Comparing the PS5 and PS5 Slim: Which one is better?


Sony PS5 Slim

Sony recently announced a slimmer mid-cycle refresh of the PlayStation 5, something long rumored and expected, not the least because the company’s done the same with every prior PlayStation. Note that the latest system isn’t actually called the PS5 Slim — this time around, that’s just a nickname. So what’s actually new here, and is it worth waiting for the Slim’s November release?

PS5 vs PS5 Slim: Specs

There’s nothing different in terms of CPU and GPU performance, at least on paper. The Slim is intended to fully replace the original “fat” PS5 once units of the latter sell out, unlike the PS4 Pro, which coexisted with its predecessor. Reviewers could potentially discover some small, unannounced performance tweaks, but probably nothing that would justify buying a new console.

There is one official spec improvement worth talking about, and that’s internal storage. All Slim models are shipping with a 1TB SSD, a bump up from the prior 825GB. That’s not much of an increase, really, but it does finally puts the PS5 on par with the Xbox Series X, and could mean room to install another game or two.

PS5 vs PS5 Slim: Size and design

PlayStation 5 2023 Refresh

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

As before, the PS5 Slim comes in two versions: a standard model with a disc drive, and a discless Digital Edition that relies entirely on downloads. Here are the raw dimensions for both, and how they compare against the original PS5:

  • Standard (1st gen): 104 (height) x 390 (width) x 260mm (depth)
  • Standard (Slim): 96 x 358 x 216mm
  • Digital Edition (1st gen): 92 x 390 x 260mm
  • Digital Edition (Slim): 80 x 358 x 216mm
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You’ll note that while height is relatively unchanged, the Slim’s width shrinks by 3.2cm — about 1.26 inches — while depth is down 4.4cm (1.73 inches). For some people, that could make the Slim easier to fit on a desk or next to their TV.

PlayStation 5 2023 Refresh with Disassembled Disc Drive

Another significant change is that Sony has made the disc drive removable. That’s unlikely to matter for people who buy the standard Slim, but Digital Edition owners will be able to add a drive later if they decide they want to play disc-based games or watch Blu-rays and DVDs.

PS5 vs PS5 Slim: Price

For the standard disc-capable Slim, pricing is unchanged, starting at $499.

The bad news is that Sony has hiked the price of the Slim’s Digital Edition to $449, up from $399. And if you do eventually choose to add a disc drive, you’ll have to pay another $79.99, which brings the total higher than buying a standard Slim. You should decide upfront whether a disc drive is essential.

Sony no longer includes a vertical stand in the box no matter which edition you get, so if you want one, you’ll need to spend $29.99 if you can’t find a cheaper third-party option. The Slim’s official stand has at least been upgraded to metal, which should make it look nicer and feel sturdier.

Should you buy the PS5 or wait for the PS5 Slim?

Ultimately, the critical factors here are how much storage you expect to use, and how much physical footprint matters in your home.

Extra storage is always welcome, so on the surface, it might automatically seem like it’s worth waiting for a Slim. That’s probably true in fact if you’re planning to get a disc-capable PS5. But if you’re thinking about the Digital Edition, it’s worth weighing whether an extra 175GB is worth coughing up another $50. That’s money you could be putting towards a game, accessory, or installing more storage yourself, in which case you’ll gain a lot more than 175GB. If 825GB is enough or you’re planning to add your own SSD regardless, it might be worth rushing to the store now to save cash.

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Likewise, while a reduced footprint is nice, it’s unlikely to be important unless your furniture is small or already severely crowded. Under those circumstances a Slim could give your system more room to breathe, which is important not just for easy access, but to allow enough airflow. An overheated PS5 is always at risk of shutting down or dying.

No matter your decision, remember that you’ve got a short window in which to act. Stock of 1st gen PS5s is likely to drop pretty quickly, especially with Christmas 2023 around the corner. By Christmas Eve, it could be hard or even impossible to find something other than a Slim.


FAQs

The standard Slim does, but the Digital Edition drops one to reach a lower price.

Yes, but you’ll only be able to play PS4 games, not any PS5-native titles. Those require a DualSense or some other controller that explicitly supports the PS5.

Most PS4 games will work on a PS5, and some will even perform better thanks to features like Game Boost. Compatibility isn’t guaranteed however, and some games may be playable but still encounter errors. Check the PlayStation Store to see if a game is listed as “Playable on: PS4 only.”

We’ve yet to get our hands on a Slim, but since it adds an extra 175GB over the 1st gen PS5, we’d expect usable storage to be about 842.2GB. A portion of the Slim’s 1TB drive is dedicated to the operating system and can’t be freed up.

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