It feels like the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro have only just been released, but in a manner similar to the pregnancy rumors that inevitably seem to stick to celebrity power couples, we’re already hearing that Sony could be planning to release a PS4 Pro Slim.
WCCFtech (opens in new tab) has unearthed a recent report in the Taiwanese newspaper Digitimes which has said that Sony is planning to release a slimmer version of its PlayStation 4 console in order to target the holiday sales period. The report doesn’t actually say whether this console will simply be an even slimmer version of the already existing PS4 Slim or whether it will be a smaller version of the PS4 Pro. The latter scenario does, however, seem significantly more likely if the rumors are to be believed.
A slimmed down version of the PS4 Pro for release during the holiday period would make a lot of sense. Come Christmas, the original PS4 Pro will be a year old so a new look with, perhaps, some improved or additional functionalities would be ideal to reignite consumer interest.
A chance to keep up
Not only that, it’ll be around the time Microsoft is planning to release Project Scorpio. From what we know so far, Project Scorpio is going to be one impressive piece of kit and Sony can’t reasonably expect to go head to head with this machine during the peak buying period with a year-old console and expect to come out on top.
When the PS4 Slim was released, it was really more of a revamp of the original PS4 in terms of specs. Not much really changed it was just the chance to upgrade to a slightly more attractive and smaller console.
Though a PS4 Pro Slim could be exactly the same scenario - think slimming to Pro down into a smaller chassis - it would also be a good opportunity for Sony to do a little more, to introduce some interesting new functionalities to its Pro console that would make it more competitive against Microsoft’s Project Scorpio.
Now that we’ve sufficiently justified it (at least we think so), here are the five things we’d like to see from the PS4 Pro Slim if it’s announced.
A new look
Okay, a new look would obviously be part of a slimmer version of a console. It’s the entire point. The risk with slimming down the PS4 Pro is that you could easily just end up with the original PS4 or a console that’s almost identical to the PS4 Slim.
We’d love to see the PS4 Pro Slim take on the more curved and compact look of the PS4 Slim, without looking like a trio of stacked pizza boxes. We’d also like to see a return to the matte and glossy casing combination that the original PS4 had. The glossy side was, admittedly a bit of a nightmare when it came to attracting fingerprints, but it was much more visually exciting than the entirely matte look that the Pro and Slim iterations have.
Aside from an overall shape change, we’d also like to see an improvement made to the console’s buttons. This might be a bit of a personal bugbear, but we think the design of the power and eject disc buttons on the current PS4 Pro are a step backwards from both the original PS4's capacitive touch buttons, and the PS4 Slim's standard physical buttons.
The PS4 Pro uses a single plastic strip across both buttons, that 'give' a little at either end where they are pressed in. Push too close to the center and the pushes won't register, while going too far to the edge and it feels like they could snap.
Of all three button methods, it's the standard buttons the PS4 Slim that seem most reliable, so we'd like to see them return for any eventual PS4 Pro Slim.
Ultra HD Blu-ray player
You still have a chance here, Sony! The company has received a fair amount of criticism for providing 4K media purely via streaming and it’s easy to understand why; 4K streaming requires a much stronger and faster internet connection than many people currently have access to.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has included an Ultra HD Blu-ray player in both its Xbox One S and (we expect) in the upcoming Project Scorpio consoles in addition to the ability to stream 4K content. Though 4K Blu-rays aren’t exactly a widespread format at the moment, Microsoft has at least given its customers a choice.
Many who were torn between purchasing a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One S said that latter’s Ultra HD Blu-ray player swayed their decision when it came to settling on a console. Of course, we don’t know how accurate this is and how much, if at all, it impacted the PlayStation’s sales.
Regardless, Sony may think that streaming is the future but it’s selling consoles in the present and in the present, consumers apparently want access to an Ultra HD Blu-ray player that doesn’t cost the Earth. Releasing a slim version of the PS4 Pro would be an ideal opportunity for Sony to add this feature.
Dolby Atmos support for games
This isn’t absolutely essential, but introducing Dolby Atmos support for games would be a nice addition to the PS4 Pro Slim and really add to the 4K HDR visuals it offers.
At the moment, the Xbox Insiders are able to access Dolby Atmos sound when watching Ultra HD Blu-rays on their consoles. There are rumors circulating that this support will soon extend to games, making the Xbox a full Dolby Atmos experience.
It’d be sensible, then, for Sony to begin introducing this to PlayStation in order to be able to claim that it offers similarly immersive gaming experiences.
An extra HDMI port
Ok, now we’re getting into really nerdy AV territory, but it would be absolutely great if we could get a second HDMI port on our new gaming behemoth.
A second HDMI port has become a handy feature on more high-end Ultra HD Blu-ray players, as it allows you to send your audio and video out to separate machines.
This is very helpful if you’ve got a home cinema amplifier that deal with your television’s audio. Rather than having to worry about whether this amp can handle 4K/HDR content, a second HDMI output allows you to avoid the problem by bypassing it entirely and plugging straight into your TV.
Now yes, we know only a fraction of Sony’s potential audience will want such a feature, but if it wants to win over the high-end TV enthusiasts amongst us then it's a must-have.
Built-in PSVR support
We understand that the PlayStation VR required the additional processing unit for a few reasons including object-based 3D audio processing and un-distorted social screen display but it's still an unwelcome presence on our TV stand.
Ideally, for neatness' sake, everything would be going through the one system so it'd be great to see built-in support for PSVR in the PS4 Pro Slim. Not only would it keep our living rooms neat and tidy, it'd centralize PSVR as an essential part of the PlayStation experience and send a strong message from Sony that VR is here to stay on PlayStation and has the company's full support and attention.
Bigger hard drive
Though we now have external hard drive support in addition to changeable internal hard drives and we’re extremely happy about it, we’d love to see a bigger internal hard drive in the PS4 Pro Slim from the off. We’re not asking for much – 2TB would be more than enough to keep us and our console’s storage notifications quiet, at least for a while.