PlayStation 4 Review: The Hardware

  • Posted December 3rd, 2013 at 00:25 EDT by Kyle Prahl

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Timothy Nunes - Response

The PlayStation 4 has a shape that invokes a literal shift in tradition with its appealing and angular presentation. I can't help but look at it and still enjoy what it visually does on the shelf beneath my TV. My glass TV stand might be to blame, but whenever my PS4 loads a game, the console vibrates with the intensity of a cell phone on a table; my roommate has his PS4 on a wooden shelf, and it doesn't cause the same sound. Outside of that hypothetical issue, the only significant negative is how incredulously small the power and eject buttons are, which lay in the miniscule gaps that each layer of Sony's technological cake has.

Which leads to the DualShock 4. I once believed that the DualShock 3 was comfortable, but the DualShock 4 extends the length of the controller by angling the handles outward ever so slightly, making hand positioning on the controller much less crinkled than on the DualShock 3. The joysticks themselves aren't necessarily more responsive than those of their predecessor, but the ring that encompasses each convex joystick head allows for accuracy that the former PlayStation controller cannot match. Button clicks have more significance, too, but the actual pressing of the buttons takes no more effort than what PlayStation fans have grown to know. The Option and Share buttons are oddly placed at the top-front next to the touchpad, but the touchpad itself, with its easy access, makes for easier use than those clumsy buttons. So, their inconvenience only matters when a game needs pausing or a clip needs sharing. All in all, apart from the two odd button placements, the DualShock 4 is a gleam of success which shows that changing what works can have a significant, excellent impact.

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Ernest Lin - Response

If PlayStation 4 is trying to restore Sony to the console glory that thePlayStation 2 brought, its physical design reflects the push with borrowed design elements from PS2s of the past. The matte finish was present both on the fat and slim models of the PS2, while the PS2 Slim featured a glossy strip as well. The sharp, angular shape of the PS4 is striking with its vertical display being reminiscent of the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Meanwhile, the Jet Black color gives the console an element of mystery while blending in with the darkness to avoid distracting your eyes from where you should be looking at: the screen. Personally, I find the PS4 design majestic, though I share the same complaint as Tim regarding the system's buttons. The power and eject buttons are slivers are often missed by my fingers when I reach out to them.

The DualShock 4 is the best controller Sony has ever made and the first one I sincerely like. The DualShock 3 always felt small in my hands, occasionally leading to uncomfortable aches or cramps. Let's be honest; the DualShock controllers' form factor really never changed before the fourth iteration. It's finally received a size upgrade and the grip underwent a serious makeover that makes the DualShock 4 slip nicely into your hands. The semi-concave design of the thumbsticks and their new placement add to the improved usability, as well.

To finally have real triggers on a PlayStation controller is a revelation, and in the future, I look forward to the unique ways developers will use the touchpad. What's there not to like? The Options and Share button share the somewhat problematic small size of the system's power and eject buttons. Hopefully, Sony will allow the option to turn off the lightbar, as I'm sure it's a drain on the battery and can cause glare on more reflective television screens.

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Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts on the PlayStation 4 hardware? Any opinions to share not covered here? Sound off in the comments below to join the PS4 conversation, and stay tuned this week for our reviews of the PlayStation 4 user interface, features, and experience before our final, scored review is published on Friday.

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Kyle Prahl is PSU's editor-in-chief and a Communications student at the University of Minnesota. If you care about PlayStation or the life of a pale Midwesterner, you should follow him on Twitter.
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    Release date (US):
    November 15th, 2013
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