PS4 Pro Review : Is it worth your money?
The PS4 Pro unlike any consoles we’ve seen before shows the huge step up the ladder which Sony just took. Whereas traditionally each new piece of hardware (excluding hardware refreshes like the PS4 slim) represented a clean break with the previous console, the PS4 Pro is a much smaller step. Instead it maintains exactly the same library of games as the existing PS4. All PS4 games work on the PS4 Pro, and all of the game’s that are released for the PS4 Pro will continue to work on the existing PS4.
So it’s not exactly a PS5, but it’s a significant upgrade over the existing PS4. Going for just $399(143,000), Sony made it very affordable for buyers. Amongst the upgraded specs is support for new technologies like 4K and HDR which will allow you to make use of the newest generation of TV hardware. The downside is that not all of it will be native 4K, but Sony has also baked in a number of clever up-scaling technologies to the new console to act as a stop gap. But is it worth the upgrade? The answer to that question will depend entirely on what kind of TV you own.
The Pro is like new iPhone model; it’s hands down shinier, faster and prettier than last year’s model. Likewise, the PS4 Pro is truly the best gaming console Sony has ever created. It’s capable of playing games in 4K HDR, sometimes at a higher frame rate. And for that reason, if you haven’t purchased a PlayStation 4 already, the PlayStation 4 Pro is an excellent all-around system.
If you have purchased the PlayStation 4 already, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions before buying Sony’s new wares: Will you buy a 4K TV sometime in the next few years? How about PlayStation VR? How important do you find higher frame rates and 500GB of extra storage? The answer to those questions might be ‘no,’ ‘no’ and ‘not very,’ and if that’s the case then Sony’s high horsepower system might not make the most sense for you, especially if you’re upgrading from an original PS4.
Whether or not the new console will offer benefits for you will vary depending on whether you already own a PS4 system. Do keep in mind that Sony’s system, while being a better for the core gamer, might not make sense as an upgrade due to certain deficiencies in the hardware – home entertainment enthusiasts will cringe when they hear Sony forgot (or more likely forgoed) stocking the PS4 Pro with an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Also, like the Xbox One S that launched a few months back, the Pro’s launch is a good time to reevaluate Sony’s PS4 platform. The platform has more games than it did three years ago, obviously, but new systems have also emerged: PlayStation Vue, PlayStation Now, PlayStation Music and, most importantly, PlayStation VR.
- Slightly bigger than standard PS4
- Additional 3.1 USB port on the rear
- Upgraded Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
The PS4 Pro is a beast. It’s a little taller than original PS4, and clearly wider and deeper. The overall effect is more of a slab than a box. In other design news: the parallelogram shape remains but the sharp corners have been rounded off. A chrome-effect PS logo at the top is the only thing that really stands out from the matte black plastic. It adds a premium vibe, which is just as well as the very thin power and eject buttons don’t feel luxurious at all. The original’s two-deck design is now a three-deck. There seems to be no functional point to this extra deck, besides maybe confusing people into inserting games where there is no disc drive. As before, two USB ports hide in a gap at the front, but Sony has at last added a third to the back. It makes me very happy to know that I can finally charge my controller without a cable sticking out the front.
The other connections are as before: Ethernet, HDMI out, Aux (for the PS4 camera), optical out, and power. Note that the power lead is no longer a figure-of-eight cable, but a kettle lead. Under the hood, the PS4 Pro promises twice the power of its predecessor. That means the Pro can run games faster, with fewer framerate drops in intensive games. Most importantly, the PS4 Pro supports 4K and HDR. A quick word on these, for the uninitiated: 4K refers to the picture resolution, and is roughly four times the number of pixels you get on a regular Full HD picture – about eight million pixels. Theoretically, that means finer detail and greater clarity. HDR, or high dynamic range, means a wider range of brightness, contrast and colour. This technology has come along because traditional production and display technologies don’t show nearly as much information as our eyes can see. A higher dynamic range means a more realistic picture
Another difference is the silver PlayStation logo that sits in the center of the top surface that adds a nice touch of elegance. The other minor difference is the power cable that the PS4 Pro uses a bulkier female connector to draw more power instead of the generic two prong cable Sony has traditionally supplied with every PS4. On the front of the console, you might notice that there are no touch capacitive buttons. Sony’s decided to ditch the accident prone pads for a more traditional button that sits beneath the disc tray. The button is made from a sort of cheap plastic, which is scary, but it does the job just the same. The same is true for the eject button which sits in the same spot on the right side of the front face. There are two Superspeed USB 3.1 ports on the front panel and one in the back, used for syncing and charging controllers as well as connecting your brand new PlayStation VR if you’ve just bought one, and HDMI 2.0a, ethernet, optical audio and PlayStation Camera ports along the back next to the power connector. You won’t find an HDMI input port here like you would on the Xbox One, however Sony’s work around to its cable conundrum, PlayStation Vue, is an arguably effective one.
One final point here: While the exterior is nice, Sony has spent more time working on the inside of the console. Inside you’ll find a larger 1TB hard drive, which is 500GB more than you’ll find on the original PS4 or the base model of the PS4 Slim. There’s also an improved Wi-Fi antenna that uses dual-band 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 4.0 instead of 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1. While the swapping out of a Wi-Fi antenna may not seem like a big deal, it helps the PS4 Pro download games faster. A 160MB game (Pac-Man 256) downloaded in under a minute on a 15Mbps connection – something that should have always been the case, but wasn’t, on the original PS4.
PS4 Pro controller
- Minor changes made
- Can be used in wired or wireless modes
- Light bar added to front of controller
But a new system needs a new controller, and Sony is more than happy to oblige here. The controller that ships with the new PS4 Pro is the same one that will ship with all PlayStation 4 Slim systems going forward. It is, essentially, a very small iteration on the DualShock 4 you’ve been using for years. There’s a light bar built into the touch pad – a nice feature when you don’t want to turn the controller over in your hand to find out what player you are – but more importantly the triggers have been tweaked and it feels a bit lighter in the hand.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is a beautiful addition to the PlayStation addition of consoles. If you are a gamer that is particular about his/her graphics then the PlayStation 4 pro is for you. A lot of upcoming video games will utilize the power of the PlayStation 4 Pro, hence a smoother and more realistic game play. The choice is clearly yours!
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