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PlayStation PS3- Slimmer and Leaner

Aug 31, 2009

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin’ - G4 Canada

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The Sony PS3 is getting a makeover, - not an extreme one, but rather more like a Jenny Craig makeover. It’ll be lighter, slimmer and a little less hungry for power. Available at the beginning of September, the new model it will shed a third of its mass, a third of its weight and will consume a third less power. And less power will also make for a smaller and quieter fan.

New PS3And with no surprise it will also shed a sliver of its price. Looking to take on the likes of the Nintendo Wii, the completely redesigned model will be introduced at a $299 price point.

The traditional smooth surface has been replaced with a textured finish and the hard drive has also been upgraded to 120GB – a 2.5” serial ATA drive commonly found in laptops and notebooks. The existing models – those with 80GB HDD and 160GB HDD have already been reduced to $299 and $399 respectively – most likely to clear the inventory.

The majority of the features have remained relatively unchanged. It still has the BluRay (BD) drive compatible with CDs and DVDs as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet. It has 256MB XDR Ram Memory and 256MB GDDR3 VRAM.

PS3 System Software 3.00

New PS3The PS/3 software has had a minor upgrade, adding what Sony Consumer Entertainment calls user-friendly features. One is called “What’s New”, where you can see what’s new in the store as well as recently played games through the XMB™ (XrossMediaBar), with short cuts to each piece of content. The XMB will also act as a gateway to System Updates.
The redesigned PS3 system ships with the BRAVIA® Sync™ feature built-in.  For  BRAVIA TV owners connecting the two units with an HDMI cable allows access and operation of the XMB, using the TV’s remote control. You can also turn on and off both units with a single remote click.

The unit is designed to be able to be stored vertically allowing you more flexibility next to the TV. Sold separately (US$24) is vertical stand allowing it to stay properly upright.

New Logo

Along with a new look also come some new branding and like the makeover, the new look logo is not extreme.

The logo will be engraved on the surface and the branding will change from “PLAYSTATION 3” to “PlayStation 3” to be consistent with the rest of the product lines.
(I guess if Walmart can drop the “-“ in their name, it must be ok).

PS3 Approaches 3

While the new packaging will certainly add esthetic appeal, besides trimming down and lightening the power load, I can’t saw that I see a significant improvement in terms of features – enough to excite existing users. We know that the PS3 is not backward compatible with PS2 games. Furthermore, with this new release, Sony is taking away a current feature - the ability to install “Other” operating systems like Linux on the PS3. That may be a strike in some people’s eyes.

So as the PS3 approaches 3 – of course that’s decades in technology years, one wonders if it’s too little too late. On the other hand, dropping the price down to $299 is a nice carrot, making it that much closer in cost to the Wii and certainly more competitive with both it and the Xbox product. Lower price and sleek appeal just might be enough for fence sitters to jump in. Plus, the PS3 blows the Wii away in terms of the graphics and resolution. And, it’s also a hi-res 1080p DVD player.

Although we seem to be headed into back-to-school mode the gaming wars should be interesting this fall.

 

Greg Gazin can be reached at  gadgetguy “at” telus “dot” net Or GadgetGreg.com

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