The PS5 seems to be one of the most controversial console releases in the last twenty years. Despite a massive Sony fanbase backing the product and tons of hype before its release, a lot of console gamers haven’t upgraded yet.
That probably comes down to the initial launch price and the fact that scalpers were buying them up as soon as they hit the market to sell at a massive markup.
With those issues compounded by the utter lack of units produced initially, it was nearly impossible to get a hold of one.
Because of that, many gamers have stuck to their PS4s, or they took the funds they were going to use for the 5 and moved on to PCs or alternative options.
Now that those issues are resolved, the PS5 has been out for a few years, and it has made a considerable comeback; we think it’s worth the years of fighting for just an opportunity to get your hands on it.
If the recent sales and game releases haven’t convinced you, here’s a look at the impressive power it’s packing under the hood.
Design and Ports
Sony, known for embracing black as the primary color of its consoles, took a bold step by introducing a two-tone colossal tower with a matte white cover and glossy black interior with the PS5.
This new design has sparked mixed reactions among consumers ever since Sony introduced the PS5. I’ll be honest. This thing is ridiculously huge.
The console measures 15.4 x 10.2 x 4.1 inches if you opt for the version with a 4K Blu-ray drive and is slightly slimmer, but not by much if you go for the digital version.
Despite its size, which may prove cumbersome for many entertainment centers, I find myself drawn to the PS5’s futuristic aesthetic.
The front of the console boasts a minimalist arrangement of buttons and inputs. You can find a USB-A 3.0 port and USB-C in the middle.
Moving downward, you can find the eject and power buttons. I am glad to see Sony returning to physical buttons that are neither difficult to find nor too sensitive to accidental presses.
At the back of the console, you’ll find the power input, an Ethernet cable port, and two additional high-speed USB Type-A ports.
These extra ports prove useful for charging cables and connecting dongles for Bluetooth headsets or other accessories.
For those who aren’t fond of the white-and-black aesthetic, Sony has made it easy to customize the console’s appearance.
The white casing of plastic on either side of the PS5 is removable. This allows for dust removal, replacement of the NVMe SSD storage, and the option to replace the white plates.
This means you can revert to the traditional all-black look or explore official options like the Galactic Purple colorway or a grey camouflage print. Countless third-party faceplates are also available if you’re seeking more choices.
Cooling is a major concern for console gamers.
Since consoles tend to be targeted more toward a casual crowd, the average console gamer isn’t meticulously cleaning their ventilation.
Opening the console to clean the fans properly isn’t wise since it voids the warranty.
Luckily, the PS5 has a fairly decent cooling system.
It features two 4000-rpm fans that provide ample airflow for parts that tend to get hot quickly. Unlike previous PlayStation models, there haven’t been any issues with inappropriately applied thermal paste on parts that require it.
For all intents and purposes, the cooling system should be more than enough to keep your PS5 going for years unless you smoke around it, never clean the vents, and generally neglect it.
The PlayStation 5’s interface is a clean and attractive evolution of the PS4 software. It offers a snappy user experience with fast game switching and navigation.
The home screen features a row of tiles showcasing recent games, and selecting a game makes its art take over the entire screen with accompanying background music.
The Explore tab provides news and updates, while the Game Library tab allows for instant downloading of PS4 titles.
Capture features for videos, screenshots, and streaming to platforms like YouTube and Twitch are also available.
The PS5 introduces the control center, which is accessed by tapping the PlayStation button, allowing access to more common features.
You can check “notifications,” “your downloads,” “manage friends,” “check the battery status of your controller or headphones,” and customize “quick access features.”
It is a significant improvement over the PS4’s quick menu in terms of functionality and customization options.
During gameplay, tapping the PlayStation button brings up the Activities menu, which provides information on mission progress, trophies, and in-game activities.
It allows for quick access to specific levels or activities without navigating through game menus, enhancing the gaming experience.
One drawback of the PS5 interface is the absence of a feature similar to Xbox’s Quick Resume.
This allows you to shut down the console, but you can return to where you left off after you power it on. You can restore multiple seamlessly without loading from scratch.
With PS5, you will lose all the data after you restart or turn off the console. You can use Rest mode, but it keeps PS5 running in the background. And you can only restore one game at a time.
Hopefully, Sony can add this feature in future console releases or new updates.
The PS5’s new DualSense controller features a new design while retaining some similarities with the previous DualShock line.
It has a two-tone color scheme – white with black accents with a curvier and more futuristic look that complements the console.
The handles, which are longer and bigger, fit nicely in your hands and are more comfortable during long gaming sessions.
In addition to the tactile buttons, Sony changed the Share button to Create, added a mic array to the DualSense, and now uses USB-C charging.
The controller introduces advanced haptic feedback, delivering precise vibrations with varying intensities for a more immersive experience.
Additionally, the adaptive triggers provide variable resistance, enhancing the tactile sensation when performing in-game actions.
Let’s talk about battery life and charging of the DualSense controller.
A game console isn’t worth much if the controller is always dead.
Since every available platform has moved on to wireless controllers, battery life and charging requirements have become a major concern.
The PS5 is decent in this regard.
A first-party, Sony-made PS5 controller lasts for around 6 hours on a full charge, and it takes 3 hours to bring it up to full once it dies.
That can be a bit of a problem for gamers who enjoy particularly long sessions. However, the USB-C charging cable is long enough to charge and play simultaneously on smaller setups.
Additionally, 3rd-party USB-C cables that are a lot longer make it possible for cross-room play while charging.
This isn’t the best battery life on the market, but the controller itself is built to an extremely high-quality standard.
It will provide a comfortable gaming experience while remaining intuitive and having plenty of functionality for any game you throw at it.
If the below-average battery life is a problem, there are third-party controllers available for a permanently corded experience. However, we can’t guarantee those will be up to the same standards as the DualShock 5.
PS5 specs at a glance.
|AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz
|10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz
|Custom RDNA 2
|16GB GDDR6 / 256-bit
|Custom 825GB SSD
|5.5GB/s (raw), typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)
|NVMe SSD slot
|USB HDD support (PS4 games only)
|4K UHD Blu-ray drive
Sony’s been using some of the best processors in their consoles for years to keep a performance edge over the competition, and with the PS5, it’s no different.
The PS5 packs a custom AMD processor called the Zen 2, which sports an 8-core 3.5GHz CPU that can fluctuate its performance as needed.
Whether you like to use your console as an all-in-one entertainment system for streaming, listening to music, or using your favorite apps, or you’re a diehard gamer pushing the newest titles to their limits, you won’t see any bottlenecking on the CPU’s end.
This is on par with the majority of high-end PC title requirements in the modern generation.
The GPU isn’t quite as impressive, but it’s optimized extensively for the console’s capabilities.
Again, it’s fully custom and won’t be found in any other hardware. Sony has modified AMD’s RDNA 2 GPU, and it sports a 2.23GHz GPU with variable frequency.
You won’t need to consider these factors too much since console games are optimized specifically for each console. However, it’s important to know that there is plenty of power for developers to work with.
And you’re going to have a fairly impressive console generation with tons of room for constant improvement without bottlenecking issues.
RAM has always been a bit of a drawback for consoles. Since it’s not replaceable or upgradeable, it can be a major bottleneck for developers, and it has been in the past.
However, the PS5 came prepared to stay relevant for quite a while. While the PS4 only had 8GB of RAM, which started to be a little limiting several years ago, the PS5 came out of the gate with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM.
16GB is toward the high end of the spectrum for even PC gamers today, and it’s more than enough for 99% of titles on the market.
Most are still requiring 8 to 12GB, with 16GB making side activities a little easier to handle mid-game.
Contrary to popular belief, RAM isn’t the defining factor behind a system’s performance. However, the PS5’s 16GB of GDDR6 is going to help it stay relevant longer.
It won’t hold back the processing power of the unit, and developers will have plenty to work with throughout the system’s life cycle.
Finally, let’s talk about the hard drive. This is a growing problem not just for consoles but for PCs as well. Although, it’s a bigger problem with consoles due to the lack of upgrade options.
With modern games weighing in at 100+ gigabytes each, you have to have a fairly substantial hard drive to build up even a decent collection.
Unfortunately, the PS5 only has 825GB of storage built-in. That’s roughly 7-8 games, and at that point, you’re pushing your hard drive pretty hard.
You can’t bypass this with the base model that has a disk drive, either. Modern game disks barely have any of the data on them, and it’s almost the same as having a digital copy.
The SSD is fast, though. It’s a Gen 4 PCI, and that means that you won’t experience any bottlenecks in performance due to slow read/write speeds.
Luckily, you can also enhance your console’s storage capacity. Sony has made the PS5 compatible with external hard drives.
This isn’t optimal because it inserts extra factors into the performance of the console, such as:
- Hard drive’s read/write speeds.
- Quality of the connection cable you’re using.
- Dangling hard drive from your console.
However, it’s still a worthwhile solution.
We would recommend buying a 1TB external hard drive to pair with your PS5. Ensure you can get a good collection of games going without uninstalling and reinstalling everything whenever you want to play something new.
This is a major concern in the modern gaming world. So, we’re going to address it here.
Physical game purchases and playing games off a disk have been waning in recent years.
It’s typically just a lot easier to download your games, and you can even access them the second they come out instead of going to the store or waiting in long midnight release lines.
However, the topic of game ownership comes into play. Digital games have their own drawbacks, such as being removed from the store without warning, longer download and install times, and, of course, not physically having the game to collect and show off.
Luckily, the PS5 gives you two options. The main model does have a disk drive. So, you can buy and play physical games to your heart’s content.
However, if you want to save $100, you can opt for the “Digital Edition,” which lacks a disk drive and only plays digital games.
Now, if you look at the gaming industry beneath the hood, there is an opportunity here. It’s great to have a physical copy, but unfortunately, many of the drawbacks of digital games have made their way to physical games.
There really isn’t a lot of data on the disk. If a game is shut down by a developer or platform, having the disk isn’t enough to bypass that anymore.
So, unless you’re a diehard collector who wants the case, there’s little reason to spend an extra $100. The main model with a disk drive offers no significant advantage to justify the additional cost.
With most people streaming movies now, there isn’t much of an argument for playing DVDs and Blu-rays, either.
At first, this was a major drawback for the PS5. Due to the multitude of issues plaguing the PS5’s release, Sony opted to give the PS4 continued support. Games that were being released for the PS5 were typically released on the four as well.
This caused its own issues with game quality since developers were essentially limiting themselves to old restrictions while making games for much more powerful systems.
For a while, it seemed as if there was a drought of PS5 games. However, that has largely stopped, and the dual-console development cycle is quickly fading.
Gamers can look forward to Diablo 4, Dead Island 2, the Dead Space remake, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and a variety of other highly awaited games optimized specifically for the PS5 to maximize performance and enhance the player’s experience.
This is also just the beginning. Now that the new console generation is in full swing, you should expect to see every major title announced coming to the title outside of Xbox or Nintendo exclusives.
So, the fairly lackluster initial lineup will be expanding rapidly. With that being said, there have been some issues for the gaming industry as a whole.
One of the perks of owning a console has always been that you don’t have to worry about the game not working on your system or you having to meet requirements.
You launch it, and it plays as expected. This has always been the biggest argument against PCs, where you have to acknowledge all your system specs.
Some of the bigger developers have been putting out some janky titles, and they’re not performing well even on the most powerful gaming PCs.
This isn’t something that Sony can do anything about, and it’s not a knock on the PS5. It’s just a symptom of today’s gaming landscape, with games being rushed out before they’re fully ready.
This, too, should start to ease as developers become more comfortable optimizing for this generation of consoles. But a good rule of thumb is to wait for reviews and not get too excited if a game seems too good to be true.
When you spend $400 or $500 on a system nowadays, you probably expect it to do a lot more than play games.
We don’t blame you. Streaming has been a major bonus since the PS3 offered itself as a complete entertainment option.
Luckily, the PS5 keeps up that tradition, and it’s even better than before.
Your staple streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube all have their own dedicated apps available on the PS5, and they stream admirably thanks to the hefty processing power of the console.
However, you’ll also find a multitude of other streaming apps from competitors. Even the Amazon streaming service and smaller options such as Tubi and Paramount are available.
If it’s a streaming service anyone is talking about, it’s likely on the PS5.
Is the PS5 Worth it?
So, with all this considered, is the PS5 worth it in 2023? Well, we think so.
The issues plaguing its release are pretty much ironed out. You should be able to walk into any big box store with $500 and walk out with a PS5.
You don’t have to go through scalpers or fight other customers like you did a couple of years ago.
The system itself also boasts a substantial performance increase over the PS4. While the PS4 wasn’t a huge leap over the PS3, the PS5 doubled its performance in every department.
Despite a couple of minor drawbacks, such as a blossoming game selection, average battery life, and storage that won’t support a substantial collection on its own, the PS5 is a cost-effective way to rival high-performing mid-range gaming PCs.
In fact, it represents one of the most impressive performance leaps consoles have seen in decades.