The Playstation 5 is almost here, and courtesy of the fine folks at Sony, I have been given the chance to review it prior to its November 12 US launch. This is the first result of that review period. Today, I get to talk about the hardware, and I don’t mean just the PS5. I can also discuss its peripherals, of which I received a complete set. The exclusion here is the camera because, while I did receive it, there isn’t really a context in which I can effectively test it right now. Let’s get started, though, with the Playstation 5 itself.
For starters, there will be no discussion of UI in this preview. This is strictly a hardware talk. You probably already know this, because it’s been all over the internet, but the Playstation 5 is large. I would personally put it just a bit larger than the original PS3, which was pretty big back in the day. The primary reason for this is cooling, and it’s very evident. A very large portion of the back of the PS5 is its exhaust fan. Yeah. It’s a huge exhaust fan. Also on the back you have your power port, (the power cable is the same exact cable as the PS4), your HDMI, your ethernet, and some standard USB ports. Moving around to the front, you have your power and eject buttons in that order from left to right, (the disc drive is in the lower front portion as well), and as you move further right you have a USB C port alongside one more standard USB port. That’s essentially it. No optical port this time around, thanks to the PS5’s 3D audio tech.
Because it is big, the PS5 is also heavy. Furthermore, don’t expect to set it down without first connecting the stand. The PS5’s entire construction is curved, likely also for cooling reasons, and while it could maybe stay put on a flat surface, it is a scary enough prospect that I wouldn’t want to try it. This is why the stand comes packaged with the system. It is an absolute necessity. Luckily, the stand is easy to apply, at least if f you intend to lay the PS5 horizontally. It slides onto, then clips onto, the exact middle of the back of the PS5, and stays there pretty well. It might move a little under the system if you move the PS5 around on it, but I wouldn’t worry about it sliding off or anything.
If you intend to hook up your PS5 vertically, then expect a bit more effort, as you must first slide the stand onto the system, but then screw it in to ensure stability. I did not personally test this setup, as my particular spot for the PS5 wouldn’t accommodate that very well, but I figured I’d add the info in just in case that was your intent. Also, unless I missed it, the screw does not appear to come with the PS5. Then again, screws are tiny things, and I am only one blind guy.
Now let’s talk about the PS5 controller, the Dual Sense. The first thing I noticed as I pulled it from its wrapping is that the grips appear to be longer. I always felt comfortable with the PS4 controller, but this may be something done this time to accommodate larger hands than mine. It still feels comfortable when I hold it, so this is definitely not a negative change. Also, I could be imagining this, but the controller itself seems a little more curved. It could simply be that I’m thinking of the PS4 controller while examining the PS5 controller and, because they are very much not the same, that is throwing me off, but still. For example, the D-pad seems to have a little more of an upward curve to it, though it still functions as well as all Playstation D-pads have in the past. The options and share buttons are in their expected configurations, (share on the left, options on the right), but they too are set higher up on the controller by just a little bit. To be clear, none of these things are negative. I genuinely think the Dual Sense feels fine, and is ultimately a great controller. Still, worth mentioning.
Also worth mentioning is the brand new button, the microphone button. The button, as well as the mic itself, are both on the front of the controller, below the PS button in the center. The PS button has also changed its shape to more accurately reflect the playstation logo in button form. At least, that’s what I believe the change meant.
The triggers feel good as well, with plenty of room for that trigger resistance to take effect at potentially multiple points. By default, though, they slide easily, which is something you definitely want right up until that resistance is immersing you in a game. I can’t tell you more about the features of the Dual Sense yet, its haptic feedback for example, but know that, as a controller, the Dual Sense is great. It’s one I can definitely see myself enjoying for the next several years.
Now I’ll briefly mention the charging stand, which can charge 2 controllers when plugged into AC power. It is honestly nearly identical to the PS4 controller charging stand, and in fact, just like that one, charges the controllers from the front, rather than from the USB C port in the back. They dock into the stand using the controller’s headphone jack, along with several small docking holes around it. It’s an interesting setup, but just like with the PS4 stand, it works. The stand itself is also small, and easy to place somewhere convenient. Just 2 spots for the controllers on the left and right with a little hump in the middle to separate them, and a slot for the power cord that is flush with the rest of the charging stand, so it doesn’t become obtrusive when you’re trying to put it down somewhere. That’s it.
Lastly, I want to talk about the Pulse 3D wireless headset. If you’re familiar with the line of Playstation headsets, this part is for you. The Pulse 3D wireless headset is absolutely the best of the bunch. It is comfortable, it is bassy, it is awesome. The problem the platinum had with its adjustable headband is gone because of a new method of adjustment. Now, I can’t quite tell how the rubbery headband is connected, but when you put on the Pulse 3D wireless headset, it slides up automatically as much as it needs to accommodate your head size. No more worrying about that little plastic bit breaking. Hurray!
The controls for the headset will be mostly familiar to you if you ever used the Platinum headset specifically, as that’s what they most resemble. You’ve got your master volume buttons, your balance buttons for rebalancing game and chat audio, your power switch on the bottom, (yes this is a switch now instead of a button), your mute mic button, (which now depresses when the mic is muted offering tactile indication of this), and another switch which I believe may be the surround sound switch. I am admittedly unsure on this last, because there technically isn’t a need for a surround sound switch given the PS5’s 3D audio tech, but it may be necessary in PS4 games. Further testing is required for this particular bit. Anyway, all the controls are on the left side of the headset, and below them is your USB-C charging port, (charging is faster thanks to USB-C), and your 3.5mm jack, used to turn the headset into a standard 3.5MM headset if you run out of battery life and can’t charge. It even comes with a patch cable. Best of all, using it this way is still perfectly viable, as again it’s the PS5 itself handling the 3D audio processing, not the headset. Obviously the controls won’t work, but it’ll still serve its basic purpose, to send audio to your ears. If you are using battery, though, just plug the little dongle into one of the PS5’s USB ports, turn on the headset, and it’ll connect automatically. Boom!
So yes, the pulse 3D wireless headset is very, very good. A great accessory to go along with your PS5. Plus, it’s cheaper than the platinum, running at $99, thanks once again to the PS5 processing 3D audio.
And that’s it! The first of several articles, the hardware review of the PS5, is complete. I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope you feel informed. Feel free to ask for any hardware-specific clarifications if you’d like, and look forward to hearing more from me as the weeks go by! I will close here with a link to my audio-only PS5 unboxing. It’s pretty funny at points, but hopefully also informative. Enjoy!
Playstation 5 Audio Only Unboxing!