Earlier this week Sony confirmed that a new PS5 will be released later this year. Commonly referred to as the PS5 Slim, this new console will offer the same internal components as the regular PS5 that’s been available since 2020 but in a plastic shell that is 30% smaller and comes with a detachable disc drive.
Considering the design of the launch PS5 has always been rather divisive — if not outright disliked by many gamers — I had hoped that the PS5 Slim might rework the console into a gaming box that looked a little more graceful sitting underneath my TV. Unfortunately, that’s definitely not the case here. Not only does the PS5 Slim continue the design philosophy of its predecessor but it also introduces new problems not present with the original launch model.
If you’re hoping to score a PS5 over the Black Friday shopping period this year, I would actually advise picking up an original model while stock remains at retailers. Allow me to explain why I’m so underwhelmed with this reworked version of my current-gen console of choice. These are my five big problems with the PS5 Slim.
Reason 1: It’s no looker
Let’s get the most obvious problem with the PS5 Slim out of the way: It’s just as odd-looking as its predecessor. The PS5 is a fantastic console, but its aesthetic design has always left a lot to be desired and the slim model doesn’t amend that issue. If anything the PS5 Slim looks even more bizarre with its disc drive sticking out even more awkwardly.
This lack of a core design shift is a shame because Sony has previous form in this area. The original PS3 console was similarly roasted online, often unfavorably compared to a Foreman Grill, but the slim model reshaped the console into a seriously slick-looking unit. Why couldn’t the PS5 Slim do the same?
Reason 2: More expensive
In previous console generations, a redesign would often be paired with a price cut, but the PS5 Slim Digital Edition is actually $50 more expensive than its launch equivalent. The currently available PS5 Digital Edition costs $399 whereas the Slim version will cost $449. And with the attachable disc drive costing an extra $100, if you opt for the PS5 Slim Digital and later want to play disc-based games you’ll need to fork out $549 in total. At least the regular PS5 Slim that comes with a (detachable) disc drive preinstalled has retained the same $499 price as its predecessor. For this reason alone if you buy a slim model this holiday season you shouldn’t go all digital.
Reason 3: No vertical stand
Sony has rather strangely opted not to include a vertical stand with the PS5 Slim. In the box, you’ll find a stand that allows the console to sit exclusively horizontally. If you want a vertical stand you’ll need to cough up an extra $29. This is particularly bizarre as most of the promo images for the PS5 Slim showcase it in a vertical position. It also eliminates one of the original PS5’s most cleverly engineered components, its dual-purpose stand that allows the console to sit in either a vertical or horizontal orientation. Granted, if you keep your PS5 in an entertainment center, you probably don’t need a vertical stand but it’s disappointing that Sony isn’t giving owners of the slim console the option out of the box like it did at launch in 2020.
Reason 4: Glossy top
When I first read the PlayStation Blog post announcing the PS5 Slim one part in particular stood out to me: “There are four separate cover panels, with the top portion in a glossy look.” And it’s at this point I have to ask, did Sony learn nothing from the PS3 and PS4? Both these consoles launched with a glossy top that was eventually phased out in subsequent redesigns, and for good reason. Glossy finishes might look nice on display, but they are a magnet for scratches and scuffs. I expect many PS5 Slim owners will have a console covered in marks just a few weeks after launch. I’m just glad my launch PS5 is fully matte.
Reason 5: No PS5 Console Covers (for now)
Since early 2022, Sony has been selling a range of official PS5 Console Covers that allow you to swap out the console’s default black-and-white color scheme. My colleague, Tony Polanco, even argued that switching to an all-black look made him start to appreciate the console’s design. During a recent State of Play presentation, Sony even announced further colors set to launch over the coming months. However, the PS5 Slim will be incompatible with these covers. Presumably, Sony will release PS5 Slim Console Covers in the future but at launch, owners of the new PS5 model will have no choice but to stick with the default look. And that sucks.