The Telegraph
Sunday , January 3 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Are you game?

Come to think of it, the PlayStation 3 was a utopian game-console designer’s imagination gone wild, when it first launched in 2006. Chock-full with the latest tech, its glossy appearance screamed vanity, arrogance and the kind of excess that can only come thanks to the monumental successes of its predecessors, the PlayStation 2 and the original PlayStation. The price tag was monumental too, a fact that gamers found hard to digest, and the PlayStation 3 trailed cheaper consoles. This despite the fact that it was far and away the best home entertainment console, thanks to Sony’s inclusion of a Blu-ray drive.

Come 2010, and Sony’s remodelled PlayStation 3 ‘Slim’ has lost some serious weight, in virtually every department. It isn’t called the Slim without reason — it’s significantly thinner and narrower than the original PS3. You’ll see numbers everywhere that describe the size reduction Sony has achieved with the PS3 Slim, to the tune of 33 per cent less space and 36 per cent less weight.

But these numbers can’t convey just how much smaller it’s gotten — it’s like comparing a laptop to a desktop, it’s that much smaller. Also gone is the fingerprint-friendly glossy exterior, with a new matte finish that is more contemporary and understated. The annoying touch sensitive power and eject controls have been replaced with actual buttons, and the hard disk has been upgraded to a 120GB variant, at the same price point as the entry-level previous-gen ‘fat’ model.

Sony’s also improved power consumption with the new Slim, and the unit consumes about 50 per cent of the power the original 2006 model consumed. Also down are the noise levels of the PS3, something that is really bothersome when you’re watching a Blu-ray movie.

With the weight loss regime, not everything made the cut in the transition from the fat PS3 to the ‘Slim’. In fact, if you pick up a current gen fat model, the only difference is that the Slim loses the ability to install a third-party platform like Linux. Not that I’d imagine the average consumer to care about this, but just so you know.

The two additional USB ports, the memory card readers were gone from the previous generation fat model as well but nothing hurts more than the loss of backward compatibility for PlayStation2 games. It not making a reappearance in the Slim wasn’t a surprise, but it still remains an anti- consumer decision. With one of the most impressive line-ups of game titles in the industry, continuing to ignore PS2 compatibility in the PS3 Slim doesn’t earn Sony any brownie points.

So here’s the good news, and the bad news — apart from the cosmetics and the power consumption, the fat and slim are basically the same. The same beast of a monster gaming console, but Sony didn’t add new features to the Slim. You still get the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity (it’s extra on other consoles), the excellent DualShock3 Bluetooth wireless controller, and the same built-in Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player with BD-Live capabilities.

The PS3 can act as a digital media hub as well, with the ability to stream content from any DLNA-compatible network device, including PCs and network attached hard drives. And you also get a built-in web browser, which is good enough for the occasional couch surfing, though not as good as any of the major browsers available for PCs.

As hardware goes, the PS3 still can run circles around the competition, and the Blu-ray abilities only help its case further. Where it lacks is the fully developed social gaming platform — you do get the PlayStation Network, but it still needs a lot of work to challenge competing platforms on the Internet gaming experience. Though, as a powerful gaming console with Blu-ray capabilities to match your full-HD TV, this is the console to pick up.

Quick Specs:

Model Number: CECH-2000A
Processor/Graphics: Cell Broadband Engine with nVidia RSX graphics
Memory: 256MB XDR Main RAM/ 256MB GDDR3 VRAM
Hard Disk: 2.5 Serial ATA 120GB
Communication: Ethernet (10/100/1000), Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR), 2 x USB
AV Output: Resolutions (480i/ 480p/ 576i/ 576p/ 720p/ 1080i/ 1080p), 1 x HDMI out, 1 x AV Multiout, 1 x Digital out
Sound Output: Dolby Digital Plus/ Dolby Digital 5.1ch/ DTS 5.1ch/ LPCM 7.1ch/ AAC
Optical Drive: Blu-ray Disc/DVD/CD Drive
Included: 1 A/V cable , 1 USB cable, 1 DualShock 3 wireless controller
Colour: Charcoal black, matte finish
Dimensions (in inches): 2.6 x 11.4 x 11.4
Weight: 3.22kg
Rating: 8/10
Price: Rs 19,990 all inclusive

Safety first

With more of our lives being spent online than ever before, it’s just plain common sense to have a good internet security suite installed on your PC. Try Norton Internet Security 2010, a newbie friendly suite from the guys at Symantec. It installs at a blistering pace, a testimony to the under-the-hood changes Symantec has done to make this suite lighter on your PC’s resources than before.

Once installed, the slick user interface lets you scan your system for malware and applications installed from the Internet. NIS2010 uses a new breed of
security called “Quorum” — unlike previous versions which would maintain a database on known malware on the system, this version rates files and internet downloads based on additional information it obtains from the millions of users of the Norton community over the Internet. The collective intelligence of crowds, so to speak. I also liked the anti-spam integration with Outlook, which did a pretty good job of downloading valid personal messages, and identifying mostly all the spam my multiple email addresses attract.

Coupled with the firewall feature, NIS 2010 is an excellent buy for some peace of mind on your Windows 7, Vista or XP PC. At Rs 1,450, it’s practically a steal, considering the bevy of features it packs in to safeguard your Internet experience.


Price: Rs 2,495 (3-PC licence), Rs 1,450 (single-PC licence)

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