PS3 Super Slim Review: Smaller, Sleeker, Silenter

Last week it was announced that Sony's Playstation 3 is now in 1 in every 5 British homes after sales passed the remarkable 5 million mark, and to celebrate the milestone, we were sent a sleek new Super Slim PS3 to play with. At launch, the PS3 was an awesome bit of kit - housing the first blu-ray system for console gamers (and still one of the best on the general market), and packing in enough tech to make the PS2 and original XBox look like Casio watches. It was also bloody enormous, weighing an arm-aching amount, and though the design was sleek and a lot less eye-catching (in the right way) than the XBox 360, it was a little unwieldy and took up a fair amount of space on the entertainment unit. So when the PS3 Slim was released back in 2009 it went some way to sorting out those issues, offering a much more reasonably sized console, and now, for fans of extra space, Sony have also released the Super Slim model - some 25% smaller, and 20% lighter than the Slim model. The basic design is similar to the preceding models - simple and black without an awful lot of frills, and though there was some compromise in the aesthetic quality when the PS3 was replaced with the Slim, and some might think that this Super Slim looks just a little cheaper than the last model, I actually prefer the new design with its more feminine curves and contrasting textures. The biggest draw for some people will be the change in size - it is noticeably smaller than the Slim, but when stood side by side with an original, the achievement of stripping the design down becomes even more obvious and more impressive. SOny have basically got rid of half their console, in both bulk and weight. Set-up is a simple affair, though it is a little irksome to discover that the Super Slim doesn't come with a HDMI cable, though perhaps Sony are expecting their users to already be equipped given this is meant to be a replacement console and not a supplementary one - so it's a forgivable oversight in that respect. The most taxing aspect of the set-up comes with copying your data over - but this is an awful lot less complex than the XBox 360 process (which was convoluted further by the introduction of a new transfer cable with the new model console), though again this is relatively simple as long as you chose the transfer option when setting up your old system. All previous downloads can be accessed using your PSN ID, and navigating to the Downloads section of the Store, from where they can all be downloaded onto your system. It all makes for a simple transition, which is half the battle with a console update. The performance differences aren't a major change from the Slim model, but the one overriding thing to notice from the performance is the quietness of the system. Where once the fans would kick out an almighty racket, especially when the system over-heated, the Super Slim is impressively silent by comparison, even after extended periods of activity. In place of the load-out disc tray, the Super Slim features a sliding tray, opened by pressing the side-mounted eject button. It is a less elegant solution to the loading need, and it's accompanied by an unfortunate clunky noise, and the compromise is continued in the disc reading noises, which are noticably louder than with the Slim. It's hardly a fatal design flaw by any means, but it's certainly something of a shame when the rest of the design works so well. The question has to be whether or not the new system is worth it. To Slim owners, the improvements are not all that noticable, though I would suggest that the design changes are enough on their own to convince. It might appear a little cheaper - and that will surely be reflected in a price drop from Sony in the coming months - but it definitely looks better. The Super Slim is a great bit of kit - there are of course a few design compromises, but they are far from fatal, and the improvements on the original PS3 model in particular make it an essential purchase for those gamers who didn't update to the Slim in 2009 or since. The differences between Original and Super Slim put the consoles worlds apart, in all honesty, and the drop in price represents a further advantage, particularly for those looking to take advantage of the extra storage space, and download some new digital copies to boost their non-boxed collection. Here's what the PS3 has looked like in each of its three models released to date... The new PS3 Super Slim model is available to buy now. Look out for a chance to win one exclusively with WhatCulture'c in our upcoming Christmas Gift Guide, coming in November.
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