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PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: Which console is better for you?
The PlayStation 5 is now consistently in stock after selling out for years. If you’re considering picking one up, though, there’s still a choice to be made: do you get the standard disc-capable version, or the digital-only release? In this post, we’ll consider the PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition battle on a feature-by-feature basis.
PS5 vs PS5 Digital: What are the major differences?
While the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X have some significant performance differences, PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition specs are identical. No matter which PS5 console you choose, you’ll get the same speedy SSD, the same quality graphics, the same amount of internal storage, and more. There are really only three major differences between the consoles.
The obvious leading difference between is that the standard PS5 comes with a Blu-ray disc drive while the Digital Edition doesn’t. If you’re into collecting Blu-ray and DVD movies or have a huge physical PS4 game collection, the choice is clear.
Being without a disc drive, anything you buy for the Digital Edition has to come from the PlayStation Store. Many people prefer downloads regardless, but be aware that internal storage can fill up faster, and installation will last anywhere from minutes to hours depending on the size of a game and your bandwidth.
Because of the presence or absence of a disc drive, there is a slightly design difference. The standard disc version of the PS5 has a bulge at the bottom, whereas the Digital Edition is slimmer and more symmetrical. Everything else is identical, such as USB ports and height.
In the US, the standard PS5 price is $499.99, while the Digital Edition is just $399.99. The latter is cheaper for Sony to make in terms of components and licensing, so the savings are passed along.
PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: Which should I buy?
No matter how much you look at the debate between the standard PS5 vs the Digital Edition, both options are fantastic if you can afford them. One or the other may suit you best, however.
Should I buy the standard PS5?
If you want to collect disc copies of your favorite games, you’ll need the standard PS5. That’s particularly true if you already have a PS4 library on disc and you’re not planning to keep the older console. Naturally, anything that is on disc becomes a coaster if all you have is the PS5 Digital Edition.
The standard PS5’s disc drive also opens up access to movies on DVD and Blu-ray, so you can use it to play (or start) a physical collection. While that can be costly compared to something like a Netflix or Max subscription, the advantage is that your favorite titles won’t suddenly disappear because of rights issues or tax write-offs. Some movies have never made the transition to streaming.
Discs can also be a way around the problem of slow or flaky internet connections. Art-heavy 3D games can easily take hours to download, even on fast connections, whereas installing from a disc should only take minutes, not including shopping time. Bear in mind that disc-based games still need to fetch updates online, even if they’re single-player only.
The standard PS5 does cost an extra $100, but the autonomy to shop around for the best deals and access physical media libraries is a strong selling point.
Should I buy the PS5 Digital Edition?
If you only ever buy digital copies of games, then you should probably default to the Digital Edition. It’s the cheaper of the two consoles after all, and the PlayStation Store does have regular sales and discounts.
You’re limited to Sony’s prices though, whatever they happen be on a given day. Stores like Amazon, GameStop, and BestBuy may offer better deals on disc titles. That could be offset by your initial $100 savings, not to mention avoiding the cost of new shelves or bins to hold everything. Physical games aren’t immune to price hikes, either, since they can dwindle in availability.
If you own a PS4 and bought digital copies of games on that console, you can transfer those titles to the Digital Edition. We have a guide on transferring PS4 saved data to the PS5 if you need help.
As mentioned earlier, relying purely on downloads can fill up the PS5’s 667GB of stock SSD storage in no time. To expand internal space, you’ll need to add another SSD certified by Sony. Follow the instructions on Sony’s website. For PS4 games, you can use an external HDD or SSD. See our recommendations for the best hard drives and SSDs you can buy for the PlayStation 5.
If you have great internet speeds and are content with only purchasing games from the PlayStation Store, the PS5 Digital Edition is a great option. Plus, you’ll have something with a more svelte design to show off.
The standard PS5 is the better option if you have a collection of physical PS4 games, want to shop around for the best deals on PS5 games, and/or have a physical collection DVD and Blu-ray movies and don’t want to use a separate player. On the other hand, if you’re happy to buy games exclusively through the PlayStation Store, the Digital Edition is the better option.
The main difference between the PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition is the absence of a Blu-ray disc drive in the latter. If you don’t need to play physical discs, the Digital Edition may be a better choice for you, as it’s $100 cheaper.
Yes, the PS5 Digital Edition was launched on November 12, 2020, and is available from various retailers and the official PlayStation website.
Whether or not it’s worth getting the Digital Edition depends on your personal preferences. If you only care about getting games from the PlayStation Store, and don’t have a collection of physical movies or PS4 games, it’s probably the ideal choice.
You can download games from the PlayStation Store on any PS5, regardless of whether it has a disc drive.