The Playstation 4 – First Thoughts

I received my PS4 on day one release but was away for the weekend so have only had a small time on it. However, I thought it would be worth giving my initial thoughts – a full review will be along later.

However, to sum it all up in a word – disappointed. I was expecting so much more.

The front end looks no more sophisticated than the PS3, in fact less so. It’s not so obvious how to access things with often vast acres of space spare at the top of the screen. With no theming seemingly available it’s a little bland.

Apps wise, I was expecting some all singing, all dancing capabilities that just, well, don’t appear to be there. Maybe it’s just early days but it doesn’t stop me from feeling that tinge of disappointment. For instance, the video sharing is good but no option to send it to YouTube? Only Facebook and Twitter.

However, the important bit, games, well, they do live up to it all. Full HD at 60 fps, I tested Battlefield 4 and it looks amazing. With the processor capabilities now available this bumps from 24 players on last gen consoles to 64 players. Needless to say, the consoles power is evident.

The controller too is excellent – it feels great in the hands. Yes, it’s different too from the PS3 versions so will take some getting used to. The shoulder triggers feel slightly spongier than before but time will tell as to whether that’s a good or bad thing! I’ve not a chance to try the touchpad out either – BF4 only uses it as a button. However, the addition of a headset connection really is great – wired headsets are finally useful (rather than trailing leads across the room), although they are only stereo – you’ll have to resort to alternative solutions if you want surround sound.

Maybe my experience was tainted by the various issues on Friday and Saturday – I couldn’t login for hours let alone enter my code to redeem the £10 version of BF4 (although the redemption system is down at the moment, you can still do it via the PSN website).

Here’s some other things I noted…

  • I bought a 2nd controller but where’s the headset? They don’t provide one. That’s particularly mean considering the price of the controller and the pennies it probably costs to make the headsets.
  • On a better note I bought the official charger for the controllers – it’s very well made and docks with the headset port on the controller – it appears that large aperture next to the headphone socket is for power
  • I used my Vita at home to connect to my PS4. Looked good and ran well. Tried it away from home and it refused to do anything – I have all the correct settings and the devices are paired but it wouldn’t even turn on my PS4 let alone connect to it (and, yes, the PS4 was in standby and not off).
  • It’s only a minor point but a USB socket around the back would have been nice – I’m always losing the USB cable for the controllers and it would have been nice to have plugged it in the back and tucked it away. But that’s just being picky 😉

As for hardware compatibility…

  • My Sony surround headset doesn’t work (this is due to be fixed in a “later” update, rumoured January)
  • Sony wireless keyboard will work but none of the PS specific buttons do
  • The Blu-ray remote doesn’t work and although it’s supposed to work through CEC remote controls my TV doesn’t like it – it does support CEC but just baulks when I try and getting it to work with the PS4. Getting my wife to use the controller when watching films isn’t going to go down well 😉

But, let’s be honest, it’s very, very early days. A lot will change and, yes, improve.

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