Not trying to bring X360 into PS3 forum here but since we are talking about the drop in construction quality, how did Microsoft make the slim X360 to look "higher" quality? Being an owner of both plat/fat PS3 and X360 and slim PS3 and X360, I have to say the newer slim X360 is better built.
In addition, Microsoft added hardware features got dropped from plat PS3, ie. touch sensor power and drive eject buttons, additional USB ports, (had) glossy surface but now dropped most because it was dust magnet. The system runs much cooler, very quiet idle, and even the DVD drive is quieter when reading.
Slim PS3 built feels opposite, very cheap construction. The Blu-ray drive is very noisy when loading. I don't need to say the rest since we already know.
As for important factors, both slims run much cooler than plat/fat models, much quieter fan, lower power consumption.
So what's the point to compare to slim X360 here? How do Microsoft built a new quality construction but still able to make profit? And Sony has to give up so much in the construction quality only to keep PS3 cost low?