PlayStation 4 Pro vs PS4: Do you really NEED the PS4 Pro?
For Sony, the PlayStation 4 Pro is the perfect next-step for the PlayStation brand. It’s not a next-generation piece of hardware like Microsoft‘s Xbox Project Scorpio may be, but it’s a happy medium that brings 4K gaming, 1080p @60fps and smooth VR experiences to the masses at an affordable price.
It’s telling, then, that Sony sees the PS4 Pro as a competitor to the PC – a space that Microsoft’s Xbox team is edging in on by homogenising its first-party games. You may think it a bit unrealistic for Sony to try and compete with the 4K PC market but the current cost of a 4K and VR capable PC of similar spec to the PS4 Pro, far outstrips that Sony’s new console and lacks the development clout to make games masses of people want to buy.
The choice between the PS4 and PS4 Pro is obvious if you don’t already own a PlayStation 4 – buy the Pro – but what if you already own a PS4? Well, that’s what this guide is here to help you with.
PlayStation 4 Pro vs PS4: Design
The PS4 Pro is, from initial product shots, a rather clunky and unattractive-looking console. Taking cues from the redesigned PS4 Slim, the Pro looks like a triple-layer club sandwich albeit finished with the indication light strip of the PS4 across its front. It may look somewhat peculiar in stock images but it’s actually a beautiful machine in the flesh.
If design is your reason for picking a PS4 model, your priorities aren’t really in the right place. However, it’s worth noting that the PS4 Pro is larger than both the original PS4 and the PS4 Slim.
|PS4 Slim||PS4||PS4 Pro|
|Dimensions (WDH)||265 × 288 x 39 mm||275 x 300 x 53mm||295 × 327 x 55 mm|
PlayStation 4 Pro vs PS4: PlayStation VR
When it comes to PlayStation VR, real virtual-reality afficionados may wonder which platform is the best. Strictly speaking, regardless of which platform you opt for, PlayStation VR should really be practically identical in terms of experience and performance.
Seeing as PlayStation VR has been built from the ground up for PS4’s specifications, it should come as no surprise that everything runs incredibly smoothly – even if some content doesn’t look as pin-sharp as it does on a high-end headset. The PlayStation 4 Pro, however, uses its extra power to help with the heavy lifting, allowing some games to render more content on-screen during play or make use of Sony’s upscaling technology to render textures at a higher resolution and downsample them to the PlayStation VR’s 1080p display.
Having used PlayStation VR on both the PS4 and PS4 Pro, it’s hard to say you’ll have a “better” experience on one machine over the other but on PS4 Pro PlayStation VR does feel more comfortable to use. Many games now hit the 120fps sweet spot and titles like Driveclub VR really benefit from the PS4 Pro’s use of Supersampling. Spectators also get a better experience as the PS4 Pro outputs a high-resolution feed of the headset’s screen to the TV, compared to the lower-resolution one the PS4 outputs.
PlayStation 4 Pro vs PS4: 4K content
If 4K isn’t a dealbreaker for you then you’re with most of the nation. You may be wondering, however, if it’s worth grabbing a PS4 Pro on the off chance that you do decide to upgrade to a 4K television.
Let’s get this straight from the start: the PS4 and PS4 Slim can’t play 4K content – not only do they lack the appropriate power, they just don’t have the right HDMI port to do so. If you want to display anything in 4K, you’ll need a PS4 Pro to do so – otherwise, you’ll just have to rely upon you TV’s built-in upscaling features.
According to Sony, both Netflix and YouTube are hard at work rolling out 4K-capable video apps for people to use. It’s also rumoured that a 4K Amazon Prime Video app is in the pipeline – but Amazon hasn’t issued an official statement on the matter yet.
As for games, every game going forward supports for PlayStation Pro and its 4K output and currently a list of 45 previously released PS4 titles work with the PS4 Pro. Interestingly, the PS4 Pro doesn’t actually output all of its games at 4K resolution, instead using a smart “Checkerboarding” technique to intelligently upscale content to 4K. The results are stunning and – from the comfort of your sofa – you’d need Superman’s’ eyes to notice the difference between Sony’s system and true 4K.