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I have recently sold my 60GB PS3 'Phat' and replaced it with a 250GB Slim model and so far I couldn't be happier with it.
~~~ Games ~~~
For 99% of people this will be the key area that the console has to perform in - and it does. I've played a wide variety of games on it since I bought it including FIFA, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed 2 and various demos. All of these play very smoothly and the graphics are of a very good high-definition quality.
I can see no difference between the performance of the original 'Phat' models and the 'Slim' model.
~~~ Blu-Ray Player ~~~
So far the only Blu-Ray movie I have watched on the 'Slim' is Transformers 2. I have watched parts of it on both a stand-alone Blu-Ray player and on the original PS3 and again I can see no difference.
The picture quality is very bright and crisp, with a very clear improvement on normal DVDs. However, I think that the picture quality you get from Sky HD is better than you get from Blu-Ray movies, I just feel you get more detail in the picture.
~~~ DVD Player ~~~
I don't use my PS3 as a DVD player, but I have tested it out to see how it compares to a stand-alone player and I would have to say the DVD up scaling that the PS3 performs definitely works. The picture is clearly better through the PS3.
~~~ CD Player ~~~
Again, I don't use it for this function, but have tried it out anyway. I generally can't tell the difference between anything playing music and this is no exception. Good quality CD player that I can have no complaints about.
~~~ Features ~~~
The PS3 also has numerous other features, which include:
Wireless Connectivity - built-in wireless allows you to immediately access the internet without the use of cables or needing to buy a wireless adapter. No complaints here. It's a very rare occasion when the connection drops out, usually due to bad weather conditions.
Bluetooth Connectivity - this is also built in and allows you to connect various accessories. I use it for my headset and it works clearly without interruption.
HDD Upgradeable - the PS3 has been made so it is very easy to increase the size of storage space. I have upgraded mine from a 250GB to a 320GB and it was all very easy. Remove some screws, swap the HDD and with the 'Slim' you have to download an update onto the HDD, but this is easy aswell.
Photo Album - you can store all you photos on the PS3 and arrange and do basic editing whichever way you want. I've never actually put any photos into it, so I can't say much more.
Media Server - easy connection to your PC or laptop, allowing you to share your media files such as photos, music and video to your PS3. All you need to do is download a media player application (Vuze/TVersity,WMP) to your computer and away you go.
Internet Browser - you can also surf the internet via your PS3. It is used in the same way as you would do on a PC, but it is a little more awkward. Pages take a little longer to load than usual, but all in all it gets the job done if you can't get to a PC. You can also use YouTube and various other similar sites.
BBC iPlayer - access to iPlayer from the main menu is quite handy and I regularly use this. Picture quality is good, but not quite TV standard.
~~~ Appearance ~~~
At first I wasn't sure about getting a 'Slim' because I didn't think it looked as good as the original. Eventually I opted for the 'Slim' because if I was going to be buying something brand-new then I didn't want the exact same thing I just got rid of.
I'm very happy that I did buy the 'Slim'. The pictures on the internet or in catalogues don't do it justice. It is much better looking in the flesh. The new smaller size makes it look very sleek and I now think the 'Slim' looks better than the 'Phat'.
The new matte finish doesn't show dust as much and the lighting around the new physical buttons, makes it all look very casual and impressive.
~~~ Power / Noise ~~~
I have no way of proving myself if it uses 1/3 less power than the original, but I can say it is quieter.
The old model (60GB) could be heard without listening for it and if it weren't hoovered regularly then it would sound like a hairdryer after a while. The Slim's fans can only be heard if you're listening for them and overall is clearly quieter.
The back of the console does get quite warm though.
~~~ Menu Navigation ~~~
The PS3 uses an XMB (Cross Media Bar) menu system. All the main categories are run horizontally and the various sub-menus are the vertical to that. I might be making it sound a little complicated, but it isn't.
It's all very easy to use and find what you want. Everything is well labelled and common sense will generally lead you to what you want.
~~~ PlayStation Network ~~~
One of the PS3 big pulling points is that it allows free online gaming. It also provides you with access to all your friends with PS3's so you can have voice chat, text chat and send private messages to them.
You can also access the PS Store. With this you get access to free demos and other downloadable content which you have to pay for, such as map packs and costumes for characters. You can also buy games from the store; these vary in price from £2.50 for small mini-games to £19.99 for games you can buy on the high street such as Gran Turismo Prologue. It also has a video store where you can either rent or buy movies (in SD or HD).
On top of that you can also access PS HOME. This is a virtual world where you can design your won flat and customize your character. It costs money to buy almost everything, but you don't have to pay to access the virtual world itself. In HOME you can play friends at various games such as chess, checkers, bowling and pool.
The final aspect of the PSN is the 'Life with PlayStation' feature. This allows you to contribute the power of your PS3 to help understand diseases. You can just leave your PS3 to get on with breaking down molecules or you can browse world news stories.
~~~ Game Exclusives ~~~
Another important aspect when choosing which console to buy are the exclusive games you can get for it. The PS3 has a number of big-name exclusives, which include:
Metal Gear Solid Uncharted Gran Turismo Little Big Planet
== ~~~ Overall ~~~ ==
For me this is the best console you can get. Its main competitor is the Xbox 360, but I'm firmly in team PlayStation. It has so many uses and you won't regret buying it if you choose to do so. Worth every penny.