Although we’re not far from getting new, next-gen consoles, waiting to buy older hardware like the Xbox One S or PlayStation 4 Slim can be a fantastic way to save money. Microsoft and Sony’s consoles have been fighting for the right to be the centerpiece of your media center for nearly two decades at this point. You may have friends who swear by the Xbox One and others who champion the PS4. Many of the same games come to both consoles, and it’s often hard to tell the difference between them based on gameplay alone. When it comes to PS4 Slim vs. Xbox One S, how do you know which console to choose?
Firstly, you want to know that the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Slim — both mid-generation redesigns — are currently the standard hardware for their respective platforms. If you are dipping your toes in this generation of gaming for the first time today, your choice will likely come down to one of these two. While they offer similar experiences, both devices have their own strengths and weaknesses that could sway your decision. From specs to design to features to price, we’ve broken down every factor to help you decide between Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Slim.
Side note: Microsoft released an “All-Digital” edition of the Xbox One S that drops the disc drive for $50 less than the standard Xbox One S. However, it typically doesn’t come with any games. For the purposes of this comparison, we’re only going to talk about the standard Xbox One S, which is undoubtedly a better option than the All-Digital edition. The All-Digital edition is extremely difficult to find, anyway.
Here is our PS4 Slim vs. Xbox One S comparison.
Xbox One S
PlayStation 4 Slim
16.9 by 11.5 by 4.5 inches
|10 by 11 by 1.5 inches|
|Weight||6.4 pounds||4.6 pounds|
|Processor||CPU: 1.75GHz AMD Jaguar eight-core
GPU: 1.4 T-FLOPS, 12 compute units @ 914MHz
|CPU: Eight-core X86 AMD Jaguar
GPU: 1.84 T-FLOPS, AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next Engine
|Memory||8GB DDR3 RAM + 32MB eSRAM @ 219GB/s||8GB GDDR5 RAM|
|Hard drive||Built-in, up to 2TB HDD||Built-in, 1TB HDD. Older models included 500GB.|
|A/V output||HDMI 1.4 in/out, 4K, and 1080p support; Optical output; 4K video upscaling; HDR support||HDMI 1.4, Analog-AV out|
|I/O output||USB 3.0 X 2, AUX||SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) X 2|
|Communication||Ethernet, IEEE 802.11n wireless with Wi-Fi connect||Ethernet (10BASE-T,100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T), Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR), 5GHz IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Controller||Updated Xbox One controller (includes Bluetooth connectivity and improved wireless range)||1000amAh DualShock 4 (210g, six-axis motion sensing, 2 Point Touch Pad)|
|Camera||512 x 424-pixel infrared depth sensor and 1080p camera (Kinect — adapter required)||Dual 1280×800 at 60Hz, 640×400 at 120Hz, 320×192 at 240Hz pixel cameras (PlayStation camera)|
|Optical drive||DVD/4K-capable Blu-ray||BD 6xCAV, DVD 8xCAV|
|4K/HDR||4K video streaming and Blu-ray playback, HDR support for select titles, 4K upscaling for games||HDR support for select titles|
|Availability||Available now||Available now|
|DT review||3.5 out of 5 stars||4 out of 5 stars|
The most noticeable difference between the original PlayStation 4 and the current, refreshed hardware is the console’s design. At about 70% of the size, the new system features a redesigned chassis with rounded edges and a matte finish across the entire box (as opposed to the glossy, fingerprint-friendly surface that previously occupied much of the console’s left side). The optical audio port and the auxiliary port have been removed to save space, and the troublesome touch sensors that controlled the disc drive and the power supply have been replaced with physical buttons.
The Xbox One S features a similar but more extreme set of changes, to the point where it resembles the original Xbox One in shape only. It’s a smaller Xbox than its predecessor, reportedly 40% smaller than the original Xbox One. Where the Xbox One looked like the Batmobile of gaming consoles — dark, angular, and ominous — the One S looks a little bit more inviting, with a matte white finish, half of which is covered in small, aesthetically distinctive fan holes sitting on a charcoal gray foundation.
The power supply has been installed inside the console, so you won’t need to deal with an unwieldy brick-type cable. Just like the PlayStation, some inconvenient touch-sensitive buttons (in this case, the power and controller sync functions) have been turned into physical buttons and relocated on the front of the console. Finally, the Kinect port has been removed, signaling Microsoft’s move away from the Kinect program altogether.
Both are upgrades from their previous iterations, featuring smaller, lighter designs, the removal of pesky touch sensors, and a matte finish on each, while still retaining the power and (most of the) internal components of the originals.
Sony now has a revised DualShock 4 controller for the newer PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro. The light bar on the back of the controller now shines through the touchpad on the controller’s face, so battery life indicators and other uses for the light bar (check out a list here that includes game-specific functions) are easier to read. The D-pad and the analog sticks also received a new rubber grip, and the controller itself is a shade lighter than before (in color, not weight).
The new Xbox One controller also received updates to the D-pad and analog sticks. The new controller — white, to match the console — also features improved wireless range and Bluetooth connectivity, which should be a popular feature among gamers that want to connect their controller to a PC. A 3.5mm-headphone jack was added to offset the Kinect port’s removal, as well as a textured grip to make the controller feel more comfortable.
Separately, Microsoft also introduced the Xbox Design Lab, a new service that allows you to create a controller with a custom color scheme for $80. While it doesn’t have the technical improvements of the Xbox One Elite controller, it’s pretty cool to have a unique controller with your favorite colors and your gamertag engraved on the front. Though, out of the box, you still have to use AA batteries with any version of the Xbox One controller. While this can be mitigated by inserting a battery pack and charge cable, it’s still an inconvenience to have to buy a separate accessory in order to charge, while the DualShock 4 is rechargeable out of the box.
In looking at both controllers themselves, the newer Xbox One S gamepad is excellent, featuring comfortable triggers and an overall weight and shape that feels good in your hands. Though, it’s hard to overlook the fact that it requires batteries by default. Because of that, when looking at price, the DualShock 4 comes out on top. If price doesn’t matter to you, then we recommend the Xbox One S controller.
Winner: Xbox One S
Performance and features
In addition to addressing some aesthetic issues with the original PS4’s physical design — like the inconsistent touch-sensitive buttons and the glossy finish that proudly displayed dust and fingerprints as if they were a child’s artwork — the new PS4 has one major technical improvement: The addition of 5GHz IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac support. With improved Wi-Fi compatibility, those upgrading to the newer model should expect to see a more stable internet connection when downloading games and playing online. As with the original PS4, the newer system comes with HDR support, provided you have a compatible television. Unlike the Xbox One, the console’s hard drive is removable without voiding the warranty, and you can add additional storage space through an external drive.
Microsoft took a different route with the Xbox One S. On top of the obvious size reduction and ergonomic improvements, the Xbox One S is being marketed as a videophile’s dream. The One S is an affordable 4K Blu-ray player, though the cost of stand-alone players has gone down considerably since its release. Since you’d then have an additional box on your shelf or entertainment center, however, the Xbox One S will save you valuable space.
Assuming you have a television or monitor capable of rendering images in such high resolutions, the console can also stream select media in 4K. Though the insane graphical fidelity doesn’t extend to games — certain titles feature HDR visuals, while other games will “upscale” to 4K on televisions that can handle it — the One S is a good deal if you are just buying it to play Blu-ray. Combined with the fact that it has hundreds of apps (including a web browser) and that it plays Xbox games, its relatively cheap price tag is beyond reasonable.
Neither console boasts any notable improvements in terms of actual game performance. For this, you’ll need to pick up the more powerful PS4 Pro or Xbox One X instead.
Winner: Xbox One S
The 1TB PlayStation 4 Slim retails for $300. Occasionally, you can find a bundle with a game or two thrown in. Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to really like bundling its Xbox One S with games. These include bundles with games like The Division 2, NBA 2K19, andBattlefield V. The All-Digital edition of the Xbox One S goes for $250, but it’s a worse value overall. Although both systems are around the same price, you might have an easier time finding an Xbox One S currently, as the PS4 Slim has gone in and out of stock for quite some time now.
Arguably the most important factor when deciding between the two is the fantastic libraries of games available on each. You’ll likely want to go with the system that includes the types of games you’re looking for, and while both share thousands of the same third-party offerings like Call of Duty, Madden NFL, and Resident Evil, both include a wide array of exclusives you’ll want to be aware of.
This generation, the PS4 has garnered a reputation for being home to a slew of incredible single-player, narrative-driven action games. These are titles like The Last of Us Part 2, God of War, Persona 5, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Horizon Zero Dawn, and countless others. This still holds true with the PS4 Slim, and if you’re a fan of single-player adventures, your mind is likely already made up. For more, check out our “best of” PS4 games list here.
The Xbox One S, on the other hand, does have its fair share of exclusive games, like Gears 5, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sea of Thieves, the Forza games, and lesser-known titles like Quantum Break. However, the overall quality of games is lacking when compared to those found on PS4. This is subjective, of course, but there’s no denying just how good the PS4’s exclusive lineup is. Even older games like Bloodborne, Ratchet & Clank, and Until Dawn are regarded as some of the best of the generation — up there with the likes of Marvel’s Spider-Man and Ghost of Tsushima.
Microsoft is getting its ducks in a row for the upcoming generation with its Xbox Series X — swooping up studios left and right that will develop exclusive games for its machines. But for now, it’s tough to argue the Xbox One (S) even comes close to the quality of exclusive games on the PS4 (Slim).
Winner: PS4 Slim
Both consoles aren’t incredibly high-tech or ultra-modern. The recent PlayStation 4, for example, is more powerful than the Xbox One but doesn’t contain any special features to set it apart. The Xbox One may be less powerful, but it sets itself apart with the 4k Blu-ray player as a unique feature.
Power capabilities aside, the PlayStation 4 has a crucial advantage over the Xbox One in that it has significantly more exclusive games. After all, video game consoles’ primary purpose is to provide players with as many video games as possible. Sony’s first-party and second-party output has dwarfed Microsoft’s this generation, so if you never want to run out of games to play, the new PlayStation 4 is the system to get. Microsoft’s new hardware can’t compete with that, and it will likely take years for their game library to match Sony’s again.
The bottom line is that you’ll get your money’s worth with either of these consoles. But they both feel like stopgap solutions to keep them in the public eye while working on newer, more powerful consoles to release in the future. For now, however, the PlayStation 4’s library still helps to make it the best choice.
Winner: PS4 Slim
This srticle was first published on Digital Trends