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Sony Playstation 3 Review

Video game consoles have a great worldwide market with big players such as Microsoft, Nintendo Wii or Sony introducing new and innovative products at a fast pace. PlayStation 3 is the latest in Sony PlayStation series of video game consoles. Any new developments in technology reflect in the products of a highly competitive market—especially so in the electronic gadgetry. Therefore, in the video games, you can imagine how new and innovative ideas coupled with the latest advancements in ever-changing electronics and IT technology brings out gizmos like never before!

It is larger than other game console models available, i.e., PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, or Microsoft Xbox 360. Like all these video game consoles, PlayStation 3 can also be used vertically or horizontally. Given its great capacity and functionality, it is relatively a quiet one when it comes to sound while operating. Compared to other video game consoles, such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360, it is definitely a quiet one. However, a Nintendo Wii beats it as an almost silent operator. But then, in terms of features, functionality and range, Nintendo Wii stands nowhere near the multi-featured PS3.

Technical details of Sony PS3

Its dimensions are 12.8 inches width, 3.86 inches height, and 10.89 inches length. It weighs about 11 pounds. The CPU of PlayStation 3 is a powerful, multi core Cell processor that runs at 3.2 GHz. The graphics are created through RSX Reality Synthesizer graphics engine, based on G70 architecture of Nvidia. Apart from these chips, there is a high-performance XDR main memory of 256MB and GDDR3 video memory of 256MB.

Sony PlayStation 3 is available in two models. The first one comes with a 60GB hard disk and a built-in wireless networking of 802.11b/g, with storage slots of MemoryStick, SD, and CompactFlash. It is priced at $599 USD. The second model costs $499 USD. It has a 20GB hard disk. It has also the same features like the first model except the wireless networking and the media card slot. The hard disk can be interchanged in both the versions or swapped with a 2.5-inch, serial ATA drive. The product manual shows how to do it. Both the models have Blue-ray slot drive, HDMI-output, gigabyte networking, four USB 2.0 ports, and Bluetooth 2.0 as built-in support.

More About PlayStation 3

PlayStation 3 needs a number of HDMI cables to play supported games, watch Blue-ray movies, etc. and an HDCP-compliant 1080p television set to enjoy a high-definition picture quality. PlayStation 3 comes with a USB mini cable for the bundled Bluetooth wireless controller, an Ethernet cable, a multi audio/video cable with composite connections, and a standard AC power cord. Additional Sony’s proprietary video output cable and optical digital audio cable are required for 7.1-channel audio. Optional $25 remote control is also available for optimum Blue-ray or DVD movie playback. PS3 is quite easy to connect and start.

Once you turn a PS3 on, it asks to select a language and a time zone, and sets the time and date. Thereafter by creating a user account, and by signing-in, a navigational interface (Xross Media Bar – XMB) is established which is quite similar to Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld. For the high-definition output, navigate to the video settings and set the unit output value to 1080p over HDMI. To produce music from PS3, attach the audio connections on the supplied composite multi audio/video cable to the speakers, and set the PS3 to send audio over that route while still transmitting video via HDMI. If the games you want to load on the PS3 have built-in updates, it saves the installation time, unlike the installations via Internet.

Can It PS3 Play PS2 Games?

Apart from the new and riveting games introduced such as Resistance: Fall of Man, PlayStation 3 being backward-compatible with most PlayStation 1 and 2, you can play most of the games of PS 2 and 2. However, buying the optional $15 Memory Card Adaptor will allow you to transfer saved game information from PS1 or PS2 memory cards to PS3’s hard disk. It is suggested to check certain games such as Tekken 5 while playing on the PS3, as there are some reports of loss of the background music while running on the PS3.

The PS3 Controller

The controller is connected to PS3 via Bluetooth on a wireless mode within a 65-foot range. Its batteries can be recharged by plugging in via the USB cable that comes with the PS3. These batteries generally last for 30 hours. The controller’s balance battery life can be checked using the “PS” button, which you can find between the analog sticks. Hold this button for two seconds to see the battery meter for that controller on the screen, along with a turn on/off option. It is recommended to press the button on when turning on the unit as well.

SixAxis Controller

PS3’s new wireless, motion-sensitive SixAxis controller is light in weight than PS2 controller and has bigger L2 and R2 triggers. Because of the controller’s ability to sense motion along six axes, it is possible to turn and tilt in a 3-D space to steer your vehicle, flying object, or spaceship in most exciting ways in driving and flying games. New games such as War Hawk or Ridge Racer 7 provide a thrilling experience as well as a challenge to the player’s motion-sensing capability, because of their hitherto-unheard of maneuverability in a three-dimensional setup.

Another PS3 controller is also available at $50 that supports up to seven players at a time. Each controller has an arrangement of four LEDs on its top. The number assigned by the console to the controller is indicated by these LEDs. For example, two LEDs are lit up for controllers 5 through 7; just add those numbers together accordingly for a greater number of console-assigns.

Xross Media Bar and Web Browsing

The Xross Media Bar interface is amazingly responsive and has made navigating around much more smart and speedy. It has a better, comparatively uncluttered overall layout. After familiarizing with the short-forms for certain activities on the keyboard, such as UpnP (Universal Plug and Play), it is all smooth sailing. In addition, other features such as parental controls are also quite clear. To configure a network connection, be it wireless or wired, is as easy as you can get.

Text-entry interface can be avoided entirely by plugging in a USB keyboard (or for wireless models, the USB dongle). There is a possibility of some additional features such as Bluetooth keyboard/mouse support in the near future, but not now. With a dedicated keyboard, it is much easier to deal with network settings or browsing the Web.

PS3’s web browser is launched from the XMB. The loading of pages, and also the Flash videos, setting bookmarks, browsing through the existing history, making text smaller or bigger can be done with it. Browsing with it can be a unique experience as you can jump the cursor between page links using the D-pad. In addition, one of the analog sticks works as a mouse. It is possible to open as many as six browser windows at a time, and you can switch between them in two different ways. By pushing down on a stick, you can have a preview and switch between all open browser windows. It is like having the mixed benefits of Internet Explorer 7’s Quick Tab features and Expose functionality of Mac OS X, all rolled into one. In addition to that, you can switch between the browser windows as they slide across the screen by pressing R2 and L2 buttons on a controller.

The Blue-Ray Experience

Since PlayStation 3 is created to serve as an all-purpose entertainment console, it offers entertainment alternatives that go beyond a mere game console. When it comes to Blue-ray functionality, it is considered as good as other stand-alone Blue-ray players in the market.

To experience the PS3’s superior Blue-ray functionality, turn on the unit and insert a disc into the front-loading slot. Within a second or two, you will hear the PS3’s opening strands of start-up orchestra. Right from the insertion of the disc, the entire disc is loaded in less than half a minute. It is observed that compared with other Blue-ray players, PS3 delivers markedly sharper and crisper image quality, with more depth and more details. Unlike other video game consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360, a remote is not a part of the product package of a Sony PS3. Instead, it is made available as an accessory. A BD remote for Sony PlayStation 3 is available in two versions.

The feature of Blue-ray functionality alone makes it a great buy considering the price. A stand-alone Blue-ray player such as the Philips BDP9000 or the forthcoming Pioneer Elite BDP-HD1 costs between $899 and $1500, whereas the Sony PS3 with Blue-ray feature costs between $525 and $^25, along with a truly great range of other features. Moreover, in terms of Blue-ray functionality, it is regarded as just good as the other stand-alone Blue-ray players. It is obvious that it is much-preferred one for its varied functionality available at a comparatively low price.

Multimedia File Playback

Different functions such as music, videos or photos are handled by separate areas in PS3. Certain features are much admired by the users, for example, the features such as thumbnail previews of videos as you flick through them or the photo-viewing facility called Portrait Slideshow as they provide a unique experience and appear a novel mode of operation.

Sony PlayStation 3 is designed to support some common file formats like AAC, JPEG, MP3, or MPEG-4 video. It is recommended to check whether some other features such as Windows Media Movie (WMV) or Windows Media Audio are supported by PS3. You can play music CDs on PS3, or access song information or copy or download songs from resources such as All Music Guide. The default format is AAC at 128 kbps; however, it can also be done by creating MP3 or ATRAC files. It is also possible to play other multimedia formats than those supported by the PS3 by installing Linux. Terra Soft, the Linux distributor has made it clear that the PS3 supports Linux Yellow Dog distribution.

PlayStation Online Store and Network

Sony claims the PlayStation Network to be a free service. The advantage of this feature is that you will be able to view your friends when they are available online, and of course communicate with them through text, voice or even video chat. You can also involve them in multiplayer games, physical distances notwithstanding. It is recommended to check this feature, as there are some reports of early incidents that show some discrepancies related to this feature. Typical examples include, only the option of communication via text messages being available, or instead of being able to read the message while a game is on, the messages were indicated through a pop-up notification, etc.

 

Sony has declared that a great number of downloadable game demos, and movie trailers are to be introduced for PS3. It is expected that the downloadable games developed by Sony will cost less than $15, to attract a huge market. In addition, various retro games, episodic content and even full-length movies will also be made available by Sony at a price. Such add-ons will be launched on a regular basis. PlayStation cards will also be available in the shops, to facilitate paying through electronic money, apart from the credit cards.

It is observed that the PS3 is technologically superior to the other top video game consoles available in the market such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 or the Nintendo Wii. The additional features make it truly unique, making it a multi-feature console, thus giving it an edge over these dedicated or stand-alone, specific feature products.

In retrospect, Sony PlayStation 3 appears not only a truly entertaining game console, but also proves a great buy considering its price and the features. If you are looking for a stand-alone Blue-ray player, a high-end PC graphic card, a video game console with an add-on HD-DVD, and a Media Center PC—all rolled into one, and some extra features, that too at a great price, then Sony PlayStation 3 is a gift from heaven for you!


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