Sony’s PlayStation 5 has been flying off the shelves since it launched in late 2020 and while many know which version of the games console they’ll be picking up, the differences between the PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition aren’t always obvious. In this guide, we’ll explain how the PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition are different and similar, so you can buy the right one for your needs and your budget.
Which PS5 is better? In short, it’ll depend on your personal preferences on how you want to play the best PS5 games, and, more importantly, how much you want to splash on one of the best gaming consoles available right now.
What’s the difference between the PS5 console and the PS5 Digital Edition console? The PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition are practically the same console, except one has a disk drive and the other doesn’t. The full-fat console, the PS5, comes with a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-Ray disc drive slapped on the side, allowing you to play games from discs and DVDs.
Features and specs
Are there performance differences between the PS5 console and the PS5 Digital Edition console? The bulk of PS5 specs are the same regardless of the console version, so you won’t miss out on anything under the hood if you decide to opt for the Digital version of the PS5.
The only main difference – as we’ve pointed out above – is the lack of a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-Ray disc drive in the Digital version
The main PS5 and PS5 Digital specs are as follows:
- CPU: 8X Cores @ 3.5 GHz Custom Zen 2 (variable frequency)
- GPU: 10.28 TFLOPS, 36 CUs @ 2.23 GHz Custom RDNA 2 (variable frequency)
- Memory: 16GB GDDR6 / 448GB/s bandwidth
- SSD: 825GB SSD / 5.5GB/s read bandwidth
- Video out: HDMI port, support of 4K 120Hz TVs, 8K TVs, VRR
- Audio: Tempest 3D AudioTech
As you can see, the PS5 and the PS5 Digital version pack a punch. They’re capable of 4K gaming with ease (4K at 60Hz is the performance target, although 120Hz is available in some games) and the games look beautiful with ray tracing features.
And the PS5 has state-of-the-art audio, thanks to 3D audio powered by the Tempest engine. Tempest produces incredible atmospheric audio, placing you in the moment. This does sound better through a headset, although recent updates have made Tempest audio through TV speakers more realistic in recent months.
The only main downside to the offerings of both PS5 consoles is that they won’t allow you to play PS5 games from external hard drives. While you can shift your PS4 games to external HDDs, if you have an extensive library of PS5 games – especially if you opt for the Digital version – you might be forced into expanding your storage with the best PS5 SSDs.
As for the design, well, the PS5 and the PS5 Digital look fairly similar, but one is bigger than the other.
Both consoles have the white and black design now associated with the current-gen console, although the Digital version is considerably smaller and lighter than its big brother.
You can find the dimensions and the weight of each console below, but it’s worth noting that you’ll find a considerable difference in weight depending on whether you land a launch or 2022 model. That’s because, in August 2022, Sony refreshed the internal design of both consoles, making them lighter.
|PS5 (launch version)
|39cm x 10.4cm x 26cm
|PS5 Digital (launch version)
|39cm x 9.2cm x 26cm
|PS5 (2022 version)
|39cm x 10.4cm x 26cm
|Ps5 Digital (2022 version)
|39cm x 9.2cm x 26cm
Both consoles can be displayed either horizontally or vertically using the base provided – neither of which seems to impact the quiet whir you get from the fans.
The white outer shell can also be replaced for a cost later down the line if you want to match the console with your decor. Currently, Sony sells official console covers in Gray Camouflage, Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Starlight Blue, Galactic Purple, and Nova Pink.
The PS5 and the PS5 Digital can play exactly the same games, just in different ways – either via physical copies or Digital copies. And unlike the Xbox Series X|S, Sony doesn’t compromise your gaming experience with one version since both editions boast the exact same specs.
So, you’ll be able to play all the latest PS5 exclusives and third-party titles in all their glory on both the PS5 and the PS5 Digital from Gran Turismo 7, God of War Ragnarok, and Horizon Forbidden West.
However, while the PS5 boasts backward compatibility with the PS4, the PS5 Digital Edition faces a pretty tricky problem in that you won’t be able to play your old PS4 discs on the console. The only way to play the best PS4 games is by buying them again on the PlayStation store and adding them to your library.
Of course, if you’re a PS Plus Subscriber, you’ll get some PS4 games chucked in the mix depending on which tier you’re subscribed to, but if you have dozens of PS4 discs that you still want to play, you might want to consider picking up a full-fat PS5.
Both the PS5 and the PS5 Digital versions come with the same controller, the DualSense, so you’re not missing out on anything by ordering one console or the other. Both are also compatible with the DualSense Edge – an elite controller that’s more responsive with certain games (but comes at a cost).
The DualSense is a revolutionary gaming pad from Sony, which, for the first time, integrates neat immersive features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. These allow you to ‘feel’ the environment around you and the weapons in your hand – although some games are better at integrating this than others.
The DualSense comes in a whole variety of colors (to match the official console covers), although it’s worth noting your bundled-in controller will come in the same colorway as your console.
Price & where to buy
If you’re looking to pick up a PS5 with a disc drive, it costs around $499 / £479.99 / €549.99.
The PS5 Digital Edition price is $399.99 / £389.99 / €449.99.
The PS5 vs PS5 Digital battle ultimately comes down to cost since the only main difference is a disc drive (or lack of one). If you’re looking for a cheap way to pick up a PS5, then the Digital version is for you.
However, if you do have the cash and you can afford it, we’d always recommend going for the full-fat version of the PS5. With a disc drive, you’ll be able to play new and old PS5 games on the cheap and you’ll get access to a 4K Blu-Ray player for all those DVDs you’ve got stashed away. You may like to read our PlayStation 5 review for more information on this behemoth console.