In this review we look extensively at the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro, the updated version of the Sony PlayStation 4.
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro – the hardware
The Sony PlayStation 4 Pro is the third iteration of the PlayStation 4. It is also the most powerful version of the three available game consoles. The console has dimensions of 295 × 55 × 327 mm and is (slightly) larger than its predecessors. The Pro has a weight of 3.3 kilos, which is half a kilo more than the original PlayStation 4. In practice this means that you can probably place the Pro on the spot where your old PS4 stood (if you want to upgrade), provided there is still some space left at that spot.
In terms of design, some things have changed, but not very much. Instead of two layers, the PS4 Pro now consists of three layers and therefore the device is a bit higher. The off button is on the left and is nicely hidden; the same can be said of the button with which you eject the discs. There are also two USB ports at the front, where you can charge the controller, for example. On the back you will find all other ports, with which you can connect the game console to a television or PlayStation VR headset.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is not only bigger and heavier, but of course also more powerful. And you have to mark that in your games, but also in the interface for example. However, the CPU (the processor) is the same in all three systems, with the difference being the clock speed (the number of GHz). The clock speed is an expression of how many tasks a processor core can do in one second. The higher this number, the more tasks can be performed. The clock speed of the original PlayStation 4 is 1.6 GHz, while that of the Pro is 2.1 GHz.
The graphics processing unit (gpu) can send 4.2 teraflops, while both the normal and the Slim models can send a maximum of 1.84 teraflops. A higher number of teraflops means that a computer can display better and more beautiful images. It is equal to the computing power of the device in question. The higher the computing power, the more polygons (where a game consists of) a computer per second can display. 4.2 teraflops means in this case that 4.2 trillion polygons per second can be displayed.
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro – in use
When you start the PlayStation 4 Pro for the first time, you probably will not notice that you are dealing with a new device. However, there is now more working memory available that the console can use. In addition to the 8GB of ram (of DDR5 memory), there is also 1GB of RAM DDR3 memory available. DDR3 may be slower than DDR5, that does not mean that you can not use it. The PS4 Pro uses that slow memory to store, for example, background processes.
In this way more working memory of the faster type is released for games, so that the console has to keep on feeling fast in the long term. That is something that you notice a lot later when you have been using the console for months. Installing the console is like this: you put the plug in the wall socket and the included hdmi cable into the hdmi port of your television and everything works immediately.
Sony has provided the controller with a minor update. For example, the light bar on the front of the controller has been tampered with. You can now immediately see which color the controller has, without having to turn it around. This is particularly useful for multiplayer games, so that everyone can see who has which character. Bluetooth is used for wireless communication. The supplied USB cable can be used to charge the device. It is possible to (continue to) play when you are charging that controller.
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro – 4K media
It is possible to play 4K media on this game computer. But not via Blu-ray discs where 4K content can be found, since the console is not a 4K Blu-ray player. You can view 4K content on the game console, but only via video streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. The reason behind this choice is very simple: the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro is primarily intended for gaming, according to Sony. Competitor Microsoft has already launched the Xbox One S earlier this year and is perfectly capable of Ultra HD Blu-ray’s play.
It seems that Sony is betting on 4K streaming. But the fact that you can not get 4K content from PlayStation Store yet again contradicts that idea. It will therefore be mainly other content providers, such as Netflix, who make the purchase of this 4K media player worthwhile. Sony is in possession of a 4K streaming service, but that content is not available for the PS4 Pro. Perhaps this will happen in the future, but at this moment the electronics manufacturer has not published anything about this yet.
The content, however, which can be viewed in 4K, looks unparalleled – but not unlike the other media players who can display content in 4K. Of course you have to have a 4K television for this, otherwise you will not get the most out of the experience that Sony can offer. The images are more dynamic, smoother and more colorful than ever and certainly compared to the regular PlayStation 4. However, if you are looking for a cheaper 4K media player that can also play discs, then you have to search a little further, so.
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro – the games
The experience with the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro will really differ per game. Developers are not obliged to optimize their games for the console and no line has been drawn that games for the Pro must meet. The developers are free to implement the possibilities of the PS4 Pro, but fortunately there are already examples of games that look much better. Sony has released a list of games optimized from day one for the new game console, which you can find here.
You can count on anyway that some of today’s games, but in any case all of Sony’s games will do something with the Pro. The Last of Us: Remastered Edition has never looked so sharp as on the Pro. The details are much finer and the animations are flowing smoothly. You also have other games that use the HDR capacities, such as Titanfall 2. This gives more color and depth to a game world, which benefits the experience. It is possible that you sometimes have to download additional (free) content for this.
Games look at their best in full HD resolution (1080p) in sixty frames per second (60fps), but can sometimes also be broadcast in 4K (2160p). That means that the frame rate, the number of frames per second, is deteriorating, since the PlayStation 4 Pro simply is not powerful enough to play games in a high frame rate when the resolution is at its highest. But that does not take away from the fact that games have not looked so beautiful before. Rise of the Tomb Raider deserves a special mention here.
That said there is still a lot of uncertainty about games that are already available. For example, we do not yet know whether titles that have recently been released, such as Overwatch, Doom, Dark Souls III, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Eve: Valkyrie and more, will get a patch that will clean up the images. And popular games from last year, which people still play, such as Destiny or The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, have also received no update. It is also not even certain whether that update will ever come, where the graphical power will not improve.
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro – conclusion
If you already have a PlayStation 4, you do not have to rush to the store immediately to purchase a Sony PlayStation 4 Pro. Not so much when you already own a 4K television. You will not get access to new games and can not play 4K Blu-rays on the device. In addition, not all old games are updated and it is also far from clear which games will be optimized for the Pro in the future, so there is still a lot of uncertainty.
If you do not have a PlayStation 4 yet and you want to have one, you now have the opportunity to purchase the most powerful PS4 version and game console at the moment, with games that look very sharp and 4K content that you image spatter. It is a device that does not go wrong next to a 4K television. Moreover, the PlayStation 4 Pro is focused on the future and you can connect the PlayStation VR to it, so you really get a complete game package. But as a 4K media player, the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro fails somewhat.
Price and availability
The regular PlayStation 4 is now available. The PlayStation 4 Slim is available since September 15 for a price from 299 euros. The PlayStation 4 Pro has been available since November 10 for a price from 399 euros.