Pros: Fantastic Styling, Hardware reverse compatibility, easily upgradable HDD, Media card slots, 4 USB ports, WiFi connectivity, innovative optical drive
Cons: A bit pricey when new, no 1080p output over component video, lack of 1080i scaling
Back in 2006 when Sony still knew how to make a good looking game console, the original 60GB CECHA01 PlayStation 3 was released. At the time, Sony didn't quite realize the greatness of the machine with which they had blessed humanity because it was priced rather high at $599, but if the start of the seventh generation of home game consoles showed us nothing else, it was that you get what you pay for.
PlayStation 3 may have lost "gamer" sales to the more economically priced Xbox 360 and "casual" sales to the Wii, but it will always be remembered by me as the console that got it right. Out of the box, the CECHA01 had everything right - a fantastic looking shell, Blu Ray drive, full hardware reverse compatibility to PS2 and original PlayStation games, media card slots, 4 USB ports, easy migration from prior generation systems (available PS2 memory card adapter and compatible with the same video multi-out port), and a slick on-screen experience that beat anything Microsoft or Nintendo had to offer at the time. Just starting up the system and hearing the "sound of greatness" was usually enough to convince even the most skeptical Wii or Xbox 360 fan.
The PlayStation 3 was one of the few systems to have gone through what I call a Negative Upgrade Cycle (known in more sarcastic circles as a "downgrade cycle") throughout the course of its lifetime. Unlike the (at the time) feeble Xbox 360 and boring Wii, the PlayStation 3 would go through a series of changes before becoming the disappointing letdown that it exists as on store shelves to this day. The first huge mistake was completely dropping the premium model from the lineup, leaving only the cheaper (and much lamer) "neutered" 40GB and later 80GB models - these would (mostly) retain the same pretty case as the original CECHA01 model, but would drop reverse compatibility, the media card slots, and half of the USB ports. I don't know what it is with console manufactures that think people only need 2 USB ports - most laptops come with at least 3 and most desktops come with 8 or more. I realize that it's not a computer, but for someone with a lot of controllers, storage drives, instruments, and other stuff to hook up, 2 USB ports means a "rat's nest" of USB hubs hanging out of the front of an otherwise clean looking system. They didn't stop there though, as time went on, they'd release a new "premium" model with a larger hard disk, this one slimmer than the previous model. Sadly, this unit was plagued with a vastly inferior shell, a new crippled software with a much lamer startup routine (that would go on to be rolled out to all PlayStation 3 models), and the same lack of features as the previous generation neutered 40GB and 80GB models.
While Sony was busy being the rabbit in the turtle and the rabbit parable (currently rolling around in the mud on the side of the road), Microsoft and Nintendo saw their chance. In late 2010, a new Xbox 360 model, the Xbox 360 S would be released - this unit learned from its predecessor's failures and sported a sleek new shell (not unlike the original CECHA01 PlayStation 3), built in 802.11n wireless connectivity, more USB ports (and on the back too, which is a nice plus for keeping a sleek looking media center), and a cool new startup routine (vastly superior to the old one) all at a competitive price point. Wii would still be the same old system that its supporters had come to expect, just at an even lower price point.
In the beginning of PlayStation 3, nobody thought it would be a success because "it doesn't have Halo". What nobody counted on was the fact that the Call of Duty Modern Warfare series would go on to completely eclipse the Halo franchise in just a few short years. To this day, the legacy of the original CECHA01 PlayStation 3 continues to shine through with a few of the innovative features that Sony was unsuccessful in removing from the newer generations of the system including Bluetooth based remote controls (which would make infrared remotes a thing of the past), large capacity optical media (Blu Ray discs enabled developers producing larger games to not have to split the title across two or more discs and gave the format the "push" it needed to win the "format war"), and durable controllers with motion sensors built in from day one (which adds a greater depth to the gameplay). To this day, no game console (not even "Xbox One" or PS4) can offer the versatility, style, and value of the original CECHA01 60GB model PlayStation 3.
:: Channel 2012