The time has finally come: we’re able to do our first hands-on inspection of the PlayStation 5, and to see what it looks like in the wild. And as a staunch defender of this console’s form factor pre-release, I have to say that seeing it in my home… has made me change my mind.
I’m on record calling the PS5 “gorgeous” when I first saw pictures of it. I was (and still am) really tired of consoles looking like interchangeable black boxes and thought the curvy outline of the white panels was refreshing. I still think the color — or lack thereof, I suppose — is perfectly attractive, and I look forward to the many customized versions of the side panels in a myriad of colors. Not even the console teardown deterred me in that opinion.
Part of the problem — a very large part — is that the console is obscenely big. I really don’t think seeing promotional images can prepare you for just what a monster this thing is. I was fortunate enough to receive the PS5 from Sony ahead of release, and have been playing console hot potato with my TV’s three HDMI slots to set it up (sorry, Wii U). Imagine my surprise when the thing I extracted from the box was big enough to serve a Thanksgiving dish on. I snapped a quick picture with my phone, using my hand for scale.
And yet, somehow, that doesn’t really do justice to how big this console is. In fact, if anything, I downplayed the scale. Here’s a picture of it next to a docked Switch. (I beg that readers will forgive my terrible cable management; I had to do some rearranging in a hurry.)
In case that’s not enough, here’s a picture taken from below — you can see my purple son, Spyro, holding the DualSense controller. I turned the flash on for dramatic effect, and to show that the console is so tall when mounted vertically that it tickles the bottom of my wall-mounted Samsung TV. Try to imagine me crouching down in front of my entertainment deck at 9 am on a dark, rainy day, marveling at the absolute unit that has invaded my shelf.
Yeah, what looks sleek and fresh in promotional images just looks outsized and awkward in real life. I don’t have a large entertainment deck — instead I have five consoles (six at the moment) perched on a small shelf. And it’s always looked fine to me, until this elephant came along and squatted in the room.
Don’t get me wrong — in every other respect that PS5 appears to be a damned fine feat of engineering. The base, which has a hidden screw for mounting should you wish to put the console up vertically, had all the appeal of a Chinese puzzle box. And I’m not going to lie — I kind of like how bizarre it looks compared with the other consoles, the Switch in particular. It makes all the other consoles look cute by comparison, and I still kind of like how audacious this wavy outline is.
But still, this thing verges on obnoxious. I have the feeling that I’ll have to find a way to get this thing horizontal if it’s ever going to fit in — literally and figuratively — with the rest of my consoles. I was all-in with the white router when I thought it’d be about the size of… you know, a router. But now that’s it’s proven to be roughly the same height as an actual ivory tower, I have to admit I’m not in love.
The console launches on November 12. I’m curious to see if some of you have a different impression of the size and shape of the console. Drop me a line on Twitter (@rachelkaser) and let me know.