I wish I’d taken pictures. It’s so bad it’s almost comical.
First impressions — initial screens were horribly ugly and had badly anti-aliased text.
Then, the device didn’t detect it was plugged into a HD TV automatically — I had to tell it. The screens henceforth were nicer, but not consistent or polished. (XBox 360 is much snazzier.)
When I turned on the device, it required me to enter a bunch of information (e.g. date and time) which it could have obtained online if it had simply requested network login information first. Duh.
Initial configuration involved using multiple keyboard interfaces, one like a cellphone (multiple presses per character) and another with a more conventional layout that nevertheless was idiotic (e.g. highly inconvenient access to the @ symbol when entering email addresses).
Oh, and then it needed to download an update.
Every game I’ve played on the device, including the GTAV that came bundled with it, needs to download and install an update before it will run. The downloads are ridiculously slow and you’re repeatedly told (a) that they can’t be done in the background (why not?) and (b) not to interrupt them. (I’m writing this diatribe while I wait for LittleBIGPlanet 2 to patch itself into functional form. To be fair, most of the patches don’t take especially long, but this one is glacial.)
Every app I’ve downloaded from the menus (e.g. Netflix and Amazon Prime) immediately needed to be updated immediately after installation (and did not do so automatically, so I go off to grab a coffee or whatever, and come back to a screen requiring me to click a button to update the damn software).
When you start a game or launch an app, the screen goes blank (as in the PS3 stops sending out a video signal) for several seconds. It’s just ugly and clumsy.
Once you’re in a game, it’s a pretty nice machine except for the constant squeaking of the optical drive.
Finally — note that this is the new slimline 500GB PS3. Maybe the older, bigger, more expensive PS3 was a better put together piece of kit, but I assume it had the same lousy software. It’s quite noisy and pumps out a significant amount of hot air. In terms of build quality, it feels shoddy compared to me original Sony PS2 or my newer slimline PS2, or my XBox 360 — let alone a Mac Mini, say. I don’t know if it’s designed to stand vertically, but there are no affordances such as rubber feet.
Oh, and it’s very easy to knock the power button (which is mounted on the front edge of the device). I’ve accidentally toggled off the power mid-game twice already.