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Sony PS4 vs Sony PS4 Pro

PlayStation fans now have two buying options: the PS4 Slim or the PS4 Pro. We investigate the differences between the two models, and which you should buy.

Should I Buy The Sony PlayStation 4 Pro Or Sony PS4 Slim?
Though the PS4 and PS4 Pro look similar, the two consoles offer different gaming experiences. While the standard PS4 isn't to be sniffed at, the PS4 Pro provides dynamic 4K playback that provides an all-round improvement to your gaming experience with more detailed textures, improved frame rates and more. The decision rests mainly on whether you care about the extra graphical fidelity, and whether you've got a 4K TV to really take advantage of the PS4 Pro's power. 

Price when reviewed
  • Sony PlayStation 4 Pro: $399
  • Sony PS4 Slim: $299
Sony took to the stage back in September 2016 to announce not only the PlayStation 4 Pro, but also the slim PlayStation 4 designed to replace the launch console.

But what are the differences between these two consoles? With the slim PS4 and the PS4 Pro now on the market, we delve in head first and take a look at what both consoles have to offer, discussing pricing, design, features and specs.

For more information, take a look at our PS4 Pro review. 

Pricing And Availability
So, let’s first talk about pricing and availability for the slim PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 4 Pro. Sony replaced the launch PS4 with the slimmer PS4 (hence no ‘Slim’ branding, making our lives more difficult) on 15 September 2016.

Pricing wise, it’s not far off what you could pick up a PS4 previously, retailing at around £200 in the UK at the time of writing ($299 in the US, €299 in the EU) and is available via Amazon.

The high-end PlayStation 4, the PlayStation 4 Pro, began shipping months later on 10 November 2016. While many had assumed the console would be much more expensive due to high-end graphics, 4K output and more, Sony shocked the market by pricing its 1TB PS4 Pro at only £349/$399.

Right now you can get it on Amazon, and it's £100 cheaper than Microsoft's £449/$499 Xbox One X.

Design And Build
So, what are the differences between the standard PS4 and the PS4 Pro, in terms of its design? Both the slimmer PS4 and the PS4 Pro look fairly similar in terms of design, with both stepping away from the angular design of the original PlayStation 4. Instead of pointed corners, Sony has this time provided both consoles with soft, curved edges.

The new PS4 is slimmer than the original PlayStation 4, while the PS4 Pro is slightly larger due to the extra ‘slice’ on the PlayStation sandwich – three tiers, compared to the two-tier slimline PS4. The PS4 Pro measures in at 295 x 55 x 327mm, and weighs a rather hefty 3.3kg while the PS4 slim measures in at a streamlined 265 x 39 x 288mm and weighs over 1kg less at 2.1kg.
As well as ditching the angles for curves, Sony has made several smaller improvements to the design of both the standard PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 4 Pro.

One such improvement is the use of the PlayStation symbols (Square, Circle, Cross and Triangle) as feet on the bottom of each console. While this isn’t ground-breaking, it’s better looking than standard silicone feet and helps showcase Sony’s attention to detail when designing the consoles.

As well as boasting a refreshed design when compared to the original PS4, the new PS4 and the PS4 Pro will both ship with redesigned DualShock 4 controllers.

While the design of these controllers are essentially the same as the first-gen DualShock 4 controllers, they come with one big change – a mini light bar on the touch-sensitive panel of the controller.

Features And Spec
It’s only when you look below the surface of the PS4 and PS4 Pro that you start to see the differences between the consoles.

Sony’s PS4 was dubbed PS4 Slim prior to launch, and that’s exactly why – for the most part, the internals of the new PS4 are identical to that of the launch PlayStation 4, with the extra benefit of 5GHz Wi-Fi, a common gripe with PlayStation 4 gamers that rely on Wi-Fi for an Internet connection.

With that being said, the PS4 is capable of standard console gaming as well as being able to power Sony’s PlayStation VR headset.

The real changes come when looking at the high-end PS4 Pro, which has been introduced as a slightly more expensive alternative for those looking for a more ‘premium’ gaming experience.

The headline features of the PS4 Pro? The biggest improvement, when compared to the standard PS4, is the inclusion of dynamic 4K gameplay, both from PS4 games and streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, both of which offer 4K content playback.

This gives 4K TV users the quality they’ve been looking for since the launch of the PS4, as 4K upscaling isn’t nearly as impressive as a 4K input. Notice we’re mentioning 4K streaming, as funnily enough, the PS4 Pro doesn’t feature a 4K Blu-Ray player. Why? Sony’s Andrew House told The Guardian that “our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming”.

Along with 4K support, gamers can expect general improvements in terms of graphics. Textures are higher definition than with the standard PS4, and games also experience much higher – and smoother – framerates, one area that consoles have traditionally not been able to compete with when compared to its PC brethren.

It also provides a much higher quality experience on Sony’s PlayStation VR, which we found to be fairly impressive for console-powered VR.

However, while the PS4 Pro is the most powerful model of PlayStation, both the standard PS4 and the PS4 Pro feature HDR support, providing those with HDR-enabled TVs improved visuals. The launch PS4 also received HDR support via a software update, so this isn’t a feature unique to a specific console.
Read next: Best upcoming games

Games
So, what about the games? Logic dictates that the PS4 Pro will support more, graphically intense games right? While that is the case, Sony has specifically said that there will be no PS4 Pro exclusives, and that any game that can be played on a Pro can be played on the slimmed down PS4, and even the launch PS4 without any issues.

Gamers can expect upcoming games to provide a ‘Pro’ mode for PS4 Pro users, along with updates to existing games to bring enhanced graphics, higher framerate or an increased resolution to the high-end console.

But how will gamers know which games feature a ‘Pro’ mode? Much like when a game requires an accessory, games that feature Pro support will display a special “PS4 Pro Enhanced” badge, which can be seen above.

It’ll show up on cases of games, as well as online listings including on Sony’s own PlayStation Store. As mentioned above, owners of the standard PS4 can buy games with this branding without worries about compatibility, as all games are designed to work across all models of PlayStation 4.

Specs
For those that want to know exactly what each console offers, take a look at the specs below.

PS4 'Slim' specs
  • Main processor: Single-chip custom processor
  • CPU: x86-64 AMD Jaguar, 8 cores
  • GPU: 1.84 TERAFLOPS, AMD Radeon-based graphics engine
  • Memory: 8GB GDDR5
  • Storage size: 500GB, 1TB
  • External dimensions: Approx. 265 x 39 x 288mm
  • Mass: Approx. 2.1kg
  • BD/DVD drive: BD x 6 CAV, DVD x 8 CAV
  • Input/Output: 2x USB 3.1 ports, 1x AUX port
  • Networking: Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T), Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Power: AC 100-240V, 50/60Hz
  • Power consumption: Max. 165W
  • Operating temp: 5 ºC – 35ºC
  • AV output: HDMI out port (HDR output supported)
PS4 Pro Specs
  • 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
  • Storage size: 1TB
  • External dimensions: Approx. 295×55×327 mm (width × height × length) (excludes largest projection)
  • Mass: Approx. 3.3kg
  • BD/DVD Drive: BD × 6 CAV, DVD × 8 CAV
  • Input/Output: Super-Speed USB (USB 3.1 Gen.1) port × 3, AUX port × 1
  • Networking: Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)×1, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE)
  • Power: AC 100V, 50/60Hz
  • Power consumption: Max. 310W
  • Operating temp: 5ºC – 35ºC
  • AV Output: HDMI out port (supports 4K/HDR) DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) port
Verdict
Both the PS4 and PS4 Pro offer an improved design compared to the angular launch PS4, although that’s where the similarities end. Sony’s PS4 Pro looks to offer an enhanced gaming experience with higher framerates, increased resolution and higher quality textures across a number of games.

We’d opt for the Pro model because we love the high-end look it gives games, however it depends on how much you'd use it, and how much you care about improved textures and framerate.

Specs
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro: Specs
  • Updated design and DualShock 4 controller
  • 4K gaming and streaming
  • Enhanced textures and graphics
  • Higher framerate
  • 1TB HDD
  • Improved PSVR experience



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