Click to see our unboxing photo gallery (Credit: CNET Australia)
The PS3 Slim is now a reality. The compact console will be available on 3 September for AU$499. Don't expect any real performance departures from the current console — the changes are more cosmetic than anything else.
Check out our review and unboxing photo gallery along with the quick mini-FAQ on the new PS3 (below). If you have any questions that are not addressed here, put it in the comments or jump in our forum, and we'll do our best to find an answer.
When can I get the new PS3 Slim?
It'll be widely available as of 3 September for AU$499.95 in Australia and NZ$629.95 in New Zealand.
What are the major physical differences between the new PS3 Slim and the previous versions of the PS3?
Sony has pretty much crammed the same hardware into a smaller form factor. The new chassis is thinner vertically and horizontally, but it is deeper than the previous PS3 — it's almost a square. The front power and eject buttons are now keys that can be pressed down (not touch-sensitive), and there's also no standby power switch on the console's rear panel.
Are there any notable feature differences?
The new model has a 120GB hard drive, up from the 80GB model on the previous entry-level model. Geeks will lament that Sony has removed the ability to install a second operating system, but that won't be missed by the vast majority of mainstream users.
Does it play PS2 games?
No dice. Like the recent PS3 models, the PS3 Slim does not offer backward compatibility with PS2 game discs. However, it can play older PS1 titles (on disc or via download from the PlayStation Store.)
Are there flash card readers?
Again, no. Ports for Compact Flash, Memory Stick and SD cards existed on the earliest PS3 models, but they were dropped on more recent iterations. If you want to access digital media files, you'll need to put them on a USB drive, burn them to a disc, or access them over the network.
Any change to media support?
No differences that we can discern. The PS3 Slim still plays all manner of Blu-ray movies, DVDs and CDs, and it doubles as an excellent media streamer from other PCs or DLNA-capable media servers.
What's in the box?
Just the basics: the console, a single Dual Shock 3 controller, USB cable (for charging the controller), AC power cord and composite AV cable. There are no bundled games in this version of the PS3.
Did Sony finally add an IR port, so I can use my universal remote control?
In a word: nope. That's our biggest gripe with the new model. Owners of Logitech Harmony remotes, however, can still use the AU$99.95 adapter that will translate IR commands to Bluetooth.
Is the hard drive still user-upgradeable?
Yes — you can still do a DIY upgrade with a standard 2.5-inch laptop hard drive. We'll update our How-To video to give you a step-by-step guide for the PS3 Slim soon.
Can I stand the PS3 Slim vertically?
Out of the box, the answer is no. Ironically, it's so skinny, it'll tip over too easily. However, Sony is pledging to sell a stand separately — in other words, you'll be paying extra for a hunk of plastic. (Although Australian pricing has not yet been announced, in the US the stand will cost US$24.)
Is it really cheap-looking?
Opinions at CNET are divided on this one. Some folks are really chafing at the textured matte finish, saying it makes the unit look cheap and plastic-y — like a toy. Others prefer that to the shiny piano black finish of earlier PS3s, which was a magnet for fingerprints. Some liken the squarish design of the Slim to that of a record player.
Is it true that a 250GB PS3 Slim is coming soon?
Apparently so. Sony's made no official comment, but a more capacious PS3 Slim will certainly hit store shelves at some point — likely at the AU$599 price point.
Should I wait for the Slim, or buy one of the existing "PS3 Fat" consoles, now that they've also been cut to AU$499?
Unless you're particularly averse to the new design, it's definitely worth waiting a couple of weeks.
Got any other questions? Ready to make the jump to the PS3? Or is the Slim a letdown? Let us know in the comments below or check out our PS3 Slim forum.