The PlayStation 4 PRO is the most powerful console on the face of the planet right now. Like it or not, that is a fact. Does this justify you handing over a large chunk of your hard earned cash? It’s a bit of a tricky one but we can categorically say yes……and no. Not helpful, I know, but we’ll explain further as there are a number of considerations you’ll need to take into account when we talk about the value of the PS4 PRO. If you want to know if the PS4 PRO is for you and worth forking out $550au for, read on!
You just want the answer now? Feel free to jump to the question you want to know below:
Build and Updates
We know the PS4 has been around for a while and that a new sleeker version, the PS4 Slim, is now on shelves. So what differences can we expect from the PS4 PRO?
Let’s start by saying that the original PS4 and the PS4 Slim are essentially the same (because they are, the only real difference is the Slim is a lot smaller and incorporates a 1TB hard drive for storage). Now that we’re on the same page, henceforth in this review, I will be referring to both the PS4 and the PS4 Slim, as simply PS4.
Compared to the PS4, the PRO boasts an optimised CPU, GPU and memory speeds providing a significant boost (at least on paper) to overall processing power. We have listed out the exact specs for both PS4 and PS4 PRO consoles below for those that want to check out the finer details but for now we’ll keep it simple and just give you a simple number to focus on. The PS4 provides gamers with 1.84 Teraflops of ‘power’ while the PS4 PRO gives out a whopping 4.2 Teraflops. So the PS4 PRO provides roughly double the processing power.
NOTE: WTF are Teraflops?? Put simply, think of teraflops as a universal measurement of power or output. Compare it to something like a car and the associated horsepower. When in doubt, just keep in mind more teraflops is better.
We should also mention here that there is an additional USB port on the rear of the PS4 PRO and the inclusion of an Optical output, both providing some useful gains with the new console.
How do these updates translate into gaming performance in the PRO? This is where things get a little complicated, but essentially what it all boils down to is how the game developers choose to optimise any given game to take advantage of the power the PRO provides.
Let’s look at three different games and how they utilise this power differently to give you an example of what to expect.
The Last of Us Remastered – a good combination of improvements
The last of us remastered uses the PRO’s increased power to provide gamers with not only glorious 4k resolution (3840×2160), but also an optimised 1080p experience. At 4k you’ll see a clean, crisp and highly detailed display which is difficult to describe and really does need to be seen to be believed. The only caveat to this is the frame rates are capped at 30fps, nothing strange here for the original PS4 generation of gamers, but when we take a look at what’s offered for 1080p resolution you’ll see why it’s worth mentioning. The 1080p optimisation provides players with a super smooth experience with improved lighting, effects and shadows at an impressive 60fps. This provides by far one of the smoothest gaming experiences I’ve seen on a console. It won’t quite get over the line against a super clean 4k image, but it is worth noting it’s impressive. These options are able to be toggled on and off via in game menus allowing you to change display output on the fly.
Uncharted 4 – superior resolution
Whilst not providing a full 4k resolution, Uncharted 4 does provide a much higher resolution over standard 1080p with 2560×1440 output. It’s as simple as firing up the game and away you go, if your PS4 PRO is set to default 4k resolution it’ll take advantage of the higher resolution. Enjoy the eye candy!
Rise of the Tomb Raider – better resolution and HDR
Rise of the Tomb Raider is the best example of how optimisation can provide gamers with a new unrivalled experience on the PS4 PRO. An increased resolution of full 4k, and inclusion of HDR (High Dynamic Range – giving you blacker blacks, whiter whites and a much more realistic colour reproduction) makes this game absolutely stunning. Taking full advantage of the PRO’s potential it’s easy to see just what a difference all those teraflops make!
As we mentioned above, there are three main aspects of what you can expect to see out of the PS4 PRO. A boost to 4k resolution, HDR optimisation and some exceptionally smooth 60fps gameplay at 1080p. There are other smaller tweaks but for the most part, these are the three key factors you can look which may tip the scales for you.
It’s also important for us to note that 4k streaming is very much a welcome addition to YouTube and Netflix fanatics. You may also see some minor improvements to load times thanks to an additional 2GB of onboard memory.
On top of this you get a revised version of the DualShock 4 controller. It’s pretty much exactly the same but with a slight change to the touch pad allowing some light bleed from the back LED. Other than that we found no discernible difference between the original DualShock 4 and the new iteration.
Alright, you have been slapped with all the information we can muster, so now down to the real important stuff! Your questions answered.
I am upgrading from my PS4, should I get a PRO?
There is one question you need to ask yourself. Do I have a 4K HDR capable TV? If you answered yes, then the PS4 PRO is an extremely worthwhile upgrade. Taking advantage of super high resolutions, more detailed environments, increased draw distances and still maintaining 30fps and even 60fps in some titles. It really does bring new meaning to console gaming!
If on the other hand you answered no, and have a 1080p TV, I would recommend holding off on buying a PS4 PRO until you are also looking to upgrade your TV. If you can stomach both purchases at the same time it’s all gravy, if not, pull the trigger on the TV first and then grab yourself a new PS4 PRO a bit further down the track.
I don’t have a console yet, should I get a PRO?
Pretty similar to the above question, if you have a 4k HDR TV, the PS4 PRO should be at the top of your list. If you don’t have a 4k HDR TV, upgrade your TV first and then focus on the PRO.
I want a PRO, but I don’t have a 4k TV. Should I get a PRO?
This is a little more difficult, but at the end of the day we are giving you our recommendation. So no, we don’t recommend getting a PRO without coupling it with a 4k output device. The reason for this is currently there are not enough benefits for gamers at the 1080p resolution besides boosting frame rates and in some instances, improved visual effects. With that said, as we mentioned before many developers are optimising games differently, so our best advice would be to take a look at the games you love, check the patch notes and the optimisation details for the PRO to see if it provides you with enough gain to justify the purchase.
Is the PRO better at playing VR titles?
Before we leave you all to run out and buy a shiny new PS4 PRO (or not depending on your setup) we have been asked specifically, does the PS4 PRO play VR titles better than the PS4. We tested VR Worlds, The VR Playroom, Resident Evil 7, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and Allumette to name a few. To the naked eye we didn’t find any discernible difference in smoothness nor any perceptible difference in image fidelity. Technically there have been tests done that do show a marginal increase in Frames Per Second, however for us, this was negligible. Over time this is likely to change though as the Playstation VR titles are optimised for the PRO in the future, but as of right now, rest assured your experience will be just as good on either iteration of console.
To all those who have managed to read this far in the review, well done!! As a reward, feel free to check out our video review below, don’t worry, it’s short and worth a watch if you need all this info crammed into a delectable feast for your eyes.
We’d also like to thank Sony for providing us with the awesome PS4 PRO for this review.
If you need the best of the best, the PS4 PRO is as good as it gets.
Whilst the PS4 PRO won’t be for everyone, all those who currently have a 4K HDR TV should see the PS4 PRO securely at the top of their shopping list. Providing 4k HDR gaming is truly an experience to behold!