If you’re in the market for a dedicated game console, chances are you’re considering either the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4. Microsoft and Sony’s consoles have been fighting for the right to be the centerpiece of your media center for more than four years 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.
So, with all the surface level similarities, how do you know which console is right for you?
First off, 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. (The Nintendo Switch, fun as it is, offers a much smaller library). 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.
Xbox One S
PlayStation 4 “Slim”
16.9″ x 11.5″ x 4.5″ (WxHxD)
|10″ x 11″ x 1.5″ (WxHxD)|
|Weight||6.4 lbs||4.6 lbs|
|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.|
|AV 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||Super Speed 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 @ 60Hz, 640×400 @ 120Hz, 320×192 @ 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|
|Price||Starting at $230||Starting at $300|
|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 physical console itself. At about 70 percent 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 ‘box than its predecessor, reportedly 40 percent 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.
Sony announced that its Dualshock 4 controller will see a few minor design tweaks this year with the release of the 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) will be easier to read. The D-pad and the analog sticks also received a new rubbery 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 build 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.
Winner: Xbox One S