With Sony's PlayStation 4 Slim now out in stores, the console war is poised to begin anew as the new Sony console goes head-to-head with Microsoft's Xbox One S. For now, the battle is nothing more than a simple skirmish, but things will definitely escalate once the PlayStation 4 Pro and Project Scorpio are out by the end of next year.
For both Sony and Microsoft, the PS4 Slim and Xbox One S represent the same thing for their lineup: a slimmer, yet enhanced iteration of their original, fatter counterparts. Both essentially replace their predecessors in terms of price and function, with both slim consoles costing $299 as opposed to the PS4's $349 and Xbox One's $249 (Yes, the basic Xbox One does cost less, but it also offers less in terms of capability).
However, while it's easy to look at the (dis)advantages of these new slim consoles compared to the older ones, it also doesn't accomplish much. On the other hand, it's far more worthwhile to look at how they stack up against one another. While they do essentially represent the same thing in their respective companies' lineup, both have different specs and capabilities, meaning that they were not created equal.
Is one superior? Let's take a look at their specs and find out.
PlayStation 4 Slim
The PlayStation 4 Slim features a 1.6 GHz eight-core AMD custom "Jaguar" CPU, Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 800 MHz, 8 GB DDR5 memory and a base storage of 500 GB (it can be swapped out).
Furthermore, it weighs 4.6 pounds and its dimensions are 11 x 10 x 1.5 inches.
In addition, it can connect to the internet via Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 B/G/N/AC, Bluetooth 4.0 and requires that users have a PlayStation Plus subscription to access multiplayer functions.
Lastly, it possesses a Blu-ray/DVD drive and can support HDR but not 4K.
Xbox One S
The Xbox One S features a 1.75 GHz eight-core AMD custom CPU, integrated AMD graphics clocked at 914 MHz, 8 GB DDR3 memory,and a base storage of 500 GB (supports external hard drives).
Furthermore, it weighs 6.4 pounds and its dimensions are 11.6 x 8.9 x 2.5 inches.
In addition, it can connect to the internet via Gigabit Ethernet or Wi-Fi A/B/G/N/AC 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and requires that users have an Xbox Live subscription to access multiplayer functions.
Lastly, it possess a 4K/HDR Blu-ray drive, and can support both HDR and 4K (video playback only).
Which Console Does It Better?
With that said, is there a clear winner here? Well, that depends on what you're looking for.
From a purely gaming perspective, the PlayStation 4 Slim is "better." It beats out both the Xbox One and Xbox One S in terms of specs and performance, and the only area where it loses is its inability to play Blu-Ray discs in Ultra HD.
On the other hand, the Xbox One S is "better" if the console is used for more than just gaming. Aside from the already mentioned Ultra HD, the console offers more accessibility, compatibility with the Windows 10 operating system and support for various apps. In other words, this is a prime console for someone who doesn't have a gaming console and seeks to do more with it than just gaming.
Unfortunately, neither of them are truly revolutionary in terms of what they offer. While they both offer more than their predecssors, it's not by much. In fact, a side-by-side comparison shows just how few upgrades they actually possess. However, if there absolutely has to be a true winner, then it would be the Xbox One S. Sure, the PS4 Slim is stronger, but it doesn't offer enough to set it apart from the regular PS4. Why bother buying it when you can wait until November and get the PS4 Pro instead?
On the other hand, the Xbox One S at least makes an effort to improve on the Xbox One, even if those improvements aren't particularly significant.