The PlayStation 5 certainly has a distinct look, but there’s more to the design of this console than its giant polar-white fins. In fact, the PS5 holds a few different secrets about how it can be set up.
Whether you want to stand the console up vertically, lay it down horizontally, or change out the giant white side plates entirely, we can explain everything you need to know about the exterior of the PlayStation 5.
Can the PS5 be vertical or horizontal?
Yes, it can go either way. It is also huge either way. Because of the PS5’s very strange shape, Sony has given the console a stand with a base that you can turn depending on how you want to situate the console. This keeps the PS5 from sitting directly on whatever surface you place it on, making it safer for carpets and more stable in any environment. Since the stand is required in either orientation, it is included in the box with every PS5. (Note: We haven’t gotten our hands on the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, and units aren’t available in the wild yet. So we can’t offer any specific guidance about how to set up that hardware, although Sony has said that Digital Edition consoles will also come with a stand.)
While there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to orient the console, we can say that the PS5 is vertical in almost all of Sony’s marketing materials, which might imply that that’s the way the company intends for people to use it. We can also independently verify that it looks way better when it’s standing vertically.
As for cooling concerns: The PS5 draws in air from the openings between its black central slab and its white side panels, and almost the entire rear of the unit consists of exhaust vents. So the orientation of the console shouldn’t make any difference in the system’s ability to expel heat.
Which way do I insert discs into the PS5?
When the PS5 is in its vertical orientation, the proper direction of a disc may not be intuitive.
The PS5’s disc slot should be on the bottom when the system is lying horizontally (if it’s on top, then your console is upside down). Obviously, discs should be inserted into the slot with the printed side facing up. To stand up the PS5, you essentially turn the unit 90° counterclockwise. So when you insert a disc into a vertical PS5, make sure to do so with the printed side facing to the left — i.e., facing toward the center of the console.
How does the PS5’s stand work?
In horizontal mode, the stand sits directly below the PlayStation 5 with two small plastic hooks that rest in the back of the console. These hooks, along with a raised section of the stand in the middle, keep the PS5 stable using only friction and the weight of the console.
When the PS5 is vertical, the stand is held in place by a screw — which, when not being used, is conveniently stored in a secret compartment in the stand itself. In this position, the screw is the only thing holding the stand onto the PlayStation 5, but there’s no need to worry, as it’s a fairly hefty screw. If you don’t have a screwdriver around, you can also use a coin to screw it in.
How do you install the stand for the horizontal PS5?
1. Rotate the base of the PlayStation 5’s stand so that the raised section and the hooks are not aligned.
2. Lay down the PS5 on its front, so that the rear of the console is pointing upward. Look at the system’s rear port array. Beneath the leftmost USB port, etched into the lower white plastic fin there, you’ll see a repeating pattern of the PlayStation face buttons: square, circle, triangle, X.
3. Line up the stand with these icons, slotting the hooks into the squares on either end of the pattern, and push the hooks into place. (Note that there’s no click; the hooks are lined with foam that grips the lip of the white panel using nothing but friction.) Make sure to push in the hooks as far as they’ll go to create as secure an attachment as possible.
4. Make sure the console is balanced properly on the raised part of the stand, and set the console on a flat surface.
How do you install the stand for the vertical PS5?
1. Rotate the base of the stand so that the raised section is directly in line with the hooks on the back. This will reveal a hidden compartment on the underside of the stand. Take the screw out of the compartment.
2. Lay down the PS5 on its front, so that the rear of the console is pointing upward. Look at the bottom of the console. (It’s the side nearest the power button, where the white plastic fins are thickest.) In the center of the base, flanked by a line of small vents on either side, you’ll see a small black circle. This is a plastic cap — it covers the hole that the stand screws into when the PS5 is standing upright.
3. Remove the cap and fit it into its round receptacle inside the compartment in the stand.
4. Take the stand and place it on the bottom side of the PlayStation 5, lining up the hole in the stand with the screw hole in the bottom of the console. Screw in the stand using a coin or a flathead screwdriver.
How big is the PS5?
When it’s vertical, the PlayStation 5 is 15.35 inches tall — ridiculously tall, in other words. That’s without the stand, mind you. Including the stand, the height rises to about 16 inches. The PS5’s widest point when it’s vertical is the base, which has a width of 4.09 inches without the stand. When the stand is attached, it adds 2 inches or so, bringing the width up to approximately 6 ⅛ inches. As for depth, the console is approximately 10.24 inches from front to back.
If you decide to flip the PlayStation 5 on its side, it’s still pretty big. Turns out it’s the same size either way. Unfortunately.
The stand does not add all that much height in the horizontal orientation — not for the standard edition console, at least, which is the only one we have. Attaching the stand to position the PS5 horizontally brings the height up to approximately 4.25 inches from 4.09 inches. (Note that the height isn’t uniform across the console, since the white panels are curved. When the PS5 is horizontal, the front right and back left corners are its highest points.)
If the PS5 is horizontal ... which side is the top?
The PlayStation 5 has two white pieces of plastic on its sides; when it’s horizontal, they represent the console’s top and bottom. If you have the standard model — the one with a 4K Blu-ray drive — the disc slot will be on the bottom half when the console is right-side up. If you need an even easier way to determine which side is supposed to be facing up, you can check the PlayStation logo that’s on one of the white panels. That logo is on the top of the console, so that panel is the one that should be facing upward.
Can you remove the sides of the PS5?
You can, and not just through brute force: It’s actually a design feature of the console. To remove the sides, just pull up on one of the plastic pieces by either opposite corner. Pull straight up; the design of the latches will allow you to automatically pull the piece to the side as it comes up. Now do the same with the other piece of plastic on the console. (If you’re having trouble, lift upward while pulling toward the bottom/left edge of the unit.)
There are plenty of reasons you might want to remove these pieces. One of them is to clean the fan and the dust catchers, which are directly under the plastic fins and easily accessible once those panels are removed. Another might be to reach the PS5’s storage expansion slot, which is under the bottom plastic panel and can be found by unscrewing its small metal cover.
You might just want to remove these pieces of plastic because you’d rather your PlayStation 5 was a different color. There are already a few sites selling replacement panels for the console, and the bright white is ... probably not going to match the living rooms of everyone who buys the console. So, replacing them could be a good option if you want your game consoles to be a little less eye-catching.
The bad news for anyone who doesn’t like the overall look of the console is, you’ll need side panels of some kind. For one thing, they protect the interior of the console from the elements — dust, dirt, liquids, and other hazards — so while you technically could use the PS5 without the fins, it’s not a good idea.
But more importantly, the panels serve a crucial stabilizing role. Obviously, the PS5 will sit very unevenly in its horizontal orientation if the panels aren’t there, since there’s no way to attach the stand without the bottom white panel in place. And in the console’s vertical orientation, the stand has a central channel in which the PS5 sits, flanked by elevated pieces of the stand that hug the sides of the console. Without the side panels attached to the console, the system is not secure at all in the stand. If, for some reason, you desperately want to use a naked PS5, your best bet is to orient the console vertically on a flat, stable surface without the stand attached.
Update (Nov. 4): We’ve added information on the height of the PS5 when it’s lying horizontally. As for sites selling replacement side panels for the console, Sony has forced some of them to shut down, so it remains to be seen whether swapping out the plates will actually be an option for PS5 owners.