The 2020 launch of Sony’s PlayStation 5 was met with considerable fanfare. The new console boasted impressive boosts in the underlying architecture.
Gamers were excited at the prospect of familiar concepts reimagined for a more graphically intense and powerful system.
But theory and practice often differ. Just how well has the PlayStation 5 lived up to the hype?
Read on to discover the main pros and cons of Sony’s PS5 console now that it’s had a chance to prove itself under real-world conditions.
Some Advantages of PS5
It’s always tempting to simply do a side-by-side spec comparison when discussing consoles. And there’s little doubt that the PS5 does have some impressive specs.
But when looking at the pros and cons of a console it’s best to really consider what goes into the gaming experience. What elements of a gaming session matter the most? And how does the PlayStation 5 live up to those expectations?
While a lot goes into the gaming experience, the following criteria highlight areas where the PlayStation 5 really shines.
1) DualSense Controller
People often overlook the fundamental importance of controllers. And it’s easy to see why.
Trailers can easily highlight a powerful new GPU or processor by just showing in-game footage. But it’s difficult to really convey how it’ll feel to play a game until you’re holding a controller in your own hands.
However, once that moment occurs, you’re almost certain to love how Sony approached the concept for the PS5.
The PlayStation 5’s DualSense controllers are a huge step forward from the PlayStation 4’s.
It’s true that the older DualShock was an impressive controller. And the DualSense might even look a little lackluster at first glance if you’re glancing at the two side by side.
The DualSense controller has a bulkier appearance that doesn’t really speak to seamless immersion. But again, gaming is all about how it actually feels to use the controller. And using the DualSense feels amazing.
The DualSense is larger than the DualShock but has about the same weight in your hand.
A larger touchpad and segmented rear grips make it far easier to input tertiary commands in games. And the DualSense’s feedback system means that games can convey a lot by using adaptive triggers and haptics.
In short, the DualSense gives you everything you had with the PS4 and more.
2) Very good Playstation-exclusive games
It’s fairly common for games to release on multiple platforms. But the popularity and unique features of the PS5 mean that it has a wealth of amazing games which can’t be experienced anywhere else.
Some of the best include the stylistically distinct action- RPG Demon’s Souls, third-person roguelike shooter Returnal, and shooter platformer Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
It’s true that cross-platform games have become a lot more popular over time. But there are always going to be studios and in-house developers who want to really get the most out of one particular console’s strengths.
And that means that the PlayStation 5 exclusives really bring some amazing performance to the table.
3) You can still play your PS4 games
Console upgrades typically mean that you’re going to be saying goodbye to your favorites from the previous generation. Or at least end up with both your old and new console hooked up to the TV at the same time. B
ut the PlayStation 5 boasts full compatibility with PlayStation 4 games. With only a few exceptions you’ll be able to play your entire PS4 library on your PS5.
4) Supports 120 FPS
The PlayStation boasts a big upgrade in both graphical and standard processing power. It’s such a significant boost that the PS5 can even run at 120 FPS.
However, it’s important to note that a potential of 120 FPS doesn’t mean certainty for any given game.
Three criteria need to be met for a game to run at 120 FPS. First, the game needs to be a true PlayStation 5 game. PlayStation 4 games running on a PlayStation 5 won’t be able to run at 120 FPS.
Second, the game needs to have 120 FPS support. And only a small subset of PS5 games do.
Finally, you’ll need the appropriate hardware to actually display the PlayStation 5’s 120 FPS output.
This includes ensuring that you’re using an HDMI 2.1 cable. And you’ll also need to make sure your monitor or TV can display content at 120 FPS or 120 Hz.
But with all of that that in mind, the difference in performance is astonishing. It’s a level of fluidity and responsiveness that you’ve likely never experienced before in a video game.
For example, PlayStation 4 games were usually capped at 30 fps. Though some took advantage of the PS4 Pro’s more powerful hardware to offer 60 fps. But the top PS5 framerate is literally twice what you’d find on the best the PS4 had to offer.
5) Impressive graphics and 3D audio
You might wonder how the PS5 is able to do so much. And the answer can be found in the sheer extent of its hardware upgrades.
The PlayStation 5’s GPU is far more powerful than the PlayStation 4’s. The original PlayStation 4’s GPU is capable of 1.84 TFLOPs and the Pro upgrade could handle up to 4.20.
But the PlayStation 5 can handle an astonishing 10.3 TFLOPs. This impacts both how internal graphics like 3D models are handled and the resolution it can all be displayed in.
The original PS4 maxed out at a resolution of 1080p. The Pro boasted a much improved 4k resolution.
But the PS5 can handle up to 8k and can even push a full 120 FPS at 4k. All of this means that the PlayStation 5’s 3D models are more realistic, move more fluidly, and can take advantage of any display you want to pair it with.
Similar improvements are also seen in the PS5’s sound system. The PS5’s 3D Tempest audio system can actually tether sound to specific in-game objects.
This lets you experience natural auditory changes as you move within a 3D environment just as you would in the real world. You might think that the PlayStation 4 was capable of the same thing. And you wouldn’t be totally wrong.
The main difference is that when the PlayStation 4 produced that effect it was essentially using a variety of software trickery to simulate what the PlayStation 5 does naturally.
For example, a PlayStation 4 developer might tie an event into an NPC delivering a speech so that the audio output goes up or down in response to the player’s movement.
But the 3D audio in the PlayStation 5 is a native feature that provides true 3D audio that’s integrated into the larger 3D engine. This level of native support means that you get a seamless auditory experience that’s natural to any game’s 3D landscape.
Some Disadvantages of PS5
Saying that the PlayStation 5 is a solid console would be an understatement. As you’ve seen, the PS5 does have a lot going for it. But no console is perfect. And there are some disadvantages that you should think about if you’re considering a PlayStation 5.
1) Its Big Size
One of the more obvious downsides to the PlayStation 5 is obvious at a glance. That huge upgrade in the PlayStation’s hardware came with an increase in size.
The PlayStation 5 is huge, and in many people’s opinion also rather ugly. This is in drastic opposition to Sony’s usual sleek designs.
The PlayStation 2,3, and 4 all boasted beautiful aesthetics. It’s clear that Sony tried to make something unique for the PS5’s visual design.
It doesn’t look, for example, like a generic PC. But it’s still a significant departure from the sleek simplicity of Sony’s earlier designs.
The backward compatibility with the PS4 will be appreciated by anyone who’s considered trying to keep the PS4 and PS5 together on the same shelf.
2) You can’t play games stored on an external hard drive
You might imagine that there wouldn’t be any downsides to games that push both graphical and audio quality to the next level.
However, there is one huge problem with boosting the size of a system’s multimedia content. Larger file sizes mean that data transfer speeds need to be pushed upward as well.
And this just isn’t possible with external storage mediums. In practical terms that means you can’t expand your PS5’s game storage capabilities with an external drive.
They’re simply not fast enough to compensate for the high requirements of PS5 games. This becomes even more of a problem when you consider the relatively small default storage capacity provided by the PlayStation 5.
3) Only around 667GB of usable internal disk storage
The PlayStation 5’s internal storage can seem fairly respectable at first glance. Going by specs alone it seems like you’ll have over 825 GB to work with.
That’s not a huge amount of space by modern standards, but it’s not terrible either.
However, the PlayStation 5 also needs to store system resources on that internal storage. This uses up almost 160 GB worth of hard drive space and only leaves you with 667 GB for your games.
Keep in mind that PS5 games typically take up a lot more space than PS4 games. And even those used up a fairly hefty amount of storage space.
Thankfully you do have options to upgrade that storage. The PlayStation 5 can use an internal M.2 SSD of up to 4 TB.
But of course, this isn’t nearly as elegant a solution as simply plugging in a USB drive. You’ll need to manually install the new SSD. And while this isn’t an extremely complex procedure, it’s still a far cry from the usual ease of use found with consoles.
Not to mention that compatible M.2 drives can be a rather costly investment in and of themselves in addition to what you’ve already spent on a new console.
4) The DualSense controller is a little bulky
The DualSense controller is both a pro and a con for similar reasons. Sony has done a fantastic job of scaling up their controllers without increasing their weight.
In doing so they’ve also been able to increase its capabilities over the PlayStation 4’s controllers.
However, weight’s not everything. And the size difference can still make the controllers seem a little bulky. The larger size of the PS5’s controllers can be especially problematic for younger gamers or people with smaller hands.