Sony's next-generation console is finally here, but before we can get stuck into it, we have to do some PS5 unboxing. The first thing you notice unpacking the new PS5 is that it's an absolute beast of a machine. We've all seen the specs and the size comparisons, but that still doesn't prepare you for the slab of tech that is PlayStation's newest machine. It's around 10lb of electronic wizardry and shaped like a building the high council of an advanced alien race would inhabit. Personally, I love it, but then I would rather have a Wall-E than a human child, so anything that reminds me of sad robots from the future is a design win for me.
Also in the box, you'll get the new DualSense controller, a cable for charging it - note that it's now USB-C, instead of micro USB - a power cable and an HDMI lead. The other essential piece of kit for anyone who wants to lay their PS5 horizontally or vertically safely is the stand. An unassuming disc of black plastic, it clips onto the ridges at the back of the PS5 for laying it on its side, or slots into place between the two white wings at the bottom for tall console fanciers. It's easy to use, and is vital for anyone who doesn't want their PS5 wobbling around like a super-advanced seesaw. I want to be part of club vertical, but for now, I'm part of the horizontal crowd, at least until I can get my TV mounted to clear the necessary real estate underneath it.
The console's white shell is different in person than it's looked in all those PlayStation shots and videos. There's almost a sheen to it, and it's not a blinding bright white, there's just a drop of the old PlayStation grey in there too. Same with the DualSense controller, which is smooth on top with a more textured finish on its underside. It's a striking change from the dark matte black of the PS4 and the DualShock, and feels fresh, especially with the strange curves and glossy black middle that houses lighting, USB and USB-C slots, and subtle power and eject buttons. Even tucked into my TV unit next to a row of other tech - Xbox Series X, Apple TV, Sonos Soundbar - PS5 screams for attention like a giant toddler beauty queen in a new tiara.
Seeing the Xbox Series X and PS5 sat side by side together - once foes, now all part of my happy console family - is really is striking just how different the two brands have gone on flagship console design. On its side, the Xbox Series X is an unassuming black box, chunky and compact. It would be easy to pontificate on how that underlines the differences and heritage of the two machines, but the truth is two different design teams had very different visions of 2020. Didn't we all?
Behind the scenes
Poke around the back of the PS5 and you'll find a minimal selection of ports. Two standard USB slots, HDMI, power, and an ethernet connection. The ridged vents on the back have a pleasingly industrial look, and four days in have yet to be besmirched with dust, lint, and French Bulldog fur. What else could the PS5 have added? A slot for more SSD memory, perhaps, but Sony must be confident that its players are capable of managing digital game libraries at this point, and savings on a slot all add up for that final retail price.
For now, that's all we can tell you about the PS5, but you can expect a lot more about the UI, the games, and the hidden features soon. If you want to know more about the DualSense controller beyond how it feels when you first get it out of the box, check out our preview of it in action - adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, microphone sensor, and all - with our look at Astro's Playroom.
Stock is proving hard to come by right now, but head over to our PS5 pre-orders guide for the latest updates at the best retailers. If you've rather hold out for a bundle or are crossing your fingers that some PS5 accessories will get discounted, you'll want to keep your eye on our PS5 Black Friday deals page.