What we like and don't like about the PS5's bold but divisive design

Ps5 Side Shot
Ps5 Side Shot (Image credit: Sony)

Sony unveiled the official design of the PS5 to divisive reactions. It was easy to make a meme out of it, as the internet quickly did, but that would have been the case no matter what it looked like. We had a video call going between members of the Android Central team while we were covering the event, and it became apparent that writer Samuel Tolbert and I had different opinions on the design. We decided to talk through some of those thoughts below.

Jennifer: I like the design. shrug

Samuel: ...Why? It's over-designed and trying too hard. It looks like a fan render our competition would use writing up 4chan rumors.

Jennifer: I think that's why I like it? It's not something you'd usually see from a company like Sony. And it's just something different and way better than the brick that's the Xbox Series X.

Ps5 Horizonal With Dualsense

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

Samuel: It's a console. It's meant to play games and then other media. Practicality and functionality take priority. It doesn't look like you can even lay it on its side without the stand! It's taller than the Xbox Series X. I'm not sure how I'm going to make it fit my entertainment center.

Jennifer: Fair point. The size is definitely an issue and I get wanting to go for practicality and functionality like Xbox did, but I don't think you can ignore the aesthetic. You can have it both ways, even though the PS5 looks too big for my entertainment center as well.

Samuel: I think another aspect that's bugging me is the two-tone color scheme. I like the DualSense, but it would be better either solid white or solid black. I hope we see some interesting special edition consoles — they might look better.

Dualsense Ps5 Controller

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

Jennifer: See the two-tone color scheme is another aspect I really like about it. I think it works. We've had plain white or plain black consoles in the past and I just find them boring. This is mixing it up and I appreciate that. Though I would also like to see some special edition consoles.

Samuel: There've been some cryptic comments from PlayStation execs about how it can be customized. What if the plastic parts that are jutting off can be swapped out, like the Xbox 360 faceplates?

Jennifer: I'd definitely like that. I never swapped the faceplates on my 360 but I did put a ton of decals on it. I'd also worry if they can be removed that people might break the console accidentally.

Samuel: People will be people but it's a fair concern. My hand wringing over the design aside, I want to be clear: As long as it stays cool and doesn't sound like a jet engine like the PS4 Pro, I'll be happy. I want to see an official teardown soon to see just what kind of cooling solution Cerny and his team came up with.

Ps5 All Digital Edition

Source: PlayStation via YouTube (Image credit: Source: PlayStation via YouTube)

Jennifer: Yeah, I agree. If it sounds really loud or overheats then that's just a huge flaw in its design. It needs a good cooling solution, and as much as I hate the way the Xbox Series X looks, I have to give it to Microsoft for making that a priority.

Samuel: I will say the digital-only version looks better than the one with a disc drive, it's more symmetrical. Unfortunately, I'll have to get the one with a drive because of my PS4 games on disc that I might want to play. Which one are you getting?

Jennifer: I'm hoping they'll have a solution for people with physical discs who want to get the digital-only edition, but I don't know what that solution would be. I think just because of my job I'll get the one with the disc drive. I have very few physical PS4 games but you never know when a company will send one over for review.

What do you think?

You have our thoughts on the PS5's design, but what do you think of it? While we don't know the official dimensions just yet, estimates aren't looking too kind. It appears to be quite large, and as much as you can appreciate the aesthetic itself, that's not something that will fit on a lot of entertainment stands.

Jennifer Locke
Games Editor - PlayStation, Android, VR

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.

  • I think it's their best looking console so far! I mean sure it's meant to play games and other media but you're going to have to look at the thing for the next better part of a decade. You want it to look nice. I love the design, it looks like it's gonna invade a planet
  • It kinda looks like it was built by Aperture Laboratories.
  • I like it. Boring black boxes suck.
  • I like the design and multi-color scheme. I am more concerned about the ports. If there are only a few USB ports again, it will be a rat's nest of cables hiding the elegant redesign. My PS4 has an external HD, a cable for charging while playing, and the PS VR box connected via a USB hub. It's a mess I would love to be rid of.
  • Today I can certainly agree with. I'm hoping it has ports on the back.
  • TL;DR
    Woman: "It's pretty because it's different!"
    Man: "It's ugly because it's pretty and different!"
  • I love it. And it will look much better in person I bet.
  • I actually LIKE IT (a lot) when companies decide that they aren't going to make some iteration of either the Apple TV/Mac Mini (rounded box/rectangle thing) or Mac Pro (trashcan-thing). We get it ... those were great and legendary design decisions that influenced a decade. Guess what? Decade's over. So should the emphasis on smaller/thinner/lighter. Nintendo went with an entirely different aesthetic with the Switch and it paid off. Also, the reason WHY Apple gets away with their design language is that Apple doesn't try to compete on horsepower. So they are able to take last year's (two years ago's) components and squeeze it into those space saving eye pleasing packages. Sony isn't aiming for that here. They want the sort of horsepower that no one has ever seen before today AND will be able to keep up with the more cloud-focused gaming solutions that Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Steam and Nvidia have planned for the future. Because of the components used and stuff like cooling requirements, they weren't able to go "tiny and good looking because we used 3 year old parts" like the XBox One S. This thing is a powerhouse so rather than trying to hide it - only to wind up with overheating due to poor air circulation and components being packed too closely together and other problems later - they are calling attention to what a monster it is. It is the equivalent - I guess - of the "bigger means better and badder" sport utility vehicle phase maybe 15 years ago. Long story short, this was better than nearly all alternatives. Unless you wanted them to delay launch for a year trying to make it look as aesthetically pleasing as possible or something.
  • I think the comments are pretty fair overall. I think a compromise on disks could be the ability to use a USB Bluray drive. It's an easy way to add the capability if someone with the digital version wants to add it later. I'm torn on the disk vs diskless aspect. I have a bunch of PS4 games I'd love to move over and perhaps play again, if there's some good upscaling. My PS4 is original (bought day of release) and it's starting to struggle a bit. I'm not sure how much longer it'll last. I'd like to continue to have the option. Also, my kids will often play my games when I'm done with them, so having the physical copy is nice. The oldest 2 will be leaving the nest soon, so that's less of a concern. On the other hand, optical disks are insanely slow. If the PS5 is going to support 100 GB disks, that'll make for insanely long load times. RDR2 at 89 GB took 2.5 hours to load on my PS4, and then took time to download the patches on top of that. The idea of downloading them and getting going much more quickly is appealing. I also like having the option of buying used games later - though Sony has had some pretty good deals in their store at times. I also think the digital version looks better too. I'll probably end up getting the disk version just because of the old games I have.