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November 26, 2013 / Jett

First Impressions of the PlayStation 4


After months of waiting with bated breath, my PlayStation 4 finally arrived. Showing up at 10:30am, it sat at my building’s concierge desk until I could pick it up later that night. Once I did, I cracked the box open and stated noodling with it immediately.

Though I’ve seen the PlayStation 4 in demo units for at least a month now, I was still caught off guard by how handsome it looks in the flesh. Sure, I made fun of it at first for looking like a trapezoid Xbox One, but I now find it to be a very slick-looking box. For the record, I also like how the Xbox One looks in person, even if it is quite the hulking machine. In contrast, the PlayStation 4 is quite compact. With an Xbox 360 on one end and a PlayStation 3 on the other, my PlayStation 4 sits snugly between the two.

One aspect of the design that threw me off was its power button. It took me a good 15 seconds to figure out how to turn the thing on, as the button is designed to flow almost seamlessly with the line that divides the shiny and matte portions of the console. It doesn’t really press in and only requires a touch to activate.

Once the system was on, initial setup was fairly smooth. Connecting to my router was a breeze and downloading the day one patch kicked in as soon as the internet connection was established. However, I hit a big snag when I needed to log into PSN. For whatever reason, I could not connect to PSN at all. After numerous restarts of the console and my router, I gave up to eat dinner. When I came back, it magically decided to work again.

I like the overhaul to the system UI. It’s clean, makes sense and is very fast. I think that the ability to request for your friends’ real names is a nice touch. However, with all of your main content items showing up in one straight line, navigating through this could be problematic as I play more games or download more services.

Unlike the PlayStation 3, this comes with an in-ear headset. I appreciate the effort to include one, and it actually sounds alright, but it does not fit into my ear at all. The earpiece is gigantic. Can’t imagine this being comfortable for most people. Thankfully, there will be no shortage of alternatives on the market, though this will do as a start.

I was really looking forward to the system’s video capturing and editing capabilities, though so far I’m of two minds with what’s currently here. Taking screenshots is a breeze with the Share button. Broadcasting via Twitch is very simple and works great. Capturing video was not as straightforward. Sony claims that the system will store the last 15 minutes of gameplay automatically, though this didn’t happen with any sort of consistency. Sometimes it would record as advertised, though there were many instances where the system wouldn’t automatically record anything for hours on end. I tried actively starting and stopping recordings as well, only to find that sometimes it wouldn’t record at all. I can get over the system’s simplistic editing abilities if the recording worked consistently.

Out of the box, the PlayStation 4 is a nice piece of hardware. In the grand scheme of things, I’m actually impressed with how well the overall user experience is with this current firmware. While there are clearly some holes, I’m hoping that they’ll all get addressed in future updates. In particular, I hope they tighten up the video capture stuff ASAP. For now, there’s still a lot of good reasons to own one today.

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