You’ve probably heard a bit about the PS5. Sony’s latest video game console boasts some serious graphical horsepower, a solid-state drive that allows for shockingly-fast load times, and a controller with adaptive triggers that can give your fingers a real workout. It can also play video games.
But the cynic in you might be wondering what else makes the PS5 so “new”. What can this PlayStation do that your old PlayStation can’t? Well, Mum, there are actually a bunch of cool new features on the PlayStation 5 that haven’t been advertised over all the marketing material–things that a game playing enthusiast like you would definitely appreciate. You do like games, right?
They’re little things, admittedly, but they’re positive quality-of-life additions that were good enough to make me mutter, “Huh, nice”. If that’s not the kind of enthusiasm your new video game machine is instilling in you, then you probably should have invested that $750 in stocks, or something–whatever it is rich people do with money.
Here are the coolest (and less obvious) new features of the PS5.
Universal Game Presets
Let’s start with the best of the bunch: the PlayStation 5 will let you establish your preferred settings for a number of different options at a system level — including camera control schemes, graphics modes, and difficulty.
This means that when you first boot up a game that supports this feature, you won't have to head into the options to make sure your camera controls are inverted, the subtitles are off, and that you're playing on the hardest difficult available. Of course, some games will have more intricate settings that these options won't affect (eg. the discrete difficulty settings for stealth, combat, and exploration in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla), so in these instances you'll still have to make your own adjustments.
Theoretically, though, these settings along with the console's universal HDR adjustment and quick load times mean the time it takes to jump right into a game and have everything the way you want it should be much shorter with future PS5 titles. Who wants to spend time fiddling with graphical settings on a console anyway? That's what PC gaming is for.
The full list of options include:
- Performance Mode or Resolution Mode
- First-Person View (Normal or inverted)
- Third-Person View (normal or inverted)
- Subtitles and Audio
Playtime is now shown on your PS5 profile
Everyone likes to know how much time they've spent playing a game. Everyone. It's great being able to look at big numbers and see your most played titles, reminiscing on the fact that you spent the majority of your 20's playing almost 1000 hours of Dota 2 and now you have nothing to show for it.
The PS4, weirdly, didn't let you see your playtime with games. Steam does it, the Switch does it, and the Xbox does it too, albeit in an obscured way. Thankfully, the PS5 will now let you see your playtime for every game on the expanded profile page. And guess what? You'll even be able to see your accumulated playtime on PS4 games you've already played. Thanks, Sony!
Video clips for PS5 trophy achievements
The PS5 still records the moment you earn a trophy with a screenshot, but this time the console will also record a 15-second clip of the events leading up to that moment, which is a pretty neat evolution of the idea.
It's likely that you'll still get a lot of dud moments recorded, however--a lot of games give out trophies for tasks as simple as completing a chapter or customising a vehicle. And you certainly need to be aware that all these 15-second clips will quickly eat up your precious storage space, especially if you're playing at 4K resolutions (Alex even reckons you should turn this feature off because of that).
And yeah, you could probably just hit the Share button whenever you wanted to record a moment that just happened. But think about the time you scored your first multi-kill or your 100th goal in an online game, and how you probably barely even noticed because you were so focused on the action. This feature puts that sweet memory in a neat little package for you, ready for you to post online without any additional editing, and that's pretty good. Just keep an eye on that storage space.
The DualSense controller grip is made of tiny PlayStation icons
The PS5's new controller, called the DualSense, is a fantastic upgrade to the PlayStation controller. It accentuates the dual senses of touch with its impressive haptic feedback abilities, as well as… uh, sound (I guess? Yeah, sound) with its in-built speaker. Although now that I type that out, I realise the DualShock 4 also catered to two senses. Hmm.
Anyway, on top of the improved haptics, adaptive triggers, and a better form factor, the DualSense also has a better grip surface. The controller handles are overlaid with heaps of tiny, hard plastic protrusions which are more pronounced than those of the DualShock 4, and latch onto your palms batter, at least, in my experience.
That's a good quality of life improvement on its own, but what makes this mundane feature fun, is that if you look super closely at the grip and squint, you'll notice that the protrusions are actually made up of hundreds of tiny PlayStation icons--squares, triangles, circles, and crosses.
That's fun, right? Super fun. Worth every dollar you spent on it. Probably.
Did I say we would start with the best of the bunch? I lied--we're ending with it. The PS5 has a DUST HOLE. As in, a HOLE that collects DUST and I couldn't be more excited about it.
When you use a piece of computer or gaming hardware almost every day, the thing is bound to collect a lot of dust. There's no getting around it, no matter what environment it's in, the cooling fans are going to draw in dust when the thing is on, and more dust is going to naturally settle on the thing when it's off. Trying to clear all the tiny vents and holes on your console of dust can be a pain--have you looked closely at a PS4 Pro lately? So many tiny holes that catch dust.
Amazingly, it seems Sony thought about that with the PS5, and took steps to mitigate the problem. As the console's huge cooling fan draws in air, it will filter any dust particles to two different holes on the side of the console, which you can access by popping off the left faceplate.
When it comes time to vacuum your home, you can simply and quickly take off the faceplate, stick your vacuum hose on top of the holes, suck any dust out, and be satisfied knowing that your PS5 probably isn't going to catch fire anytime soon.
It seems like a dumb thing to get excited about. But hey, anything that allows for easy user maintenance gets a thumbs up from me. Take care of your expensive hardware, and it won't blow up in your face one day.