PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition – Which One Should You Buy?

PlayStation 5

Gamers looked forward to 2020 for a long time as 2020 was the year of new video game consoles and much of the excitement was for the release of the highly anticipated Playstation 5 consoles. In this article, we’ll be comparing the PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition by Sony to find out which one is better for you.

Both the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition are amazing gaming consoles. However, there are a few key differences between these two versions, which impact what each console can do and how you can play on them. By comparing these differences we will help you decide which one is best for your needs.

PlayStation 5 Console
26,251 Reviews
PlayStation 5 Console
  • Lightning Speed - Harness the power of a custom CPU, GPU, and SSD with Integrated I/O that rewrite the rules of what a PlayStation console can do.
  • Stunning Games - Marvel at incredible graphics and experience new PS5 features.
  • Breathtaking Immersion - Discover a deeper gaming experience with support for haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and 3D Audio technology.
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
6,896 Reviews
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
  • Lightning Speed - Harness the power of a custom CPU, GPU, and SSD with Integrated I/O that rewrite the rules of what a PlayStation console can do.
  • Stunning Games - Marvel at incredible graphics and experience new PS5 features.
  • Breathtaking Immersion - Discover a deeper gaming experience with support for haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and 3D Audio technology.

As part of this comparison, we will address several common questions including:

  • How many versions of the console are there to choose from?
  • What are the specs of the PS5 consoles?
  • Does the PS5 have backward compatibility?
  • What is the price?
  • What else do I need to know?
  • Which version of the console is best for me?

So let’s get started!

PS5 Release Date

November 12, 2020, is the first date that the PlayStation 5 was available for purchase. The timing of the release date is early enough to make sure that it will be available for the 2020 holiday shopping season.

Given the release date and the history of other PlayStation console releases, expect that the PlayStation 5 will a very popular.  As with most new game consoles it is expected to sell very quickly and could even be out of stock for periods of time at both brick and motor as well as online retailers. So once they become available you might want to act quickly to ensure that you get the model or bundle that you are looking for.

PlayStation 5 Specs

The PlayStation 5 is a big step up in terms of power and performance when compared to the PlayStation 4 Slim and even the more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro.

The ability to fully appreciate the improvements in the new PS5 will probably have a lot to do with the games you are playing and if they fully utilize the new hardware’s abilities.

Either way, let’s compare the technical specifications of the PS5 and the PS4.

PlayStation 5 Specs vs. PlayStation 4 Specs

Model
PlayStation 5
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
PlayStation 4 Slim
PlayStation 4 Pro
PlayStation 5 Console
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Console
PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console
CPU
8-core, 16 thread, up to 3.5Ghz (variable frequency)
8-core, 16 thread, up to 3.5Ghz (variable frequency)
8 Jaguar Cores, 1.6GHz
8 Jaguar Cores, 2.1GHz
GPU
36 CUs at 2.23GHz, 10.3 TFLOPs (variable frequency)
36 CUs at 2.23GHz, 10.3 TFLOPs (variable frequency)
18 CUs at 800MHz, 1.84 TFLOPS
36 CUs at 911Mhz, 4.2 TFLOPS
Memory
16GB GDDR6
16GB GDDR6
8GB GDDR5
8GB GDDR5
Internal Storage
Custom 825GB SSD
Custom 825GB SSD
500GB, 1TB HDD
1TB HDD
External Storage
NVMe SSD slot, USB HDD
NVMe SSD slot, USB HDD
2.5-inch HDD, USB HDD
2.5-inch HDD, USB HDD
Optical Drive
Ultra HD Blu-ray
NA
Blu-ray
Blu-ray
Video Output/Quality
4K at 120Hz, 8K
4K at 120Hz, 8K
1080p
4K
Model
PlayStation 5
PlayStation 5 Console
CPU
8-core, 16 thread, up to 3.5Ghz (variable frequency)
GPU
36 CUs at 2.23GHz, 10.3 TFLOPs (variable frequency)
Memory
16GB GDDR6
Internal Storage
Custom 825GB SSD
External Storage
NVMe SSD slot, USB HDD
Optical Drive
Ultra HD Blu-ray
Video Output/Quality
4K at 120Hz, 8K
Model
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
CPU
8-core, 16 thread, up to 3.5Ghz (variable frequency)
GPU
36 CUs at 2.23GHz, 10.3 TFLOPs (variable frequency)
Memory
16GB GDDR6
Internal Storage
Custom 825GB SSD
External Storage
NVMe SSD slot, USB HDD
Optical Drive
NA
Video Output/Quality
4K at 120Hz, 8K
Model
PlayStation 4 Slim
PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Console
CPU
8 Jaguar Cores, 1.6GHz
GPU
18 CUs at 800MHz, 1.84 TFLOPS
Memory
8GB GDDR5
Internal Storage
500GB, 1TB HDD
External Storage
2.5-inch HDD, USB HDD
Optical Drive
Blu-ray
Video Output/Quality
1080p
Model
PlayStation 4 Pro
PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console
CPU
8 Jaguar Cores, 2.1GHz
GPU
36 CUs at 911Mhz, 4.2 TFLOPS
Memory
8GB GDDR5
Internal Storage
1TB HDD
External Storage
2.5-inch HDD, USB HDD
Optical Drive
Blu-ray
Video Output/Quality
4K

Does the PlayStation 5 Have Backward Compatibility?

Prior to the launch of the PS5 Sony had reported that it would be backward compatible with “almost all” of the top 100 PS4 games at the time the PlayStation 5 launched. In some instances, playing PS4 games on a PS5 will even give you an increase in performance thanks to the PS5’s Game Boost technology, which can provide faster and smoother frame rates.

Sony said that they planned on continuing to expand the backward compatibility coverage over time. This was confirmed in 2021 when Sony announced that 4,000+ PS4 games can be played on the PlayStation 5.

This is a big plus. Whenever a console is first released, the library of games is always smaller, but with a backward-compatible console, the list of games you can play will be longer from the very beginning. Being backward compatible will help you avoid the awful situation of having a new game console and feeling like there aren’t many games that you like to play on it.

There is no confirmation as to whether or not in the future it will be compatible with games that were made for the PS3 or older versions of the console.

Will PlayStation 5 Have VR?

Yes, the PS5 is compatible with the current PlayStation VR hardware.

There have long been rumors that there is a PSVR 2, in the works, but there was nothing ready in time for the launch of the PS5. Then in February of 2021 Sony announced that their next generation of VR was in development.  Not giving it an official name, they said that it wouldn’t be ready in time for a 2021 release. So we have our fingers crossed for a 2022 release.

How Many Versions of the PlayStation 5 Console Are There?

For its initial release, there are going to be two PS5 consoles to choose from. At this point that has remained unchanged.

PlayStation 5 Console

The PlayStation 5 console will be the main console that most people look at purchasing. Much more powerful than any of the PS4 consoles that came before it, the PlayStation 5 console comes with Ultra HD Blu-ray optical drive standard, which is what most of us expect when we think of a video game console.

PlayStation 5 Digital Edition Console

The other option that you will have to choose from is the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition console. While the Digital Edition doesn’t have an optical drive, it does share the rest of the specs that are on the standard PS5.  So you really aren’t sacrificing any performance with the Digital Edition it is simply an all-digital version of the PS5 with no disc drive. Simply sign in to your account for PlayStation Network and go to PlayStation Store to buy and download games.

Will There Be a 3rd Option?

There was initially a rumor that Sony was going to end up another version of the PS5 consoles. This third version of the console was supposed to be a higher-end version of the Playstation 5 that would obviously come with a higher price tag.

This higher-end version obviously didn’t happen with the initial release of the PS5. It is unclear if this higher-end option will be released in the future. We will have to wait and see.

PlayStation 5 Price

Note: Before we get into the price of these consoles we should point out that for a variety of reasons the demand for PlayStation 5 consoles is far exceeding the supply. Finding a console in stock on store shelves or at an online retailer might be difficult especially during the holiday season. Furthermore, some retailers and private individuals are taking advantage of this fact by selling the PS5 consoles for above their suggested retail prices. So you may be faced with having to pay more than you were expecting if you want to buy one of these new PlayStation 5 consoles.

Sony’s suggested retail price for the PlayStation 5 at release is $499, which is pretty much what we expected. At first glance, it might seem pretty expensive, but if we look back at the release of the PS4, prices were at $399. So to see them rise to $499 for the much more powerful PS5 isn’t shocking.

Meanwhile, the suggested retail price at release for the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition is $399. Coming in at the same price as the PS4 when it was first released is pretty impressive considering the advancements you are getting with a PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. So if the Digital Edition is a good fit for you and how you like to buy and play games it is certainly a bargain that is worthy of your consideration.

All that being said, the news about the price might not be all bad. In case you hadn’t heard, Xbox released their newest consoles, the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S, during the 2020 holiday shopping season as well. So Microsoft and Sony will be competing for customers with their new consoles for the foreseeable future and they might be motivated to keep prices as low as possible in order to sell more consoles.

At the very least you should keep your eyes open for some nice PlayStation 5 bundles. With these bundles, you will not only get the PS5 console, but you will also get 1 or more games included and sometimes some other bonuses as well.

PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition – Which One is Best for You?

As we have already covered, other than slightly different exterior dimensions, the only difference between the PlayStation 5 and the PlayStation 5 Digital edition is the lack of a disc drive in the latter. Understanding what this difference means is the key to understanding which console is best for you.

Cost

Assuming you pay the suggested retail price, not having a disc drive will save you $100 if you buy the PS5 Digital Edition. Then you can use the money you saved toward the purchase of new games and accessories for the console.

However, unless you can’t afford to spend the extra $100 you shouldn’t let price alone be the deciding factor for which version of the console to buy.

Backward Compatibility

As we talked about earlier,  both versions of the console are backward compatible with PS4 games. This is one of the great aspects of the PS5 consoles. However, whether you purchased physical or digital copies of your PS4 games has a lot to do with which version of the console is best for you in terms of backward compatibility.

If you own physical copies of your PS4 games, you can simply place them into the PS5’s optical drive and play them for free, but if all of your games are on discs and you’re getting the Digital Edition of the PS5, you’ll need to purchase them again digitally, which could be quite the expense.

Conversely, if you own digital copies of most, or all, of your PlayStation 4 games, you will be just fine going with the PS5 Digital Edition, at least as far as backward compatibility is concerned.

New Games

While backward compatibility is great, let’s face it the real reason we are looking at buying a PS5 is to play new games that take advantage of these more powerful consoles. So before deciding which version of the console you want to go with we really need to talk about how you will want to buy these new games.

There are pros and cons to both physical and digital copies of video games. Each person has their own preference so I am not going to tell you how you should buy your new games. However, since the version of the new Sony Playstation 5 console you buy dictates how you will buy PS5 games, what I will tell you is that you really want to decide which of the two options (physical or digital video game copies) you are going to choose prior to purchasing one of these consoles.

If you buy the standard PlayStation 5, you will have the flexibility to buy your games on disc or digitally. But if you decide to save $100 and purchase the PS5 Digital Edition, you’ll commit to purchasing games digitally going forward.

Entertainment/Movies

These days video games consoles can do so much more than just play video games. Consoles can be used to stream movies directly from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and other streaming services. Both the standard PS5 console as well as the Digital Edition can take advantage of these streaming apps and services.

There is no difference between the PlayStation 5 editions for anyone who plays their movies through streaming services or purchases them digitally.

However, if you want the console to play Blu-ray or DVD movies from your own collection you will want to stick with the standard PlayStation 5 console. As we covered earlier Digital Edition of the PS5 doesn’t have the Ultra HD Blu-ray drive that the standard console does.

If you do have a movie collection at home, getting the standard PS5 might help you get rid of some clutter from your entertainment center as it can eliminate the need for a separate DVD or Blue-ray player.

Making Your Final Decision

If the extra $100 for the standard PS5 is too much for you the decision becomes easy. Go with the Digital Edition since it will perform just as well as the standard version.

However, if the price isn’t a deciding factor, since both consoles have the same hardware, with the exception of having an optical drive, your decision will really come down to if you can make do without the Ultra HD Blu-ray optical drive, making the Digital Edition a great choice for those who don’t need disc support.

This means that people who purchased digital copies of their PS4 games and plan to continue to buy new games in the digital format will probably be just fine with the PS5 Digital Edition will probably be just fine. This is especially true if they don’t need a console that can play DVD and Blu-ray discs.

The rest of us, myself included, will probably be happier spending the extra money and getting the standard PS5 as it is the more versatile of the two consoles. Not only will it be able to play your PS4 game discs, but you will have the option to buy physical game copies that you can share with your friends, as well as use the console to watch your favorite Blue-ray movies.

Conclusion

As with all new consoles, there is a lot of hype, but with the PlayStation 5, it certainly seems to be justified. Between being more powerful, its backward compatibility, and being compatible with PlayStation VR both versions of the PS5 consoles have a lot for you to be excited about.

Last update on 2021-11-25 at 16:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API