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Sony - PlayStation 3 review

Hardware reviews > Games console reviews > Sony PlayStation 3 

immensely powerful and hugely expensive new games console (26/03/2007)

To be fair to Sony, the actual hardware was never really going to be in much doubt. And after your first few hours in the company of the PlayStation 3, you're likely to be impressed.

Several initial thoughts went through this reviewer's head. Firstly, the machine's really quite heavy. Secondly, aesthetically, it's really quite smart. And thirdly, and surprisingly, is that given the immense processing grunt under its glossy, buffed-up exterior, it's very quiet in operation. It certainly puts the Xbox 360 in the shade in that department.

When we switched on for the first time, following as simple a connection procedure as you'd expect with a games console, we signed up for the PlayStation Network and downloaded an advised, albeit not compulsory, update. This involved us getting the machine online, which was thankfully straightforward. A built-in wireless receiver or the Ethernet port at the back are your two choices, and we tried both, finding the machine adapted to either at breakneck speed.

With the PlayStation 3's latest firmware update to version 1.8, Sony added in the long-awaited ability to upscale DVDs, PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games to HD resolutions. Each of 720p, 1080i and 1080p are supported on all accounts, though for DVDs you need an HDMI connection for those resolutions for copyright purposes. So with the new ability to play classic titles in HD resolutions, has Sony given these games a new lease on life, or at least their visuals?

We've put a number of PSone and PS2 games to the test. We went about capturing screens from each in a number of different settings so that you can compare them right here from the comfort of your computer. Hopefully it's cushioned... We captured everything at 1080p through equipment more expensive than many BMWs to simulate what these titles would look like on some of the best TVs available. And yes, that includes the games that aren't upscaled because HD sets would wind up scaling them internally anyway and it makes more sense to capture them like that rather than in Photoshop.

Our comparison shots have all been cropped in some way, but they've not been resized at all, which means you'll get a pixel-accurate look at the quality of the images. Our gallery images that you can use to compare the shots yourselves have only had a watermark and label thrown on them, but are otherwise untouched.

If you've played with the settings for this, you'll know that the PS3 offers options for the scaling of Off, Normal and Full. Normal means that the games will come out in a 4:3 resolution and Full means that everything will come out widescreen. So for our PSone titles we chose the Normal setting when upscaled while all our PS2 games were set to Full. The other option available has to do with smoothing, which we also tested out. And let it also be known that when titles that support progression scan have this option turned on, they revert back to 480p with no alterations. We've included some comparison shots to this as well.