Garnet Red superslim PS3 pictures and hands-on

As Sony Computer Entertainment gears up to unveil the next generation of PlayStation, it is also doing some rather interesting things with the current. Not only can you now get a superslim PS3 - the third body shape in its six-year life - but a range of different colours is also being introduced globally. Owning a PlayStation is fun, is the message, inside and out.

Different regions are getting the various colour schemes in different, localised ways. Japan, for example, will stock the new Garnet Red and Azurite Blue with 250GB hard drives. The US will package the Garnet Red variant with God of War: Ascension. However, the UK gets the Garnet Red and Azurite Blue versions with 500GB hard drives inside, and they go on sale tomorrow, 15 February.

Pocket-lint has had a chance to play with the Garnet Red version of the UK superslim PlayStation 3. We were offered the blue one instead, but being Liverpool fans it was an easy choice. It's good there's an option, however, as footy fans are bound to have a preference and will shy away from the colours of their hated rivals. Of course, fans of referees can always plump for the regular edition.

The first thing that strikes you, upon unboxing the console, is that there's an extra DualShock 3 controller hidden in the top flap. This is very handy, although you should be aware that the package comes with only one USB cable to charge them with. So it's worth ordering an extra USB to mini USB cable in preparation - thankfully, they're only about £1.50 so won't break the bank

You'll also have to buy an HDMI cable (v1.3 or above if you want to watch Blu-ray 3D content) as there's only a cable with standard definition composite video and stereo analogue audio connectors included in the box.

Package contents aside, the other thing that strikes you is the colour itself. Garnet red is growing in popularity in the tech world of late. Samsung has used it on its devices, with the most recent being the Korean release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE edition. However, whenever we've heard of the hue it always sounds more garish than it actually is.

It's more of a scarlet than a bright red, and that's just as well as Mrs Pocket-lint would chase us out of the house with a broom if it was anything other. It's classier than expected and, while you are unlikely to put it pride of place under a living room telly - unless you're going for a more eccentric styling, a la Changing Rooms circa 1998 - it would not look out of place in a den or bedroom.

Other than the colour, of course, it's a regular 500GB superslim PlayStation 3. There are two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet socket if you don't want to use the in-built Wi-Fi connection, plus HDMI, multi AV and optical digital audio ports.

The disc tray is the radical new sliding, top-loading version so if you want to house the console in an AV rack you'll need enough space above to get your hand in comfortably. It can also be set vertically with an optional stand, but we've never been the type for that kind of malarky.

In operation, it's the same as ever. You can play games, natch, Blu-rays in both conventional and 3D variety, DVDs, and access the world of extra entertainment that Sony offers through its PlayStation Store. We're also particular fans of the PS3's media-streaming capabilities, where you can play music or videos, or view images stored on a network drive, PC or other DLNA-enabled device. It's not au fait with every codec out there (including mkv), so is not exactly a Roku equivalent, but we have it as our entertainment hub with few complaints. There's free software out there that can convert video to a format the PS3 works with happily.

There are several apps available for the console too, including Netflix, Lovefilm, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD, so there's plenty of extra content available to watch.

As previously mentioned, the Garnet Red PlayStation 3 is available - alongside its Azurite Blue sibling - in the UK from tomorrow, 15 February. It will cost around £250 with that extra controller.

Sony's "Future of PlayStation" event at which it is expected the company will launch its next-generation console - the PS4 - will be held in New York City on 20 February. Pocket-lint will be there to bring you all the news as it happens.