Both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One just so happened to get their most significant hardware revisions yet within a month and a half of each other. What are the chances? The slimmed down PS4 and Xbox One S make some sneaky changes to their base consoles, so make sure you get all the info before you decide to pick up one or the other (and check out the differences between PS4 Pro and Xbox One Scorpio too). Note that for clarity's sake I refer to the revised PS4 as "PS4 slim" here, even though you won't see "PS4 Slim" printed on any bundle boxes.
Neither PS4 slim nor Xbox One S can play games in 4K resolutions. In both cases, games will at best be rendered in standard 1080p, then upscaled to fit your 4K display. However, they can both display 4K entertainment like movies. Read on for an important distinction between the two consoles for playing 4K shows and movies on Blu-ray.
Yes! Both Xbox One S and PS4 slim launched with support for high-dynamic range (HDR) displays. If you're not familiar with HDR, in this context it refers to a set of specifications for rendering and displaying more varied colors and brightnesses. But you won't notice any difference unless you have both an HDR-compatible TV (which are generally also 4K) and HDR-compatible content. Both PS4 and Xbox One are fairly lacking in the latter category at this point, at least in terms of games.
PS4 slim can't play UHD Blu-ray movies, but Xbox One S can. It comes down to a difference in disk drives: neither PS4 slim nor PS4 Pro's drives support the new UHD Blu-ray format. Sony says it's banking on video-on-demand taking over.
The original PS4 was slightly more powerful than the original Xbox One, which gave it resolution and framerate advantages in some cross-platform games. But while PS4 slim only stays the course, Xbox One S is actually slightly more powerful than Xbox One. Performance differences between the two should be all but negligible at this point.
PS4 slim supports PlayStation VR just as well as the chunkier model, while Xbox One S doesn't add any virtual reality support on top of the original Xbox One. If VR is a big selling point for you, be aware that certain PS VR games like Farpoint will look better on PS4 Pro than they do on PS4 slim. Microsoft plans to start supporting VR devices with Xbox One Scorpio.
Yes, both PS4 slim and Xbox One S can play their entire respective PS4 and Xbox One libraries. Xbox One S doesn't have a dedicated Kinect port so you'll need an adapter for the Kinect sensor if you plan on playing any Kinect games. Here are Microsoft's instructions on how to get an adapter (potentially for free). There may be Xbox One Scorpio-exclusive games in the future, but that's at least a year or two off. Sony says it has no plans to make games that only run on PS4 Pro.
Most of your existing accessories should work on PS4 slim and Xbox One S. Controllers, headsets, and generally anything else you plug in or sync up should be fine, but consult the included ports in the next section to make sure. Exceptions include the aforementioned Kinect sensor and anything that attaches to the console itself (like PS4 hard drive bay expanders), since they're both built and shaped differently from their older versions.
PS4 slim has two USB ports on the front, and an HDMI, ethernet, and "AUX" port on the back ("AUX" is used for the PS4 Camera, which also got a minor redesign). It doesn't have an optical audio out, unlike the older PS4 model.
Xbox One S is a bit more extensive: it has one USB port on the front and two on the back. It has an HDMI out and an HDMI in, the latter of which can be used for watching TV with OneGuide. It has an IR out port, which can help control your home theater setup if you don't have a Kinect or the Kinect's signal can't reach. It has an optical audio out, unlike PS4 slim, and it has an ethernet port. Oh, and they both have connectors for power cords. Duh.
PS4 slim currently comes with a 500GB internal hard drive standard, and 1TB models are on the way. Xbox One S also starts at 500GB, but current bundles also offer 1TB and 2TB of internal storage. As with their older versions, PS4 slim hard drives can be replaced with standard 2.5" SATA drives, while Xbox One S storage (including game installs) can be expanded with an external USB hard drive.
Both PS4 slim and Xbox One S start at $299/£249 for their 500GB versions, and prices increase from there depending on hard drive and bundled games. I wouldn't be surprised if their prices drop a little more by the time Xbox One Scorpio arrives in holiday 2017.
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