The PlayStation 3 is Sonys third generation of home consoles. After the stellar performance of the PlayStation 2 and launch of its two rivals the Wii and Xbox 360 the PS3 has a tough act to follow. Sony are clearly not worried as according to their marketing the PS3 is a “supercomputer” and is capable of “4D” graphics, with such bold claims I had to pick one up for myself and see if it was true!
The first thing you will notice about the PlayStation 3 box is that it’s huge! The Xbox 360 had a rather large box but this is incredible being about 1.5x as big. The box design itself is worth a mention as it is pretty neat and the front has a picture of the console floating with the wireless sixaxis controller on a black and red background. On the bottom left hand side you will see the model you have purchased which will be either 40GB or 60GB (if you purchased an older console) psn card generator no surveys the bottom right advertises the built in Blu-ray disc player. To help you carry it home it has a handy carry handle which unfortunately isn’t very comfortable, it doesn’t help that the box weighs 6.5KG and once I had brought the thing home my hand was aching!
Once you have the box open you will notice the two carboard tabs instructing you on how to get your system out. There are two main segments, one smaller segment contains the Sixaxis wireless controller, AV cable, USB cable, and Scart adaptor. The second much larger segment contains the PS3 console itself, this is wrapped carefully in polythene to protect the console finish. There is also a (sizeable) instruction manual buried at the bottom of the box but I was far too excited to bother with reading it!
Wow! That was my reaction when I first unwrapped my PS3, it is almost a work of art! The console is modelled after the old model PS2 but is much more curvy and made with the shiny black plastic of the PSP. PlayStation 3 is written on the front of the machine in spiderman font (I have no idea why they chose this but it seems to work). Also noticeable is a stylish silver band that runs down the disk tray and along the console. Like the PS2, the console can be positioned vertically and horizontally and the PlayStation badge on the disk tray is adjustable matching whichever position you choose. I decided on horizontally as I didn’t want to risk it falling over. Glancing at the Sixaxis not much seems to have changed from the PlayStation 2 Dualshock 2 controller but after further inspection you will notice a PlayStation button in the middle of the controller and there are some triggers replacing the L2 and R2 buttons.
I was going to do a set up section but honestly if you have hooked up anything to your TV you will have no trouble. The first thing you will notice when you turn on your PS3 is the new interface the XMB or cross media bar, this will be familiar to those of you who have used a PSP or one of Sonys high end Bravia TVs. It is very simple and you simply scroll from left to right till you have found the tab you want then up and down to pick the feature you want to access. The tabs on the XMB include, Users, Settings, Photo, Music, Video, Game, Network, PlayStation network and Friends.
The user tab is self explanatory; here you can create new user accounts for your PlayStation3. Your user account stores all your personal preferences and saved game data so multiple users can enjoy PS3 games at their own pace. If you are logged in you can easily switch user by accesing the user tab and selecting your username.
The Settings tab is where you set up all your preferences, for example if you have bought a HDMI cable for your PS3 you can go here and tell the PS3 you are using HDMI and then you can choose what resolution you like upto 1080p. Sound can be set up here as well as configuring access to a wireless network and many other things such as the language of Blu Ray movies and controlling the upscaling of DVDs and original PlayStation games.
The Photo, Music and Video tabs all feature some of the same things. In the photo tab however there is one unique thing which is the slideshow. The PS3 will render your pictures in 3D and have them flip out in a stylish manner which is perfect for showing off your photos. If you insert an audio CD or Blu Ray movie they will show up under the relevant tabs. If you have a media centre PC and configured it there is an option to search for media servers where your PS3 will display all compatible media. The last function is a handy playlist where you can save a list of all your favourite music and photos for easy access.