To be fair to Sony, the actual hardware was never really going to be in much doubt. And after your first few hours in the company of the PlayStation 3, you're likely to be impressed.
Several initial thoughts went through this reviewer's head. Firstly, the machine's really quite heavy. Secondly, aesthetically, it's really quite smart. And thirdly, and surprisingly, is that given the immense processing grunt under its glossy, buffed-up exterior, it's very quiet in operation. It certainly puts the Xbox 360 in the shade in that department.
When we switched on for the first time, following as simple a connection procedure as you'd expect with a games console, we signed up for the PlayStation Network and downloaded an advised, albeit not compulsory, update. This involved us getting the machine online, which was thankfully straightforward. A built-in wireless receiver or the Ethernet port at the back are your two choices, and we tried both, finding the machine adapted to either at breakneck speed.