There’s never been a better time to hop on board the PlayStation 4 bandwagon. With the base version of Sony’s current-generation quickly approaching its third anniversary on the market, the format holder has shifted up a gear by releasing not one, but two different iterations of the PS4: the PS4 Pro and the PS4 Slim.
Should I buy PS4 Pro or PS4 Slim?
To be fair, the PS4 Slim is more than just a sleeker, sexier version of its bulky brother; it’s the standard version of Sony’s high-powered machine that you’ll find in all shops and online outlets going forward, and unlike the PS3 and PS3 Slim will not co-exist with the regular model. Not that you should be bothered, as it has everything the regular PS4 had and comes with a more aesthetically pleasing design.
PS4 Pro on the other hand is Sony’s mid-cycle upgrade, a more powerful machine capable of pumping out meatier frame rates and 4K resolution. It’ll be competing directly with the Xbox Scorpio, although Sony’s got a year start on its rival in that respect. Nonetheless, it’s common knowledge that Microsoft’s box packs a little more horsepower under the hood than PS4 Pro, and is likely to beat Sony to the punch in regards to 4K Blu-ray support.
Still, forget the numbers and the inevitable playground ruck with Microsoft next winter. Right now, we’re here to help you make a decision: keep your PS4 Slim, or upgrade to the PS4 Pro? Is it worth upgrading? Should you stick with your current hardware? Let’s find out.
PS4 Pro vs PS4 Slim – worth an upgrade?
One of the most important factors in any purchase, and Sony’s consoles are no exception to the rule. PS4 Pro will land on November 10, priced at $399.99/£349.99. For reference, that’s the same price you forked out for the regular PS4 at launch, so Sony’s not charging anymore money for its upgraded machine.
By comparison, the PS4 Slim is already out (it was released in mid-September after a brief stint as one of the industry’s worst-kept secrets of 2016), and will set you back a more wallet-friendly $299.99/£259.99. So, that’s a fair bit cheaper, saving you about 90 quid off the asking price of its upgraded cousin.
Related – PS4 Pro Review
Obviously, the PS4 Pro is packing more horsepower under the hood in comparison to its older sibling, but just how much more powerful is it? Well, for all you number crunchers out there, here’s the cold hard facts:
Main processor: Custom-chip single Processor
CPU: x86-64 AMD "Jaguar," 8 cores
GPU: 4.20 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon™ based graphics engine
Memory: GDDR5 8GB 1GB of VRAM
Storage size: 1TB
Networking: Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)×1, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE)
Translated into layman’s terms, this basically means that the PS4 Pro is bulkier, but more faster, being able to run games at improved frame rates and without as many of those irksome performance dips we’ve become used to over the past three years. The increased GPU is more than double that of the original PS4, which facilitates a smoother, more trouble-free gaming experience. In addition, there’s the ability to play games at a higher resolution, namely 4K, although even if you don’t own one of the latest 4K TVs, your games will still look better on PS4 Pro (though by how much is strictly down to the developer of said title).
The PS4 by comparison does not offer these extra bells and whistles, although that’s not to say regular 1080p titles look shabby by comparison; they’re still stunning, and if you have a 4K TV can take advantage of the HDR features that Sony has patched. Be sure to read a list of compatible titles.
In terms of movies, Blu-ray 4K is NOT supported on the PS4 Pro, although it can stream content in Ultra HD if you’ve got a compatible TV set. The regular PS4 of course does only standard high-definition Blu-ray playback, but is not capable of streaming in Ultra HD.
Related – PS4 Slim Review
First and foremost, the PS4 Pro will not support exclusive games. All software must be fully up and running on the regular console if it is to take advantage of Sony’s more powerful new machine. However, while this means that owner of either system will not be at a disadvantage in terms of available games, PS4 Pro owners will receive added improvements where possible. If a game is taking advantage of the PS4 Pro, it’ll have a sticker to tell you it does, which means you can expect increased textures, smoother resolution, improved frame rate, and other enhancements over the standard PS4 release; something that also applies to a number of PSVR titles too.
Games which support PS4 Pro won’t just look and run better, but in most cases, you can decide just how much better they look or how much smoother they run since many games (Rise of the Tomb Raider being just one example), offer multiple quality presets that allow players to prioritise 4K resolution over higher framerates at 1080p. While third-party PS4 Pro support is largely on a case-by-case basis, going forward Sony has confirmed that all first-party developed titles will be engineered to take advantage of the extra grunt afforded by the PS4 Pro, this includes the likes of The Last Guardian, Gravity Rush 2 and next year’s Gran Turismo Sport.
The PS4 Pro is a bulky piece of kit, clocking in at 295mm x 55mm x 327mm (width/height/depth) and weighs in at 3.3kg. By comparison, the PS4 Slim is, as you’d expect, a much sleeker console measuring at 265mm x 38mm x 288mm. This probably shouldn’t make much of a difference to most of you, unless you are really hurting for space on your gaming setup at home.
There are also some subtle differences to how the PS4 Pro functions in comparison to its smaller Slim sibling, too. The eject and power buttons for example are now actual buttons that you can press, rather than the touch-sensitive panels seen in the PS4 Slim that can be easily activated by something accidentally brushing across it. Additionally, PS4 Pro also boasts additional USB 3.1 port on the rear of the console, which is something that proves handy for PSVR owners since the receiver unit for the headset no longer needs to be plugged into the front of the console and thus removes a bit of cable clutter in the process.
Did you pick up a PS4 Pro? Let us know your thoughts on the console below!