FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

PlayStation 4 inside Sony’s new powerhouse

By Damian Seeto
Mon 9 Dec 2013
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The PlayStation 3 came out roughly seven years ago and had a stumbling start. The main thing that scared off many consumers was its insane price. The system cost $1200 which was too high for most people. The PS3 remained on store shelves for many months until Sony released new models that were cheaper. Since that time, the PS3 improved over time and has slowly become one of my favourite consoles to use.

Fast forward to 2013 and the PlayStation 4 has arrived. As of time of writing, the PS4’s release is opposite of that of the PS3. The system costs and affordable $649 and the system is selling out worldwide. Here in New Zealand, the PS4 was sold out months even before its official launch on November 29th. Yes, the PS4 is one great system, but does it really offer everything you want from a video game console?

Size and Design

One of the things I disliked about the original PS3 was that it was huge and very heavy. Being a skinny guy, I struggled to even carry the thing. Not to mention the original PS3 took up a lot of space that it was hard to find space for in my living room. Sony of course listened to the feedback and made the PS3 slimmer.

The PS4 on the other hand is already quite slim and sexy looking. It is exactly the same size as the Slim PS3 model that Sony released in 2009. I have both consoles sitting under my TV and they are around the same width, height and weight. I really liked the fact that the PS4 weighed a lot less than the original PS3, because I was able to carry the PS4 more easily with my skinny arms.

Another great thing about the PS4 is that it doesn’t require a power brick. Even though my Nintendo Wii is small, it uses a heavy power brick that you need to situate somewhere. The same can be said about the Xbox 360 and Xbox One as well. The fact that the PS4 has no power brick means all of the power is built inside.

Even though the PS4’s power is built inside, Sony smartly built many ventilation shafts in order to keep the console’s temperature cool. I left on the PS4 for a few hours and I have to say, it doesn’t get that hot which is a good thing. I remember my original Xbox 360 console got really hot every time I turned it on.

It’s worth mentioning that the PS4 includes an HDMI cable right out of the box. This will save some people money since they never supplied a free HDMI cable to any of their PS3 models. With that being said, you will need an HDTV in order to play on the PS4. If you have an old TV that only has AV outputs, you are out of luck because the PS4 doesn’t have those connections in place. Component AV output is not supported either. At the front of the console are two USB ports and the power and eject buttons. The power and eject buttons are touch sensitive so they’re not really “buttons” per se.

DUALSHOCK 4 Controller

The DUALSHOCK 4 controller has been redesigned slightly to add more features than ever before. It still has somewhat of the same design as previous DUALSHOCK controllers, but the subtle changes make is arguably the best DUALSHOCK controller ever made.First off, the DUALSHOCK 4 feels better to hold than the DUALSHOCK 3 controller. This is because it weighs a bit more and feels sturdier.

It is also far better to hold than the light and useless SIX AXIS controllers Sony released before the DUALSHOCK 3 came out. One thing to note is that the controller has more grip too. This is better for those playing games during the Summer because it makes the controller less slippery when your hands would be sweatier.

Another redesign that has occurred are the analogue sticks. They now have a concave design so your thumbs won’t slip of so easily. Again, this is a great thing because I always felt my thumbs would slip off from time-to-time using the older DUALSHOCK controllers.

The L2 and R2 buttons have been altered and they feel more like triggers this time around. They are better to press than the L2 and R2 buttons from the DUALSHOCK 3. The face and directional buttons have been left unchanged, but this doesn’t bother me at all because they were fine in the first place.

The biggest changes that have been made lie in the middle of the controller. The Start and Select buttons have been replaced with the Options and Share buttons respectively. PlayStation fans now need to press Options to pause their game. This is something I had to learn because I had been pressing Start for many years. The Share button is used to upload videos and screenshots of gameplay.

The touch pad is the biggest thing on the controller and it acts like a mousepad on a laptop computer. It’s very responsive and fun to use, but only The Playroom and Killzone: Shadow Fall have used it so far. I look forward for future games using it because it adds a wealth of interesting possibilities. There is also a headphone jack so you can listen to your PS4 games using any headphones you have lying at home. There is also a speaker on the controller too that will add additional sounds to your games.

Fast and User-Friendly

I have to be honest with you; I hated many things about the PS3 when it first came out. One of the things I hated the most was the mandatory installations. I had never been a PC gamer so mandatory installations was new to me. The worst game was Metal Gear Solid 4 because you had to install the game every time you played a new chapter. Not to mention it took ages for the game to install every time you played it!

Thankfully, the PS4 does things right as mandatory installations still exist, but you can play your game in mere seconds. I was amazed at how fast it took the PS4 to install games. This is mainly because the game now installs (fully) in the background as you play. Those long mandatory installations you had to suffer in the past is now gone thankfully. Downloading things also feels faster too. This might be different depending on your internet connection, but I noticed downloading content felt faster on the PS4 than on the PS3.

Remote Play On PS Vita

Personally, this is my favorite feature on the PS4. As a PS Vita owner, it’s great that I can now play PS4 games on a portable system. Setting up the two devices was super-easy and all you need is a stable internet connection for it to work. Bear in mind, you will have to use the same PSN profile in order to play PS4 games on the PS Vita. I tried using my friend’s PSN account on the PS4, but remote play wasn’t possible because both machines only interact with the same account.

Another thing you will have to know is that remote play only works if the PS4 and PS Vita consoles are pretty much in close proximity with one another. I left the PS4 in the lounge and tried using my PS Vita in my bedroom across the other side of my house. The gameplay on the PS Vita started to lag and distort when I was away from the PS4.

Still, I think it’s rather neat that you can play PS4 games on the PS Vita. It’s really helpful for me if other family members are hogging all of the other TVs in my house. If I want to play a PS4 game, I can easily play them on the PS Vita. The PS Vita’s rear touch screens are used as the R2/R3 and L2/L3 buttons in most games for those that wanted to know.

Where Are The Apps?

Apps are things that have become common in today’s society. People download apps all of the time on their smartphones and many other devices. Even though the PS4 is Sony’s newest and flashiest device, it lacks any apps to speak of. Even the PS Vita has more apps on it…

I went to the PSN store and the only apps that were available was IGN, Vidzone and Quickflix. That was all. There is currently no app to download Youtube, there are no apps for movies and there are no apps for TV shows either. The only other app that was Music Unlimited. Music Unlimited is pretty redundant because you have to pay to stream music. Most people I know would rather use Spotify since it’s free.

I had a look on the USA PSN store to see they have (I live in New Zealand). They have a bit more because they have Netflix, Amazon and other apps. Americans can also buy and rent Hollywood movies using their PS4 too. Even then, the apps that are available (right now) are thin compared to the PS3.

Lack of Media Features

Another thing that I think the PS4 is lacking is overall media features. I liked using my PS3 to watch videos, listen to music and view my photos. You cannot do any of that on the PS4 sadly. USB devices right now can only be used to back up saved data and nothing else. You cannot even change the menu’s background either. The blue default design gets boring to look at after a while. Audio CDs don’t work on the system and only 2D Blu-ray discs work on it too. Sure not many people own 3D Blu-ray movies, but this just seems like a step backwards from the PS3.

The PS3 might be lacking in some areas, but it’s a very great media device. I have used it to play and store MP3 files, my photos and various videos. I also use my PS3 to play Youtube videos too because they look better on an HDTV as opposed to watching them on my laptop I have also used my PS3 to watch various 3D movies such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Tekken Blood Vengeance and more.

I just don’t know why the PS4 takes a step backwards in the media department. It’s possible these media features could be added in the future but as of right now, there’s nothing to do on the PS4 other than to play video games.

PS4 Launch Lineup

The PS4 launch lineup is good, but not great if you are looking for exclusives. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t mind the annual releases of Assassin’s Creed, FIFA and Call of Duty, you’ll probably think the lineup is fine. For me, I don’t really like annually released games and l usually like to play different genres. The PS4 only offers Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack at the moment. The rest of the PS4 exclusives are only downloadable titles. Unless you are a hardcore gamer, I would say it’s best to wait to purchase a PS4 until there are more games to play. I’m a fan of RPG and fighting games, but there are no new PS4 games from either genre at the moment. 2014 will be a stronger year for the PS4 because the likes of Infamous: Second Son, Driveclub and Watch Dogs will be available. If you don’t get a PS3 this year because it’s sold out, don’t worry because I feel all of the better games will be out next year anyway.

In terms of graphics, the PS4 reaches heights that the PS3 can only dream of. Most games look smoother and brighter than ever before. The best looking games I played on the system thus far have been Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall and NBA 2K14. NBA 2K14 is probably the best looking of the bunch. I would even go as far as saying it’s the best looking game I’ve ever seen so far.

It’s also worth mentioning that the PS4 is not backward compatible with any previous PlayStation games. Yes, this even includes digitally downloaded titles as well. Sony is expected to roll out the Gaikai service that will allow you to play old games, but it’s likely you’ll have to pay to play your old games all over again. As of right now however, only new PS4 games will work on the system.

Verdict

The PlayStation 4 is a very great system that improves on the PS3 on so many levels. The console runs very fast and installs and downloads times aren’t as slow as they used to be. Remote Play with the PS Vita and the impressive DUALSHOCK 4 controller makes playing games more fun than ever before. The console itself is small and sleek so those with a small living room won’t have trouble fitting it in. The main gripes I have is that the console lacks additional features that the PS3 had. The PS4 should improve over time, but right now it’s best only as a games machine. If you want to use the PS4 for other things, it’s best to wait to purchase it when Sony will hopefully add new features via future firmware updates.

Sign up for your free Quickflix trial here and you will receive a free new release movie!

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Could New Zealanders initiate a cyber attack from within?
The threat landscape is significantly increasing worldwide, and the opportunities it presents are a growing concern in Aotearoa.
Story image
PIJF
The path to bolstering supply chain security in New Zealand
A significant amount of today's business and leisure activity relies on IT supply chains. From complex international freight trades to local small business distribution channels, any supply chain that involves IT infrastructure serves as a crucial tool in our daily lives. 
Story image
Digital Transformation
SAP partners with New Zealand Rugby for digital transformation
The multi-year partnership will see SAP advance NZR with its organisational operations, team performance, fan experience and sustainability goals.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft NZ and TupuToa to boost diversity in cybersecurity sector
Microsoft NZ has teamed up with TupuToa to co-develop a cyber security employment programme specifically aimed at creating more diversity in Aotearoa's cybersecurity sector.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Apple
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
IDC
IDC finds 3.9% decline in worldwide tablet shipments
Preliminary data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker has found tablet shipments reached 38.4 million units during Q1 2022, a year-over-year decline of 3.9%.
Story image
Design
Dynabook launches new Tecra A40-K and A50-K models
Dynabook has announced two new additions to its Tecra range, with both said to help promote flexible working solutions while also reducing the strain on IT managers.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: Creative Outlier Air V3
Creative is back with the third version of its affordable Outlier Air wireless earbuds range - aptly named the ‘V3’. And this time, they come boasting ambient mode and active noise reduction.
Story image
Jabra
Jabra reveals its latest portable headset Engage 55
Jabra has launched the Engage 55, the newest product in Jabra's Engage series designed for ultimate call security and quality.
Story image
Phishing
WhatsApp and QR codes the next scam threat - report
KnowBe4 has warned it expects to see an increase in QR Codes and the WhatsApp chat platform being used for phishing and other scams. 
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Poly
Poly introduces new smart devices and announces Amazon e-store in Australia
Poly is introducing two new pro-grade devices to the market and announcing its first official Australian e-store on Amazon.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 32GB PNY XLR8 Gaming MAKO 6000MHz DDR5 memory kit
PNY’s XLR8 Gaming MAKO DDR5 memory modules are designed to get the most out of systems based on Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Sony
Sony launches LinkBuds S - the latest model in the series
Sony says the LinkBuds S will give users a unique sound experience through sensor and spatial sound technology, even in AR games.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: HyperX Pulsefire Haste wireless mouse and HyperX Pulsefire XL Mat
With its lightweight Pulsefire Haste wireless mouse and RGB lit Pulsefire XL Mat, HyperX sets out to up your game and add a little colour to your desktop.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Steelseries Aerox 9 Wireless and Aerox 5 gaming mice
Steelseries offered two interesting mice for review, the Aerox 9 Wireless, aimed at MMO/MOBA players, and the Aerox 5, a wired mouse for multi-genre use.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Norton
Hands-on review: Norton Anti Track 19 software
We get hands on with Norton's new privacy tool that was introduced in March 2022.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: WD_Black SN770 NVMe SSD Game Drive
Western Digital expands its WD_Black range of NVMe solid-state drives with the WD_Black SN770 Game Drive.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
In almost every respect it works like a book, apart from the fact that it weighs next to nothing, fits in my hand perfectly, and is soothing on my eyes.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.
Story image
Logitech
Logitech releases new mouse with ergonomic and sustainable focus
Logitech has announced the Logitech Signature M650 Mouse and the Signature M650 for Business Wireless Mouse, both with new ergonomic features and capabilities.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Google to enter the smartwatch market with the Google Pixel Watch
Google has provided a first look at its new Google Pixel Watch, which is set to make an entry into the competitive smartwatch market.
Story image
WolfVision
WolfVision announces new range of visualisers
WolfVision has announced a new range of visualisers to help meet multiple industry demands for remote learning and educational solutions.
Story image
Mobility
Tyson Beckford partners with Element Case on new AppleWatch band
Celebrity Tyson Beckford has collaborated with STM Brands' Element Case brand to create a rugged new accessory.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
Gaming
PNY launches XLR8 Gaming EPIX memory products in A/NZ
PNY has launched its XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X RGB™ DDR4 Silver 3200MHz and 3600MHz memory products in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Sustainability
The AI Forum helps NZ pave the way with AI sustainability practices
Non-profit organisation The AI Forum is helping Kiwis learn about addressing climate change issues through the use of AI technology.
Story image
Chorus
Chorus and Nokia launches first trial of 25G PON broadband
Chorus and Nokia have announced the successful demonstration of 25 gigabit per second fibre (Gbps) broadband technology at the Chorus Fibre Lab in Auckland. 
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.
Story image
D-Link
D-Link launches new G415 Smart Router as part of EAGLE PRO AI range
D-Link A/NZ has announced the launch of its new G415 AX1500 4G Smart Router as part of the new EAGLE PRO AI Series.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: GoPro Hero 10
I have a long history with GoPro; I still remember getting my first camera when I was 16, using it to film Parkour and the day I lost it down a dingey crag. 
Story image
TUANZ
TUANZ to address rural connectivity at 2022 symposium
TUANZ is hosting the Rural Connectivity Symposium for the first time in person since 2019, providing a forum to discuss the state of rural connectivity.
Story image
Collaboration
TikTok launches community-inspired effect capability
TikTok has announced the launch of its Effect House feature to allow its users to create and share Community Effects.
Story image
Corsair
Hands-on review: Corsair 32GB Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM kit
Corsair’s Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM offers PC users an entry-level upgrade to the new memory standard allowing them to get a little bit more out of their new Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: The A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console
Retro Games, the UK outfit responsible for a range of retro gaming devices from joystick to full-sized Vic-20s and C64 emulators, have launched their A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console.
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
Gaming
Mastercard users can now use rewards points in gaming
Mastercard has launched Mastercard Gamer Xchange (MGX), allowing APAC consumers to convert their rewards points into gaming currency.
Story image
i-PRO
i-Pro announces newest solutions as rebranded enterprise
i-PRO APAC Oceania has introduced its newest high-resolution mid-range cameras, with combined edge AI analytics and resolutions of up to 4K.
Story image
Dynabook
Dynabook refreshes Portégé X30L series with the Portégé X30L-K
The new model contains hybrid-architecture Intel 12th Gen Core P-Series 28W processor options, Wi-Fi 6E, along with Intel Iris Xe graphics.