Sony has a long history of streamlining its games consoles so, despite the fact we knew it existed ahead of Sony’s official announcement, the PS4 Slim’s existence was all but assured. As its name implies, the PS4 Slim is simply an aesthetically revised version of the original PS4. It weighs 61g less and takes up considerably less space than its already quite slender predecessor.
Inside it’s essentially the same console, so don’t expect any performance boosts over its older sibling. Instead, those after a more powerful PS4 can look to the PS4 Pro, a considerably beefier version of the PS4 capable of rendering games at 4K resolutions.
Design, controller and ports
Now, the original PS4 was a gorgeous bit of console design. This time around, however, Sony has done away with the strikingly clean, slate-like composition for something that’s a little softer around the edges, opting for smooth, rounded corners and a matte, plastic finish.
The power light strip running across the top of the console has also disappeared, and the only remaining adornment is the PlayStation logo in the middle of the top panel. Luckily, its textured chassis isn’t nearly as prone to picking up scuffs and smudges as the half-glossy coating on the original.
Sony has also given the PS4 Slim proper physical power and eject buttons, much to the delight of owners of inquisitive cats. More importantly, these buttons are now much easier to identify than the confusing double-stacked strip on the original PS4, so hopefully you’ll be able to remember which button does what for many years to come.
Admittedly, the buttons themselves feel a little loose in their housing, but they remain an improvement on the overly sensitive touch buttons of the original. Another nice touch, although not one you’ll notice much, is that the feet are made up of tiny circles, triangles, crosses and squares – as appears on the PlayStation’s controller buttons.
The two front-facing USB 3 ports are now located at either end of the console, so you won’t be struggling to plug in items in the dark, while around the back you still have HDMI, 3.5mm aux input and Ethernet connections. Sadly, the optical S/PDIF output is no more.
The PS4 Slim comes with a brand-new Dualshock 4 controller, too. There’s a change of colour here, with light-grey buttons, sticks and triggers replacing the all-black design of the original. There’s also a thin translucent line at the top of the touchpad, which lets out a little light from the rear lightbar. It’s near-identical in terms of what it does and how it works, though, and you can pick one up separately for £54.
Noise and power consumption
The PS4 Slim is a wonderfully quiet machine, with our sound-level meter recording it at between 47dB and 53dB up close when it was playing a Blu-ray disc; the background office air-con was running at 41dB. The Xbox One S ran marginally quieter, but you’d be hard-pressed to notice the difference in everyday use.
The unit shouldn’t be as expensive to run over the course of a year, either, thanks to its lower power consumption. It sucked up only 45W while sitting on the homescreen, and around 53W with a Blu-ray disc spinning, compared with the PS4’s 71W and 95W respectively. It’s a little more power-hungry than the Xbox One S, but not noticeably so.
Thankfully, despite the removal of several vents at the rear, the PS4 Slim’s thermal management is largely just as effective as the original PS4. Using an infrared temperature gun, I measured that the PS4 Slim’s external casing reached a maximum of 41 degrees with a Blu-ray disc spinning.