PS3 vs 360 - External Items
HDMI - So unless you've bought a 360 in the last month or so or you paid extra for the Elite, you probably don't have a 360 with an HDMI port. All PS3's of the 60 GB and higher variety have them. The HDMI cable is a big win for me for one simple reason : simplicity. I could care less about the nice picture, the great sound, blah, blah, blah. The fact of the matter for me is that HDMI is a clutter killer and I love that. Advantage PS3.
Out of the Box - I'm actually embarassed to even post this but all Sony provided out of the box was a Yellow/White/Red composite cable. What? Seriously? You're bragging on and on and on about your super duper TrueHD capable box and you give me this crap? Unless you bought a Core 360, you got both with your 360, a composite cable and a component cable with a handy dandy switch on the cable. Advantage 360 and shame on you Sony for trying to sell me a $50 HDMI cable at your store. I bought mine online for less than $10, thank you very much.
Cable quality - Well I never took the composite cables out of the box but they looked pretty standard and not all that generous in the length department. MS' media cable on the other hand, I think, is about 10' long and has a real nice sturdy feel to it. I have had some intermittent problems with my VGA cable, but I'm 90% sure that's due to a loose connection on the monitor and nothing to do with the cable. Advantage 360.
(sigh) First I have to start with our much beloved 360 power brick. It's not that Sony doesn't have a power supply but it's in the box, not dangling from the rear of the console. I've never been especially happy with the power brick being deliberately stationed between two power cords that are too short to do the job. Advantage PS3, big time.
Turning on either console has fun little surprises in store. The 360 does a little whirly circle animation with a matching pattern around the power button on the box. The PS3 has a touch sensitive power button on the front of the console that is WAY cool. But let's face it, we all use our controllers to turn on our consoles. I think the PS3 might boot up a tiny bit faster than the 360, but it's really a Push.
The PS3 has this little ridge over the back of their box that actually makes the connections (power, HDMI, ethernet) slightly recessed. This makes it extremely difficult to install. Also, the ethernet port was so tight that I thought I had broken my console when I finally rammed the thing in there. I'm all in favor of tight ports, but this was a little bit too much. Also, the 360 has a nice satisfying lock "click" when you plug in the power supply. The PS3 has a standard PC power cable and you're never quite sure if you've gone far enough in, because where the plug changes shape is not fluch with the console port. No big deal, but a little worrisome. Advantage 360.
My hard drive never comes off my 360 except at LAN's and in Sony's case it's internal, so that's that. The Sony drive is supposedly user-replaceable which I really like in concept but I'm not a big fan of opening closed end systems.
I'll post more about interface and gaming soon, but I just haven't had enough time to play with it yet to make a fair comparison.