Sony has had a big year I think. A solid lineup of games, releasing the PlayStation VR, and now, within a month’s time, we’ve got both the PlayStation 4 Slim and PlayStation 4 Pro. And with the PlayStation 4 Pro, Sony has upped the hardware but fragmented the user base into those with 4K and those without.
The first thing to be said is that this isn’t a new console but a refresh of the PlayStation 4. This is a PlayStation 4 on steroids and that’s fine. I like that. There is a size difference in comparison to the PlayStation 4 and even the recent PlayStation 4 Slim. It’s not as big as I thought it would be and sits well where my slim stood.
The big deal with the PlayStation 4 Pro is that it brings 4K to console and allows for games to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. This allows for more lifelike and vivid, cleaner textures and fabrics and with the enhanced guts of the Pro, more power in the games you own to make them even better.
As I’ve grown into using my Slim model since the launch in September, it is hard to not notice have different Sony made these siblings. The Slim sports the biggest facelift to the Sony console for one, there is also no 4K HDR support, there’s also no optical which hinged my plans of using my console with a new soundbar I had purchased. And the size both inside and out, the HDD matched the 1TB I installed for the games I owned, and just how small the Slim really was; 4lbs compared to the Pro’s 7lbs.
I do like it. It’s powerful and it’s sleek to look at. It’s also the exact same PlayStation UI as you’ve been using for three years now. It isn’t a knock either, Sony has made sure to keep the experience the same on all three versions of the PlayStation 4.
Transferring content from my Slim to my Pro was painless and took two hours to complete. This can be done a couple ways too, from backing up to an external hard drive or by connecting a LAN cable from one console to the other and watch as your content is transferred. I learned the hard way that removing the hard drive from my OG PS4 to the Slim wasn’t allowed as each PS4 is encrypted and prevents this from happening.
Once done, I began testing out games from the list Sony confirmed to 4K features I began with Infamous: Second Son which at launch was simply beautiful in motion. Now with the bump from Pro, you can experience the same game in 4K resolution at 60fps. At 2160p you’re in for a treat!
The Last of Us: Remastered and its DLC, Left Behind will be in 4K at 30fps and also at 1800p at 60fps. As of now, though, at 1800p and 60fps, the game can’t hold the resolution with noticeable drops in framerate. The best video to see this is from Digital Foundry and something I noticed when testing the game out, too.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End got an update too, providing a 2569 x 1440 resolution which was previously at 1080p on standard PlayStation 4. The multiplayer also got a bump from 900p to 1080p and you can notice more detail in the levels. Uncharted 4 looks great on PlayStation 4, the bump in fidelity makes this one of my favorite games to boot up and just look around.
The Pro doesn’t have the capability of running Ultra 4K Blu-rays and this is something that hurts when compared the Xbox One S, which features support for Ultra 4K. This fact alone is an influential factor when considering which console to buy, it’s ironic that Sony didn’t choose to include this, being an early adopter of the format in its infancy.
I wholeheartedly think that the PlayStation 4 Pro is great and gives Sony’s console library a makeover. It’s a premium makeover for your games and that’s why I think this is best for those who can support 4K HDR. While the Pro can provide a noticeable change to regular 1080 TV sets, it’s when the 4K HDR is added that you see what the PRO is capable of outputting. There’s a beast here that needs to be allowed to run wild.
There also is no sign of an indicator showing what enhancements the PRO is providing to your games and I was frequently curious as to what was being done behind the scenes to games that were not on this list of enabled games.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is a premium upgrade to an already excellent console. The best way to go about considering the purchase is if you already have the tools to utilize the Pro. Have a 4K HDR TV? Get the Pro console. Still on a 1080 TV set? Stick with your OG or Slim, the time will come when you’re ready. I have no doubt Sony will continually support and provide great new ways to enjoy content, but, right now as it is, it’s a premium commodity that needs time to bloom.