With the official reveal of the new slim PS4 likely coming within the next few days, and our review and unboxing roughly a week behind us, today I wanted to sit down and discuss a few of the finer points of the console which you might not have picked up on from previous coverage.
Without any delay, here’s five things you likely do not know about the new slim PS4 model.
It’s Not Called the PS4 Slim, and What That Means
Nowhere on the box for this new, slimmer model PS4, nor in any of the included documentation, is it referred to as anything but a PS4. The product number information is different, but the packaging only ever references it as if it were default hardware.
What this likely means is that this model is going to completely replace the previous model as the default PS4. As this new model is missing an optical audio output port, this means that if you want a brand new boxed PS4 that has one, you’re going to want to pick it up sooner rather than later. As time goes on, finding an optical out-supporting PS4, new in box, is going to get harder and harder. Same goes for if you want your system to have pointy edges and no front-facing light strip on the included controller.
Your Regular PS4 Already Supports Some New PS4 Tech
Both the regular PS4 and the new slim model have one thing in common, they run identical versions of the firmware, pushed out at the same time to each platform. What this means is that, currently, the PS4 Slim ships with a picture of the regular model when first booting, but, more interestingly, it also means that some slim functionality is already supported on the current regular model.
If you take the new DualShock 4 Controller, easy to identify by its front-facing light bar on the touch pad, and connect it to the regular PS4 via USB cable, you unlock an additional options menu. The additional menu allows you to transfer controller data over USB exclusively (slightly reducing input delay). However, this only works on the new controller model.
The new DualShock 4 Acts as a Weird Microphone Device
Somewhat connected to the last point, the new DualShock 4 controller registers as a strange form of USB Audio Device when transferring data over USB. Seemingly employed as an odd workaround to avoid other USB controllers being supported on the system, the new DualShock 4 converts your button presses into audio data and converts it back into button presses at the other end.
This odd method of USB data transfer brings with it some system limitations. Controllers being used over wired connection see their built-in speaker disabled, alongside with the ability to operate a headset through the headset / mic port. You are also limited to two USB Audio devices connected at any one time. As the PS4 Camera is also considered a USB Audio Device, you can only have one wired controller and one camera, or two wired controllers, operating at any one time.
Part of Our PS4 Slim Broke Within a Week of Testing
When unboxing and reviewing the PS4 Slim, we found ourselves a little concerned with the build quality of a thin, curved plastic cover used to hide the new HDD enclosure. The piece of plastic, able to be easily removed from the console to reach the HDD, was flexible and took an odd amount of pressure to reattach to the console. Each time we tried to snap the plastic back into place, it felt in danger of breaking.
We acknowledge we removed and replaced this plastic far more frequently than the average user is likely to, but around six days into testing, a couple of the plastic clips holding the cover to the console snapped. As we continued to test, this became a bigger and bigger issue. This is very clearly the weakest point on the system’s build quality by a considerable margin, and an exposed SSD is far from ideal.
There’s a Single Piece of New Tech in the Console
While the contents of the PS4 Slim are near-functionally identical to the base model of the system, a single upgrade is hiding under the hood: 5 GHz Wifi support. This is helpful for online gaming, but offers little improvement in upload or download speeds on the console as these are often bottlenecked by PSN.
And there you have it, a bunch of stuff you probably did not know about the new slim PS4 model. So, who’s ready for this thing to get formally announced already?