Early pictures of the PS3 displayed them in a veritable rainbow of options, but since the console’s release, owners have been stuck with a solid black. While “stuck with” may sound a bit harsh, as the console looks the part of a powerful multimedia device, the shiny black exterior we’ve come to love leaves much to be desired.
Most owners have noticed the inevitability of scratches on the rounded top, as well as its ability to attract dust despite all efforts. Enter the folks at XCM and the PS3 “Smartplate.” Slide off the slightly translucent stock cover and replace it with one of several different colors (chrome, shown below, and smooth white are currently in production, but several more colors will be available in the future).
Installation of the face plate is moderately simple, thought in no way easy. A single screw holds the stock plate in place, but Sony, probably in an effort to prevent tampering, ignored the Phillips/flathead dichotomy in order to use an odd hexagonal head. If you can find one of these screwdrivers, you’ve just passed the most difficult part of installation, as the old case slides off just as easily as the new one slides on.
While a full-chrome PS3 may be preferable, replacing the shell can improve the look dramatically. The covers resist scratches well, but dust is just as likely to settle; the new colors will mask it much better, though the chrome does a great job at enhancing any blemishes without tender care.
Take careful consideration when buying this item, since for most, the cons will heavily outweigh the pros. The biggest consideration deals with the side-effect of installation: you void the manufacturer’s warranty to access that odd screw. So, paying $18.99 and voiding your warranty on a $600 piece of electronics seems a bit steep for the improvement in looks and damage protection.
The face plate looks great and for the gamer who loves to trick out their console, this is exactly where they should start. If you don’t take good care of your equipment, this may not be the best of ideas, so think hard before grabbing your wallet.