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The next generation of gaming is finally here. Sony’s PlayStation 5 – released in November – is a massive leap forward from the aging PS4, bringing better graphics, reduced loading times and a futuristic DualSense controller to the masses. And while supply is currently constrained due to the global semiconductor shortage, there’s no doubt folks who manage to find a PS5 in stock are in for a treat.
The PlayStation 5 is an incredible machine, but these 16 features are what truly make it a next-gen system.
1. DualSense Adaptive Triggers and Haptic Feedback
The new DualSense controller is without a doubt the most “next-gen” aspect of the PlayStation 5. The standout feature of the gamepad, however, is its adaptive triggers. This allows a game to change the amount of tension in the triggers when performing various actions – and needs to be experienced firsthand to truly be appreciated. The controller also offers what’s known as haptic feedback, meaning the vibrations are more subtle so there’s a difference between bumping into a small object and setting off a massive explosion.
2. Built-In Microphone
After dropping $500 on a new console, the last thing you want to do is go out and buy a microphone for online gaming. Thankfully, the DualSense controller comes with a built-in mic. It won’t be suitable for most competitive gaming, but for a few casual matches of Rocket League, it’s more than you’ll ever need.
3. 3D Audio
Speaking of audio, the PlayStation 5 engineers weren’t happy with just improving the console’s performance and graphics – they wanted to provide a next-gen listening experience, too. Hence, 3D Audio was born. Object-based spatial sound technology allows for a dynamic experience unlike anything available on last-gen consoles. You’ll need a set of compatible headphones or surround sound to take full advantage of the feature, but if you meet that criteria, your ears are in for a treat.
4. Playtime Tracker
PS4 didn’t offer a great way for you to track your playtime in each game, but Sony set out to fix that with PS5. You can now easily track your playtime just by viewing your profile. It’s a basic inclusion, but one that makes it easy to compare stats with a friend.
5. Smartphone App
PlayStation has had a wonderful smartphone app for years, but they took it to the next level with the PS5. The beautifully redesigned software lets you browse the PlayStation Store, schedule updates and install games directly from your phone when away from your console. You can also create party groups and chat with up to 15 friends through your phone.
6. Next-Gen Console Design
The PlayStation 5 console itself looks like something out of a sci-fi film. Designed to stand out, it features sweeping curves, stark black and white coloration and a pulsing blue light that all ooze next-gen appeal. You’d be hard-pressed to find another gaming system that looks as futuristic as the PS5.
7. Backward Compatibility
Backward compatibility seems like a no-brainer, but some older consoles neglected to include it. Not only does PS5 run nearly all PS4 titles, but many of them look better thanks to fancy upscaling software. Best of all, they’ll load faster and play smoother thanks to the PS5’s upgraded internals.
8. HDR Settings
HDR is quickly becoming a “must-have” feature, and the PS5 takes full advantage of the technology. While you’ll be given a few prompts regarding HDR during the console setup phase, you can easily dive into the options and adjust various visual settings whenever you like. This allows you to get the most out of your home entertainment system.
9. Universal Presets
Subtitles, graphics settings, game difficulty and more can be customized directly from the PS5 menu and will be applied to your entire library. Instead of fumbling through each game’s menu individually, you can pre-set them all straight from your PS5 – making it easier than ever to get to the fun part of gaming.
10. SSD Storage
PS5 games load faster than ever, and most of that is due to its lightning-fast 825GB SSD hard drive. Minute-long load times have been cut down to seconds, and expandable storage space means you’ll always have space for all the latest hits.
11. Game Switcher
Gone are the days of long loading screens, as PS5 lets you quickly switch between multiple active games at the press of a button. One second you could be soaring around Teyvat in Genshin Impact, then moments later be swinging through the streets of New York as Miles Morales in Marvel’s Spider-Man. It’s an incredible engineering feat, and one that makes it surprisingly easy to dive into games in the blink of an eye.
12. Dust Collector
It’s an unfortunate fact – your console is going to gather dust during its life. Cleaning all that debris from various ducts and vents can be a hassle, but not on the PS5. Sony offers built-in dust holes on the side of every PS5 unit, making periodic maintenance a breeze. After removing the outer white shell there are two dust-catching holes that can be easily cleaned using a vacuum, helping extend the life of the console.
13. Trophy Recordings
While PS4 would capture a snapshot every time you earned a trophy, PS5 ups the ante by recording a 15-second clip. Most of the clips will probably be unspectacular, but there’s nothing like having a short video to commemorate your first Platinum Trophy. It also picks up any noises made when you get a trophy, so you can relive all the celebrations of your hard-earned achievements.
14. 4K Video Capture
PlayStation 5 not only lets you play games in 4K, but also record and share 4K video. Just toggle a few settings in the main menu, hold down the Share button and you’re ready to bring your masterpiece to the masses.
15. Edit Your Screenshots
Before sharing your photos and videos with the world, why not give them a touch-up? PS5 lets you carry out basic photo editing tasks – such as cropping, trimming and adding text – before uploading your creations.
16. Automatically Install PS4 Titles To External HDD
It’s in your best interest to save PS5’s internal SSD storage space for demanding next-gen titles, as they’ll load infinitely faster than if they’re installed on an external hard drive. Because of that, Sony gives you the option to automatically save your older, easier-to-run games directly to an external hard drive.
Like we said, it’s still very difficult to find a PlayStation 5 at the moment. But make sure to set up a Deal Alert so we can let you know when they eventually start to go on sale.
Our editors strive to ensure that the information in this article is accurate as of the date published, but please keep in mind that offers can change. We encourage you to verify all terms and conditions of any product before you apply.