Console gaming is only getting more popular, with the sales of the PS4 already surpassing 50 million units. It has been just over 3 years since the launch of the PS4 and Sony felt it was time the PS4 got a performance upgrade.
The rumour of the PS4K spanned most of 2016, with leaks of the slim PS4 having folks assumed they were mistaken, but alas the PlayStation 4 Pro was announced and arrived November 2016.
The PS4 Pro includes an entirely new CPU/GPU setup with double the compute performance of the PS4. While Sony are pushing 4K as a big factor for the new PS4 Pro, developers will be given complete control to over multiple graphical options, much like how it is done with PC gaming.
We will delve into that further as we move along with the breakdown of the new PS4 Pro, but first let’s look at the specs and the console itself.
PlayStation 4 Pro
The PlayStation 4 Pro design is very similar to the new PlayStation 4 Slim, but includes an extra stack ontop. It’s not too much bigger, Sony did well to keep the designs as close as possible, while still giving the PS4 Pro a distinctive difference.
The front has the slide disc tray and 2 USB ports. We have the power and reset buttons located along side the disc tray, and this time around their physical buttons, over touch sensitive buttons as on the original PS4.
The back connections start with the standard 2 pin power adaptor, HDMI 2.0, Camera/Move sensor, Optical Audio, USB port, and finally a Gigabit Ethernet.
The PS4 Pro includes some nice subtle design snippets with the rubber feet being control button shapes. The new PS4 Pro much like the PS4 Slim feels like a smoother version of the original PS4. It’s mostly the same with the slanted front edge, and narrow body, but does enough to be considered an improvement. We’re mostly thankful for the physical buttons this time around.
|Product name||PlayStation®4 Pro|
|Product code||CUH-7000 series|
|Main processor||Single-chip custom processor
CPU: x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores
GPU: 4.20 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon™ based graphics engine
|External dimensions||Approx. 295×55×327 mm (width × height × length)
(excludes largest projection)
|Mass||Approx. 3.3 kg|
|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 temperature||5ºC – 35ºC|
|AV output||HDMI™ out port (supports 4K/HDR)
DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) port
While most of the specs for the new PS4 Pro won’t really seem all that different, there is the obvious improvement it has offer. The new GPU puts out 4.20 TFLOPS of computing power. For comparison, the PS4 itself can do 1.87 TFLOPS, so we’re looking at over double the raw performance compared to the previous PS4.
While the new Ps4 Pro is a great step up in terms of performance, and an important part of our review, it’s not the only new hardware coming from Sony that we’re taking a look at.
Virtual Reality is finally here, and while the PC market is where VR opened its curtain, it wasn’t long until Project Morpheus was rumoured, and finally Sony unveiled what would be their foray in VR gaming.
It must be noted that the PSVR still works perfectly with the original PS4, but of course the new PS4 Pro will offer a much smoother and more immersive experience due to the increase graphical performance it offers.
Setting up the PSVR does take patients as we’re now dealing with a lot more cables that before. Thankfully it’s straight forward once you get your baring on where every is to be plugged in.
|Product name||PlayStation VR|
|Product code||CUH-ZVR1 Series|
|Display Size||5.7 inches|
|Resolution||1920 x RGB x 1080 (960 x RGB x 1080)|
|Refresh Rate||120hz, 90hz|
|Field of View||Approx. 100 degrees|
|Connections||HDMI, USB, Power adaptor|
|VR Headset Size||Approx. 187×185×277 mm,
Excludes largest projection,
Headband at the shortest ).
Approx. 610g (excluding cable).
|Processor unit Size||Approx. 143×36×143 mm
(excludes largest projection ). Approx. 365g.
Processor Unit Function
|3D audio processing, Social Screen (mirroring mode, separate mode), Cinematic mode|
|AV output||HDMI™ out port (supports 4K/HDR)
DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) port
PS4 and 4K
The main attraction of the new Ps4 Pro is that it has support for 4K gaming with HDR. That being said, 4K gaming is also just part of the story. A big factor is that Sony are giving developers a choice over how they take advantage over the better GPU/CPU.
Thankfully it seems most developers are in turn giving that control to the gamers, and allowing for better quality 1080p gaming, by setting textures to ultra, and allowing for better framerates. If the gamer has a 4K tv, they can also change the resolution to 4K and bring more detail to the game than before.
Not every game has support for 4K, and even then, not all offer graphical control. It’s clear that more and more games will include support for 4K, as it’s better for marketing purposes, but we hope that developers allow for better 1080p gaming as well.
While 4K TV’s are dropping in price and getting adopted more and more, 1080p is still the most common resolution, so it will be more evident to see better 1080p@60fps support coming from the PS4 Pro in the near future, and probably easier for developer to implement.
The OS hasn’t seen any change, nor would we expect there to be one. Anyone upgrading to the PS4 Pro will be right at home with the same layout.
We can of course see some additions to the settings menu which includes options for HDR and new resolution settings.
PlayStation VR Gaming
While the new PSVR from Sony will work well with the original PS4, the quality is obviously much better when using the PS4 Pro. So just to note, our experience with the PSVR is using the PS4 Pro.
Taking screenshots and videos doesn’t really do the PSVR justice, and experiences like this, much like anything gaming related, are best first hand, but none the less our thoughts below are here to convey how we felt about gaming on the PSVR.
We’re separating our conclusion into 2 parts, with the PS4 Pro and PSVR. As we mentioned above, the PSVR will work with any PS4 console, but the experience is much better using the more powerful PS4 Pro.
PlayStation 4 Pro
The PS4 Pro on paper is a pretty easy thing to assess. It’s a better PS4 with just over double the power as the original PS4. It was hard to know exactly what the new console would get out of previous released games, questions about how the would benefit from the new console kept popping up.
The answer is yes and no. Sony and third party developers can update the games to offer better graphics or perhaps higher FPS, but ultimately; without any updates, the game will run just as it did before.
Most, if not all future games for the PS4 generation console will likely take advantage of the new performance the Pro version offers, and that’s where the entire purpose of the console lies. The Games.
Right now the new PS4 does have a good few popular titles avaialble to it that take advantage of the new hardware in different ways, but the performance isn’t enough to offer 4K as PC gamers are use too, and even with 4K TV’s dropping in price, 1080p is of course still dominant.
Thankfully Sony gave developers the choice over how to use the new power, and in most cases that choice is pushed onto the user. If you don’t want or have a 4K TV for 4K gaming, then the PS4 is a solid choice for the best 1080p@60p experience on a console you will get. We’re very happy to see graphical options being offered to the games for better choice, and bringing it more inline with how PC gaming does things.
The main aspect of the new PS4 Pro that otherwise would have prevented it from being worthy is that Sony priced it at just 1oo euro more than the PS4 itself. Meaning for around 30-percent more money, you get potentially over 50-percent more performance, and while that might not be completely evident and meaningful right now, it certainly will be once more games take advantage of it.
We wouldn’t recommend anyone jumping from a PS4 to the PS4 Pro, unless the new hardware is a must have for you, but for anyone looking to get a PS4 for the first time, then we would recommend the extra cash for the better hardware, and definitely if you have already 4K TV. If your looking to jump onto the PSVR, then the PS4 Pro isn’t essential, but worthy for the smoother experience.
Virtual Reality is 100-percent a game changer. While companies are still finding out the best way to get it as cheap as possible without offering a terrible experience that can turn some people off the new medium, Sony are the first among the console manufacturers to offer the new experience with decent performance.
At the same cost of a new PS4 Pro the PSV4 comes in at €399, which isn’t cheap for a market that has yet to prove itself, but make no mistake, Sony made the right choice in getting there first. Development of the PSVR will continue and make the PlayStation a landmark for console VR gaming in the future.
There are a lot of cool experiences to be had with the PSVR, but not a lot, if any considerable as AAA titles would go, and that’s understandable, as development for a gaming attachment will be strained until sales are high enough to warrant the long term investment. We will most likely see more games like Resident Evil 7, and offer conventional gaming with PSVR support included.
There are a lot of amazing experiences to enjoy straight of the bat. Games like Drive Club, BattleZone, and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood offer very enjoyable experiences that really show how much fun the PSVR truly can be.
Right now the PSVR is in its early days, as is main stream Virtual Reality, but the immersion and pure enjoyment that is Virtual reality is a compounding reason as to why it will be a fast moving one.
As new technology steps into a new market, we generally wait for it to evolve a little more, but frankly with Virtual Reality and the PSVR itself, we say, if you have a PS4/Ps4 Pro then it’s worth diving in right now if you want the next best gaming experience right now. We do want to stress that while the PS4 can handle the PSVR and still offer a great experience, the PS4 Pro will dominate it in the near future with better performance and a much smoother experience.
The PS4 Pro is a great console that brings much needed performance boost to the market. It may not suit everyone right now, but offers a huge performance gain that makes it well worth the extra few bones.
The PSVR much like all proper VR headsets is a game changer and will really provide you with an amazing experience. It’s better suits for the PS4 Pro, but can easily provide an amazing experience on the original PS4. There is no harm in waiting for VR to mature and become cheaper, but it’s so much fun, that dropping the cash on it can easily be understood.