The Worst 5 Gadgets: #3 Sony Playstation 3 (slim)

Good times
  • The web browser is quite good, allowing streaming from the web
Bad times
  • Cannot stream video files across wireless without unacceptable stuttering
  • Constant download and installation of system updates
  • USB ports are only on the front, making connection to multiple devices a messy business
What I should have bought
  • Maybe an Xbox. But probably either an Apple Mini or a Dell Inspiron Zino HD 
This is going to be controversial.

As a gaming machine, I am sure that the PS3 is nigh on impossible to fault. But Sony sell it as a games machine plus a fair bit extra. Not being a gamer, I am interested in the 'fair bit extra' and it is here that the PS3 falls down.

The PS3 is sold as a media device. In relation to video media, one of its tricks is to pick up media servers effortlessly, as long as they are DNLA compliant. I found no fault in this claim. And while streaming music over a wifi network is a rewarding experience on the PS3, it cannot cope with video. Not even standard definition video files play without prohibitive levels of stuttering. I am uncertain as to whether this is because of a generally slow wifi connection or the absence of a suitably sized buffer, but I can say that a media PC I have on the same network will stream the same file off the same server over the same wireless network without a single glitch. A trawl through the web tells me that this might be cured by connecting the PS3 to the network with a wire but, really, should I have to?

The constant updates to the operating system and the front-only facing USB ports are annoying but would be a small price to pay for a media device that, heaven forbid, streamed video wirelessly.

It is a real shame because the PS3 has some real strong points. The browser is not perfect but handles enough formats to make it very useful to stream files over the web. The add-on PlayTV is a serviceable PVR and the Sony Playstation online store works ok, too. But it does not stream video over wireless so I use the thing once a fortnight. Maybe.

As a non-gamer, I may have been better off with a living room-friendly PC, like the Apple Mini or the Dell Zino HD.

At $600-odd (AUD) I find the price commensurate with the hardware on offer. But the PS3 does not do what it says on the tin and for this reason it gets the thumbs down.

The best five gadgets
  1. iPhone 4 smartphone
  2. Sagem PVR6240T PVR (as buggy as it is ...)
  3. Logitech diNovo Mini miniature QWERTY keyboard
  4. Logitech X-230 speakers
  5. Lacie iamaKey USB memory key
The worst five gadgets
  1. One For All URC-9900 Director (Mosaic) universal remote control
  2. Nokia N800 internet tablet
  3. Sony Playstation 3 (slim) games console
  4. Asus EeeBox PC EB1501 nettop
  5. Aliph Jawbone bluetooth headset