The PS4 Slim has been perceived by many as a difficult product to sell, except it isn’t, not even slightly.
Making a smaller, more powerful, more efficient version of an existing console is something both PlayStation and Xbox have done many times before. Just look at how many versions of the PlayStation 3 there are.
The difference with the Xbox One S and the PS4 Slim is that we already know about the consoles that would traditionally have replaced them.
They’re not going to replace them though.
We live in exceptional times where video games are evolving far quicker than before thanks to the advent of new TV technologies and the boom of virtual reality. This has split gaming into two categories: The early-adopters and the traditional gamers.
So rather than thinking of this PS4 Slim as a product that’s just ‘filling a gap’ until the new one arrives, instead think of it as a console that’s offering what will remain to be the traditional next-gen gaming experience for several years.
Small both in size and carbon footprint
The new PS4 Slim is a full third smaller than the original PlayStation 4 thanks to some rather nifty reductions in hardware and a whole lot of work on the efficiency of the console.
Add all of those elements together and the PS4 Slim really does feel like a small but highly dense piece of technology. It’s smaller than the Xbox One S by some margin.
Along with that reduction in size comes a 28 per cent reduction in power consumption which might not sound like much but for anyone who knows just how much electricity these consoles can consume it will be welcome news indeed.
The design is different, and yet entirely the same
The PS4 Slim takes the hard-edged severity of the original PlayStation 4’s design and softens it down into something that feels generally a lot gentler on the eyeballs.
While it’s fair to say that the design has split some of the fans, we personally really like the direction Sony has gone with the Slim.
Is it as good-looking as the Xbox One S? Possibly not, but that’s not to say this is an ugly looking device. The Slim still looks great and it’s packed full of little physical changes that add up to a much more enjoyable user experience.
The hard drive is entirely removable, now that’s not a new feature but they have simplified the way you replace it. There’s now a simple plastic tab at the back which along with one screw are all that’s needed before you can switch it out.
Both of the PS4’s original touch-sensitive buttons have been replaced. In the past they were a nightmare to distinguish from each other, often resulting in constant incidents where you would accidentally eject a game disc without warning.
This problem has been solved though. The buttons are now clear, separate from each other and subtly placed within the horizontal dent running along the front of the console. Hurrah.
It’s not how many pixels, it’s how you use them
Just like the Xbox One S, the PS4 Slim will be able to show games in High Dynamic Range. That means that colours should pop more while contrast ratios will be far far greater.
Overall HDR has the potential to offer a truly incredible gaming experience, however outside of seeing demos there isn’t yet a PS4 title that fully supports it so you’ll need to hang tight until they start arriving to get a full verdict.
Then of course there’s the small matter of actually buying a TV that supports HDR. This in itself will be a big investment and it’s ultimately up to you whether you’ll want to take that step in the name of games that have beautifully reproduced reds and blues.
The new controller is well....only slightly new
In addition to the new design of the PS4, the new DualShock 4 controller has been given the merest cough of a redesign. In fact the only real difference you’re going to notice when using it is the new light bar on the top of the controller.
It’s a small but significant change. Many games included a functionality wherein the colour of the light bar would signify something important in the game. Unfortunately, due to the design of the controller, this was often quite difficult to see.
By adding a tiny strip of the light bar to the top Sony is placing that functionality right in view. Personally we welcome this addition, the light bar isn’t just useful as a marker for virtual reality, it’s a great way of adding suspense of providing quick updates on your character’s current situation.
Who should buy the PS4 Slim?
The PS4 Slim might not boast the radical redesign of the Xbox One S, but what it lacks in visual fireworks it more than makes up for with numerous meaningful changes. This is by far and away the best console PlayStation have made: It’s small, unassuming and yet still incredibly powerful. If you’re looking for the classic PlayStation experience and finally want to jump on the bandwagon this is the console to buy.
Who shouldn’t buy the PS4 Slim?
If you already own an original PlayStation 4 then this probably isn’t for you. It’s a great improvement on your console but with the PS4 Pro around the corner it might be worth holding off and taking stock of how you want to proceed. If you’re an early adopter who’s already got their eyes on a massive 4K HDR television then the Pro seems like it’s going to be the way forward. If, however, you’re more than happy with your current TV and still want to play the very latest games then both the original PS4 and PS4 Slim should more than suffice.