PS4 Slim: What you need to know
The PS4 Slim is the second iteration of Sony’s immensely popular games console, the PS4. This slimline refresh has the same specs as the launch model, but condenses it into a sleek new package. Disappointingly, Sony chose not to update the PS4 Slim with 4K capabilities so it loses out to its main competitor, the Xbox One S, as a dedicated media machine. But if you’re just looking for excellent games at a low entry price, the PS4 Slim is a terrific choice.
The PS4 Slim has an MSRP of $299 for the 1TB model. While there is a 500GB model, Sony seems to be discontinuing sales in favor of pushing the 1TB version. It comes with the console and a Dualshock 4 controller as standard, though you can often find the console bundled with a free game or two at no additional cost.
PS4 Slim: Specs
- 1.6GHz 8-core AMD Jaguar CPU
- 1.84 Teraflop AMD Radeon GPU
- 8GB of GDDR5 RAM
The PS4 Slim is the same machine as the launch PS4, just shrunk down into a sleek new design. It has a 1.6GHz 8-core AMD Jaguar CPU and a 1.84 Teraflop AMD Radeon GPU supported by 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. When it comes to internal storage, there are options for either a 500GB or 1TB storage drive (though Sony are now discontinuing the 500GB option).
The PS4 Slim lives up to its new name too, measuring in at 10.4 inches wide, 11.3 inches deep and a tiny 1.5 inches in height. You’ll have no trouble squeezing the PS4 Slim in your home entertainment setup. It’s also quite attractive, as pieces of gaming hardware go so it certainly won’t ruin the aesthetic of your living room.
The PS4 slim comes with a Blu-ray disc drive, but it doesn’t support 4K Blu-rays, nor does the PS4 support 4K streaming which could be a deal breaker for some. Those looking for a cheap console with 4K support might want to consider the Xbox One S.
There are two USB 3.1 port on the front of the consoles, allowing you to easily charge your controller or attach an external storage drive. On the back, you’ll find the usual array of ports including HDMI out and Ethernet. Sadly, Sony have removed the optical audio port from this revised model, which could be disappointing news for audiophiles.
Along with the console, you also have the Dualshock 4 controller which has had quite an extensive upgrade from the old Dualshock 3. The L2/R2 buttons on the back have been altered to give them a trigger-style design, while the center of the controller is now dominated by a nifty trackpad. The controller has a built-in battery which can be charged via micro USB.
PS4 Slim: Games and subscriptions
- Games output consistently excellent
- Healthy third-party support from all major game publisher
- PS+ is required for online multiplayer gaming
It’s fair to say that Sony have won the games war this console generation. Their first party output has been consistently excellent, with numerous critically acclaimed titles including Spider-Man, Bloodborne, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.
At the same time, the PS4 has enjoyed healthy third-party support from all major game publishers so you’ll be able to play major releases like Madden 20, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Alongside the stellar lineup of games for you to choose from, Sony also offer their PS+ subscription service. PS+ is required for online multiplayer gaming. It also offers exclusive discounts and two free PS4 games per month. These games must be claimed each month though, so you don’t get access to the whole back catalog if you sign up. Previous PS+ titles have included major releases like Bloodborne and For Honor.
There's also PlayStation Now to consider. This subscription gives you access to hundreds of titles through a streaming service. You can also download many of the games directly onto your console if you wish to avoid the latency issues that come with streaming games. A subscription costs $9.99 a month, or $59.99 for 12 months.
PS4 Slim: User interface
- Interface has a simplistic, but elegant design
- Some minor annoyances to the layout
- Excellent controller ergonomics
The PS4 Slims shares its basic system software with both the base model and the upgraded PS4 Pro. The user interface has a simplistic, but elegant design. Recently played games and apps are easy to access, as is the PlayStation Store which allows you to purchase digital games and download them directly.
There are some minor annoyances though - the games library is the furthest option when scrolling across the menu, which is odd when it’s likely to be a gamers first port of call when logging on.
The Dualshock 4 controller is a huge upgrade on previous iterations. It retains to iconic visual profile that all PlayStation controllers have shared, but this time Sony have taken ergonomics into consideration. As a result, it’s much more comfortable to use. The new trigger-style L2/R2 buttons are also much better for shooter games. The dedicated share button is a nice touch, letting you instantly share screenshots of your gaming triumphs to social media.
PS4 Slim: Multimedia
- No 4K Blu-ray player
- No support for 4K streaming
- Popular video streaming apps are supported
As we’ve already mentioned, the major flaw with the PS4 Slim is its lack of 4K support. There is no 4K Blu-ray player and no support for 4K streaming with apps like Netflix. It’s a strictly HD gaming and multimedia device, which can easily be a deal breaker as we move further into the 4K age.
If 4K visuals aren’t a concern for you though, then the PS4 Slim is remarkably well equipped when it comes to app support. Popular video streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Crunchyroll and YouTube are all supported. There is also a wealth of options for music streaming with PlayStation Music, Spotify, and Soundcloud.
PS4 Slim: Verdict
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The PS4 Slim is an odd beast. On the one hand, the original PS4 was selling like hotcakes so you can understand Sony’s reluctance to mess with the formula. But the omission of 4K streaming capabilities or a 4K Blu-ray drive really seems like a missed opportunity. Despite this drawback, the PS4 Slim is still an excellent games console with a fantastic line-up of first and third-party games on offer.