We discuss the pros and cons of the PS4 vs PS4 Pro, so current PS4 owners and first-time PS4 owners can make a better decision on whether or not the premier version of Sony’s flagship console is worth the premium price.
The PlayStation 4 was officially released into the market in November of 2013. Three years later, in 2016, Sony launched two new versions of PS4. The first was the PS4 Slim, which is the customary “sleak” update of the launch model, that eventually phased out the original console. The other is the PS4 Pro, which is a totally different beast, so to speak.
Housing beefed up specs, built to deliver improved perfomance and capable of 4K gaming and HDR, the PlayStation 4 Pro was a bigger and better version of the PlayStation 4. The only caveat was its price, as it came with an added premium and sold for £349.99.
It’s been nearly two years since the PlayStation 4 Pro hit the market, but the choice between PS4 vs PS4 Pro remains just as relevant. That’s where we’ll help with.
Below in our PS4 vs PS4 Pro guide, we took the time whether or not the PS4 Pro is worth the higher price tag or not.
Note: If you want the TLDR version of the article, feel free to scroll towards the end for what our answer is to the PS4 vs PS4 Pro debate.
Is The PS4 Pro Really Graphically Better?
Before anything else, here’s a quick spec comparision of the launch model, the PS4 Slim, and the PS4 Pro.
|PS4 Pro (2016)||PS4 Slim / PS4 (2016)||Original PS4 (2013)|
|CPU||2.1 GHz 8-Core AMD Jaguar||1.6 GHz 8-Core AMD Jaguar||1.6 GHz 8-Core AMD Jaguar|
|GPU||4.2 Teraflop AMD Radeon||1.84 Teraflop AMD Radeon||1.84 Teraflop AMD Radeon|
|Memory||8GB GDDR5 + 1GB||8GB GDDR5||8GB GDDR5|
|Storage||1TB||500 GB & 1TB||500 GB|
|USB||3 X USB 3.1||2 X USB 3.1||2 X USB 3.0|
|Wi-Fi||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2.4GHz & 5.0GHz)||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2.4GHz & 5.0GHz)||802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4GHz only)|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.0||Bluetooth 4.0||Bluetooth 2.1|
The CPU, GPU, and Memory upgrades mean that the PS4 Pro should be graphically better, but the truth is not as simple as that.
Super-sampling in games like Rise of the Tomb Raider or slightly smoother framerates in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered are nice bonuses to have on the PS4 Pro. However, they’re not exactly enough to warrant the higher price. The reality is that you have to look really hard to notice any visual improvements between the two, especially if you’re only playing on 1080p.
But, because the PS4 Pro is better under the hood — has an improved network adapter with a SATAIII upgrade to the hard drive — you can expect your games to download and load a wee bit faster, so there’s that.
Overall though, in terms of visual improvement, the PS4 Pro doesn’t offer as big of a jump as most people would expect unless you plan on shelling out on a 4K TV, which will not come cheap.
What Do I Get for the PS4 Pro?
So, is the PS4 Pro a waste of money? Well, not exactly. Case in point, as mentioned earlier, Rise of the Tomb Raider, uses super-sampling, which is a feature exclusive the PS4 Pro where higher resolution pictures are downscaled to fit the resolution of your current display.
Basically, all that extra grunt for 4K is used to improve anti-aliasing at 1080p to make the game look better. That, or to help improve framerates at 1080p, which, in Rise of the Tomb Raider, means that a PS4 Pro can run the game on 50-60 FPS at 1080p instead of only the 30 FPS (and below) that the base PS4 can achieve.
Again, this is a nice luxury to have on the PS4 Pro. The only problem is that not all games have this feature. Most would have, especially AAA titles, but the extent of its implementation varies from game to game.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is currently the best example of how to get the most out of the PS4 Pro, but there’s a real cause of concern that developers will be focusing solely on using the PS4 Pro’s extra power towards exclusively for support when playing in higher resolutions instead of also helping improve performance at lower resolutions, like at 1080p.
What About PSVR? Can the PS4 Pro Help?
Theoretically, it should.
Sony has already issued a statement that developers need their VR games to hit 90 FPS to help minimize motion sickness. The added power of the PS4 Pro makes it easier for it to maintain higher framerates, while also improving image quality. We already know that the PS4 Pro is capable of using super-sampling in PSVR titles, so the better and smoother framerates also come with improved visual quality, leading to more immersion.
The problem is that most developers still haven’t exactly have developing VR games down pat just yet. Not for the base PS4, and most definitely not for implementing support for the PS4 Pro.
This is a dillema that will likely take a while to solve.
As of now, PSVR titles do benefit from the PS4 Pro, but, considering the lack of quality titles as of yet, using PSVR to justify the extra cost isn’t exactly a wise argument.
PS4 vs PS4 Pro: Settling the Debate
So, it all seems like the PS4 Pro isn’t worth the money. After all, why would you spend more for marginal improvements, right?
While that’s certainly true, it’s important to consider the price factor. It’s true that the PS4 Pro costs more than the PS4. But, it’s also true that it costs the same as the launch model did back in 2013. For £349, you’re getting a top-of-the-line console capable of streaming 4K and playing video games in 4K.
If you put it that way, the PlayStation 4 Pro is certainly worth the money.
If you already own a vanilla PS4 and you’re not planning on buying a 4K display soon (or if you’re already content with how it is performing on your 4K television), then there’s really no reason to splurge. You’re better off spending that money on buying yourself a new custom controller. However, if you are still planning on buying a new console, the PS4 Pro is absolutely a no-brainer.
For roughly around £100 more (and the same price as the original console years ago), you’re getting a console that’s nearly twice as powerful as the launch model, with a 1TB HDD at that.
Not to mention, pairing the PS4 Pro with a 4K TV is just plain delightful. Games such as The Last of Us Remastered and Uncharted 4 have already been patched with Pro modes, and upcoming titles are sure to only look much sharper as more and more developers start utilizing the Pro modes more.
If you already have the base PS4, you might as well keep it. But, if you’re a first-time owner, the PS4 Pro is the more future-proof purchase, whose marginal improvements will only get better in time, even if you plan on sticking to your 1080p display for quite some time.
Bonus points for the PS4 Pro if you’ve got some extra cash for a 4K TV.
What’s your take on the PS4 vs PS4 Pro debate? Do you think the beefed-up console is worth the extra money? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.