By now, you’re probably well aware that the Playstation 5 is a huge console.
It’s the biggest console ever made, dwarfing all gaming machines that walked before it. The PS5 is set to dominate gaming rooms and destroy entertainment units.
And therein lies the problem:
The size is just too big for many gamers.
So, that got me thinking…
What are the chances that there will be a PS5 slim?
In traditional CareerGamers fashion, I donned my Burberry hat, slung on my trench coat, grabbed my pipe, and went all Sherlock Holmes on the problem.
This is what I found:
Will there be a PS5 Slim? Yes, there will be a PS5 Slim. Sony has released a PS1 Slim, a PS2 Slim, a PS3 Slim, and a PS5 Slim. The PS3 Slim and PS4 Slim were released 3 years after the original console launched. So we can expect a PS5 slim to be launched in late 2023. There will not be a PS5 Slim at launch. Not unless you count the digital-only PS5 that comes without a disk drive, making it 1cm thinner.
Ok, now that you’ve had a quick answer, I’ll answer your question in more detail. First, I’ll clear up confusion about a PS5 slim at launch. Then I’ll look at when we can expect a PS5 Slim. Then I’ll move on to alternatives consoles for the slim lover. Finally, I’ll summarise everything in a conclusion and move on with a “What’s Next” section.
Will there be a PS5 slim at launch?
Unfortunately, no, there will not be a PS5 slim at launch in the traditional sense.
The only option you have for a slightly smaller (but still huge) PlayStation 5 at launch is to buy the diskless digital version. This version has exactly the same length and width dimensions as the PS5:
- Width: 15.35 inches (390 mm)
- Depth: 10.23 inches (260 mm)
But the PS5 Digital edition’s height is 9.2cm. 1cm less than the normal PS5’s height.
But it’s a far cry from a “slim” version. The digital PS5 would still be the second-largest console ever, after the normal PS5.
Should you buy a digital PS5 as it’s a little bit smaller?
No, you shouldn’t.
Going diskless and digital-only means your only option for buying games is to buy from the PlayStation Network shop: a marketplace Sony has a total monopoly over.
That means no buying used games. No buying games on sale in your local shop or online. And no playing your disk-based PS4 catalog on it. You are essentially locked into Sony’s PSN ecosystem and prices.
When will there be a PS5 Slim?
Every generation of Playstation has had a slim model. First, let’s take a look at how long after the initial release of each past Playstation console a slim version was released.
- PS1 slim: 5 years after launch
- PS2 slim: 4 years after launch
- PS3 slim: 3 years after launch
- PS4 slim: 3 years after launch
You can see that Sony has, with the past 2 consoles, released a slim version of their consoles after 3 years.
Based on this evidence, we can expect a PS5 Slim in 2023 and no earlier.
But why 2023? Why not sooner?
Let me explain…
AMD, the maker of the PS5 CPU/GPU, uses a process called CPU lithography to make the PS5’s CPU and GPU. This process creates billions of tiny wires, or transistors, which together form the CPU or GPU. The widths of these wires are measured in nanometers, or nm for short.
The width of these wires in the PS5’s CPU/GPU is currently 7nm. For comparison, a human hair is about 90,000 nanometers wide.
CPU lithography widths are decreasing all the time. And a decrease in width of the wire means fewer electrons flowing down them which means a decrease in electricity needed to power the CPU. Less electricity means less heat generated.
The next “shrink” in lithography size for AMD components will be in 2022 when they drop from 7nm to 5nm. This new CPU Lithography process will be applied to the PS5 components to decrease their size and the amount of electricity they need to operate.
This would have a number of key benefits:
- Smaller components use less energy, which means the internal power “brick” can be moved externally. A large part of the console body can be shrunk
- Less energy means less heat. Less heat means a smaller cooling system is needed to keep the CPU/GPU at optimal temperature. A smaller cooler needs a smaller case
- Smaller components mean more of them can be packed onto a smaller motherboard
This shrinkage of the main components also makes them, and the rest of the console, far cheaper to make.
For example, if the CPU and components are slimmed down, less raw materials are used to make them. Plus, less material is used for the case, the cooling system, and the motherboard. Less cardboard is used for the box. And the machine weighs less and thus costs less to ship around the world.
So it makes sense for Sony to make a slim version as quickly as possible.
But it won’t happen for at least 3 years.
Are there any alternatives to PS5 Slim?
Let’s be honest, you want a PS5 because you want to be on the cutting edge of gaming technology. I know that’s where I want to be too! I want ray-tracing, 120hz gaming, and 8k.
But maybe you want all that without a gargantuan machine that makes a gaming PC look like something pulled out of a dollhouse.
Are there any alternative options for you? Can you have a smaller console and still enjoy the next-gen experience?
Let’s look at your options:
The digital Only PS5
As mentioned above, the digital PS5 is a little smaller than the normal PS5 as it does not contain a Blu-Ray disk drive.
I wouldn’t recommend the all-digital PS5 as you’ll be trapped inside Sony’s PSN marketplace. That means no buying games on sale on Amazon. No used games. No PS4 disk-based games.
If you have your heart set on a small console you could buy a PS4 slim. You’d get a fantastic back catalog of games. Games are cheaply available. And there are lots of great extras such as PS VR.
However, it’s a last gen console.
Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series S from Microsoft is designed as a digital-only all-inclusive console. This machine was made for gamers who want to buy into Microsoft’s all you can eat Ultimate Game Pass.
Plus, the machine is tiny. It’s only 10 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 2.5 inches deep.
It’s also about half the power of its more powerful brother the Xbox Series X. But that’s ok as it’ll play games at 1440p instead of 4k.
But, there’s a problem:
You don’t get any of the PS5 exclusives
The Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is a great console with some utterly stunning exclusives such as Animal Crossing and Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
However, it’s not a next-gen console and many 3rd party games do not get released on it.
Sony has a recent tradition, with the PS3 and Playstation 4, of releasing a slim version of their console roughly 3 years after launch.
That would mean you’ll be waiting until the holiday season 2023 for a true PS5 slim.
In the meantime, you’re only options for a small console are:
- A digital-only PS5 slim
- A PS4 slim
- An Xbox Series S
- A Nintendo Switch
So if you are dedicated to owning a slim next-gen Playstation console, your options are unfortunately limited until 2023.
Can the PS5 console be laid down on its side? Yes, it can. Despite the PS5’s organic curvy form factor, it can be laid down on its side using a provided stand. Check out our article here about how to lay down the PS5.
I’ve got to put the PS5 outside my entertainment unit. Does the PS5 come with a long enough HDMI cable for me to do this? The HDMI cable packed in with the PS5 will be 6 feet long just as it was with the PS4. However, it will use the HDMI 2.1 standard. You can buy a 16.5 foot HDMI 2.1 cable here.
I’m thinking about holding off on upgrading to the PS5, but I’m worried that the PS4 will be dead soon and have no new games released for it? Sony has committed itself to release a number of its first-party games for the PS4 in 2020-21 including Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon: Forbidden West. So the PS4 is far from dead. For now anyway.