Sony PlayStation 3 Super Slim (500GB) review: Sony's old console is still a contender

In addition to its huge back catalog, new games are still being released for the system. The highly anticipated game Destiny came out for the PS3 recently, as well as a new Madden, FIFA, NBA and NHL games. You can also expect to see the new Call of Duty make its way to the PS3 in November, along with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Safety in numbers
The Last of Us still looks stunning on the PS3. Naughty Dog

And it still has high-end graphics

Despite being nearly 10 years old, the PS3 still delivers very impressive HD graphics. They may not be on the same level as a high-end computer, the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but you won't be disappointed after spending a few minutes looking at a game like Beyond Two Souls or The Last of Us.

PS3 Cons

Yes, there's still a lot reasons to recommend the PS3, but there are some caveats.

Starting in 2015, the hottest new games won't be available on the PS3

It starts in February with two highly anticipated titles: Bloodborne and The Order: 1886. Both of these games will be released on the PS4 only. Then, its Batman: Arkham Knight and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, both of which won't see the light of day on the PS3. (Arkham Knight will be on the Xbox One, however.) It's around this time that owners of one of Sony's older consoles may begin to feel some buyer's remorse.

In other words, You may be better off spending the extra $130 on a PS4. At least, this will future proof you for the next five to 10 years.

And while the PlayStation Plus library is currently much better on the PS3, we fully expect the PS4 to see some better offers in the future.

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Destiny looks better on the PS4 and Xbox One. Bungie

The PS4 has better looking games

While you could argue that the PS3 may have some better titles than the PS4, most people will agree that Sony's latest console easily wins in a head-to-head matchup for graphics and performance. It's as if you are playing a completely different game when you compare a copy of Destiny on the PS3 with a copy of Destiny on the PS4. And while games like Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us look great on PS3, their PS4-remastered versions are downright jaw-dropping.

PlayStation Now isn't just for the PS3

PlayStation Now isn't just available on the PS3. You will find the service on the PS4, PlayStation TV, PlayStation Vita and select Bravia TVs. To make matters worse, the PlayStation Now streaming library is still relatively small. When I tested it earlier this month I was disappointed to find it didn't include a lot of games I actually wanted to play -- no God of War, Gran Turismo or any Grand Theft Auto games.

Sony has said that it hopes to have more titles available on the service in the future, but until then it may not be very appealing to most gamers.

There are two notable home theater annoyances

If you want to use your PS3 as a disc player or streaming box, be prepared to use the DualShock controller. But because the PS3 has no infrared port, your alternatives are limited to Bluetooth friendly models: you can invest in Sony's proprietary $20 remote, or spend seven times that on a higher-end Harmony (like the awesome Harmony Home Control). But a $20 universal remote you can buy at the drugstore that controls all your other AV components -- including the Xbox 360 -- won't work.

Meanwhile, the current PS3's weird top-loading disc tray isn't the best option for many living room setups. Unlike front-loading disc players that can fit into tight confines, the PS3 needs enough topside clearance for you to swap discs in and out and close the sliding cover. (And while we're at it: that whole design just looks and feels cheap compared to the earlier PS3 hardware designs.)

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The PS4 is also a good set-top box

The PS4 has access to Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and other video streaming services. Movies and TV shows can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store, although unlike the PS3, the PS4 does not currently have an HBO Go app or support for DLNA media servers. We do expect both to make their way to the system in the near future, but even without HBO's streaming service the PS4 is still a very good set top box and Blu-ray player.

What about Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii U?

The PS3 isn't the only older (and cheaper) console available. The Xbox 360 is priced similar to the PS3, while the Nintendo Wii U is only slightly more expensive. Both systems can still be appealing because of their exclusive content. Despite the lack of support for Blu-ray discs, the Xbox 360 has the Halo and Forza series, while Nintendo has a slew of Mario and Zelda titles on the Wii U.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion

I'm a bit torn on whether to recommend you buy a PS3 or go ahead and splurge for a PS4. The cheapest PS3 option available -- the 12GB model from Walmart -- isn't worth it. The storage will be filled up in no time with game saves and downloads. Your only other option is to buy one of the $270 bundles, which after sales tax comes close to $300. I've seen the PS4 available for as low as $359, which is less than the MSRP of $400 even after you apply sales tax. Even at full price, for roughly $100 more, you are buying access to the future through software updates and access to the latest and greatest games.

Don't get me wrong, the PS3 has great games and it has a ton of video streaming apps. If you have one you may not have a need to upgrade to a PS4 right away, but most gamers shouldn't pick one up. While the PS3 is still a great system, its future is bleak. Come 2015, you may be left with nothing more than buyer's remorse if you pick up a new PS3 instead of a PS4.

I do think the system still holds value, however, with younger buyers. Parents looking for a game console for their children that won't break the bank, the PS3 is still something to consider.

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