The Sony PS3 Slim is the liposuctioned reboot of its multimedia powerhouse console, here to see off its rival – Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
It’s around 33 per cent smaller, lighter and more power efficient than its predecessor. But Sony hasn't stripped out any important stuff – the PS3 Slim is pretty much the same machine, with a bigger hard drive, at a better price.
If you already own a Sony PS3, that does mean there's little reason to pony up for the new model – unless the sheer size of your old PS3 is driving you to distraction, or you've run out of space on your hard drive (they used to range from a mere 20GB).
Even then, you'd be smarter simply upgrading the drive in your existing machine. But for those yet to buy a Sony PS3, now's the time.
The Sony PS3 Slim is beautiful: slightly more plasticky than the old PS3s, but so much more compact. In squeezing the kit down, there's been two significant losses: you can't run Linux on it any more and CD audio playback is very slightly worse.
Unless you're a geek, the former won't matter; unless you're an audiophile (who wouldn't play CDs on a PS3 anyway) the latter won't be too noticeable either.
No Backwards Compatibility
Backwards compatibility with PS2 games is also missing, but has been since early Sony PS3 models anyway.
Discounting minor subtractions, you get one bonus (if you're a home cinema nut): the Sony PS3 Slim now throughputs flashy formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD direct to your home cinema amp via HDMI.
One of the Sony PS3's major strengths remains in home cinema. Blu-ray high-def movie discs are the biggest single advantage the PS3 Slim has over the Microsoft Xbox 360. 1080p Full HD movies look jaw-droppingly good and sound teeth-crunchingly great too.
There's lots of other multimedia power carried over from the old Sony PS3 too: RSS feeds, Home (the Second Life-a-like PS3 virtual online space), and web browsing, for example. And, of course, links to other Sony gaming hardware, such as the PSP and HD Eye.
These all-round capabilities go a long way from covering up the Sony PS3's one remaining weak spot: the games. Simply put, Microsoft's Xbox 360 still trounces the Sony PS3 in terms of gaming online and single-player – with more key exclusives, for now.
That's not to say the Sony PS3 Slim is a gaming slouch. It's not, and it's good to see it now comes with a rumbling DualShock 3 controller as standard. But for pure hardcore games action, the Microsoft Xbox 360 remains ahead.
For multimedia power in a small package though, the Sony PS3 Slim can't be beat.