Sony has shown off a pair of new consoles, the PlayStation 4 Slim and PlayStation 4 Pro, both of which are updates to the PS4 hardware. While the PS4 Pro is pushing the hardware towards 4K gaming and stronger VR performance, the PS4 Slim is a smaller, sleeker take on the PS4 as we’ve known it the past three years.
This new slim model will be the base PS4 model going forward, replacing the larger model that has been available since 2013. But just how much of a replacement is the PS4 Slim over the original? Below you’ll find a detailed breakdown of the specifications for each of the two consoles, as well as analysis for how they stack up in terms of power, design, and more.
PlayStation 4 ‘Slim’
|Dimensions||TBD (about 30 percent smaller)||12 inches x 2.09 inches x 10.83 inches|
|Processor||CPU: Eight-core X86 AMD Jaguar
GPU:1.84 T-FLOPS, AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next Engine
|CPU: Eight-core X86 AMD Jaguar
GPU:1.84 T-FLOPS, AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next Engine
|Memory||8GB GDDR5 RAM||8GB GDDR5 RAM|
|Hard Drive||Built-in, 1TB HDD (can be swapped for larger drive)||Built-in, 500GB HDD/1TB HDD (can be swapped for larger drive)|
|AV Output||HDMI, Analog-AV Out||HDMI, Analog-AV out, Digital Output (Optical)|
|I/O Output||3 x Super Speed USB 3.0||3 x Super Speed USB 3.0, AUX|
|Communication||Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi||Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi|
|Controller||DualShock 4 (redesign)||DualShock 4|
|PlayStation VR Compatible||Yes (Sold separately)||Yes (Sold separately)|
|HDR||Yes||Yes (With patch)|
|UHD Blue Ray||No||No|
|PlayStation Camera Compatible||Yes (Sold separately)||Yes (Sold separately)|
|Price||$299||Starting at $349|
|Availability||Available September 15, 2016||Available Now|
This is the largest, and really only, difference between these two PS4 models. The new slim model packs all of the hardware from the original model into a smaller form factor, resulting in a decrease in size of, reportedly, about thirty percent. Of course, to squeeze into a smaller shell, there often has to be sacrifices, but the only loss here is the optical audio port on the Slim — all other ports and components, including the three USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet port, HDMI and Auxiliary ports, remain.
One of the more puzzling aspects of the PS4’s original design were its Power and Eject buttons. The original PS4 had two small touch sensors located in the center-front of the console’s face that were not only difficult to find, but also placed close to one another, making it easy to confuse the two. A very minor hardware update fixed these, adding better tactile buttons. The fix remains in the Slim.
Finally, the DualShock 4 controller is also getting a minor redesign. The lightbar, which changes color and brightness dynamically depending on in-game actions and context, has been moved from the back of the controller, to the top, now facing towards the player. This should make it easier to see and appreciate these subtle color changes, which were previously obscured due to the light bar’s placement. The new DualShock 4 will ship standard with the new PS4 slim models.
Both models are still sleek, slightly angular devices, with a matte black finish and understated PlayStation logos emblazoned on the case. The PS4 Slim’s edges are more bevelled versus the sharp edges of the original PS4, but there really isn’t any major difference between the two in terms of aesthetic sensibilities. These two consoles look like they belong to the same family of devices — something true for even their PS4 Pro sibling.
Since this is really the only aspect in which the new PS4 slim model differs from the original, we’re going to give the win in this category to the Slim. But if design doesn’t matter much to you, then you can largely disregard these differences.
Winner: PS4 Slim
When Sony says the PS4 Slim is the same as the original PS4, just in a smaller package, they mean it. The same GPU, CPU, and RAM that power the original PS4 are in the PS4 slim, and both consoles will run games at the same proficiency — you won’t see any visual or technical enhancements to your games by playing them on one over the other.
This extends to new and upcoming feature and peripherals as well, such as HDR visuals (which are being patched in to all PS4 models via a firmware update) and PlayStation VR, which the PS4 and PS4 Slim will be fully compatible with when it’s released later this year.
Both of these systems lack the special features of their more powerful sibling, the PS4 Pro — most notably 4K content.
Price and Availability
At Sony’s event, the PS4 was announced to be releasing on September 15, 2016. At the time of this writing, that’s just a smidgen over a week away. However, while a quick search through online retailers may give the impression that the PS4 Slim’s $299 price tag is a better deal compared to the original PS4’s average $350 price, don’t be fooled.
More often than not, the slightly higher price tag associated with the original PS4 is due to bundles that can include: one or more games; a larger hard drive; or an extra controller; and even bonus PS Plus trial subscription vouchers. You’ll likely be paying for many of these things anyway, so a bundle just makes the process simpler.
Buyers looking to purchase their first PlayStation 4 may find themselves choosing between an original PS4 and the new Slim model. If you find yourself facing such a decision, we recommend going with whichever bundles the games you prefer.
Simply put, these consoles will perform identically. The same goes for how the consoles will handle PlayStation VR when it’s release later this year. The differences lie purely in the aesthetics of each device and their respective controller iterations; if you want a smaller console, get the Slim.
Price varies a bit, but with the number of bundles, sales, and deals available for games and accessories, it comes out to a wash. In fact, unless you really care about having a smaller console — or, alternatively, require optical audio — the whole comparison comes out to a wash.