PlayStation 5 test: Sony’s silent, speedy behemoth

STRENGTHS
βœ… Very well cooled console.
βœ… 4K compatibility at 120 Hz.
βœ… DualSense controller well built, comfortable and with surprising haptic feedback.
βœ… Excellent PS4 backwards compatibility (performance gains and faster loading times).
βœ… The promise of reduced loading times, already fulfilled with Spider-Man Miles Morales.
βœ… Natural and immersive 3D audio, working with any headset.
βœ… Ultra HD Blu-ray movie playback.

WEAKNESSES
❎ Gargantuan size.
❎ Variable noise levels between consoles.
❎ High power consumption.
❎ Glossy black plastic, dirty and very prone to scratches.
❎ No Dolby Atmos or DTS:X compatibility (in games), no Dolby Vision (at all).
❎ Incomplete HDMI 2.1 support at launch (no ALLM, no VRR).

In a comfortable position with its very popular PS4, Sony has nevertheless spared no effort to design a PlayStation 5 capable of competing with the Xbox X Series without blushing. The result is an outstanding home console that’s got a lot going for it.

Presentation

It’s finally here. Seven years after the PlayStation 4, Sony’s fifth home console has been given the tough task of succeeding the one that was one of the most popular and profitable consoles in the history of video games. The challenge will not be made any easier by the competition from a Microsoft that is more energetic than ever, which is putting up not one, but two very convincing next-generation Xboxes against the PS5.

PlayStation 5 test: Sony's silent, speedy behemoth

On the technical side, the PlayStation 5 (PS5) is organized around an APU supplied by AMD, combining an 8-core/16-thread Zen 2 central processor and a graphics processor derived from the RDNA 2 architecture. These two central elements adopt a slightly less conventional operating mode than those of previous generation consoles or even Xbox Series S/X: their clock frequency varies constantly according to the needs of the game, under the constraint of a constant overall power budget. In the end, the PS5 offers on paper a “raw” computing power slightly below that of the Xbox Series X. However, these figures could be offset by some specific features of the PS5 architecture – notably a GPU that can reach extremely high maximum clock speeds. RAM, meanwhile, is 16GB of GDDR6.

PlayStation 5 test: Sony's silent, speedy behemoth

And then there’s the famous “magic SSD”, which has been fueling all the fantasies for months, and which is not just about spectacularly high raw data rates (5.5 GB/s), but also benefits from numerous innovations in its integration into the system (very fine control of priorities, ultra-fast compression/decompression by dedicated silicon…). All of this promises not just shorter loading times, but outright annihilation.

PlayStation 5 test: Sony's silent, speedy behemoth

The PlayStation 5 is available on Amazon in various editions :
The Standard Edition at $879.00.
The Digital Edition, a version without a disc drive, but otherwise strictly identical to the standard version, at $849.00.

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