Tech

PlayStation 5 Complete test: Sony’s console has two major advantages to counter the Xbox Series X

We are going to focus on the interface, the responsiveness and fluidity of the console, the performance in games and also, on the audio dimension, so much praised by Sony.

PlayStation 5 test, allowed us to comply with the imposed figures of timing and measurements, which allowed us to see that the Sony console had some in the SSD (but not as much as we thought). Now is the time to get down to evaluating the entire software part. To take Sony to its game, we are going to articulate this second part of our test through a prism: immersion .

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User interface, OS, Store

Without detour, Sony is full on the interface. We are under the spell. We didn’t really like the ergonomics of the PS4 OS, but its responsiveness and lightness more than made up for the big icons and a few ungainly elements.

There, it’s as beautiful as it is fast, and as ergonomic as it is thin and responsive. The total. The OS is super light, as evidenced by the console boot times. In seconds, ready for service! The two main sections are Games and Multimedia Content . If you flick the stick further to the right while you are on the second section, you will be able to access the console’s search engine, settings and finally your profile.

In the Games section , for each installed game that you select in the upper carousel, you have a different theme that appears on the screen. Both visual and sound. Immersion, we told you!

If you give a few swipes of the stick down, you have access, in the form of details or thumbnails, to your latest prowess, the information hubs relating to the game, any DLC that may be available. The organization is pyramidal while those of Series X, for comparison, is linear.

In the Multimedia Content section , you will find all the streaming, VoD, and video / music consumption apps already available on the PS4 Pro. There too, they are better stored and you can take out a subscription directly with a few presses on the X button.

Another novelty, the PlayStation Store is fully integrated into the overall console interface. Just go to the icon and presto, everything is displayed. It’s fluid, it’s uncluttered, it’s completely in harmony with the rest of the console. No need to wait to do your shopping, it’s as immediate as a Drive but for video games. Beware of compulsive spending!

The big news, too, is the shortcut bar. She who was at the top at the time is now at the bottom. This interface accommodates more or less the same shortcuts as currently, and you can choose to display some of them and not others. When you play and call it by pressing the PS logo on the controller, it is superimposed, the screen goes gray a little and the game goes on hold. Thanks to the SSD and the RAM, it is thanks to them that this is possible.

We also noted that some menus have changed and that others have been added. Like the one that lets the console choose the level of graphics suited to your screen and the game running.

Or, then, to ask him systematically to privilege the performances on the quality or the reverse, provided that the play is optimized in this direction.

In this same section, you can set a level of difficulty to apply each time you launch a new title, by default.

Either way, if you’re a PlayStation operating systems backpacker, you’re going to find your way around without worry. If you come from the Xbox universe, having so much space and clarity may destabilize you, but you will quickly get a taste for it.

Fluidity and responsiveness are excellent

  • The interface of the OS is a joy

Unlike Microsoft, Sony does not offer a Quick Resume function on the PlayStation 5. We believed in it for a long time, but no. Impossible to switch on the fly from one game to another, which would run at the same time . Clearly, when you launch a game on the PS5 when you already had one running, it closes to make room for the newcomer.

Maybe Sony will offer it in a future update, but for the moment, it’s impossible to do as on the Series, from Microsoft. However, there is still a “little something that improves the speed of launching games”.
If you are launching a game for the first time, just after installing it, you will be entitled to all the loading and presentation screens. Subsequently, and on the sole condition that the game is optimized, you will no longer see them. But if you shut down the console overnight (completely), those loading screens come back.
In addition, if you do not turn off the console but launch the same game several times in a row, you will see that it tends to launch faster: 4 to 8 seconds slower.

Also, just like on PS4 Pro, until you close a game and just navigate the interface, coming back to it is instantly done.

Also to discover in video:

https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/k1XoygiAjISYREwqrEATo switch from one game to another without having to systematically return to the home page, Sony has developed the Selector . It’s in the lower shortcut bar and it’s where the last two titles you played are displayed. Or the media apps you recently launched.

You can run them through this or go directly to their hub ( Game Center ) by opening the context menu, with a single press of the appropriate button.

  • Responsiveness in games

We were able to test the hard -core PS5 versions of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Spider-Man: Remastered, Demon’s Souls, SackBoy.

In optimized version, our choice fell on Ghost of Tsushima as well as Devil May Cry 5 .

And, because there are plenty of backward compatible games, but which have not yet seen the shadow of a patch, we have chosen to retain  GTA 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 , two rather iconic games and still very popular. .

As of this writing, we still don’t have access to Fortnite so we had to do without it.

The responsiveness and fluidity impress. No lag on the screen, nor any lag observed between the moment when we press the buttons of the DualSense and the moment when the actions were reflected on the screen. You press the key to access a menu or an inventory, in the microsecond, it’s good.
The same goes for navigation in talent trees and other interfaces that are mostly frozen but where there are often a lot of small animations, drop-down or contextual menus, etc. which can weigh down the execution or generate microlags. The navigation is done very quickly, the display of the elements too: it sends!

On games designed for the PS5 and on optimized titles, it is even more obvious than on those which have not yet benefited from adjustments from their creators. But fear not, they too benefit. Either way, the SSD (and GDDR6 video memory) does its job here again.

Another illustration of the efficiency of the new memory modules: after a save load, once the game has resumed, there is not a second or two of downtime. No slowdowns, while the interface appears or all data elements are preloaded into memory.
The PS5 didn’t even give us time to drink our usual “load time coffees”. All had had time to cool down when we found – finally – time to come back.

But playing games from yesterday and today in Full HD or 4K, in super good conditions, it compensates. Especially when you see how the PS5 handles things. Great transition to tell you about polygons, graphics and peeper wonders.

PlayStation 5: aesthetic, technical and immersive 3D

  • Full HD or 4K TV or screen

Come on, let’s tackle the big part, the graphics . Let us repeat that the PlayStation 5 natively displays Full HD or 4K (8K will be for later, and for the moment only on compatible multimedia content).
It does not support intermediate definitions, exotics, and even less screen ratios that are not 16: 9. It is said. Why ? As two Sony pundits recalled in a recent interview , the PlayStation 5 is a home console. It is therefore intended to be connected to a television above all.

If you plug it into a PC monitor with a native image of 2560 by 1440 pixels, the PS5 will take full HD rendering and upscale it to 1440p. Know it.
Via the options, for games that allow it, you can prioritize quality rendering over performance. Clearly, asking the console to produce 4K textures, with lots of effects, but – not stupid – it will be content, again, to do upscaling .

On a Full HD TV, if you ask for 4K rendering, same thing, it will be upscaling. And of quality and with a good rate of frames per second, well fixed.
On a 4K model, if it’s possible to display native 4K in a game, the PS5 will, no problem. And it will do everything it can to stay at a stable frame rate of between 30 and 60 frames per second.

If the game allows it to go beyond 4K to achieve – like the Series X on the last Ori – upscaled 6K, the console will use the same means and tricks as when it cannot display 4K constantly to satisfy the demands of the game. engine demands without compromising its platform.

She will therefore draw from her library of dynamic image and texture adaptation technologies, as the PS4 Pro and One X did in their time, when it was necessary to display 4K and it was not always possible.

  • 3D hardware and software resources in symbiosis

These technos, whose responsiveness and efficiency are measured in a unit of time sometimes less than a millisecond, will take charge of deceiving our brain.
When they come into action, the chip is then less stressed because it no longer calculates a native image but partially truncated, it is the software devices that will take care of adapting it to the screen.
Thus unloaded, the GPU can concentrate on the number of images to be generated and maintain a course, as much as possible, so as not to make the player feel drastic drops of frames per second or lag in games.

As for the S and X Series,we couldn’t measure the number of frames per second generated by the chip, nor finely control whether the PlayStation 5 managed to stay in 4K all the time . Especially when the Quality option was selected in games. 

Same thing for Performance mode , no precise measurements possible . However, there, as a good PC gamer and GPU tester that we are, we manage to perceive when a console stuck in Full HD displays more than 60 frames per second on a 120 Hz screen. And, without spoiler: the PS5 does it. as we detail below.

  • In 4K mode … it’s really K-litative

When asked to prioritize the quality of the rendering , the console sticks to it and it does it superbly. She takes so much care that the rendering is sometimes less raw, less grainy than what we have seen in Series X games.
It’s quite disconcerting and we suspect that the images are treated differently in the pipes of the chip. of the PS5 and those of the Series X.

Some smoothing filters or effects seemed to us to be applied with more care at Sony. They are probably less so at Microsoft, if at all. The Series X seems to rely more on its chip to ensure substantive work, rendering quite grainy, and takes less trouble to resort to these artifices which soften or round off the angles.

  • In performance mode, it’s very fast

Like the Series X, when you ask the PS5 to prioritize performance , that is to say to maximize the number of frames per second, it is almost infallible. Everything is often done in Full HD, under these conditions or at best in definitions that remain well below 4K.
It manages to display more than 60 frames per second minimum in many games and for good reason: some graphics options are disabled (such as ray tracing). In any case, that was what we found in the games we had on hand, either through the descriptions of the graphic menus or … because it can be seen with the naked eye.

In this mode, the chip can therefore have fun and send images in a burst through the pipes. And if you’ve got the TV that’s okay … it’s a real bombardment.

Graphics techniques change depending on the game

Either way, the overall rendering of games, whether they’re tailor-made for the console or optimized for it, is breathtaking. Even non-optimized titles benefit, but not to the same extent.

Let’s be clear, we love the look of the PS5. While that of the PS4 Pro in the same games … much less. And it’s not just a question of power. The aesthetics of the games and the way new technology is being used to showcase everything by the PS5 plays a lot.

  • For tailor-made and / or optimized games


When it comes to playing ray tracing or using new generation graphics technologies ( Mesh Shading, Variable Rate Shading ), the PS5 plays its part very well. Even if it has less TFLOPS than the Series X. The two consoles have – supposedly – the same engines in charge of the RT since they have – it is recalled – very comparable AMD chips. The graphics units are designed on the RDNA 2 architecture which includes a ray tracing hardware processing unit, the Ray Accelerator .

Beautiful lighting effects and magnificent reflections, there are some in Spider-Man Miles Morales or even on the Remastered version of the adventures of Peter Parker. New York City looks very different on PS4 Pro and PS5 and yet we played the same game, we promise. Seeing buildings reflected in each other during our climbing sessions is quite new on console. Especially since many of these reflections are not the result of scripted developments. They are generated on the fly.

Below, some graphics options offered by the game Devil May Cry in its menu.

You will notice however that, in the harshest modes of DMC5 and therefore those where the enemies will be the most numerous on the screen, the ray tracing will be automatically cut. The PlayStation 5 is aware of its limits, the developers, also a priori.

Looking back, however, it seems highly unlikely that the Sony console will manage to display an AAA game in 4K, with ray tracing at 30 frames per second (see more) without experiencing a few moments of weakness.

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This will be the case at least early in the life cycle of the PS5, while developers find clever ways to provide for compressing, triturating and distorting their polygons and data in their game so that it is all better managed and generated by the game. the big chip of the Sony console.

  • On backward compatible non-optimized games

There, it is already more … variable. And that’s a shame ! They make up the bulk of the PS5 catalog when it was released . Just like that of the S and X Series, for that matter.

Some are doing not too badly because they take advantage of Boost Mode , already present in the PS4 Pro and which is also rife on board the PS5. Some improvements here, more images there, well, it feels like a PS4 Pro doped with vitamin C. But, whether in GTA V or RDR2 , the rendering obtained on PS5 is the same as that of ‘a classic Pro. No better and this, to the texture or even to the pixel.

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The manes of the horses, the movement or the texture of the hair remind us quite harshly that we will have to be a little patient before seeing old works being restored with modern techniques. The only really nice thing about RDR2 on PS5? The console ventilation no longer screams. Our eardrums were delighted. Besides, since we’re talking about acoustics …

A Tempest in the ears?

Sony’s latest immersive promise is audio. There is a dedicated hardware audio module in the console, the Tempest. Its specialty: 3D audio and its ability to handle acoustic profiles based on HRTF.
There are five of them in the console, and they only work if you plug a wired headset into the controller or use a USB jack to hook up your favorite pair of headphones (wired or wireless) to the console. For speakers and soundbars, we will have to wait a little longer, while Sony deploys an update so that this equipment can shake the walls of the house.

In the meantime, your eardrums will vibrate. Not all games are necessarily optimized for Tempest, but everyone can enjoy it. Sony is not very talkative on the issue, however, despite our reminders in recent months.
To get a real audio preview of the chip’s skills, we used a headset that’s its job: a Beyer Dynamic DT770 Pro (80 Ohms). We also took a Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 and a Marshall Major IV as Bluetooth candidates … which made us realize that the console did not support Bluetooth audio devices.

We took a tour through the console’s audio options menu to make sure everything was fine and there we found that we could route the voice chat audio to the headset alone and let the TV take care of it. other sounds. A feature that die-hard online gamers will appreciate. It is also in this menu that you can refine the microphone settings.

Games of course, but also music and video (streamed from YouTube and Netflix), we subjected the Tempest chip to all the content she was going to have to manage in her life. For films? This will be the subject of further processing, we will come back to the multimedia skills of the new consoles later.

For music and videos, the essentials are covered with a good headset. In games, it’s already more convincing. Sony has almost succeeded in reconciling us with the digital spatialization that we usually hate. The soundtracks of the games stand out well, the sound effects too and the dialogue too. Better, most games offer quite extensive audio settings, to satisfy your demanding ears.

SONY

PLAYSTATION 5

Sony PlayStation 5 test verdict: it competes with Series X but does not necessarily play on the same grounds

We really enjoyed testing and playing with the Xbox Series S and X. But … the PlayStation 5 managed to take the experience a step further. It stands out from the two American consoles.
The controller (the engineering but also the handling, the sensations), the interface menus and their fluidity without forgetting … the audio quality of the games rendering, all the immersion concocted by Sony has been revealed rich in emotion.
The Sony experience impressed us more than that, all in power, which we appreciated elsewhere, of the Xbox Series X. 

On the other hand, on a purely technical level, anything we could fault the PS4 Pro – such as noise, extended load times, or approximation in some graphics renderings – is no longer relevant. The PlayStation 5 manages to perform its tasks in remarkable silence, without overheating.
She applies as much as possible to putting the right shade, the right effect and rendering the right polygon in each game. Without doing too much but without doing it badly.
The PS5 is not the most powerful console on the market, we can say it bluntly and this is what does not allow it to have the maximum rating here, and positions it just behind the Xbox Series X. But the 4K it produces is of high quality, different from that of Microsoft. On the other hand, in Full HD mode, at more than 60 frames per second, nothing stops the two enemy sisters. The battle is then fierce and it is up to who can display the most, with the most beauty and precision.

The factor “optimized and excluded PS5 games” could weigh in the score of this test, but as with the Series X, we decided not to take it into account because a game catalog evolves over time and it is not. because’
You have to take a step back and analyze the existing catalogs, the announcements made about upcoming titles and see what best suits your desires, your tastes.

The price factor? We also exclude it: 499 euros, yes it is expensive for a console, but it is identical to that of its competitor Microsoft. It is not on this that we can decide between them.

On the other hand, on the capacity of the SSD , yes, there are complaints. There is less on PS5 than on Series X and, at the moment, it is not possible to expand it other than with a classic USB 3.0 external hard drive. And if the prices of the official storage expansions for the Sony console are as high as the only one offered to date for the Microsoft versions, our wallets will be in great pain.

Another black point? Yes, and it’s big: the PlayStation 5 doesn’t have a Quick Resume featureand it is sorely lacking, especially when we have tasted it on Microsoft platforms. Sony has decided to do without it, it is wrong!

The PlayStation 5 juggles pixels and graphics rendering technologies far more often than the Xbox Series X to maintain near-4K definitions. On current games, let’s be clear. As long as the developers and Sony work hand in hand, it’s a safe bet that it manages to improve quickly. The numbers will always be in favor of the Xbox Series X but used intelligently, the resource of the PS5 can give very nice things, we are sure.

Other complaints? Not having equipped the console with the same USB type-A sockets everywhere. The one at the front is slower than those at the back, so they are the ones that house the external hard drive. The lack of a removable battery in the controller is also a negative point. Microsoft gives the choice: battery or purchase of a rechargeable pack for the Xbox Controlers. Not Sony. It’s all built-in, so if the battery gives you up, you’re good to buy a DualSense (70 euros). And since the activity of the components inside can sometimes be quite intense and therefore consume energy, you will need to charge the controller more often. And chances are that the block – although bigger – will have a shorter lifespan than a DualShock 4.

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