Today, Sony got on a stage and, in a bizarre bit of performance art, pretended nobody knew about the PlayStation 4 Slim.
I call it bizarre because Sony’s been leaking worse than the Lusitania for the last couple weeks. First came the whispers of a smaller PS4. Then came the images, later confirmed to be real by Eurogamer. Then, via LetsPlayVideoGames, came a review. A review of an unannounced console.
And throughout it all, Sony stayed quiet and pretended “Oh, the PlayStation 4 Slim? We haven’t even heard of that.” Which is potentially the weirdest way they could’ve handled it, and yet here we are, The Big Reveal: The PlayStation 4 Slim (shock! gasp!) exists, and you can buy one September 15 for $299.
Keep in mind this is just the PlayStation 4’s innards in a slightly smaller box. Unlike Microsoft's new Xbox One S, the PlayStation 4 Slim doesn’t even bother to add 4K or HDR support for media playback. You’ll have to wait until the also-announced PlayStation 4 Pro's release for that.
Nope, this is a bog-standard PlayStation 4 in a squat, squared-off chassis. The most notable feature beyond the smaller size is easy hard-drive replacement, with drives held in place by a single screw and a toolless rear panel, as revealed in the earlier PS4 review on LetsPlayVideoGames. Oh, and Sony labeled the Power and Eject buttons. Incredible.
If, for whatever reason, you just need to buy a PS4 this year, then the Slim will soon be your only choice, and it's a clear improvement over the original model. It’s quieter. It’s got an updated controller packed in. It takes up less space.
But like the Xbox One S, I can’t recommend you go buy one unless you’ve got money to burn. The aforementioned PlayStation 4 Pro was also announced today at this same Sony event—a more powerful version of the PS4, with vastly improved hardware inside and support for cutting-edge 4K and HDR displays. Whether or not the Slim winds up being a smart buy depends entirely on the cost of the beefier, better Pro, as both will run the same PlayStation 4 games. The Pro will just do it with faster frame rates, higher resolutions, and more graphical bells and whistles.