I am now a proud owner of the new PS2 thanks to a surprisingly good deal at EB. Quick thoughts on it so far:
Size Wow. I thought the GameCube was a small system, but it towers over the PSTwo and looks to be three or four times the volume. The size and color make it difficult to find when you are looking for it in a messy pile of game systems. (Not that I would know of course. This is purely hypothetical!)
Top loading Argh, I wish it was a side loader so I could pile other systems on top of it. The top panel feels a bit flimsy, but hopefully the top loading will allow boot disks to emerge allowing region-free play.
Loading times The loading time for games seems to be sped up a slight amount. Winning Eleven 7, a game that has load times of over a minute, probably had 10% less load time compared to my previous system. The 10 second load times of Taiko Drum Master have virtually disappeared. From the few games I tried out, it seemed the shorter the original load time was, the greater the speed up. My guess is that the new drive has improved seek times compared to the original form factor.