Pick Up Post: I Bought A Playstation 3 That Supposedly Does Everything


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During the final day of Fan Expo, I came across a deal I couldn’t refuse. 20% off PS3 consoles, 30% games and 40% off accessories. I’ve been eying the PS3 for some time now, and initially had plans on waiting for the new SKUs to drop so that I could get the soon-to-be old 120 gig version for cheaper. However, 20% off would actually make it cheaper than what I was expecting the price drop to be, and the discounts on games and accessories only sweetened the deal. Before Fan Expo was over, I walked away with a PS3 Slim, an extra controller, an HDMI cable and Little Big Planet.

I’m not going to use this post to talk about the software lineup. I just wanted to share with you my experiences with the hardware and my first impressions of the Playstation 3 experience.

The actual Playstation 3 Slim is a spiffy piece of hardware. Foreman Grill jokes aside, I like the look of the unit. I also like the fact that they went with a matte finish for the casing and swapped out the heat-sensing pads with actual eject and power buttons. I was concerned that the Slim wouldn’t fit laying horizontally on my shelving unit (my 360 Elite doesn’t), but it’s just short enough to fit into the compartment I wanted it to go into.

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For an HD console, it does a poor job of getting you set up in HD. The XBOX 360 nowadays is guilty of this too. Neither system comes with component or HDMI cables, meaning you can’t actually hook it up in HD out of the box. I’m sure there are a lot of PS3 and XBOX 360 owners that have no idea that you need to buy extra stuff in order to get the HD experience. The Playstation-branded HDMI cables are at least 6 feet long, which came in handy for me.

My biggest sticking point for not jumping on the Playstation bandwagon sooner was the controller. I’ve always felt that it was a bootleg Super Nintendo controller with two analog sticks thrown in part-way through the Playstation 1 life-cycle after realizing that Nintendo beat them to the punch on analog controls. More important than perception though is my general dislike of using the controller up to this point. I haven’t liked the d-pad design and that left stick position kills my thumb. If it came down to it, I would always choose the XBOX 360 controller over the PS3 controller. Having dropped as much money as I did on this though, it’s probably best that I bite my tongue and give the controller a legitimate shot.

The very first thing the system asks you to do is plug is plug in the controller via USB cable. The USB cable serves as the means of syncing and a means of charging the controller. This has its pros and cons. The cable ensures that syncing is quick and instant. The XBOX 360’s wireless syncing at times is shaky and our Wii nowadays consistently fails at syncing remotes. Where this solution gets dicey is the charging process. You can only charge controllers with your PS3 while the system is on, meaning that when your controllers die, you’ll either have to play while sitting really close to the system (the cable is really short) or leave your Playstation on for a few hours so that you can charge them up. This is a lot more clunky than it needs to be. My other major concern is the built-in battery. With no means to replace it, there’s no quick fix to an empty battery. It also means that once these controllers die for good, you have no choice but to buy new controllers. What if, years from now, I want to play PS3 and there’s no new controllers available. Can I then only play them while connected to the system? I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

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So far, I’m really liking the XMB. It’s very slick and clean. There’s definitely an air of luxury to it that the boxy XBOX 360 experience doesn’t have. It’s also not filled with advertising, which clutters the XBOX experience. It has its quirks, like all the current generation systems do, but as of writing, I’m liking the XMB the most.

The last thing I feel worth noting for now are the game update issues I’ve been having. It took three days for me to download the first Little Big Planet game update. For some reason, it would stall around 15% into the first update every single time. Plugging in an ethernet cable seemed to help, but it definitely wasn’t consistent. Once the update process finally got going, I then had to sit through 11 game updates that were downloaded and installed one at a time, which took about 15 minutes. Yuck.

In spite of the possibly negative slant of this post, so far I’m liking the Playstation experience. The hardware is slick, the interface is slick and for the most part, its doing what I need to do. The ability to play online for free is also a huge plus. For now, I’ll enjoy it for what it is and time will tell if it really does do everything.

46 thoughts on “Pick Up Post: I Bought A Playstation 3 That Supposedly Does Everything

  1. Todd Pack September 9, 2010 / 8:47 AM

    Have you used the machine to stream Netflix yet? How’s that experience?

    We have a Wii (yeah, I don’t know what we were thinking, either), and I’m thinking of upgrading to a PS3 to get better games, a Blu-Ray player and Netflix streaming. (We have a Roku, but it would be nice to eliminate some boxes and cables.)

    • Gil September 9, 2010 / 10:44 AM

      First off you can stream Netflix from your Wii as well. Just go to the Netflix site and request a disc. Easy peasy. Unfortunately you can’t stream HD from the Wii as it has no HD Capabilities. Then again Hi Def streaming is solely reliant on your bandwidth so it may not be an issue.

      Netflix on the PS3 is actually quite good. You can stream HD with it if your bandwidth allows. I typically get a 720i resolution with my connection. sometimes it drops to 480i when I’m accessing the internet elsewhere in the house. My only gripe is that you still have to use the Netflix disc to stream. Discless access to Netflix is supposed to be added to a future system update this year.

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:21 PM

      Thank you both for the comments! Always appreciated.

      Netflix is coming to my country soon, but is currently not available. If I were to get Netflix, I guess it wouldn’t be a problem for me to have it available on both my XBOX 360 and Playstation 3. Would anyone happen to know which version is better?

  2. adoseofbuckley September 9, 2010 / 8:56 AM

    The updates and such are some of the reasons I haven’t bothered going online with my Xbox and am not too quick to buy a PS3 or upgrade my XBox to have a HDD (I own the Arcade). What happened to “put in a game, and play it”? Even without the internet sometimes XBox updates come with a new game, and I’m very impatient. I don’t want to wait, I’ve purchased the game, I’ve put it in the XBox, I don’t want any more of my time wasted before I get on with wasting my time playing the game!

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:24 PM

      Welcome to gaming going forward. In the era of Internet, games and hardware are constantly being patched. This is nothing new for PC gamers, but I’m not fond of the process in any case.

      • adoseofbuckley September 9, 2010 / 11:12 PM

        It just now means Console gamers have to put up with the same lazy programming PC gamers have grown to expect.

        Employee: “QA came back with a bunch of issues we need to fix before the game goes gold”.
        Boss: “Do any of them stop the game from being completed by the player?”
        Employee: “No… not entirely…”
        Boss: “Then who cares? Start working on patch 1.1, we’ll try and have it out within a week of launch.”

        Console games should be above all that nonsense.

      • Jett September 11, 2010 / 1:26 AM

        I agree that ideally, all games should be above that. But for a number of reasons, this new model of release early and patch later will likely be the norm.

  3. The Zen Assassin September 9, 2010 / 8:58 AM

    Just a note, you don’t have to charge your controller while the PS3 is on. I usually have my computer on 27/7 and just jack the controller into an available USB port whenever I have the PS3 off. That way you always have a fully charged controller.

    You’re spot on with the game and system updates. I can tell you some horror stories about those but I don’t want to eat up too much space here. 😉

    Cheers!

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:27 PM

      Thank you for the comment!

      The ability to plug the controller into a computer was something I did know and probably should have mentioned in my post. I still find that horribly inconvenient. Maybe I’m old school, but I have no problem swapping AA batteries.

      System updates seems to be a common gripe among all current console users, or at least for those posting here. Even the Wii and DS have software updates that can get hairy.

  4. Gil September 9, 2010 / 9:48 AM

    I agree. It’s stupid that they call it a HD system and only supply composite cables. How dumb is that?

    I definitely prefer the 360 controller over the PS3 controller. I also always had a gripe with the internal battery bit. Recharging it via usb cable seems like a great idea in thought but in the real world, there are some problems. I just let it charge while I’m watching movies (the ps3 remote is a must if you watch plenty of movies with it). I’d prefer to be able to swap out rechargeables like my 360 controllers but it’s not like I have a choice. Oh and if your batteries fully die, it’s pretty darn easy to replace em. 5 screws and a $2.99 replacement battery and you’re good to go.

    I very much prefer the XMB over the XBox interface. Just seems smoother. Perhaps I just got used to it because I’ve had it longer?

    Oh and you missed out on the leap day incident this year. All old phat systems reset their internal clocks to something like 1999 for that single day.

    Playstation… it only does time travel. 😀

    • She.Is.Just.A.Rat September 9, 2010 / 10:47 AM

      It’s like the hot tub time machine…but for Playstations!

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:33 PM

      Thank you once again for the comment, Gil!

      Controller preference is a very big deal. I play Street Fighter at work during lunch every day with a coworker who cannot stand the XBOX 360 controller to the point where he will throw it in frustration because it doesn’t do what he wants it to do. However, when we play Street Fighter on PS3, I get equally frustrated over the fact that the Dualshock doesn’t feel right to me.

      They’re both good controllers. It just comes down to preference. I think I’ll always prefer the XBOX 360 controller due to the left analog stick placement, but I should get more comfortable with the Dualshock as time goes on.

      I remember reading about the internal clock issue and being happy that I owned an XBOX 360. Then I remembered that my XBOX 360 also got the red ring of death once. It goes both ways.

  5. jmoore76 September 9, 2010 / 10:42 AM

    I have a PS3 and I like it for what it does well like Stream Netflix (which is a great feature and the quality is right on), playing single player games. I tried playing multiplayer a few times and it was a nightmare. I couldn’t get the mic to stay synced and finding friends was difficult. I then decided to use the PS3 as my single player system and use my 360 as my multiplayer system.
    Wait until you have to do a system update on the PS3 UGH! It takes hours, might as well start it and then go to bed. That is one thing the 360 has over the PS3. 360 system updates take no more than a half hour. They are both good systems if you use them for their strengths.

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:36 PM

      Thanks for the comment jmoore76!

      I’ve already had to do two system updates on my PS3. While it didn’t take hours, it did take way longer than I would have liked, and were definitely slower than the XBOX 360 system updates. Also, do the PS3 system updates happen more frequently? I’m pretty sure the XBOX 360 only gets 3-4 updates a year and I’ve already received two system updates in two weeks on my PS3.

      I do agree with you that both are good systems. Both have quirks, but I don’t mind recommending either of them if anyone asked me to choose one.

  6. generationnext September 9, 2010 / 11:29 AM

    There is a seperate charger that runs on battery for the PS# so you can charge them without the playstation being on. Different strokes for different folks. I personally find the PS3 much more durable. The 360 dies when I play DVDs on it. PS# makes it easier to get online too. But it takes a long time to update and load. I personally like both controllers. The PS# is lighter and simple. XBox is more complex and can charge without the system being on.

    Both have their quirks and need ironing out.

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:37 PM

      Thank you for the pro-tip about charging the controllers! That will come in handy.

  7. Ishana September 9, 2010 / 11:59 AM

    Perhaps it’s because I’m female and have such small hands, but I’ve never been able to use XBox controllers. I much prefer the PS controllers, though I do hate the D-pad. I don’t know what it is, but using the D-pad always makes my thumb hurt after just a few minutes.

    As a hopeful buyer, thanks for the information on the pros and cons of the PS3. The updates do sound annoying, but perhaps they’ll improve in the future.

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:41 PM

      XBOX controllers aren’t for everyone, especially those who have grown up with Playstation controllers. In particular, the original XBOX 1 controller was the size of my face and I refused to play the system because it was so big and uncomfortable.

      Both controllers have their quirks. For the PS3, I feel like my thumb is too short to reach the left stick, so it’s always stretched out as far as my thumb can go. This gets uncomfortable very quickly. The d-pad on the PS3 also seems to do a number on my thumb due to the way it’s shaped.

      Though I prefer the XBOX 360 controller, I think the d-pad on it is downright awful.

      I’m glad I could help you in your purchasing decision, Ishana. The PS3, XBOX 360 and Wii all require updates and all of them could do a better job of handling this process. Here’s to hoping they do improve it in the future.

  8. Kelly September 9, 2010 / 12:40 PM

    Have you tried to subscribe to HuluPlus on it yet? Does that work well? It is the only reason that my fiance and I are considering purchasing the PS3, but if it isn’t working on the machine now, we may as well just wait until the Xbox version is hooked up. Especially since we already have a Wii and an Xbox. And a Japanese Super Nintendo that does not work in America, but it does make a nice paperweight…

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:45 PM

      I do not have Hulu Plus because Hulu is not available in my country. I’d love to try it if it ever comes here though!

      If you already have a Wii and XBOX 360, a PS3 might be a bit excessive. For someone like me who plays games every day and blogs about them, I can sort of justify it. However, if you already have an XBOX 360, you’re probably fine with just that.

      As for your Japanese Super Nintendo, I love Japanese import stuff. I have a few Japanese DS games. If I could find enough Japanese only Super Nintendo games worth buying, I’d consider picking up a Japanese Super Nintendo someday.

  9. drumboytwo56 September 9, 2010 / 1:45 PM

    Having ditched my 360 like 2-3 years ago and jumping on the PS3 van I can’t help but think Sony’s business model is much better than Microsoft’s.

    As a new owner, go grab some themes from PS3 sites to help but a new coat of paint on the XMB. Also, to address the controller charging issue, head over to Monoprice and pick up a 15 ft USB cable so you can sit on your couch or chair and game while charging. I did and it’s well worth it.

    Also as others mentioned, Netflix is coming native to PS3 come November which will be a godsend because the disc does suck but it doesn’t do any worse than Netflix streaming on the 360.

    Welcome to the family.

    -Aaron
    http://drumboytwo56.wordpress.com/

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:47 PM

      Thank you for the comment, advice and welcoming me to the Playstation family drumboytwo56. Much appreciated. I don’t intend on ditching my XBOX 360 for the Playstation 3, but I’m finding this Playstation thing to be pretty cool for the most part.

  10. sarahnsh September 9, 2010 / 1:57 PM

    My brother really wants a PS3, he’s had a PS1 and currently he has a PS2, but I’ve always played with games and game systems that he’s had. It seems like the PS3 is pretty cool and does pretty much everything.

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:48 PM

      Thank you for the comment sarahnsh!

      If you’re looking to grab a Playstation 3, now is a pretty good time to jump in. You might still be able to find a perfectly fine 120 gig system at a discounted price because the 160 gig systems just came out.

  11. Tom Bagshaw September 9, 2010 / 3:48 PM

    It’s kind of ironic that Sony’s tag line for the Playstation 3 is, that it does almost anything, yet they’ve pulled backward compatibility with previous gen games. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Playstation 3 Slim, but, I just wish I could fire up Metal Gear Solid 3 :Snake Eater on it.

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:51 PM

      Thanks for the comment Tom Bagshaw!

      I never owned a Playstation 1 or 2, as I was a die-hard Nintendo fanboy up until this console generation. Because of this, I don’t particularly miss Playstation 2 backwards compatibility. However, removing that functionality from newer models is a major bummer for a lot of people.

  12. gallantecology September 9, 2010 / 5:15 PM

    a Friend of mine just got converted and bought a Play Station… I for one keep to keyboarded-computers.

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:52 PM

      Thanks for the comment gallantecology!

      There are a lot of great games to play on keyboarded-computers, too. It’s not my scene, but I respect PC gaming for what it is.

  13. teknophilia September 9, 2010 / 7:15 PM

    How does it compare to the xbox? There are a lot of people saying that the PS3 has better graphics, but that you can only tell if you have your nose to the screen.

    • Jett September 9, 2010 / 10:55 PM

      In terms of raw horsepower, the Playstation 3 has the XBOX 360 beat in most categories. However, because most companies have to make games for both platforms, they usually make their games look the same across both systems with minor differences here and there. It’s only the PS3 exclusive games where you will see the difference, and even then, it’s not dramatically better than anything on the XBOX 360.

  14. PhingPhing September 10, 2010 / 3:05 AM

    Wonderful ! This is a great story and good for my experience.Thank you for your sharing.

  15. eurybe08 September 10, 2010 / 5:27 AM

    Great Post! I can’t blame you, anyone would have troubles refusing the said offer. I mean it’s such a bargain.

  16. gideond September 10, 2010 / 8:51 AM

    I’ve been trying to decide between a PS3 and a 360 myself. I’ve always been a PS guy. My girlfriend has a PS3 and I have to say that updates to game and the system itself are insanely slow. You don’t have to do them though unless there is a real problem that needs resolved.

    As for charging the controllers. I just bought a charging station to drop them into. Charging them on a PC USB port does not always work. It depends on how much juice your PC sends to the port. Her computer will not charge the PS3 controller. Her Comcast cable box did have a powered USB port on the face that would charge it though. Most cable/satellite boxes seem to be capable of this.

    • Gil September 10, 2010 / 9:21 AM

      The Wii USB ports are always powered even when the system is off. Apparently in standby mode there is still juice going through the ports unlike on the PS3. What’s funny is that my friends charge their PS3 controllers through the Wii since the port is always juiced. Sometimes I admit I do the same. It almost seems wrong but oh so right 😀

      • Jett September 11, 2010 / 1:31 AM

        I have a Wii as well. What are your thoughts on the system?

    • Jett September 11, 2010 / 1:29 AM

      The problem with updates is you can’t connect to PSN without the latest updates. You can play games, but for anything you want to play online, you’ll have to get the patches first.

  17. dreaminofyou September 11, 2010 / 12:14 AM

    Great post, I myself will be picking up a PS3 soon.
    You were at FanEXPO? O: Toronto…Or?

    • Jett September 11, 2010 / 1:46 AM

      Yes, I was at FanExpo Toronto.

  18. oghex September 12, 2010 / 11:10 AM

    Great Post..thanks for ur information

  19. Matt September 12, 2010 / 3:05 PM

    Very informative post. Gotta respectfully disagree in re: Xbox Vs. PS3 controller. My first and constant experience with any Xbox controller is of irritation. It just doesn’t feel good in my hands. Playstation does.

    • Jett September 12, 2010 / 3:28 PM

      You are absolutely allowed to respectfully disagree. I know there are tens of millions of people who would take the Dualshock over an XBOX 360 controller any day of the week. Likewise, the group that likes the XBOX 360 over the Dualshock is definitely bigger than it used to be. It’s all a matter of preference.

      For me, I evolved from the the Nintendo 64 controller, then the Gamecube controller, which required your thumb to be in a specific, more upright position to use the left analog stick. The XBOX 360 controller was an easy jump for me, because that analog stick is in that position.

      The Playstation controllers have always had the left analog stick positioned lower on the controller. Reaching across to use the left analog stick rather than up on the Playstation controller has always felt weird. I’m doing my best to get used to it, but it’s going to take time to reprogram my brain and fingers.

      To be fair, my preference isn’t so much a ‘Playstation’ thing as it is a ‘left analog stick placement’ thing. The Wii classic controllers have the left analog stick positioned lower on the controller like a Dualshock, which is just as awkward to me. As I said above, it’s all a matter of preference.

  20. Ps3CityLife November 15, 2010 / 2:44 PM

    Great post or best console Ps3 🙂

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