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Features

PS3: Ports and All

Feature: Everything you need to know

Unpacking a new piece of hardware from its box is, as well as know, a glorious moment, full of anticipation and the promise of gaming goodness to come. But if we're honest not many of us bother to read the manual tucked somewhere inside in the poly bag.

So for all the thousands of people who just want to plug in and play we offer this handy guide to all the slots and ports of your PS3, and more importantly, what they mean to your multimedia experience.

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Back of the console from left to right

HDMI
High-Definition Multimedia Interface port capable of transporting you into a new era of quality visuals (but remember - a HDMI cable must be bought separately).

LAN
The Ethernet cable supplied with your PS3 connects you directly to the Internet provided you have a service provider. You can also connect wirelessly via a Wi-Fi USB dongle.

Optical Digital Out
For Dolby Digital Surround Sound, DTS and to connect to other audio devices that support digital out such as an AV Receiver.

AV Multi Out
For Composite, HD Ready, S-Video or Scart connections. The PS3 comes with a standard A/V composite cable but to get the most benefit from PS3's 1080p output you will need a HDMI cable and a HDTV that supports 1080p.

On/Off Switch
Standard switch for firing up your PS3. Obviously...

AC Power Cord
As the PS3 has an internal power supply the AC power cord bundled with your system is slim and discrete, unlike the python that's swallowed a brick you get with the Xbox 360.

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Front to the console from left to right

USB slots
The four USB slots will give you more than enough flexibility to attach anything from a PSP to a digital camera. Also charges the Sixaxis when plugged in.

Front Flap [directly above the 4 USB slots]
Inside this flap resides slots for CompactFlash, SD Memory Card and Memory Stick Pro Duo cards.

Blu-Ray Drive
The Blu-Ray DVD drive is what all the fuss is really about providing pristine 1080p picture quality for both games and movies. Disks can also store around 10 times the amount of a standard DVD.

LEDs
Beautiful LED indicators to tell you the status of your PS3.

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60GB Hard Drive

Sony's decision to only offer the expensive 60GB version of the PS3 in Europe has been controversial. At a whopping £425 the machine may well be beyond the reach of many a family budget and initially be only appealing to hardcore gamers or tech savvy singletons. But there is an upside: the premium model not only gives you a sleeker unit design (with silver logos and trim) but a massive 60GB of storage, Wi-Fi out of the box and extra memory readers.

For anyone who doesn't just want a games machine the premium model is the only way to go if you want the full multimedia experience. To browse holiday photos, play MP3s, download chunky files, stream music or movies, surf the internet wirelessly or even access your PSP via the Remote Play option this is arguably worth the extra £100. The high price might hurt Sony in the short term but there's no doubt that the raw hardware will stand the test of time and give you value for money.

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Sixaxis controller

In terms of outward design the PS3 controller is almost identical to its predecessor but features finer analogue sensitivity and wireless connectivity. The name is derived from its ability to detect six degrees of motion which has already been implemented in games such as Tony Hawk's Project 8 and the forthcoming Lair. The controller contains batteries which can easily be recharged by simply plugging the device into your PS3 via the provided USB cable.

A big downer, however, is that it no longer has a rumble feature due to patent infringements with the technology license holder, Immersion. Interestingly, rumours suggest the situation could well change if Sony and Immersion come to an amicable agreement.

Peripherals

The four PS3 USB ports will support a host of gadgets and peripherals which include the EyeToy camera/webcam and SOCOM Headset for video and voice chat. A memory card adapter is also available so users can save their Psone/PS2 data to a virtual memory card on the hard drive. The PlayStation 3 can also use Memory Sticks to store save data for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 software.

Lookout for a lot more PlayStation features and reviews on CVG in the run-up to the March 23 launch

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