6 of the best overlooked features of Sony’s PlayStation 4

With the release of the PlayStation 4 coming tomorrow in the US, and in two weeks over here, we’ve had months of news, praise, and criticism, and we know just about all we need to know regarding the PS4’s features. However, there are some overlooked and underrated features that may seem small, but will make any PS4 owner’s life better.

Normally, a product’s standout features are listed on the retail packaging. In the case of a video game console, you would assume that features such as output resolution, amount of RAM, hard drive size, unique controller features, and similar notes would make their way onto the box.

In large part due to the storm of negative press Microsoft received when it first announced the Xbox One, the PS4 was vaulted to stratospheric heights of positive press. Perhaps because of this, Sony was confident enough to leave the PS4’s box almost devoid of console features, letting the hype machine speak for itself.

This lack of information on the box means that a number of the PS4’s cool-but-not-monumental features are left for you to figure out on your own, or track down on the Internet.

Fortunately for you, good readers, we’ve spent some time with the PlayStation 4, and these are the little features we’ve discovered that stand out:

  • Suspend mode. Similar to when closing your Nintendo 3DS clamshell without exiting a game, the PS4 will hold the actual game state so you can pick up right where you left off.
  • Standby controller charging. The hands-down most obnoxious part of the PS3 experience is that the controllers cannot charge unless the console is powered on. The controllers won’t charge when the console is in standby, which means if you want your battery to charge when it’s not in use, you have to either plug it into your computer’s USB port, or leave your PS3 on. Now, the PS4 can charge in standby mode. You have to turn on the option in the system settings, and it’s located under Power Save.
  • Updates in standby. You can choose to leave your PS4 connected to the Internet when in standby mode, which means your PS4 can update without you having to physically turn on the console and set the update to download. The PS3 never did this, and it was always annoying to come home from a long day at work ready to play a game, only to be greeted with an hour-long update.
  • Remote download and install. When the promised smartphone and tablet PlayStation apps release, you’ll be able to use your mobile device to purchase and remotely install a game on your PS4, just like the feature on Steam.
  • 3.5in headphone jack on controller. Now you don’t need a wireless headset, or a headset with a really long wire that can reach all the way to your bed or armchair. You can just plug it into the DualShock 4.
  • Dynamic audio and display settings. Finally, you can set the console’s audio and display settings while in the middle of a game. No longer will you have to save, exit out of a game, load the options in the OS, set them, then reload the game and your save.

So, you already knew about the PS4’s ability to loan games, and you know which cool games you can look forward to in the launch window – and now you know about some of the console’s features that deserve some of the limelight, but aren’t quite sexy enough to bask in it.

For more on the PS4, check out our closer look at the PlayStation 4 teardown (which discusses the brilliance of Sony's design), and also our article comparing the Xbox One against the PlayStation 4 in terms of hardware, launch games, and media features.