Sony PlayStation 3 Super Slim
Sony’s PlayStation 3 has gone through several redesigns since its launch in 2006. The latest iteration of the popular games console dubbed PlayStation 3 Super Slim comes in two flavours – a basic edition with 12GB of memory, which can be had for around £150 and a 500GB model for around £210. With talk of next-gen consoles hotting up, this must surely be the last time we will see the PS3 in a different guise?
To the naked eye it’s clear that Sony has managed to bring its engineering talent into shrinking the overall package. The PlayStation 3 Super Slim is visibly smaller and sheds about a third of the weight from the previous generation. Compared to the launch model, the Super Slim is less than half the weight.
The changes aren’t just cosmetic though, the PlayStation 3 Super Slim uses less energy – 190W (Super Slim) vs. 250W (Slim) vs. 280W (launch model). Whilst Sony’s gaming console has never been a noisy machine, the Super Slim manages to take an already quiet machine and reduce it to next to no noise. New, more energy efficient components and improved ventilation design means the fans don’t have to work so hard to keep the internals from overheating.
Sony never managed to give the PlayStation a pretty design and the Super Slim doesn’t change any of that. If anything, Sony has taken a few steps backwards with the design of the PlayStation 3 Super Slim. The chassis is made of a cheap feeling plastic with a glossy finish to the front and back edges. It doesn’t look cheap but it doesn’t look as nice as its predecessor. The slot loading Blu-Ray drive has been replaced with a top horizontal sliding cover that makes an inelegant sound when it slides across. The eject button mechanically operates the sliding cover and doesn’t close the cover. There’s an ugly step where the cover is raised slightly higher to allow it to slide across the top surface. The one thing it does have going for the design is that it doesn’t look as bad as the flaws suggest, I can only imagine that the design and materials were chosen to help keep costs down.
Connectivity is the same as the last generation – two USB ports at the front. Around the back you’ll find the power jack, Ethernet, HDMI, optical audio and standard definition output. Wireless networking comes in the form of 802.11b/g and Bluetooth.
Sony only went as far as making hardware changes to give the PlayStation 3 a new lease of life. The XrossMediaBar interface remains unchanged and you can continue to access the same features from media streaming with DLNA and web browsing. Be prepared to do a software update when you fire up the machine for the first time. It seems gamers can’t escape the need to perform this step with any console these days.
Console manufacturers have created a new category of immersive gaming experiences using new controller types. Microsoft did it with the Xbox Connect and Nintendo with their Wii and most recently the Wii U. Sony has had the Move controller and Eye Camera for some time now and it recently combined both devices along with a new form of controller called Wonderbook: Book of Spells. Based in the world of Hogwarts, Wonderbook: Book of Spells comes as a bundle with the game, Wonderbook, Move Controller and Eye Camera for £50 or standalone with the game and Wonderbook.
The three controller elements come together to allow audiences to interact with content using augmented reality technology. Wonderbook is very much targeted at the younger generation who will find casting spells and working through an animated journey a compelling experience. The Wonderbook is recognised by the camera and on-screen you see yourself and the book layered with graphics – progressing through the story requires you to turn the pages. As you turn the pages, the software recognises the page turns and accurately portrays this with graphical overlays. You interact with the book mostly with the Move controller but hand gestures are also used throughout. This is a unique approach to gameplay and is very much centred around the concept of story telling so expect new chapters and games to extend the functionality and use of the Wonderbook as a controller in its own right.
The PlayStation 3 Super Slim is an evolution of the original from 2006 – it continues to be a powerful games console coupled with some great media playback features from its Blu-Ray capability to streaming content over your home network. The slimmer, lighter and more energy efficient design are welcome changes but I don’t think it’s enough to entice owners of the previous generation to upgrade. However for anyone looking to replace their first-generation model now would be a good time to do it.