You wait ages for a next-generation PlayStation, then two come along at once. The PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition are officially on sale in the US, and due to land in the UK on the 19th November. But which of Sony's console should you order? If you've made up your mind, here's where to where to buy a PS5 and the best PS5 deals. If not, read on and we'll help you make the right choice...
The decision really comes down to this: do you want to splash out on the full-fat PS5 or the cheaper PS5 Digital Edition? The main difference being that the former has a disc drive, and the latter doesn't. (You can see this disc drive in Sony's official teardown of the full-fat PS5.)
In a nutshell, the disc-less Digital Edition will only be able to stream games, films, music and TV shows, rather than running them straight off a CD, DVD or Blu-ray. But that's certainly not the only thing to consider when selecting between Sony's latest gaming hardware.
Here, we'll run down all the major factors to take into account to help you decide which PS5 belongs in your lounge...
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PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: price and availability
Sony set the official price of the PS5 at £449 ($499, €499, AU$749). The disc-less PS5 Digital Edition is priced at £359 ($399, €399, AU$599).
Pricing the Digital Edition cheaper than the 'full-fat' PS5 mirrors the approach has taken with its Xbox Series X and all-digital Xbox Series S. After all, if you're getting less functionality, it surely follows that you should pay less, right?
Demand for the PS5 has been extremely high and is expected to remain so for some time. Both PS5 consoles sold out before launch and stock has been scarce ever since. The good news is that more PS5 availability is due around Black Friday. Take a look at our handy guide to the best PS5 deals to score the best prices on PS5s, as well as best PS5 games and accessories. With a bit of luck, you'll score your PS5 in time for Christmas.
The PS5 is due to launch in the UK until the Thursday 19th November. Pre-orders have been sold out for some time, but retailers are set to release more stock at launch. Amazon UK has confirmed that it will release PS5 stock at 12pm GMT on 19th November.
Retailers both sides of the Atlantic have also promised more PS5 stock on Black Friday ( officially 27th November). Problem is, Sony hasn't given any indication of what quantity will be available so we'd suggest keeping an eye our guide to where to buy a PS5 .
Microsoft is in the same boat. It recently admitted that its Xbox Series X and Series S consoles would be in short supply until April 2021.
Ultimately, if you want to save a bit of money, the PS5 Digital Edition should be your first port of call. We've also noticed that, in some cases, it's easier to come by. Given that the PS5 Digital Edition does not make any major performance sacrifices, it seems like the best buy for those on a budget.
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PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: design and UX
As you can see from the photos, the main difference between the two consoles looks-wise is that one has a disc drive, while the other doesn't. This also allows the Digital Edition to be slightly slimmer towards the base.
It actually helps its design. Both consoles have a sculpted, sci-fi look to them, but without the disc slot blotting its looks, the Digital Edition is actually the sleeker of the two.
But they both have the same distinctive design elements, namely a high, white-collared shell that's separated from the black body of the unit by finned gaps to aid ventilation.
First impressions – posted online by Japanese YouTubers – confirmed that the PS5 is big (39 x 26 x 14cm) but blessed with elegant curves. You can watch one of the earliest PS5 hands-on videos here, courtesy of respected Japanese games publication Famitsu.
Shortly afterwards, Sony gave gamers their first look at the PS5 user experience, complete with 4K animation and instant-loading capability. The new Control Center allows users to dip in and out of game levels and video feeds without any lag.
Aesthetically, the PS5's is a striking design that has split opinion. But we like it. Fancy giving your PS5 an eye-catching makeover? One third-party retailer is already selling custom PS5 faceplates in five colours and patterns (via GamesRadar).
PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: specs
In a post on the official PlayStation blog, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan confirmed that both PS5 consoles share identical power and features, including 4K graphics, ray-tracing support and PS5 3D audio. So, "whichever PS5 you choose, you’ll enjoy the same breathtaking, next-gen gaming experiences".
Both machines support a frame rate of up to 120fps but Sony is yet to make good on its promise of silky-smooth 8K gaming. The new machines support 8K but there's currently no way to enable it in the console's settings. So, for now, both peak at 4K resolution.
Spec-wise, both PS5 consoles feature the same AMD Zen 2-based CPU, the same 16GB GDDR6 / 256-bit memory, and the same 825GB SSD. According to Japanese games publication Famitsu, the PS5 runs extremely quietly and loads games in the "blink of an eye".
In terms of games, you'll be able to transfer most PS4 games to PS5 and in most cases, enjoy free upgrades such as increased frame rates. However it's worth noting that to do this you'll need to use the PS5's disc drive to transfer the game discs to the next-gen console.
Sony's next-gen console won't support all your old games, either. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan recently confirmed that the PS5 won't support PS1, PS2, or PS3 titles.
Eyeing up the PS5 as an entertainment hub as well as a games machine? The PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition are a great choice. They support Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple TV, Spotify, Twitch and YouTube out of the box. Amazon Prime Video, MyCanal, Hulu and Peacock are set to follow.
One disappointment is the PS5's apparent lack of HDR support. It seems that neither machine supports Dolby Vision video or Dolby Atmos sound. Sony hasn't explicitly ruled them out, but the Japanese firm's FAQ page speaks volumes. It simply says the PS5 "will support HDR10" – i.e. no mention of Dolby Vision or Atmos.
Instead, both PS5 and PS5 Digital will offer Sony's proprietary 'gold standard' 3D audio technology. There's a lot of hype surrounding the tech – but for good reason. The PS5's 3D Audio engine, 'Tempest', is said to deliver object-based 3D sound that will allow gamers to "hear individual raindrops".
Storage wise, both PS5s boast a next-gen 825GB SSD. That could quickly be filled up with games, though – especially if the rumour that only 664GB of the 812GB is useable proves reliable (via YongYea).
There are ways to expand the PS5's storage but Sony recently reminded gamers that there are currently no ultra-high speed SSD storage devices certified to work with the PS5 – and likely wont be for some time after launch. A forthcoming system software update will fix that, but there's no news on when it will arrive.
Given that the Xbox Series S is less powerful than its Series X sibling – the Series S only play games at a maximum resolution of 1440p – the PS5 Digital Edition looks like it has the edge in terms of performance.
Based on spec, PS5 Digital Edition will appeal to those gamers and streamers who are happy to ditch physical game discs but who don't want to sacrifice performance.
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PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: verdict
Given the only differences between the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition are the presence of a disc drive and price, which console is right for you will really come down to whether you can live without disc support.
If you want your games console at the heart of your entertainment set up, to frequently double as a DVD/Blu-ray/CD player, you'll likely want the full-fat PS5. If you use your console purely for gaming, however, or have a speedy and robust internet connection for streaming and downloading and can cope with storing games digitally rather than on disc, the Digital Edition could save you a fair bit of money.
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