Sony PlayStation3 (80GB) review

The Sony Playstation 3 is still a capable machine, but some cheaper dedicated players offer superior performance Tested at £300.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Still a capable machine, but some cheaper dedicated players offer superior performance


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    More than a Blu-ray player

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    load times

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    DVD upscaling and Blu-ray picture


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    Sounds bright

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    picture suffers from noise

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There was a time when the Sony PlayStation 3 was our default Blu-ray player recommendation. It used to be the lowest-priced player on the market, but price is no longer on its side.

The influx of affordable, standalone players makes it harder to justify buying a PlayStation3, and does it still do enough hold its own against the cut-price competition?

Equipped with an 80GB hard drive, the PS3 offers similar features to the other players in its class – it can handle the obligatory 1080p/24fps requirements for Blu-ray discs
for instance.

It's also one of the most intuitive, user-friendly players on test in this supplement, it still loads Blu-ray discs more quickly than its rivals, and it's a really smooth operator when it comes to cycling disc menus.

One of the most endearing features of the PlayStation 3 is the fact that it can be updated over the internet. For example, Profile 2.0 compatibility and onboard HD audio decoding have all been introduced since the product's launch.

One of the latest firmware updates from Sony has added “chroma upsampling” to help boost the PS3's picture performance with DVD playback. The results of all this are standard-definition images that are stable, clearer and more detailed than before.

Dedicated players offer more

We would, however, still like Blu-ray images to show a level of three-dimensionality and lack of on-screen noise that would really give the competition something to worry about.

The same could be said for the PlayStation3's sound quality. Decoded HD soundtracks are relatively clear and open, but you get the feeling that the PS3 is only scratching the surface.

It also has a tendency to sound quite bright and this lack of solidity and scale can make it sound rather lightweight compared to some of its rivals.

There's no doubt that the PlayStation3 is multi-talented and this flexibility makes it a very attractive package. But if you want a Blu-ray player without the gaming, there are now better products on the market.

See all Blu-ray player Best Buys

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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