will be backwards compatible with both PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games which means the new machine will have access to over 13,000 titles immediately.

To ensure chaotic scenes in just about anyone’s living room is the fact that the PS3 can support up to seven Bluetooth 2.0 based wireless gamepads, any four of which can be plugged into the front mounted USB ports to allow simultaneous recharging. Combined with Bluetooth is wireless 802.11b/g through which it can hook up with the PlayStation Portable (PSP), a really nifty trick.

If there is a downside that we’ve seen with the PS3 so far it is the ergonomics of the controllers. The boomerang styling just doesn’t look comfortable to hold, but until we get one of the little fellas in our hands it would be harsh to write them off. After all, Sony is the company that designed the ultimate controller to date in the shape of the PS2 gamepad. We’re also a little disappointed that there are no new buttons to play with (like the “Ring of Light” on the Xbox 360 controllers) but why screw – at least with that part – of a classic arrangement?

Now Microsoft had been much more vocal than Sony about its detachable hard drive, but it turns out both companies will sport them. Little is known about the PS3 variant other than it will be a 2.5in unit since Sony is keeping quiet about capacities.

Intriguingly though, Sony did reveal an upgraded version of the console with a “larger” HDD and write capable Blu-ray drive will be made available three months after the PS3 launches in Japan (March 2006), so by the time they get over here (which is still unconfirmed) both flavours could be launched together. For what it’s worth, analysts guestimate the PS3 will cost $300 and the tarted up version will be $450-550.

Finally, Internet and games…

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