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PS3 Impressions – PS3 Photo Gallery

January 21, 2009Written by Anthony Severino

Photo Gallery Review

When I first heard news of a Photo Gallery feature coming to the PlayStation 3 in Firmware update 2.60, my interest was instantly piqued.  Especially as someone who makes full use of all the PlayStation 3’s multimedia functionality.

In the past 4 months, I have viewed more digital photos on my PS3, than I had my entire life using a PC.  That is because 4  months ago my first daughter was born.  Anyone who has kids knows that people (family mostly) want to see pictures of a new baby.  It’s always a welcome idea to fire up the PS3, put on a slideshow, set it to some music, and just enjoy with the family…  and it’s much easier to do so gathered around a PS3/HDTV, than it is to be looking over someone’s shoulder at a computer monitor.   The only problem I was having was the fact I couldn’t group pictures properly, and scrolling through a cluttered XMB Photo tab was boring.  Now not only can I group my photo’s the way I want them, but I can also do it in style.

Grouping Photos with Photo Gallery

The Photo Gallery instantly impresses, with its slick presentation.  After you install FW 2.60 or greater, a Photo Gallery icon will be present under the Photo tab in the XMB.  Once you start up the program, you will be asked to download the software (a mere 105MB).  Then you are greeted to a 3 minute or so install/tutorial, which is actually enjoyable, and informative to watch.  You will be surprised with the amazing quality that Sony has put into what I had originally thought would have been a very simple application for the PS3.

Since it’s your first time you are using it, your photos will be organized in a time-line, but done so with sophistication.  All along the twisting path of your photo timeline, multiple slideshows will be running concurrently, each slideshow depicting a  particular date or album.  From here you can hit Triangle and bring up the menu.  Once in the menu, you can choose to copy photos from a camera or other storage media, create or view playlists, create custom slide-shows complete with music, even ask for help.  But the thing that is really the most interesting is the group feature, which allows you to group photos according to age, color, camera type, game, number of people, date/time, even expressions such as smiling or sadness. Yes, somehow your PS3 knows in what pictures you are happy and sad, kinda creepy in a way, but very cool nonetheless.

All of these features are implemented in an incredibly user-friend fashion.  Any member of the family should be able to find themselves using this with ease.  If a controller is intimidating for some, I recommend using a PS3 Blu-Ray remote, which we tested with the new Photo Gallery feature and it worked like a charm.  Anyone who views pictures on their HDTV, will be floored with how nice this feature really is.

From a gaming standpoint there really is no use whatsoever.  So there will be plenty of PS3 owners out there who call this a “useless feature”.  This delightful feature may not be useful for everyone, but that doesn’t take away from the sheer quality of this application.  If this is what Sony is capable of application-wise then I really cannot understand why they haven’t released applications like this, or other simple apps, such as a calender or calculator for the PSP.  This also has me looking forward to and welcoming future additions to the XMB.  I guess my only minor issue is that there should be some support to import snapshots from a PS Eye (I swear it’s like Sony forgot about the PS Eye).  Maybe we will see some type of integration when the rumored EyeCreate 2 is released.

Let’s hope Sony has some more applications planned for the PS3.