Reviewed: August 5, 2010
Type: Expansion Hub
Anyone that’s been paying attention to the PS3 or more specifically, the console’s ever changing functions and size has seen several features removed since its original release in 2006. Other than the rather annoying PS2 backwards compatibility drop, the biggest change came with the loss of two USB ports and the card reader slots. While the card reader slots were probably no big loss to a majority of PS3 users, the lost USB slots was a huge omission however. This drastically reduced the number of USB powered devices that could be used on the console, like charger cord for instance, not to mention USB headsets or wired instruments for music games.|
Power A, the gaming accessories company, has addressed this “little” inconvenience and restored a bit of functionally to the console that does everything with the release of the Power A Media Expansion Bar for the PS3 Slim. This little device restores those much-needed USB slots to the PS3 Slim as well as the card reader slots that vanished from the console.
The Power A Media Expansion Bar featured in the same black matte finish that the Slim has and is designed to attach and blend into the system's profile. I will get this out of the way and say that it will work on some of the later PS3 models but its design is especially made for the Slims. The Media Expansion Bar has a small attachment hook that slides into a slot on the far right of the base securing it firmly in place quite well.
Contained on the front of the bar are three USB ports which when plugged into the console's right USB slot gives new PS3 users the same functionality as the original systems. Also included are slots for Compact Flash, SD/MMC and Memory Stick media which comes in handy for those that use their PS3 for more than just a game system. The card slots are not that deep however but the cards do stay in just fine.
The Power A Media Expansion Bar's design makes it compact and rather durable. Once you add this device to your PS3, you'll probably never remove it again but in the time that I've used the bar it's survived several trips attached to my PS3. For those wishing to remove it temporarily it's not hard at all to take off.
The Power A Media Expansion Bar not only looks good attached to my PS3 but functions quite remarkably. The bar is completely powered by the PS3 so there is no extra power cord to deal with like some USB hubs out there. A small red light let's you know the Power A Media Expansion Bar is working properly. I tried all the card slots and the PS3 recognized them all without a problem though they do show up as USB devices. The USB ports worked for all my PS3 accessories as well as various flash drives and portable hard drives. The only minor inconvenience is one that the developers could not control. Transferring or viewing items off the cards or drives is really easy to do but putting items onto them is another matter. The PS3 doesn't allow you to choose the target location so you must make sure that only one external source is inserted at a time.
The Power A Media Expansion Bar can be found at various retailers and online shops for around $20 dollars, which definitely is not bad at all. I'm always constantly watching movies or listening to music on my PS3 as well as transferring PSN purchases to my PSP so this device was a perfect addition to my console. In the time that I've used this handy peripheral, it has become an important asset to my PS3. Before I was constantly unplugging my camera or keyboard to use a flash drive or my headset on my PS3, but I don't have to worry about that anymore. When it comes right down to it, the $20 bucks for the Power A Media Expansion Bar is money well spent.