The second weapon in Sony’s arsenal for the new generation of game consoles, the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition is nothing more than a PS5 , certainly without a disc drive, but without any other technical compromise.
The main thing to remember
On November 19, 2020, it was not one, but two new game consoles that Sony launched on the market. In addition to the “standard” PlayStation 5 , the manufacturer also offers this PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, the particularity of which is to be rid of the optical disc drive.
This certainly fundamental difference is however the one and only element which differentiates the two machines, in any other point strictly similar. The approach of the Japanese brand has nothing to do with that of its rival Microsoft which, with the Xbox Series X and Series S , has designed two very distinct consoles, with clearly differentiated ranges and powers. The two PS5 models, for their part, have in common not only their technical specifications, but also a perfectly identical internal construction.
For the form, we still subjected the model without disk drive to the same laboratory tests that we had inflicted on the standard model; and in line with our expectations, the results show no variance.
The absence of a disk drive has only a marginal effect on the consumption of the console in game: less than 5 W difference, insignificant compared to the 200 W swallowed by the console at its cruising speed – as a reminder, the PS5 employs an unusual technical architecture, articulated around a fixed electrical power target; consumption therefore varies very little from one game to another, or from one game section to another.
As a direct consequence of this, the cooling system produces the same heat dissipation, and still impresses with its silence… especially when you are lucky enough, as on our two test models, to come across a console equipped with the “good ” fan.
As a reminder, we discovered at the launch of the PS5 that at least two different fans can be found in each console, with variable acoustic performance. While the one from the Taiwanese equipment manufacturer Delta is absolutely remarkably discreet, the one supplied by the Japanese Nidec produces noise pollution that is 4 dB higher. Certainly nothing dramatic, but the difference is still noticeable.
This similarity extends to the user experience, obviously perfectly unchanged between the two consoles. In the end, it is therefore only on pricing and practical issues that the choice between the standard PS5 and the Digital Edition must be made.
For 100 € less, opting for the second amounts to depriving yourself of the possibility of using physical PS5 games. We in fact renounce the second-hand market and we accept to be constrained by the prices charged on the PlayStation Store for the downloadable versions of the games – which is not trivial for this generation of consoles, which sees the indicative price of “AAA” games reach the trifle of 80 €. In the same way, impossible to take advantage of the backward compatibility of PS4 games on disc with a PS5 Digital Edition, or even of the update PS4 to PS5 for compatible games: assuming for example that one has a physical version of Spider-Man: Miles Morales , Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or Fifa 21, only by inserting the disc into a standard PS5 will one be able to access the next-gen version of the game at no additional cost. Finally, it goes without saying, we also lose the playback of films in Blu-ray Ultra HD format. It is up to everyone to see if all this corresponds to their uses.
- Silent console and very well cooled.
- 4K compatibility at 120Hz.
- Well-built, comfortable DualSense controller with surprising haptic feedback.
- Excellent PS4 backwards compatibility (but only for downloadable games).
- The promise of annihilated loading times, already fulfilled on some games.
- 3D audio with natural and immersive spatialization, working with any headset.
- Gargantuan size.
- Variable noise pollution from one console to another.
- High consumption.
- The shiny black plastic, messy and very prone to scratches.
- No Dolby Atmos or DTS:X compatibility (in games), no Dolby Vision (at all).
- Incomplete HDMI 2.1 support at launch (no ALLM, no VRR).
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