Review: PlayStation 4 Slim

The console that hasn't even been announced yet is pretty great

Before we start this review, we must acknowledge the elephant in the room: the PlayStation 4 Slim has not yet been officially announced by Sony, nor is it meant to be on sale at this point. Our review unit originated from a retail store manager who sold the unit on eBay. The retail store manager claims that while they broke street date, they did not steal the stock. I believe the public interest angle of reporting on this piece of hardware should be protected under UK journalistic protections. It is in the public interest to know about a piece of upcoming technology that can be verified to exist, even if that confirmation did not come from the manufacturer itself.

I do not own the unit reviewed here, nor is it any longer in my possession.

Basically, please do not sue me Sony. I am just doing my job as a journalist. Issuing takedown notices when many other outlets have reported on the existence of the new model does nothing to hide its existence  and only serves to harm the state of journalism within our industry.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the PS4 Slim.

This is still a basic PS4 model with no internal upgrades over the previous iteration

The PS4 Slim model is, simply put, a smaller PS4. It doesn’t perform any better or worse than the previous model, but does run cooler and quieter. It has a slightly improved controller, but the box itself doesn’t run any better. This is still a basic PS4 model with no real internal upgrades over the previous iteration, and is not the upcoming PS4 Pro. It does not make games run better, or upscale them to 4K.

The PS4 Slim’s dimensions come in at 264 x 39 x 288mm, which is a considerable drop in size compared to the 275 x 53 x 305mm size of the standard model. It cuts around a third of the console’s height off, and solid few centimeters off it on each of the surrounding edges, which is nice for cramped entertainment centres.

If you want to stand the system up on its side, there will be a vertical stand sold separately which screws into the PlayStation button-shaped logos on the side of the system.

Alongside the Slim, a new, redesigned DualShock 4 comes included in the package. The most obvious and highly touted difference with this new controller model is that there is a strip of light at the top of the touch pad which allows the colour of the light bar to be seen during normal play (without having to point the back of the controller at your face). This thin light-strip is minor enough to not be distracting, but visible enough to make all those games that feature light-bar colour changes to denote things like health actually able to feasibly make use of the feature.

What is perhaps more interesting about the new controller model is that, when connected to a PS4 Slim or a regular model PS4, it transfers data entirely over wired connection rather than wireless. While this may seem minor, this allows a more frame-precise reaction time than wireless play, which will be incredibly useful for games like Street Fighter V. It’s a minor difference, but it’s a slightly tighter response which may make a difference to some players.

The D-Pad also feels a little different, sloping down in the centre to give a central dip to rest your finger in a way that makes rolling between directions more comfortable.

Slightly tighter response which may make a difference to some players

Beyond the controller and the smaller size, the biggest functional difference, shown in the above unboxing, is the easier hard drive replacement. There is now a thin piece of plastic on the rear corner of the console which, when removed easily by hand, exposes the SATA drive port. You simply undo one screw with a standard screwdriver, replace your drive, and replace the screw. The plastic covering then clips back on, but it is worth noting the thin nature of the plastic does make it feel a little flimsy and in danger of breaking when trying to clip it back into place. I removed and replaced it thirty consecutive times to test its durability and it did hold up, but it never felt terribly secure.

The Slim model supports the same maximum SATA drive size as the original system model.

The console now features a fully matte finish, which to me feels much nicer than the original glossy panel, and a redesigned, more curved look. While I am a fan of the curved design, many online have taken an instant dislike for aesthetic reasons. Honestly, once I had the unit in my hands I never stopped to think about the new curved look, I just think it looks nice.

The USB ports on the system are now spread apart on the front of the system, with the power and eject buttons now clearly labelled and sitting inside the dipped recess at the front of the unit. The power button features a line of tiny led lights which replace the functionality of the old model’s light strip.

A fully matte finish. which to me feels much nicer than the original glossy panel

The biggest difference made to the back of the unit is the total removal of the optical audio port. The optical port is not acknowledged as an audio output option on the in-system menus to account for this.

Overall, I really have no complaints about the PS4 Slim, besides the removal of the optical port which I have not ever personally used. It’s smaller, thinner, quieter, cooler, features a nicer controller with additional features, and I personally love the new matte curved design. It’s not an Xbox One S-style upgrade, but I won’t be upset seeing this replace the current model.

Just be warned, if you want an optical port on your PS4 make sure to buy the current model before it vanishes.

Manufacturer: Sony

MSRP: TBA

Input: HDMI, standard power adapter

  • Smaller, quieter, cooler.
  • New controller is nothing but improved.
  • Easier storage replacement.
  • No optical audio port.

It’s a smaller PS4. It loses the optical port, and gains a better controller, but it runs no better than the base model.

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Laura's gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, designing them, discussing them or writing about them.

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