Looks Aren’t Everything – An Analysis of The PS4 Slim’s Purported ‘Ugliness’

The PS4 Slim isn’t all that ugly, and even if it was, it wouldn’t matter.

Posted By | On 28th, Aug. 2016 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


The big news from this week has been the leak of the PlayStation 4 Slim, Sony’s revision for the PS4 console that keeps things as they are (rather than bumping up the specs like the NEO will), but repackages everything into a smaller case, with presumably cheaper components and higher profit margins for Sony as well. The PS4 Slim is in general an exciting announcement- it’s rumored to be out next month right after it is announced, and in general, Sony have had a great track record with ‘Slim’ revisions of their consoles in the past.

The problem, then, has been in the leaks of the device- there are no two ways to say this, so let’s just get it out of the way. The PlayStation 4 Slim looks, and especially at first glance, ugly. The console looks cheap, almost like an unauthorized Chinese knock-off, and the design is at best inoffensive and at worst, just outright unpleasant. Next to especially Microsoft’s just launched slim revision of their Xbox One console, the Xbox One S – which is a slim, svelte, and extremely good looking piece of kit – the PS4 Slim seems amateurish in comparison.

As would be the case with just about anything else in this cycle of the fanboy wars, fans on all sides have decided to take this issue and run with it, with Sony fans insisting that the PS4 Slim actually looks good, and so what if it doesn’t, anyway, it’s still the more powerful console, and with Xbox fans trumpeting the Xbox One S’ superiority as a revision, and especially just how much better it looks. It’s actually a bit amusing, because it represents a turnaround from the launch of both these systems (the PS4 is considered, in general, to be a better looking console than the comparatively uglier Xbox One), and also because, as I do want to point out: who cares?

Xbox One S

"Most people put their consoles in their entertainment centers, where they stay, and are almost never noticed again while they engage in the act of, you know, playing games."

I’m going to, just for a minute, entertain the notion that the PS4 Slim is an ugly machine (it’s not, we’ll get to that part in a bit, but let’s assume that it is for now). The question is, does it matter? Most people put their consoles in their entertainment centers, where they stay, and are almost never noticed again while they engage in the act of, you know, playing games (or really, using your console for anything else). The console is not the part that you see a lot of in your usage- the controller, sure, and the images the console outputs to your TV panel, definitely. The console itself, no one cares about. As long as it doesn’t look atrociously out of place, like a purple lunchbox or something, who cares?

All of which is also missing the larger point that the PS4 Slim isn’t even that ugly to begin with. Yes, I saw the leaked images, and yes, it looked terrible in those, especially next to how great the Xbox One S looks in its images. I can’t argue with that. But you know something? It looked bad because those were leaked images, not official ones. Anything and everything would look bad in unofficial, blurry, leaked images. Even the PlayStation 3 Slim, generally considered to be a really good looking machine, as well as a good revision of the original PS3, looked horrendous in its first leaks.

The truth of this statement can be gleaned from the fact that when Digital Foundry went to verify the existence of the PS4 Slim themselves, with professional grade photography equipment, the pictures they took actually made the PS4 Slim look rather attractive– and this was, in fact, the exact same PS4 Slim in question that had earlier looked so ugly in the leaked images. What changed? Nothing did. The framing of a photograph matters- the camera you use, lens quality, focal length and aperture, ambient light, angle, depth of field, all of this matters. Taking a few quick photos from your smartphone is all well and good- but these are not the pictures that end up on official marketing material, like the really sexy Xbox One S image we keep referring to. Professionally taken and enhanced photographs do.

ps4 slim

Thanks, DigitalFoundry for the image.

"The truth of this statement can be gleaned from the fact that when Digital Foundry went to verify the existence of the PS4 Slim themselves, with professional grade photography equipment, the pictures they took actually made the PS4 Slim look rather attractive."

In such a case, jumping on a bandwagon to call the PS4 Slim ugly is facile and puzzling – and I admit that this is something I did myself at first – because you would think most people would be smart enough to pause and say, ‘wait a minute, these grainy and blurry, terribly taken photographs are probably not the best representation of the console, you know?’ It is even more puzzling because Sony, especially, have an incredible track record with their system revisions- the PS2 slimline models are probably the gold standard that all similar revisions in the future were judged by, the PS3 Slim might be one of the most dramatic and popular ‘slim’ release of a console ever, and even the PSP and PS Vita revisions were net gains on the whole. The only miss Sony have had with their console revisions is the PS3 Super Slim, which was a budget priced revision of the PS3 released near the end of its life cycle, and which would, by definition, have been pretty bad- so should that even count, when the revision in question here will be Sony’s flagship product going forward for the next few years?

None of this is to say, then, that the PS4 Slim is ugly- because it is not. It is probably at worst an unremarkable looking machine, and at best, even an attractive looking one. All of which misses the point that in the end, what it looks like certainly does not matter- it’s innocuous enough to blend into its surroundings, and it’s its ability to run games and software that will determine its worth as a platform, not what its external casing looks like.

Of course, I don’t think the PS4 Slim looks better than the Xbox One S, which I truly believe is one of the best looking consoles ever made. But the question is, does it need to? And does it matter? And are we, as console fans, really that desperate for something to discuss that we have made what a console looks like such a major point of discussion?

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.


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  • mickeyGfunk

    it matters though. it’s a 4hing human beings own and we connect with it in a way deeper than utility. its OUR system, our brand, we form loyalties and we instill in our systems more than the plastic and chips whey are made of, so yeah, we want them to be sexy, we want to look at them on our tv stand and think… “yeah, that right there? thats my baby”. so while looks dont affect fctionality, they are a large part of how we connect with our things

  • efnet

    Oh so now looks don’t matter? Oh man lol
    Thank you for the laugh there…

    • Hvd

      i know right they make fun of the size of the xbox one but this is ok ?…lmao this looks like burnt toast..lmao

    • FinalFantasyXNemesis

      Looks matter.
      The Xbox One S VCR looks worse than the sleek PS4 slim.

    • efnet

      What drugs are you smoking?

    • FinalFantasyXNemesis

      No drugs. It’s called reality. You should try it.

  • Hvd

    but you all made fun of xbox one being a as big as a vcr right?..so enjoy you bunt toast of a console.

    • FinalFantasyXNemesis

      And the XB1 S does look like a VCR.

      The PS4 slim looks better.

  • One The One

    That’s precisely how I see him.

  • Michael

    Other only is that thing ugly, it’s offers nothing of errors the regular ps4. Huge fail for sony.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Errors such as?

  • Mike

    Xbox one s looks like a subwoofer from a Walmart surround sound system. Personally not worried about how the slim versions look, already have launch versions of the ps4, waiting on the Neo or whatever it’s gonna be called.

    • FinalFantasyXNemesis

      I like the look of the first PS4 the most. But the slim is smaller and still looks better than the Xbox One S.

  • Dexter

    For me its not that the ps4 slim looks ugly its more the fact it looks so much cheaper than my launch ps4 which still looks tiny sitting right below my X1.

    Gona wait for the neo and scorpio to come along, no real need to upgrade just yet.

  • Hvd

    so you said it your self the ps4 over heated and the vents on this ps4 slim are even smaller so its going to over heat even more then the ps4 did..lol

    • efnet

      Maybe, but I doubt it though, they did sort of fix that issue with the newer model of the ps4 so chances are they’ve managed to slim it down with cheaper parts that will probably make it run cooler maybe???? Who knows lol

  • TheCellGames

    My dear author, even if you find this overburnt console appealing to your eyes, and yes, the PS4 wins by a 20% power margin, one must look at the simple fact that the PS4S simply does not have the value of the XB1S. At a quick glance you will see a 4K bluray player, 4K streaming and HDR10 which doesn’t give our console a pixel count advantage, but rather a wonderful color pop. And although some may argue “Well gee whiz, Cell. Not everyone has a 4K TV with HDR 10″ I shall reply, ” Not everyone has a 1080p TV even now a days”. Whichever way it may be, 4K is the future, although I would rather have Ultra graphical quality games at 1080p60fps with Scorpio, MS is preparing for the 4K format where Sony is not, MS is preparing to give higher quality VR (gimmicks on any platform in my opinion) Sony is making VR, though not with the same graphical quality. I do agree with your opinion, dear author, on that consoles stay hidden and not seen that often. Although you fail to remember that just because you or I hide away our boxes, most people do not, the Xbox One was nowhere near as characterless as the PS4S is looking. And I thought slim models where supposed to be an improvement.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Well, considering the PS4 Slim is actually following the traditional role of a slim in being cheaper to produce and thus cheaper to buy… if I keep on reading your nonsense, I can see why you think the way you do.

      What VR solution, pray tell, is Microsoft producing? And why is it that every person with hands-on experience claiming PSVR to be as good as or better than all other options on the market?

      Where is your source for your claim that “most people do not” have their boxes hidden away? What leads you to assert that the PS4 Slim has less visual appeal than the XB1?

      I can hazard a guess as to what drives you to believe all these things, but I don’t even think spelling it out is necessary.

    • TheCellGames

      Slims are supposed to be an improvement in design, they add features as well, look at last gen. In which case look at the Xbox One S VS PS4S, which has more value?

      Scorpio is designed to bring high quality VR to the console market and at this point, after seeing what VR Sony is making, the product has all the odds of being better in design or who knows, they might just let you use Vive or Occulus. That is what MS is doing to push VR.

      PSVR may look good but only under certain conditions and it takes a real fan boy to say it would look better than a rig of $1,000 with 6+tflops of power and a $600+ headset that runs at 4K natively and 90fps, rendering both eyes as well. PSVR will be able to handle smaller games just fine, there’s not much to render there, but pray tell, with what power will the Neo render games that will be much bigger and much more detailed in the future?

      As for hiding consoles, what proof do you have that they do hide them? What about those who keep an open shelf? Seen plenty of yputubers around with those.

    • efnet

      Don’t do it to yourself, this guy bleeds blue for sony ( there’s nothing wrong with that)
      But he tends to disagree with any and everything anyone says unless it’s inline with how he thinks and or feels….

    • TheCellGames

      Please forgive me! I cannot resist.

    • efnet

      Lol it’s tempting I know, but once you beat him at his own game he will block you …

    • TheCellGames

      Wait, he blocks people? X’D wow. I am amazed. How pathetically low.

    • efnet

      if you get under his skin enough he will lol…

    • J.j. Barrington

      “Slims are supposed to be an improvement in design, they add features as well, look at last gen.”

      They’re designed first and foremost to reduce production cost; adding features makes that more difficult. And since you brought it up, what improvements were there in the 360 Slim and PS3 Slim?

      “Scorpio is designed to bring high quality VR to the console market”

      That’s not what Microsoft said. As of yet, there’s no VR gear on the market compatible with an Xbox console, and as the specs of the Scorpio aren’t fully known- and maybe not even finalized- your claim on that front is purely speculation.

      “That is what MS is doing to push VR.”

      … so basically what they’re doing is letting you speculate?

      “PSVR may look good but only under certain conditions and it takes a real fan boy to say it would look better than a rig of $1,000 with 6+tflops of power and a $600+ headset that runs at 4K natively and 90fps, rendering both eyes as well.”

      Well I guess all the gaming sites and reviewers out there are fanboys, cuz they’ve pretty much all said PSVR is comparable. But you probably don’t want to hear that, or look it up.

      “with what power will the Neo render games that will be much bigger and much more detailed in the future?”

      With whatever power it has. Given that the PS4 is already perfectly capable of rendering good-looking games in VR, the Neo should have no problems. Already, DriveClub has been hailed by sites like Digital Foundry as being the best VR racing experience out there. PERIOD. Including all those supposedly better games on stronger rigs.

      “As for hiding consoles, what proof do you have that they do hide them?”

      I’m not the one making claims about what people do with their consoles, am I? That person is you.

    • TheCellGames

      360 improved cooling, design, added slight power, added kinect ports and HDMI

      Did you not see Scorpio reveal? Did you not read Aaron Greenberg talk about Scorpio VR? Of course you didn’t because YOU don’t wanna hear that.

      And I haven’t read a single article that says PSVR is comparable, even Digital Foundry has said it’s good but it isn’t at the same level as Vive or Occulus. PS4 has enough power to run VR games? XD delusions at best. You need at least 6teraflops of gpu power to get a good VR experience. How is your PS4 gonna do that with 1.8? How’s the Neo going to do that with 4.5?

      “They’re gonna run games with whatever power the Neo has” boohoo, if it were as simple as that then the Xbox wouldn’t be in the position it is. And just because it’s an invention of Sony doesn’t mean it’s on a pedestal and can summon whatever power it needs. You’re being uneducated in every way possible.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Well, when overheating that leads to catastrophic system failure is one of the things your console is known for, you damn well better fix that in subsequent hardware revisions.

      “You need at least 6teraflops of gpu power to get a good VR experience.”

      Citation needed. Oh, but you don’t have one. And as for HOW, ask those same DF articles you claim to cite.

      ” if it were as simple as that then the Xbox wouldn’t be in the position it is. ”

      Uh, no. Cuz the Xbox is not the PS4. And the Xbox doesn’t have a dedicated headset.

      “You’re being uneducated in every way possible.”

      You’re confusing me with you… which is odd.

    • TheCellGames

      http://riftinfo.com/buy-the-best-vr-pc-hardware

      The GTX1070 does 6.5 teraflops. Of course you can use a GTx 970 with 4.2 teraflops but that’s a minimum spec. So no a vanilla PS4 wouldn’t be able to run VR, you’d need the neo and even then you can’t do 4K60fps, much less 4K90fps for VR.

      “The Xbox isn’t a PS4” fanboyism won’t win you any arguments’. And Xbox doesn’t need it’s own Headset, it can use occulus which is better than PSVR and already has contracts with MS.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Vanilla PS4 already does VR. Which makes everything you say on the subject pointless.

      You lose.

    • TheCellGames

      XD. Pathetic response. If the PS4 could do good VR then why is Sony making Neo? GTX 970, 4.2 teraflops, minimum specs. PS4 1.8tflops. Recommended specs GTX1070 with 6.5 teraflops. Scorpio 6.5 teraflops. The science of it all says you loose.

  • justerthought

    I think the PS4 slim look great. I love the rounded Apple inspired minimalist design. The two layered slabs with a groove around the middle is a nice design touch.

    Until we see proper picture of it instead of cheap digicam photos we cannot judge how well the matt finish looks. It may be really nice. My only concern is that it looks a bit dark due to it having no coloured lights, coloured text or a trimming of some sort.

    No such innovation appears on the XB1 S. It’s still boxy and actually looks like a white PS2, so nothing clever going on there.

    • efnet

      Lol …..that’s all I can do is laugh at you right now ….

    • NXHyped

      The only thing you should be laughing at is how Microsoft made a slim model that isn’t even as slim as as a regular PS4 and still looks like a VHS machine.

    • efnet

      Yes! You forgot to mention the 4k and hdr bluray drive , the marginal bump in specs….but you’re rooting for a nx device that will none of the above , so tell me why should anyone reply to you?

  • XbotMK1

    The reason why this is so funny is because you state that the PS4 slim looks like an ugly, cheap, chinese rip off at first glance compared to the Xbone S and you state that as fact. It is contradictory and your claims are just as dumb as the fanboys you talk down to. The PS4 slim is simply a smaller slimmer PS4 with rounded corners and no glossy panel. It is basically the same rhomboid design as the PS4. It has the same matte finish plastic as the Xbone S. The difference is that the PS4 slim is black which looks different in leaked pictures of it in the wild compared to Microsoft’s altered advertisement pictures.

    Most of the people I see who are stating that the PS4 slim is ugly are just the countless amount of Microsoft dr0nes roaming every PS4 slim article.
    And a few people who are comparing it to the original PS4. Just because someone prefers the original PS4 design doesn’t mean they think the Xbone S looks better.
    That is where this controversy started.

    And contrary to your condescending claims, looks and s1ze do matter Pramath.

    No need to defend Microsoft or sugar coat it Pramath. The Xbone S is ugly like its predecessor. It is basically just a smaller Xbone. It’s still an uninspiring, boring, lazy, plain white box that looks like a VHS player or an old DVD player which is why all of this Xbone S praise is laughable. I think it looks even more lazy and plain than the original. The reason why the Xbone S receives all of this undeserved praise is because the Microsoft defense force in the media is desperately trying to catch up to the PS4. The Xbone was so large and ugly that the Xbone S looks like a major step forward. If you thought the Xbone was ugly compared to the slimmer PS4, and looked like a giant VCR before then the Xbone S shouldn’t really change your opinion compared to the PS4 slim.

    • efnet

      You retarded lunatic lol

      Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

      Read more please!
      He’s just giving his opinion
      You moron…
      Not facts

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  • archfiendx

    It doesn’t matter what looks better. Buying an Xbox One S is a dumb waste of money.

    • efnet

      haha haha my 4k tv disagrees with you …

  • elnino

    only xbox fanboys say it is ugly

    • kma99

      So the Playstation guys who say its ugly also are idiotic to?

  • Mr Xrat

    It looks great for what it is, a cheaper version of the original for the budget end of the market. It didn’t need an attempt to refresh its brand image like the Xbone did – at least this time MS were considerate enough to remember the games drought it has before the holiday to include a cheesegrater on the top so it would have some use.

    • jp

      games drought? what a bad Joke man, we have:

      Recore, Gears Of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Dead Rising 4, maybe Cuphead, and many more coming early 2017 like State Of Decay, Crackdown, I dont see any drought buddy, try harder next time.

    • Mr Xrat

      And you waited nine whole months for the first of that list to show up. I note you don’t include Below which joined Crackdown 3, Halo Wars 2, Scalebound and many others into next year.

      That is a drought. Deal with it in your own time.

    • jp

      meanwhile youre getting the last guardian, oh and let me remind you all the games that were coming this holiday to PS4 but got delayed, Gran Turismo ring any bells? so so blind man its just lame.

    • Mr Xrat

      Wow, a whole single game. Need I remind you of the dozen games that were supposed to come out this year on the Xbone? Never mind.

  • Nettrick Nowan

    I guess it’s me, because I don’t care what these systems look like. I’m not furniture shopping–I want a console that gets the job done, period.

  • DA-ROOSTER

    Let’s compare
    PS4 Slim looks like a smashed hamburger has no 4K support

    XboxOne S has 4K and HDR support and is the same size as the PS4 and cost $299

    XboxOne S ftw

  • DA-ROOSTER

    Microsoft is beating Sony on two fronts
    The XboxOne S has 4K HDR support and cost $299 vs PS4 Slim is just a little smaller PS4 that’s it

    Xbox Scorpio 6 Teraflops will be most powerful console when it launches

    PS4 NEO 4 Teraflops is so much weaker than the Scorpio

  • Edonus

    Its funny how this article sounds like someone trying to convince themselves that the Ps4 slim isnt ugly….. which it is.

    Now its not ugly in the sense that having one is going to destroy any ones decor so drastically that they can never invite people over to their home for tea and biscuits. Like the article states consoles are meant to sit in the background just like the first Xbox One and for 2-3 years it was constantly attack for being big and having a power brick. I personally liked how the X1 looked especially the white one but I also liked how the Ps4 looked for the most part. Some of the custom consoles were whack but the base design was nice.

    The Ps4 slim on the other hand looks like crap. No glossy finish a weird bread shape and no blue line (which I did like). Its easliy the worst looking system available right now for what ever that is worth.

    The big thing about the Xbox One S isnt even really its sleeker design but the fact that it is full of upgrades. The media doesnt want to highlight this because they have been bias as all he!! this gen….. but Having a 4k bluray player, HDR support , and 4k upscaling for games is major and a bigger kick in the teeth than anything else.


 

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