PS5 Slim, PS5 or PS5 Digital Edition: Which PS5 model should you choose?

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Sony currently provides a selection of three PlayStation 5 models: the traditional version, the Digital Edition, and the PS5 Slim. What sets them apart, and which one is the optimal choice? Let’s evaluate.

In 2020, Sony introduced the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition as their primary next-gen gaming consoles. Subsequently, in November 2023, Sony unveiled a new addition to the lineup: the PS5 Slim. The intention is for the PS5 Slim to eventually replace the earlier two models as existing stocks are depleted.

Given the simultaneous presence of these three models in the market, determining the most suitable option can be perplexing. What distinctions exist between each model? Let’s assess the situation.

PS5 Slim vs PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition

PS5 Slim - PlayStation 5 Slim
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The Same Technical Specifications

While Microsoft has opted for the strategy of providing two significantly distinct Xbox models, namely the Series S and Series X, Sony takes a different approach. There is no variance in terms of internal features between the PlayStation 5 and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, except for the absence of a Blu-ray player in the latter. The PS5 Digital Edition excludes a disc drive, necessitating the purchase of games in digital format.

Irrespective of the model you select, you can expect identical performance, display quality, and storage capacity (825 GB). In practical terms, approximately 670 GB is available, considering the space occupied by the operating system.

Concerning the PS5 Slim, it maintains identical performance but distinguishes itself in one aspect: a larger internal storage capacity of 1 TB. Upon activation, you’ll have around 825 GB of usable space. Moreover, this console is offered with or without a disc drive. Opting for the version without a drive allows you to later acquire and install one separately, as the drive is removable and easily attaches and detaches.

Games Downloaded Occupy the Same Space

One might assume that a console exclusively dedicated to downloadable games would warrant a more substantial storage capacity, allowing ample room for the retention of these downloaded games. However, it is crucial to note that contemporary games are no longer initiated directly from Blu-ray; instead, they are installed on the hard drive. In essence, whether a game is obtained through download from the PlayStation Store or installed from a Blu-ray disc, it will consume an equivalent amount of storage space.

Distinct Designs: The Contrasts Between the Initial Two PS5 Models

The primary disparity between the first two PS5 models lies in their design. Essentially, both consoles share the same overall structure, but the Digital model distinguishes itself by the absence of its protrusion.

Consequently, the PS5 Digital Edition exhibits a slightly more compact form compared to its counterpart. Although the variance is minimal, it does not significantly enhance the ease of fitting the PS5 DE into a cabinet beneath your TV. Aesthetically, the design of the Digital model appears more balanced, but the user experience is anticipated to be identical.

Connectivity and all other features remain uniform across both products. They are versatile in their placement, accommodating horizontal or vertical orientation, thanks to the included stand provided in the package.

Sony Sells 6.3 million PS5s

The Redesigned Aesthetics of the PS5 Slim

One of the standout features of the new PlayStation 5 Slim is its revamped design, reflecting Sony’s commitment to delivering a more compact and lightweight console.

In terms of dimensions, the shift is noticeable, transitioning from 390 x 104 x 260 mm to 358 x 96 x 216 mm for the version with a disc drive, and from 390 x 92 x 260 mm to 358 x 80 x 216 mm for the digital version. This reduction in size is accompanied by a considerable decrease in weight, with the version featuring a disc drive weighing in at 3.2 kg compared to the launch version’s 4.5 kg, and the Digital version at 2.6 kg compared to the launch version’s 3.9 kg.

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The console’s style undergoes subtle changes in this Slim version as well. Both versions now feature a groove along the top two-thirds of the console, facilitating the separation and removal of the disc drive. Additionally, a dual matte/glossy texture has been introduced, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal.

Backward Compatibility

The PlayStation 5 extends backward compatibility to PlayStation 4 games. For those with an extensive collection of PS4 games on Blu-ray, it’s important to note that the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, lacking a disc drive, won’t support backward compatibility for these physical discs.

However, it would be inaccurate to claim that the PlayStation 5 DE lacks backward compatibility altogether. PS4 games acquired from the PlayStation Store remain entirely playable on this version. Additionally, users can choose to install them on an external hard drive, as these games were not originally designed to run on an SSD and are compatible with slower storage options.

The Cost Discrepancy in Digital Games

The pricing of games plays a pivotal role in this consideration. This is a key factor behind the existence of the Digital model: Sony earns a higher profit margin on games sold through the PlayStation Store compared to physical versions, enabling them to set a higher price. However, for consumers, the decision is not as straightforward.

In many instances, digital versions of games are priced $10 higher than their physical counterparts. Particularly on recent games, especially Sony exclusives, a title released on the PlayStation Store may be listed at $79.99, whereas it can be found at $69.99 on e-commerce platforms in its boxed version. Owning a PS5 with a disc drive grants the advantage of having the flexibility to choose between the two versions.

PS5 - PlayStation 5

The Issue of Used Games and Borrowing

Another crucial consideration when making a choice is the future of your game collection. With a “Digital” console, be it the 2020 version or the new Slim, the use of physical games is not possible. Consequently, you won’t have the option to resell them later, either through specialized stores or classified ad sites. Since your digitally purchased games are tied to your PSN account, resale is not an option.

Similarly, lending your games after completing them is not feasible with a digital console. Conversely, you’ll also miss out on the opportunity to experience games borrowed from your friends.

PlayStation 5 Price Overview

The PlayStation 5 Digital Edition is available for purchase at $449. The standard PlayStation 5 costs $549, reflecting a $100 difference. The PS5 Slim is available in two variants, with or without a drive, and both options align perfectly with the prices of the aforementioned consoles. Thus, the PS5 Slim costs $449 without a drive and $549 with it.

Choosing the Right PS5

In summary, while the initial two PS5 models are still available, the PS5 Slim has been strategically designed to eventually replace them. Consequently, we recommend opting for the new Slim model. It offers several advantages: a more compact design, larger storage capacity, and costs the same. The only scenario where considering a first-gen PS5 might make sense is in the second-hand market if you come across a favorable price. As for the first version of the PS5 Digital Edition, there’s little rationale for choosing it. Given that the Slim model without a disc drive is available at the same price.

The crucial decision lies in whether to choose the PS5 Slim in the standard version or the Digital version (without a disc drive). Our recommendation is to lean towards the PS5 Slim with a disc drive. This choice provides flexibility in how you acquire your games, and with the disc drive, you retain the ability to play your existing PS4 games.

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