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PS5 hands-on and unboxing: See Sony's giant new console up close

PS5
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

At long last, the PS5 has finally arrived at our doorstep. And it’s big. Really big. 

We've unboxed Sony's new console, and gone hands-on with the innovative new DualSense controller. Here's everything you get out of the box, as well as our early impressions on this truly massive next-gen powerhouse.

PS5 unboxing video and impressions

After taking the PS5 out of the box for the first time, my initial impression was that the 15.4 x 10.2 x 4.1-inch console is every bit as massive as recent photos have suggested. It absolutely dwarfs my launch PS4 and Xbox One S, and stands out like a giant alien obelisk in my living room.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by how light the 9.9-pound console feels to hold. As someone who often lugs their systems from one room to another when bouncing between streaming and living room gaming, I’m glad that the PS5 doesn’t feel as gargantuan as it looks.

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(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
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Seeing and holding the PS5 up close reveals some details that were hard to glean from press photos and videos. The matte white shells are slick and easy to grip when re-orienting the console. The console’s black center is very glossy and prone to fingerprint smudges. As we’ve seen in previous photos, you get a USB-C and USB-A port up front, with two USB-A ports, an Ethernet jack, an HDMI port and a power adapter in the back.

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I appreciate that the console is littered with tons of tiny hidden PlayStation symbols, including the ones buried in a minuscule pattern on the inner shells near the air vents. Whether you love or hate the PS5’s design, it’s hard not to appreciate the attention to detail that went into this thing.

Setting up 

One of the first things I did with my PS5 is set up its plastic base, which you can place vertically or horizontally, depending on how you want to orient your console. The stand comes with a screw attached to its base, which you’ll use to affix to it to the bottom of the PS5, if you go the vertical route. 

Doing so requires you to remove a small circular cap at the bottom, and then screw the base into the console. Sony doesn’t include a tool for doing this, and recommends you use a “coin or similarly shaped object for affixing the base.” It’s a slight letdown that there’s no included tool, but attaching the base vertically took only about a minute using a small coin to screw it in. It also felt pretty secure once the process was complete.

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I can’t say the same about using the stand in horizontal mode, which doesn’t involve a screw and relies on the base being clipped to a specific part of the PS5’s backside. It took a few tries for me to get the stand to stay tightly connected, though it did eventually stay put when I got it set up correctly.

Naturally, you’re going to need a lot of space for the PS5. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the PS5 fit inside of my Ikea entertainment center in horizontal orientation, although just barely. While I also spent some time propping the console up vertically on a small table next to my TV, I see myself largely keeping it horizontal because of how conspicuous it is in my living room — and to avoid any accidental tip-overs when my hyperactive nephews visit. 

DualSense impressions 

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At first touch, the DualSense has the potential to be my favorite PlayStation controller yet. It feels like a wonderful hybrid of the DualShock 4 and Xbox Wireless Controller, with the same button layout and symmetrical sticks of the former, but within a bigger and more substantial design that felt great in my hands. 

As with the console itself, there are a lot of small design touches I appreciate here, including the translucent buttons and myriad of hidden PlayStation symbols etched into the rear grips. I’m also glad to see Sony embrace USB-C for charging, much like Microsoft has with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller 2 (unfortunately, the new Xbox Wireless Controller still uses batteries). 

In terms of gameplay, the DualSense's adaptive triggers, advanced haptic feedback and built-in speaker and microphone have already proven to be a game-changer when testing out Astro's Playroom. Check our our full DualSense hands-on impressions for more.

PS5 outlook 

PS5

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I’ll have much more to say about how the PS5 actually plays soon, but after unboxing Sony’s new console, I’m both impressed and slightly concerned. There are a ton of cool design quirks on both the PS5 itself as well as the DualSense controller, though I wish the console’s glossy center wasn’t quite so fingerprint-prone. And while I’m lucky to have enough space for Sony’s next-gen machine in both horizontal and vertical orientations, I can see folks with more cramped setups having an issue making room for it.

Of course, the PS5’s physical design is just one part of the equation — what really matters are the games you’ll be playing on it. We have a ton more PS5 coverage on the way as the launch of Sony’s upcoming console gets closer, so stay tuned.