Sony PlayStation 3 (500GB) review

New, slimmer PS3 feels less special, but it's still a multi-talented media hub Tested at £250

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

New, slimmer PS3 feels less special, but it's still a multi-talented media hub


  • +

    Impressive smart features

  • +

    decent sound and picture

  • +

    lower price


  • -

    Feels cheap

  • -

    dedicated decks beat it on performance and match it for smart features

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

When the original PlayStation 3 was launched back in 2006, besides being a serious gaming machine, it was a bit of a bloater

It looked a premium product, but in terms of size it could give some home cinema amps a run for their money.

A slimmed-down version launched in 2009, and now there’s this 'super slim' one – which is half the size and weight of the original and almost 25 per cent smaller than its predecessor.

Sony PS3 Slim

Sony PS3 Slim

Sony PS3 Slim: Tech specs

Storage is up from 120GB on the old ‘Slim’ to a much more generous 500GB but there’s also a version with 12GB of flash memory. The latter is for those who’d prefer to install their own, 2.5in SATA hard drive.

But it’s not all good news. Gone is the quality finish and feel of the predecessor, although the curved design survives to an extent.

Gone too is the slot-loading disc drawer. This has been replaced by a flimsy-feeling, ridged cover, which slides back to reveal the mechanism. It’s a bit of a crude, cheap-feeling contraption compared with the previous models.

Sony PS3 Slim

Sony PS3 Slim

The features remain the same. Blu-rays, DVDs or CDs can still be spun, and the PS3’s multimedia skills remain unchanged: you can stream content from networked devices and through on-demand services such as Sony’s own SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) and BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, and 4oD.

Music lovers can also rip CDs to the hard drive up to 320kbps at AAC standard.

Sony PS3 Slim: Picture and sound quality

As for picture and sound quality? Well, nothing’s really changed. The PS3 can’t match a dedicated budget Blu-ray deck such as Sony’s own BDP-S390 or Panasonic’s DMP-BDT220, but detail levels are good, colours are nicely judged and motion is handled well enough. Sound errs on the lean side, but it’s agile and clear.

Sony PS3 Slim

Sony PS3 Slim

Sony PS3 Slim: Verdict

The new PS3 Super Slim feels like a stop-gap until the next generation of the console is launched – the rumour is June 2013 – and those that already own the console don’t have a huge incentive to upgrade.

But if you haven’t considered a PS3 before, then now could be a good time to strike given the price and 500GB hard drive.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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