Sony's snap-on PS5 covers reviewed: Adds a splash of console color
These PlayStation 5 color covers look sharp, but do you need them?
Scott SteinEditor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
ExpertiseVR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tabletsCredentials
Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
The PlayStation 5 still isn't easy to buy more than a year after it was released. And yet, if you happen to own one, Sony offers ways to customize it further. On a practical side, there are M.2 SSD drives that expand internal hard drive storage and are surprisingly easy to install for a few hundred dollars. But from a totally aesthetic angle, you can now change the PS5's color for $55.
Sony's PlayStation 5 Console Covers are basically plastic panels that snap onto the sides of the PS5, and Sony sells them directly, but they will be more widely available on Feb. 18. They're unnecessary and remind me of the plastic faceplates that you could snap onto the Xbox 360 years ago. (I loved the wood-grain option on those!)
Watch this: Should you change the color of your PS5?
There aren't any wood-grain PS5 covers available (yet), but the matte plastic covers I tried gave the console a clean, sharp look. The red is almost brick-colored, while the black turns the white PS5 into a closer cousin of the PlayStation 4.
These don't just fit on top of the PS5 like a skin. Instead, you need to remove the front and back panels from the console and replace them with new versions.
Snapping off the PS5's side covers, if you haven't done it, is pretty straightforward… albeit a little anxiety-inducing. Sony's instructions suggest pulling up one edge and sliding the panel out. It feels weird to flex part of a game console's side, and I worried I'd break something, though it was fine in the end. Once the edge unhooks, it pushes out. Snapping the sides back on was a little easier. (Incidentally, snapping the side panels off is also how you access the M.2 SSD drive slot if you want to install extra storage.) One thing you have to do first is unscrew the PS5 stand, though, which is also a simple task.
I love that the PS5 has customizable parts at all. We live in an age where people buy entirely new gadgets just for the color, and with the PS5 you can get that joy for $55. On the other hand, why bother? I happen to love the white and black PS5 look and think it's the best, most iconic design. I have to admit, though: When I mixed and matched color panels and made a red and black PS5, it looked pretty cool.
I have nothing more to say on color plastic side plates for a game console. Most people are still trying to buy a regular PS5 in the first place, after all. And if you have one, I'd say spend the extra $50 or so on a different colored controller instead. Nintendo's Switch Joy-Cons do double duty as color customization while also throwing in extra controllers, which is even more genius in retrospect. But who knows: Future PS5 models may end up not being color-customizable at all, and then we could end up looking back on this moment with nostalgia and appreciation. Enjoy your color-themed gaming pleasures while they last.