Sony PS4 (Slim) review

PlayStation 4 sheds some weight – and some notes off its price tag

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With a whole host of streaming services built in, as well as online play and a digital download store, the 2016 PS4 Slim is very reliant on its network connection. So thankfully, it's getting a fresh lick of paint for the new model, too.

The new PS4 Slim introduces a 5GHz IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac connection to the console, alongside ol' faithful, the trusty Ethernet jack. Current PS4s only feature 2.4GHz bands. While Ethernet is still your best bet for a consistently stable connection, the 5GHz band is less likely to suffer from interference from the menagerie of products hogging the 2.4GHz space. In effect, you're less likely to suffer lag and drop out as a result.

The 5GHz connection should improve the quality of the PS4's Remote Play function. With a PS Vita handheld, a PC, Mac or compatible Sony Xperia mobile device, you can beam games from your PS4 to a second device, freeing up the TV set.

Though we've had no problems with Remote Play over the 2.4GHz connection of our original launch PS4, the PS4 Slim has so far offered up stable connectivity when using the second screen function. It must be noted however that 5GHz connections can struggle beaming through thick masonry, so line of sight with the console is still recommended when using Remote Play.

PlayStation Store

The PlayStation Store has been around since the PS3, and naturally remains your source of downloadable games on the slim PS4.

The ability to pre-load games makes a return so you aren't left waiting for downloads to complete on launch day, and you can also start playing a game before the download has fully completed by instructing your console to prioritise certain parts of the game.

With games now happily filling up 50GB Blu-ray discs, this ability is pretty essential if you want to not have to leave your games downloading overnight.

You can also use the PlayStation app on iOS or Android to remotely purchase games and set them to download when you're away from your console, or you can always avoid the download process entirely by making use of Sony's ever-expanding PlayStation Now service.

Sharing gameplay images and videos

It should come as no surprise when I say that online gaming video is big, and Sony has embraced this in a big way with the ability to share videos of gameplay baked right into the console.

Simply press the 'Share' button on the DualShock 4 and you're console will immediately save up to the last fifteen minutes of gameplay. You are then free to save this to a USB stick, or you can share it to YouTube, Facebook, or even Sony's own PSN.

Alternatively you can hold the same button to share a screenshot.

Livestreaming is also supported on the console, if you want to allow others to watch you as you play on Twitch. The process is remarkably easy to set up, but make sure you have a fast enough internet connection to upload video in real-time.

PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus

When the PS4 launched, Sony took the decision to make its users pay for online multiplayer.

The practice had previously been exclusive to Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold service, while Sony kept its Plus service for optional extras.

If you've already purchased a PS Plus subscription for another Sony device it will automatically carry over to the new console, and will bring with it discounts on PSN, a monthly selection of free games, and occasional early access to DLC.

Cloud saves are a great inclusion for when you need to switch between consoles for any reason, and automatic downloading and installation of game updates is also helpful.

Sony's PlayStation Plus is a great service for anyone who owns a PS4, and brings so many more benefits than just online play.

Share Play

Share Play

Share Play is an interesting feature that allows you to have friends remotely control your PS4 gameplay, even if they don't own the game in question. This works as a cooperative tool, or a competitive one, depending on how you want to use it.

This functionality is accessed through the same 'Share' button mentioned above, at which point you can choose to send out a share play invitation from the menu that pops up.

Unfortunately both players will need to be PlayStation Plus subscribers for the functionality to work, and each session can only last a maximum of an hour. It's also limited to 720p resolution rather than the PS4's maximum 1080p.