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Sony 120 GB Playstation 3 Slim Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players
Written by Thomas Spurlin   
Wednesday, 09 September 2009
Article Index
Sony 120 GB Playstation 3 Slim Review 
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Setting Up:

Though it’s a fairly feature-rich system, the slim PS3 happens to be a very breezy unit to setup – just like its predecessor under the same XMB operating system.  Once booted up, it asks for a Language Selection and Time Setting.  From there, the setup pretty much goes on Autopilot, asking which type of connectors you’ll be using and what the resolution will be.  When hooked up via HDMI, the process is extremely simple; it automatically registers 1080p resolution, as well as the advanced audio functions within the PS3.  

As far as Settings go, the PS3’s XMB (or Cross Media Bar) contains a plethora of functions to choose from: System Update, Game, Video, Music, Chat, System, Theme, Date/Time, Power Save, Accessory, Printer, Display, Sound, Security, Remote Play, and Network, all fairly self-explanatory.  Each one contains varied customizable settings, with the Accessory settings being the most in-depth.  It’s here that you’ll want to register any Bluetooth devices (such as headsets and remotes), setup either an applicable web camera or Sony’s PS3 Eye, and register keyboards.  Synching the unit with an inexpensive Bluetooth headset was a cinch, though it takes a while to find the proper balance between voice loudness and echo.  Several other settings are available under the System Settings function, including the options to Auto Start discs upon sliding them into the unit (personal preference is to turn them off, though the function works properly in this unit), select System Language, and Format / Restore the hard drive.

Sony PS3 parts

Adjusting the visual output can be toggled under the Display settings, where selecting the Video Output Settings opens up an easy-to-navigate window.  Options first range between HDMI, Component / D-Terminal, Composite / S-Video, and AV Multi / SCART.  Manual resolution settings are available with 720p, 1080i, and 1080p options under HDMI, followed by a quick confirmation page that lists what you’ll be using.  A Cross Color Reduction Filter option is available to “reduce rainbow-effect artifacts”, available when using a Composite or SCART connection.  As with previous units, the PS3 also carried the Full Range RGB and Super-White over HDMI.

Audio functions are a bit more exciting this time around.  As per the other PS3 units, the Audio Output Settings range between HDMI, Optical, and Audio Input Connector / SCART – along with a new function, AV MULTI, available with software update 3.0 to send audio through two separate sound outputs.  Selecting Automatic for the method of output will automatically make all the options available, which brings up a very pleasant surprise.  This PS3 has been enabled with the capacity to bitstream advanced audio functions, including DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby True HD, DTS HD High Resolution, AND Dolby Digital Plus 5.1.  As with before, the unit also supports up to 7.1 channels of PCM sound via HDMI.  

Several functions are also available under the Video Settings to customize the cinematic experience with the PS3.  Along with Blu-ray/DVD Audio, Subtitle and Upscaling functions, there are also toggled options for Dynamic Range Control and 1080p 24hz Output (On/Off).  Most important, you’ll find the Video (RGB, V Pb/Cb Pr/Cr) and Audio (Bitstream, PCM) Output controls here, which is where you’ll be able to decide whether you’d like to send pure or decoded audio tracks to your receiver of choice.  Bitstream this time around, as previously mentioned, contains pure streaming of high-definition sound – so the Bitstream function was selected.  

Hooking up to the Internet with the PS3 can be a little tricky, all depending on your connections.  With a LAN-line connection, it’s pretty simple – hook the Ethernet cable into the rear and go from there.  However, wireless signals are becoming more and more commonplace, and the PS3 comes equipped with an internal wireless adapter.  Using a Linksys WRT54GS adapter that’s been security-enabled, it made the process pretty easy: select Manual, enter in the SSID, choose the entry method you’re using, then enter in the WPA-PSK.  It’ll test the connection, check to make certain you’re able to access the Playstation Network, and save the information to use upon connecting.

Performance:

Let’s analyze the performance from the moment a Blu-ray goes into the player.  It’s worth starting the process here because you’ll certainly notice a difference as the disc enters the slot.  Instead of the smooth entry accompanying the previous PS3 systems, the loading mechanism inside the slim PS3 is noticeably louder.  It lets out almost a grinding sound that’s less-than-becoming, almost a little disconcerting.  Any unnerving sounds cease once the disc starts spinning, but the jarring noise as a disc enters and leaves the system can be a little annoying.  Also, upon getting the disc fired up, each Blu-ray seems to take roughly 5 seconds or so longer to boot up and begin reading than the previous system.  Honestly, these gaps are noticeable when sitting and waiting for the discs, like watching blades of grass grow; however, as is the case with many cinema lovers, a tendency to insert the disc and grab a beverage or snack during the loading process usually renders this point somewhat null.  It certainly doesn’t hinder the performance of the Blu-ray discs once they’ve been revved up.

One thing that’s worth interjecting at this point is the fact that this slim PS3 has been put through a barrage of lengthy one-session testing timespans, as well as the average multi-disc tests.  Upon first entry, the system is rather hushed, noticeably quieter than its predecessor.  The fan also runs, and this might sound a little strange, with a higher-pitched sound than the older fan.  It makes the noise a little more difficult to hear, though it sounds like it’s running as much or less than the previous system.  After about 6 or 7 hours of continuous usage, either while gaming or running Blu-rays, the internal fan kicks into a different gear and ramps up the audibility factor.  Depending on your receiver’s volume, it can be drowned out (easily done at about 6/10 power on my Onkyo SR605) but still observable if concentrated on.  This new PS3 isn’t silent, but it’s certainly quieter – and any of these factors, if seen as glaring negatives, will be overpowered by the positives that this machine has to offer.  



 
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