PS4 Slim Review: Is Sony’s new console worth buying?

Unlike the PS3 Slim, where Sony streamlined the PlayStation 3 by removing non-essential components—all the while improving power consumption and noise of the original whirring beast—the features of the PS4 Slim are practically identical to the original, but its fresh new look ushers in the arrival of PS4 HDR support with style.

ps4 slim console for review

PS4 Slim replaces PS4

Now replacing the PS4 on the production line, the PlayStation 4 Slim is reasonably priced at £259/$299 for the 500GB model (1TB version also available), which clocks in significantly cheaper than the original launch model. In addition to the usual instruction leaflet, quick start guide and power cable, the box contains:

  • PS4 Slim console
  • The new PS4 controller
  • Headphones
  • Micro-USB cable
  • HDMI cable

Measuring just 26.5cm x 26.5cm x 3.8cm, the Slim is substantially smaller than the PS4 by approximately 40 percent, which means there’s more space to play with on your entertainment centre. It’s also much lighter, weighing around 16 percent less than the original.

How does it look?

Indeed, the design of this latest console has had a complete overhaul from the original PS4, and out of the box the first thing that struck us was its new matte-black color. Not only does it mean that it doesn’t get soaked in mucky fingerprints, but it’s more resistant to attracting dust. The light bar that runs across the top of the PS4 (which lit up blue when it was on, and orange while in Rest Mode) has also been removed. Though it’s kinda cool to see your PS4 glow, this also means there’s no groove that gather dusts on top of the Slim, so what you’ve got is a much cleaner-looking console.

That fresh feel also applies to other areas of the PS4 Slim’s design. The sharp corners of the original console give way to more rounded edges which gives the PS4 Slim a more compact, polished and curvier look, while underneath the console are four small legs that grip the PS4 Slim to your surface to add some extra stability.

On the front of the console are two USB 3.0 ports that are now spread out rather than close together, which makes it so much easier to plug in your leads. It’s also great to see that the capacitive buttons of the original have been replaced with mechanical power and eject buttons, which means you now need to press rather than swipe your finger across them. This makes a welcome change from the PS4 accidentally turning on when your cat brushes past it, or you fumbling around and accidentally pressing power off rather than eject.

ps4 slim review unit

The optical audio port of the original has been ditched from the rear of the console, meaning that you can only get decent audio through HDMI – not something that bothers us in the slightest, and likely something you most miss. So, on the back of the Slim, you now get the Ethernet port, HDMI and Auxiliary ports – the same as the original.

ps4 slim back of console

Switchable hard-drive made easy

One of the welcome changes for the PS4 Slim is the removable panel on the side which houses the SATA hard drive. It clips off easily, and you just need a screwdriver to take out the drive if you wish to replace it, which is far better than the much more drawn out process of upgrading on the original.

On booting up both the PS4 and the PS4 Slim together and inserting a disc, it does appear that the Slim is slightly quieter, despite the fact that no internal changes have been made. Looking at the design, the vent at the back to dispel hot air from inside the console has gone, with air now being extracted from the edges of the consoles. It still hums and whirs but not quite to the extent of the original.

Aside from the aesthetic changes, which overall makes things a little easier for its owners with its new-styled buttons, new locations for the USB ports, and an easy to change hard-drive, the software remains identical to the PS4. You’re essentially getting exactly the same experience as the original PS4, albeit on a much smaller console with a much better thought-out design.

Like the original PS4 and the upcoming PS4 Pro, PS4 Slim supports HDR courtesy of the latest system software update 4.0. This means that those with HDR compatible TVs can enjoy a visual upgrade on games that support it.

Get a new PS4 controller too

The new DualShock offers one new feature compared to the original – the ability to connect it to the PS4 via USB and play on a wired connection. Our original DS4 is forever needing to be charged on the ridiculously short charging lead, so this is most definitely a welcome change.

new dualshock 4 photo

The other changes to the DS4 are purely aesthetic. The lightbar is now situated across the top of the touchpad, rather than across the top of the controller. The d-pad and the thumbsticks are now grey in color compared black before, which makes them stand out more. Other than that, the new PS4 controller looks, feels and handles exactly the same as the original.

Final Impressions of Sony’s new console

Overall, the PS4 Slim is a great new addition to the PlayStation family. If you’re on the hunt for a new PS4, this is the console you’ll be picking up, but even if you already own a PlayStation 4, the Slim offers some nice design improvements, while its stylish design doesn’t fail to impress.

With the PS4 Pro release date in November, the big question for those looking to buy a PS4 for the first time is: should you wait, or dive in right now with the Slim? As the PS4 Pro features an upgraded CPU, GPU and provides 4K support, it’s probably worth waiting to benefit from the better performance if you’ve got the cash to fork out $399/£349, and a 4K TV to take advantage. However, the PS4 Slim provides a solid entry model that benefits from a fresh makeover, and some small, yet welcome changes.