(Pocket-lint) - The PlayStation 5 is on the way - launching 12 November in USA, Japan, Australia; 19 November rest of world - and we know that this holiday season two different models will hit shelves.
Sony has shown off the standard PS5 - that's the one with the disc drive - and a slightly slimmer version in the form of the PS5 Digital Edition. If you want to know pricing and pre-order information that's at the bottom of this feaure.
If you've decided that you're going to go with a PlayStation for the coming console generation - despite the temptation of Xbox Series S and Series X - you might be wondering which of the two you should pick up. We've got the key facts on what's different and what's the same between the two models.
What's the same between the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition?
The key thing to know about the two versions of the PS5 is almost all of their components are identical - you get the exact same graphical performance, processor and storage options regardless of which you pick.
That means both have an eight-core Zen 2 processor, running at 3.5GHz per core, with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM to call upon. That's backed up by a GPU that can manage 10.28 TFLOPS across 36 CUs, a whole bunch more than even the PS4 Pro could manage. Storage-wise, both PS5s have 825GB custom SSDs, which can read data at a lightning-quick 5.5GB/s while you game. That means long loading times could be a thing of the past.
The two consoles also have very similar designs, both featuring the same wing-tip style flaring sides and white casing, with blue lighting accenting the package nicely. They're the same size in height when stood up vertically, but the standard PlayStation 5 is a little thicker as a result of its disc drive. It's most noticeable at the base of the console, where this change has been made.
What's different between the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition?
As you may have worked out by now, there are only two key differences between the two versions of the PS5 - disc drive, and the price.
The standard PS5 has a 4K Blu-ray player that will let you play games from physical discs, as well as watch movies. This will naturally mean that you can trade in games after you've played them and lend them to friends. It'll also mean that any PS4 games Sony confirms for backward compatibility will play when you load their discs in, if the system supports it.
By contrast, the PS5 Digital Edition has no disc drive, which means all games you play will need to be purchased digitally, and you will only be able to stream media rather than playing it from the drive.
The absence of disc drive does, of course, make the Digital Edition of the PlayStation 5 cheaper than the full version. Not by a huge amount though: it's $100 / €100 / £90 / ¥10,000 less.
Which should you get?
The choice between the two PS5 models comes down to one main factor - how do you buy your games?
If you've been loving digital storefronts for ages and hardly ever pick up a disc nowadays, then the Digital Edition makes sense. It'll save you some money up-front, cut down the size of the console, and save you from the clutter of game boxes.
However, if you like having physical discs, or use trade-in services all the time to afford new releases, then we're not sure the economy of the Digital Edition holds up. You'll likely have either PS5 for a good number of years, so it wouldn't take long to make back the price difference between the two models by trading in games or lending and borrowing copies with your friends or family.
That's why we would lean toward the disc-toting PS5. However, everyone's got different preferences and situations, so it's handy that either way you should be getting a slice of next-gen fun.
PS5: Price & release date
- 12 November 2020 for USA, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea
- 19 November 2020 for UK, Europe, rest of world
- PS5: $499.99 / €499.99 / £449.99 / ¥49,980
- PS5 Digital: $399.99 / €399.99 / £359.99 / ¥39,980
- Pre-order date: From 17 September
The big reveal - as shown off at the end of the PS5 Showcase on 16 September - was all about price. Yes, it's more than Xbox. Will that matter? Maybe, maybe not. Really it's all about the games.
However, despite announcing the pricing, there wasn't immediate word on how you could pre-order the console - something that PlayStation confirmed via Twitter would commence from 17 September "at select retailers".
PS5 pre-orders will be available starting as early as tomorrow at select retailers.— PlayStation (@PlayStation) September 16, 2020
Anyway, the key thing to know is that both PS5 console versions will be available from 12 November. Well, if you live in one of seven lucky countries, as the rest of the world - the UK and all of Europe included - has to wait an extra week, until the 19 November.
So which will it be? The pricier PS5, or the slightly slimmer form-factor and lower price of the PS5 Digital Edition? We've already made up our minds...