Sony PS4 (Slim) review

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

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Our Verdict

An excellent console with a great catalogue of AAA games, the slimmer, smaller PS4 is better in almost every way compared to the original, barring one notable exception.


  • Great games
  • Good value
  • Improved power efficiency
  • PS Plus still a great deal
  • DualShock 4 better than ever


  • Optical audio removed
  • No 4K Blu-ray player

The original PlayStation 4, now in its new "PS4 Slim" guise, remains a great video games console, even with the 4K-enabled PS4 Pro on the market to tempt you and its successor, the PS5, on the horizon. 

Not only is this newly shrunk PS4 Slim model more compact than the original PS4, it's cheaper too. You might think the feature trade-off is worth it: you won't get any form of 4K output, for example, and you have to make do without an optical audio output too.

If you can put up with these limitations, you'll find the PS4 Slim is a really capable machine, rather than a budget console. 

That smaller size means it's likely to fit better in most rooms, and it also runs quieter and with less power draw than the PS4. As an added bonus, if you live in Europe and Asia, you can get it in Glacier White.

The big question is: should you upgrade if you still own an original PS4? And if you're looking to buy the console for the first time, is the PS4 Slim the one to go for?

It'd be an easier decision if Microsoft's Xbox One S hadn't significantly raised the bar by packing a 4K Blu-ray player into the Xbox One, as well as adding 4K upscaling and HDR functionality to its games, paving the way for the Xbox One X and the new Xbox.

Meanwhile, further complicating the decision, the 4K PS4 Pro brings improved performance to the PS4 ecosystem. The slimmed-down PS4, meanwhile, works more or less identically to the original PlayStation 4.

The PS4 Slim edition retails at £299.95 / $299.99 / AU$449 for the 1TB box, though the 500GB edition is still available in limited quantities for slightly less. Various gaming bundles are available too, which might appeal.

Although the PS4 Slim might have entered the market as Sony's budget PlayStation offering, it doesn't mean it's scrimping on its specs to any large extent. In all key areas it matches the original PlayStation 4 console, and at many points even outperforms it as well.

It's also a far smaller console, shrinking the machine down by almost a third in volume, knocking 16% off the original's weight and offering notable improvements in both power draw and noise output.

  • Want to know how the console stacks up against the PS4 Pro? Check out our guide to the PS4 Pro vs PS4

The best PS4 games are among the finest available on any platform at the moment, with showstoppers like God of War and Spider-Man the envy of PC and Xbox One gamers alike. They're all compatible with the PS4 Slim, as will every game going forward – Sony made it explicitly clear that every game for the PS4 Pro will work here, too.

On top of the games themselves, the PS Plus network offering is as good a deal as it's ever been, allowing you to partake in competitive or cooperative online multiplayer play and offering up a selection of three free games on a monthly basis too.

In terms of competition, the PS4 Slim really only has two rivals – the Nintendo Switch and the Xbox One S. Sure, Nintendo has created something profoundly unique with the Nintendo Switch, but it's against the Xbox One X where the PS4 has its toughest fight. 

Only a tad more expensive, the Xbox One S looks great, has a fine selection of its own games, and comes packing a killer 4K Blu-ray player built in, making it a far more rounded media player than the PS4 Slim. 

All that said, it's Sony who's sold 70 million PS4s at the moment. So clearly it's doing something right with its new console.

Does that mean you should join the PlayStation Nation too? Read on to find out.

PS4 Slim: design

It may be hard to remember now, seeing how much joy gamers have gotten out of the original PS4, but its off-kilter shape was met with some raised eyebrows when it was first revealed three and a half years ago.

2016's slim PS4 more-or-less retains the core visual identity of the first PlayStation 4, but shrinks everything down into a more dinky parallelogram package, with newly-rounded edges.

Whereas the original PlayStation 4 measured 27.5 x 30 x 5.3 cm, the PS4 Slim is just 26.5 x 26.5 x 3.8 cm. That's roughly a third smaller than what the original measured up as, and its weight is comparably lighter, too.

PS4 Slim review

PS4 Slim review

Whereas the first PS4 had a finish that mixed shiny plastics with matte ones, the PS4 Slim goes with a simple matte black finish all over. It also drops the top-mounted colored light bar indicator – showing sleep, wake and off statuses – in favor of small illuminated dots over the power button. These are more difficult to see, so be careful to check them carefully before unplugging the console from the wall, or risk corrupting your data.

The disk drive slot remains front-facing, sitting above small, physical power and eject buttons. More recent revisions of the PS4 also featured physical buttons on the console, but it'll be a marked difference for gamers used to the launch edition PS4, which favored touch-sensitive controls instead.

Two USB ports sit on the front of the console, as was the same on earlier PS4 models. But they're now spaced much further apart, making them slightly easier to plug into.

PS4 Slim review

PS4 Slim front

Both 500GB and 1TB versions of the PS4 Slim are available, though the former is becoming rarer. If you opt for the smaller of the two you might find your hard-drive fills up surprisingly quickly thanks to the console's reliance on mandatory game installs, but thankfully it's fairly easy to upgrade the internal hard drive or you can even install games to an external hard drive thanks to a recent update. 

Also on the back you'll find the power plug socket (no need for an external power brick here), a HDMI port, the PlayStation Camera's expansion port (an essential part of the PlayStation VR's setup) and an Ethernet network jack socket.

The only casualty of the slimmed-down design is the Optical Out port on the rear. While HDMI will suit the needs of many gamers when it comes to carrying audio signals, the Optical Out port will be missed by those hooking up older home cinema receivers, or souped-up gaming headsets.

PS4 Slim review

PS4 Slim rear

The slim PS4 has lots of nice design touches dotted around its chassis though. The iconic Square, Triangle, Circle and Cross symbols of the PlayStation brand are stamped into the side of the console (with the Circle acting as a fixture for those wishing to stand the console upright with a base accessory). And those same symbols are found stuck to the bottom of the new PS4, acting as feet to raise the machine off a surface for improved airflow.

All in, it's a well considered design the complements the existing range, markedly justifying its "Slim" street name.

PS4 Slim: setup

Setting up the slim PlayStation 4 is very easy, especially if you're upgrading from the original PS4 (or even a PS3), since you can use the same cables, removing the need to stretch behind your TV.

Simply plug in the included HDMI and power cables and connect to the internet to download the console's various patches and updates.

Alternatively, you are able to skip Wi-Fi or Ethernet altogether and just pop in a game. Unlike the Xbox One, you can get to the homescreen without initially connecting to the web and patching.

Once you do connect to the internet, you'll need to let the PS4 update before you can make purchases from the store or play online.

PS4 Slim: media

Since the very first PlayStation, Sony's home consoles have led the charge when it comes to media playback support. The PS One made for a great CD player, the PS2 was many gamers' first DVD player, and the PS3 their first Blu-ray deck and USB playback device.

The PS4, while not introducing a new format of its own, picked up the baton passed by the PS3, offering wide-ranging streaming service support, Blu-ray and DVD playback, USB media functionality and even banging out the tunes with its own Spotify player.

What the PS4 Slim doesn't do, however, is offer an answer to the Xbox One S's 4K Blu-ray player. It instead sticks with the original PS4's standard full HD Blu-ray player. It's still a strong deck, but anyone looking to show off their 4K TVs with the new PS4 will be disappointed. It's a feature that's notably absent from the PS4 Pro, too.

You could argue that with streaming increasingly used to watch media content, it's not a desperately needed feature, especially if it keeps the overall cost down. But it will age the console, preventing it from being fully future-proofed. What's perhaps more annoying is the complete removal of the optical out audio socket, which could cause headaches for those with older AV equipment.

However, one upgrade that is coming to the entire range of PS4s along with the PS4 Slim is HDR support. It adds greater detail to light sources in an image, and is considered the next big thing in TV tech.

All other streaming services and apps featured on the PS4 return for the PS4 Slim. They include (but are not limited to) Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, as well as BBC iPlayer and TV from Sky in the UK, and HBO Go and Hulu in the US.

Sony's own movie rental platform is available too if you're looking for the latest Hollywood releases. YouTube is available, as is Twitch game streaming, and a Spotify Connect-enabled version of the popular music streaming service, letting you control tunes on your telly from the comfort of your smartphone.