The Verdict.

(I must admit, it was hard for me to write my impressions, because every time I did get a free moment, I wanted to spend it using my PS3 – I guess that’s a positive endorsement)

The Verdict:

PlayStation 3 is awesome.

…but not complete-and-total awesome.

That’s the basic summary of my thoughts towards the PS3, now that I’ve had it for about a week.

It's called a "PS3 Slim," and, while it is much smaller than the original models, it's still a bit of a fatty.

Originally, my plan was to buy a Blu-ray player for my newly-purchased TV.  After all, it could handle HD output, so why stick with normal DVDs?  (Actually, I needed some sort of player at all – I didn’t even have a DVD player for my TV).  However, after some coaxing from my friends (on top of my own research), I realized that the PS3 might be the strongest, most viable option on the market, as far as Blu-ray players go.  The big question, therefore, is: “Is this true?”

Quick answer – A definitive yes.

Blu-ray plays phenomenally well on the PS3.  And it doesn’t at all feel like a cheap add-on.   Instead, the Blu-ray player feels very much like it is an indispensable and, indeed, primary function for the PS3.  Once you get into the system settings, you realize very quickly that the PS3 is not a mere gaming console (It’s no wonder Sony’s motto for the PS3 is “It only does Everything”).  So, with that being said, let’s break into the specifics of the system and its positives and negatives.

The two primary functions of the PS3 is for watching Blu-rays (and, subsequently, DVDs) and for gaming.  Given this knowledge, the Playstation 3 does this quite well.  I’ve already expounded a little on PS3’s Blu-ray, but the gaming is also very strong.  Granted, this is entirely dependent on individual game developers, but, unsurprisingly, the system itself handles it well.  With these two features, there are basically no faults.

There are some other features of the PS3 that are also very strong.  My favorite is the fact that it is Wi-Fi enabled from the get-go.  This is a glorious feature, and, unlike many standalone Blu-ray players, it allows for setting up your entertainment center anywhere in the room, regardless of your ethernet cables.  This may sound trivial to some, but it is actually a very big deal.  Along with Wi-Fi functionality, the PS3 sports free membership to PlayStation Network (PSN – Sony’s version of XBox LIVE).  What can I say?  I like free.  PSN is a nice, convenient feature – especially as Downloadable Content (DLC) becomes more and more prevalent.  I’m not a huge fan of having everything on the internet, but it is certainly helpful.  I’ve already become addicted to the trophy system.

Free PSN is a beautiful thing and it's very reliable - but why don't trophies sync automatically?

The PS3 is being sold as the center of all media, and for good reason.  It can also play music and movies off USB drives and store those music, movies, and photos on its massive hard drive (well, it’s not massive, but the slim models boast a far larger memory capacity than the early, fat PS3s).  I have yet to test the PS3’s music player, but, according to its specs, it can handle most common music files.  If I get a nice sound system in the future, this will be very convenient.

Unfortunately, the console does have a handful of shortcomings – most of which involve its online browser.  Yes, the PS3 can use its Wi-Fi ability to browse the internet, but it is far from a streamlined (or even beneficial) experience.  Some websites work perfectly, but the PS3 has one major flaw – it does not support Flash v.10.  Considering most websites with animation (especially video sites), use this program HEAVILY, it renders many sites inoperable.  Given the fact that my PS3 is hooked up to a nice TV, it would be really great to watch online videos that way.  No dice.  Of all the websites I’ve tried, only YouTube and a couple little-known sites work.  (As an aside, Hulu doesn’t work either but that’s through no fault of Sony’s – the site specifically blocks PS3’s for some, as-of-yet unknown reason).  Of all the PS3’s shortcomings, I find this one the most glaring.  PlayStation3 does support version 9 of Flash, but let’s be honest – websites haven’t been using that version of the software for years (literally, years).   If Sony claims that the PS3 “does everything” as far as media goes, the ability to play online video would seem like a no-brainer.

The saddest moment of my PS3 experience. What gives, Hulu?

The PS3’s other major shortcoming is its inability to play PlayStation2 games.  I don’t personally own any PS2 games, so it’s not a big deal for me, but I can definitely understand why it would be an issue.  For me, backwards compatibility is a crucial element that many forms of technology should implement.  It was a major selling point for the Nintendo DS (and the reason why I refuse to go for Nintendo DSi), as well as the Nintendo Wii.  (Ironically, PS3 can play games from the original PlayStation.)  I understand that Sony did this in order to save money (according to rumors, they actually gain very little profit from selling the system), but this seems a little ridiculous.

The final shortcoming to note makes complete sense (especially from a business standpoint), although I still find it mildly inconvenient.  The PS3 offers no way to copy and backup discs (specifically, game discs).  The reason is simple – Sony is attempting to prevent software piracy.  It makes sense, but there are two things to consider: first, I just like the security of having the software backed up.  Especially with regards to PSone games, it’s just plain convenient to have the game backed up digitally (especially given the fact that PSone games are very small in comparison to today’s standards).  The other thing to consider is the fact that the XBox360 is capable of backing up its games.  It’s not that big of a deal, and I’m sure Microsoft has to deal with more piracy because of it, but it’s interesting that such a powerful console is outdone by a different, supposedly “inferior” console in this area.

There are few minor annoyances (the controller only charges when the system is powered on), but nothing else is as substantial as the previous points.  Everything else about the console does its job well enough.  My TV is a Bravia, and the BraviaSync feature of the newer PS3’s is very nice.  Now I never have to change the channel (or even turn on the TV) with my TV remote – the PS3 does it for me.  The DVD-upscaling is nice, though Blu-Ray is still significantly and noticeably better (for good reason).  Sound quality is great, though it did cut out on me twice (I believe the fault lies on my TV for that one, but it was an easy fix).  Overall, I’m very pleased with my purchase.

So, does the PlayStation 3 really do everything?  Honestly, I’d have to answer with a “no,” but it certainly does a whole lot more than the competition.  True, it has some definite drawbacks, but for what it costs, the PS3 is a great purchase.

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~ by digitallysmitten on April 20, 2010.

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