If you can get your hands on one, the PlayStation 5 is one of the hottest consoles on the market. Along with the Xbox Series S/X, it’s one of the next-gen consoles we’ve been waiting for. And just like the Xbox Series X/S, global supply shortages have made it tough to find. Even seven months after launch, many people are still trying to get their hands on one. Fortunately, this won’t be a huge issue until the holiday season, when the first major next-gen titles will be released. So if you haven’t gotten a PS5, there’s still time. Keep your eyes on a few Twitter restock accounts, and you’ll get your hands on one in no time.
For those of us lucky to already own one, the PS5 is a fantastic console in most respects. As you’d expect, it outperforms the PS4 in terms of graphics, processing power, and even audio quality. Even the new DualSense controller marks a significant upgrade from the earlier DualShock 4. There are also a number of optional accessories. For instance, we’ve reviewed Media Remote skins for the PS5. But there’s one common complaint about the PS5. While previous PlayStations were all black, the current incarnation has glossy white panels. These show dust more easily than black, and the glossy finish is also easier to scratch.
For this reason, protective shells, skins, and wraps have become popular modifications for the PS5. Today, we’re going to review four of the best. We’ll begin by reviewing the Benazcap PS5 Faceplate. This is a simple set of snap-on black ABS replacement side plates; easy to install and remove. Next, we’ll examine the Frusde PS5 Console Silicone Skin Cover. This is a thick, scratch and shock-resistant silicone skin. Third up is the MightySkins Vinyl PS5 Decal Skin. This is a set of colorful, playful decals that are more cosmetic than anything else. Finally, we’ll look at the MASiKEN PS5 Protective Cover. This is a fabric dust cover with controller storage pockets and additional storage for games. Once we’ve looked at all four, we’ll render our verdict. Let’s begin!
Why Are the PS5 Side Panels Important?
Depending on who you as, the PS5’s curved side panels are either a beautiful design feature or a hideous disaster. There doesn’t really seem to be much middle ground. But in fact, the aesthetic aspect of the design was never the primary consideration. Instead, it’s part of the PS5’s cooling system.
Previous PlayStation systems – and most other consoles and computers – use variable power. This means that they’re rarely, if ever, drawing the maximum amount of power. This helps to save energy, and makes cooling easier. Think of the fan on a PlayStation 4. It gets louder during graphically intense gaming moments, and sometimes ramps up during load screens. This is because the PS4 is drawing more power, and needs more cooling. The disadvantage of variable power is that engineers won’t often design for constant, high-powered use. In other words, if the PS4 is running at full power for long enough, it will eventually overheat. At that point, temperature protection circuitry will kick in, and the console will shut down.
The PS5’s fixed power management means the system is always running at full power. To accommodate that, it requires a ton of cooling to keep the system cool. This is how we ended up with big, flared, curvy side panels. They’re actually designed to maximize airflow! So if you see a pair of flat aftermarket side panels, don’t buy them. You could ultimately cause permanent damage to your console. For the same reason, you can’t set the PS5 on its side without using the appropriate stand. It requires airflow in order to work properly!
That said, there are a few times you might want to temporarily remove the side panels. The first would be if you were replacing them. Another would be for cleaning and dust removal. The PS5 is designed with a pair of slots on one side that are made specifically for capturing dust. In theory, these slots will collect dust before it gets sucked inside the main housing, so it’s easy to clean out. All you have to do is pop off the outer panel on the side with no optical drive. This is the left side on the PS5 digital version. Finally, you might want to change the hard drive out for a larger one. For all these reasons, Sony has made the side panels easy to snap on and off.
What Are My Options?
If you’re not a fan of the standard PS5 panels, you’ve got a few options. The first is to replace the entire panels. There are several aftermarket options available, but make sure they’re the right shape. Provided they allow enough airflow, they should work just fine. Another option is to paint your existing panels. For this purpose, most people use automotive paint, since it provides good heat-resistance. The downside of painting your PS5 is obvious. Your results are only going to be as good as your skill with a paintbrush.
If you’d rather not take such an extreme sense, you can use a skin or a wrap. These can be made of vinyl, silicone, or other similar materials. They’re similar to PS5 DualSense controller skins, in that they’re temporary, while providing additional protection. That said, if you have to send in your PS5 for warranty work, you’ll want to remove any skins. They won’t void your warranty, but Sony doesn’t guarantee the return of customized panels.
Benazcap PS5 Faceplate
The Benazcap PS5 Faceplate is as close as you’ll come to a drop-in replacement for the PS5 side panels. This is a pair of rock-solid ABS plastic panels that are nearly identical to the originals. The only difference is that they’re matte black instead of gloss white. As a result, the Benazcap panels are a great way to match your PS5 with older PlayStation consoles. There is one caveat, though. At this time, the Benazcap faceplate is only available for the PS5 disc version. It has not yet been made available for the PS5 digital version.
One thing we liked about this shell is that it’s easy to install and remove. Just like the original, it snaps right in, so installation is easy. It even has all the required cutouts. You won’t have to worry about it blocking any of your ports or obstructing the disc drive.
Frusde PS5 Console Silicone Skin Cover
The Frusde PS5 Console Silicone Skin Cover is more or less exactly what it sounds like. This is a silicone cover that slips over your console’s original cover. It’s actually a two-part unit, with a separate molded shell for each side. This keeps the back of your console clear, so there’s no airflow or cable obstruction. On the front, you’ll also notice a cutout for the disc drive. This cutout is only present on the cover that’s sized for the PS5 disc edition. Alternatively, you can order it sized for the digital edition. As long as you get the right size, it will work with any PS5 console.
This shell is available in red or black, so you’ve got some leeway in terms of color. It’s nice and durable, and feels soft and springy to the touch. This makes it difficult to scuff, scratch, or otherwise deface. It should continue to look great for a long time. The thickness is a bit different depending on which console you have. While both provide scratch resistance, the digital edition skin is noticeably thicker. This provides shock resistance, at least enough to help you withstand minor drops.
MightySkins Vinyl PS5 Decal Skin
If you want a truly unique look for your PS5, the MightySkins Vinyl PS5 Decal Skin is tough to beat. It comes in 18 different colors and patterns to suit just about any taste. There are fine purple, vintage, and even faux wood patterns if you want a more formal look. There are patterns inspired by traditional European, Islamic, and Native American art. You can choose anything from a black and white damask to a colorful Mayan pyramid pattern. If you’re not happy with at least one of these options, we’re not sure what to tell you.
The material itself is a vinyl, which is thin and flexible. This makes it easy to manage. However, it’s mostly just a decorative skin. It’ll take your plain white PS5 and turn it into a work of art. But it doesn’t provide any shock resistance, and it’s only slightly scratch resistant. That said, it attaches with a 3M adhesive backing, which is powerful and easy to work with. It’s also available in different sizes, for both the disc and digital PS5 console editions.
MASiKEN PS5 Protective Cover
The MASiKEN PS5 Protective Cover is the most unique of all today’s options. It’s made of fabric instead of plastic, and it also has built-in storage. That said, we need to make something very clear. This is a dust cover. It’s meant to keep your console from collecting dust while it’s not in use. It’s not really designed to be left on while you’re playing.
The material is made of three layers. On the inside, an inner velvet liner keeps the cover from scratching the outside of your console. A middle foam layer helps give the cover rigidity, and provides protection from minor bumps. Finally, the outer polyester shell is water-resistant to protect your PS5 from spills. The cover is available in grey or black, with red, yellow, black, or blue highlights.
The overall size of the MASiKEN cover is 15.5 inches high, 11 inches deep, and 3.75 inches wide. This makes it large enough to accommodate the full-sized PS5 disc edition. That said, because it’s at least semi-rigid, it also fits over the PS5 digital just fine. There’s even a cutout on the back so you can leave your cables plugged in. You’ll also find a small loop on the top back, which makes the cover easy to remove.
Both sides of the MASiKEN cover have a pouch built in for your DualSense controllers. These pouches have their own flap covers, so your controllers are also protected from dust. In addition to that, each side has a wide sleeve, which is separated into six segments. These can be used to store a total of six game discs on each side.
So, which of these options is the best? It largely depends on what you’re looking for. The Benazcap PS5 Faceplate is the best choice if you’re looking for a slick black aesthetic. It’s a tough, no-nonsense, snap-in replacement for the original side plates on the PS5. That said, it doesn’t provide any additional protection, and it’s not available in other colors.
The Frusde PS5 Console Silicone Skin Cover provides the best overall protection for your console. Both the disc and digital edition sizes are scratch-resistant, and the digital edition cover is also shock-resistant. Both varieties are available in red or black, and are well-fitted and easy to put on.
The MightySkins Vinyl PS5 Decal Skin is the best choice if you want a truly unique look. With 18 different designs to choose from, there’s something for everybody. It’s also easy to apply, with a 3M backing that’s as reliable as anything else 3M makes. That said, the material isn’t very thick, and only provides a small amount of scratch protection.
The MASiKEN PS5 Protective Cover is entirely different from the earlier options. Instead of a shell or decorative wrap, this is a dust cover for when your console is not in use. On the one hand, this means you’ll be stuck with the original white case while you’re playing. On the other hand, it keeps dust off, and it provides convenient for your controllers and frequently-played games. If that meets your needs, you’ll probably be very pleased.