PS5 vs PS3: Design, Size, Ports, Construction Comparison

Long before the PS5, there was the original PS3. First debuting at E3 2005, the console raised eyebrows for all sorts of reasons. Compared to the boxier designs of PlayStation and PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 was going for something different. Curvier, larger and with more advanced tech in it than any previous console, Sony was looking to make a statement back then. Unfortunately, the high price tag a year later would be its undoing. This version of the PS3 couldn’t shake a negative stigma, forcing Sony to almost entirely rebrand the PS3 in 2009.

Still, fond memories remain. The original PlayStation 3 is actually a beautiful console to look at, and many of its most impressive features would be stripped away in subsequent models and even the PS4. Until the PS5, the original PS3 was the largest launch console Sony had ever released. With the PS5 nearing launch, how does today’s hulking beast stack up with yesterday’s behemoth?

A Difference in Materials and Design

2005-6 PlayStation design philosophy is different from 2020. Asides from the striking height difference, there’s a total change in the style of materials used and the branding. While the PS5 uses a matte white finish on both sides, PS3 goes for a glossy black. Aside from the 20GB launch model, all original PS3 models implemented a dash of chrome to provide a more premium look to the console.

As anyone who owned or still owns an original PS3 unit today knows, this type of finish is a fingerprint magnet. While the PS5’s white fins may eventually start showing dirt over time, the PS3’s black gloss shows off fingerprints and dust almost immediately. Your PS3 requires more cleaning to stay nice and shiny.

Then there’s the logo. Early 2000s Sony was dominated by the success of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe claimed dominance over the film industry, Spider-Man was the most successful set of superhero films in decades. It’s no wonder Sony decided to incorporate that iconic design onto their console. Unfortunately, the franchise fell apart after Spider-Man 3, and Sony ended up rebranding the PS3 logo. Still, it’s an elegant reminder of what’s come before and directly contrasts with the PS5’s minimalist design. The PS5 doesn’t spell out its name or even the PS5 logo. All that’s there is the iconic PlayStation symbol.

A Busy Front vs. a Minimalistic Front

Looking from the front, it’s surprising to see that both consoles are close to the same thickness. It’s here that the PS5 reveals its glossy black center, though the white fins help protect it from fingerprints. Compared to PS3, the PS5 is minimalist with its coloring, power and eject buttons, UHD Blu-ray drive, and USB ports (we’ll come back to that soon). Vents are noticeable but not anywhere near as prominent on the PS3.

The PS3’s front is busier but with a premium feel. The chrome trim on the Blu-ray drive is a nice little touch and all four USB ports are upfront for easy use. There’s even a colored PlayStation symbol that can be oriented to different positions depending on whether the console is standing or lying down. There are also lots and lots of vents on the front and underbelly of the console.

Ports, Ports, and More Ports

Sony went all out to make PS3 the ultimate multimedia machine, which meant including ports for almost everything imaginable. There was also a CF slot, a microSD card reader and a memory stick slot in addition to four USB slots. These extra slots and readers were all tucked underneath a cover that many users might never have ever opened. As such, all three and two USB ports were eliminated in future models.

From the front, you can also make out the Power and Eject touch-sensitive buttons. All it took was a tap to turn on your PS3 or eject a disc. Sony would later remove these in favor of physical buttons in future models.

The PS5 features a dramatically simpler and sleeker front. In addition to physical Power and Eject buttons, the PS5’s front includes two USB ports, a Hi-Speed USB Type-A port and a Super-Speed 10Gbps Type-C port. It’s undoubtedly cleaner to look at compared to its predecessor.

Back-to-Back

The PS3 arrived at the end of an era. With HD on the horizon, the original PS3 came equipped to handle both the new era and the departing SD era. The AV Multi OUT port allowed users to hook PS3 up to older TVs. Meanwhile, the HDMI port could be used with new HDTVs. The PS3 also came with a Digitial Out Optical port and a dedicated Main Power button, and both omitted from the PS5.

Both consoles include LAN ports for wired internet connections. PS5 also supports HDMI, including the new 2.1 standard. Like the rest of the unit, the back of the PS5 is very minimal. There’s a port for power and the two remaining USB ports (both are Super-Speed USB 10Gbps Type-A). Both consoles feature plenty of ventilation.


Sony’s design philosophy sure has shifted more than a decade after the PS3’s launch. Sony set out to create a premium-looking entertainment device with all the bells and whistle with that console. In hindsight, it’s easy to appreciate the look and feel of the original PS3 model. Its glossy curves, chrome trim and Spider-Man logo aren’t things you see anymore. Back in 2006, however, that all came at a price that was too much for consumers to swallow. With that knowledge, it’s easy to understand why Sony shifted course with the PS3 Slim.

In contrast, the PS5 follows today’s minimalist approach to design. It’s straightforward and sleek, despite its tremendous height and bump for the UHD Blu-ray drive (an issue not present in the Digital Edition). In the end, both consoles have unique looks that are sure to appeal to consumers after they find ways to get them in their entertainment centers. After all, these are the largest launch consoles Sony has ever made.