Sony PlayStation 5
The default PS5 is the top choice for us, since that disc drive opens up so many options for game sharing, media viewing and more.Pros
- Disc drive for game sharing
- Amazing library of games
- Occasionally discounted
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
The Digital Edition of Sony’s console is superb, but it does mean you can’t borrow games or trade them in – if the saving is worth it, though, it’s a great pick.Pros
- Slimmer build
- Same excellent roster of games
- Lower starting price
- Rarely discounted
- No sharing games or watching Blu-Rays
- The PlayStation 5 and PS5 Digital Edition have very similar specs, including 4K capability, game support, processing power, and storage capacity.
- The main difference between the two versions is the presence of a disc drive in the standard PS5, allowing for physical game playback and media usage.
- If you prefer buying games digitally and don’t need a disc drive, the PS5 Digital Edition is a cheaper option that still provides excellent gaming performance.
The PlayStation 5 has been much sought after since its debut in 2020 – often leading to difficulties in actually buying one. But now that there’s plenty of stock available, just one question remains – which PS5 should you buy?
As well as the standard model – that’s the one with the disc drive – there’s a slightly slimmer, cheaper version, in the form of the PS5 Digital Edition. So, here are the differences between the two machines to give you an idea of which would suit you best.
You should also check out our guide on the best PS5 games to see what to pair your new console with.
Specs and availability
If you’re comparing the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition directly, it’s worth casting an eye over their specs sheets to get a sense for how similar they are in many ways.
Both are available to buy right now, and both are still being made by Sony, although the Digital Edition is a tiny bit rarer and consequently hasn’t been discounted yet, whereas the standard PS5 has started to get the occasional welcome price cut.
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition Sony PlayStation 5 4K Capability Yes Yes Game support PS5, PSVR 2, PS4, PSVR PS5, PSVR 2, PS4, PSVR Processing Power 10.3 TFLOPS 10.3 TFLOPS Storage 825GB SSD 825GB SSD CPU x86-64-AMD Ryzen Zen 8 cores x86-64-AMD Ryzen Zen 8 cores Dimensions 390 x 260 x 92 mm 390 × 260 × 104 mm Audio Tempest 3D audio Tempest 3D audio RAM 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6
The key thing to know about the two versions of the PS5 is that almost all of their components are identical, as you’ll have seen from the chart above – you get the exact same graphical performance, processor and storage options regardless of which you pick.
That means both have an eight-core Zen 2 processor, running at 3.5GHz per core, with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM to call upon.
That’s backed up by a GPU that can manage 10.28 TFLOPS across 36 CUs, a whole bunch more than even the PS4 Pro could manage. Storage-wise, both PS5s have 825GB custom SSDs, which can read data at a lightning-quick 5.5GB/s while you game. Long loading times are a thing of the past.
The two consoles also have very similar designs, both featuring the same wing-tip style flaring sides and white casing, with blue lighting accenting the package nicely.
They’re the same size in height when stood vertically, but the standard PlayStation 5 is significantly thicker as a result of its disc drive. It’s most noticeable at the base of the console, where this change has been made.
Features and price
As you may have worked out by now, there are only two key differences between each PS5 model – the disc drive and price.
The standard PS5 has a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player that will let you play games from physical discs, as well as watch Ultra HD movies. This will naturally mean that you can trade in games after you’ve played them and lend them to friends. It’ll also mean that almost every PS4 game you have on disc will also work through backward compatibility.
By contrast, the PS5 Digital Edition has no disc drive, which means all games you play will need to be purchased digitally, and you will only be able to stream media rather than playing it from the drive.
The absence of disc drive does, of course, make the Digital Edition of the PlayStation 5 cheaper than the full version. It’s generally $100 / €100 / £90 / ¥10,000 less, which could be really enticing depending on your budget.
The choice between the two PS5s comes down to a couple of factors: how you buy your games and whether you want to watch DVDs, Blu-rays and 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays.
If you’re even slightly likely to use that disc drive to either borrow games from friends, trade them in after playing, or watch physical movies, then the standard PlayStation 5 should be your top pick – if you trade a few games in you’ll soon make up that price difference.
Sony PlayStation 5
The standard PlayStation 5 is the best choice for most people, we’d say.
If you’ve been loving digital storefronts for ages and hardly ever pick up a disc, though, then the Digital Edition could make sense. It’ll save you some money up-front, cut down the size of the console, and save you from the clutter of game boxes. Plus, with the recent addition of digital games catalogues available through PlayStation Plus membership, there are 100s of games you can feed it for just one monthly fee.
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition