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Five after its launch, the PS4 Pro is still an easy buy for newcomers to the world of PlayStation and 4K HDR TV owners but it’s increasingly hard to find. For most, the new PS5 is likely to be the most sensible option for future-proofing.
Sony’s PS4 Pro provides PS4 gamers with a high-end console experience, but what makes it so special, and why is it more expensive than the standard PlayStation 4 console?
As well as providing enhanced graphics for supported games, the console was the first on the market to offer 4K gameplay – although it has now been joined by Microsoft’s 4K-enabled Xbox One X. It also improves the PlayStation VR experience, so it’s worth the extra cash, right? We’ve spent some time with Sony’s PS4 Pro, and here’s our PS4 Pro review.
PS4 Pro: UK pricing and availability
Following a November 2016 launch, the PlayStation 4 Pro is available to buy in the UK and will set prospective buyers back around £349 with a bundled game, around £100 more than the standard PS4 but £100 cheaper than Microsoft’s 4K console. So, where can you pick up Sony’s high-end console?
For those of us in the UK, we have a few different options to choose from. Excited gamers can head over to GAME, Argos or Amazon right now and order the PS4 Pro for around £349.99, although we’d also recommend keeping an eye on our best PS4 deals for the best bargains – especially around this time of year.
PS4 Pro Specs
- x86-64 AMD Jaguar octa-core processor
- 4.2TFlops, AMD Radeon based graphics engine
- 8GB RAM GDDR5
- 1TB storage
- BD/DVD drive
- 3x USB 3.1 Gen.1
- Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)1
- Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth 4.0
- digital out
PS4 Pro: design
- Slightly bigger than standard PS4
- Additional 3.1 USB port on the rear
- Upgraded Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
We wouldn’t say the PS4 Pro’s design is a complete copy of the original PS4’s, there are a lot of similarities – the first being the decision to keep the console a flat parallelogram.
When Sony first unveiled the PS4 Pro, there were jokes that the system felt like two PS4s stacked on top of one another, but the second you pull the system from the box that observation becomes less of a joke and more a fair observation.
Compared to the original PS4’s 27.5 x 30 x 5.3 cm package, the PS4 Pro takes up a bit more shelf space at 29.5 x 32.7 x 5.5 cm (W x L x H). It’s both a little wider and a little taller than the original PS4, and a fair bit heavier, too (though unless you carry your console around a lot, that’s unlikely to matter).
The system is encased in a matte black shell, similar to the one used on the PS4 Slim released in September 2016. However, this time around you won’t find rounded corners along the edges – the PlayStation 4 Pro is sharp in every sense of the word.
Another design difference is the silver PlayStation logo that sits in the center of the top surface, adding a nice touch of elegance. The PS4 Pro also uses a bulkier female connector on its power cable to draw more power, instead of the generic two-prong cable Sony has traditionally supplied with every PS4.
On the front of the console, you might notice that there are no touch-capacitive buttons: Sony has decided to ditch the accident-prone pads for more traditional plastic buttons, but they do the job just the same.
Next, let’s talk inputs and outputs. You’ve got two Superspeed USB 3.1 ports on the front of the PS4 Pro and one on the back, used for syncing and charging controllers, as well as connecting your brand new PlayStation VR, should you buy one. HDMI 2.0a, Ethernet, optical audio and PlayStation Camera ports line up along the back next to the power connector.
You won’t find an HDMI input port here like you would on the Xbox One, but Sony’s workaround to its cable conundrum, PlayStation Vue, is an arguably effective one.
One final point here: while the exterior is nice, Sony has spent more time working on the inside of the console. Inside is a larger 1TB hard drive, which is 500GB more than you’ll find on the original PS4 or the base model of the PS4 Slim. There’s also an improved Wi-Fi antenna that uses dual-band 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 4.0 instead of 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1.
While the swapping out of a Wi-Fi antenna may not seem like a big deal, it helps the PS4 Pro download games faster: a 160MB game (Pac-Man 256) downloaded in under a minute on a 15Mbps connection, something that should have always been the case but wasn’t on the original PS4.
PS4 Pro: controller
- Minor changes made
- Can be used in wired or wireless modes
- Light bar added to the front
A new system needs a new PS4 controller, and Sony obliges here – the controller that ships with the new PS4 Pro is the same one that will also ship with all PlayStation 4 Slim systems going forward.
It is, essentially, a very small iteration on the DualShock 4 controller you’ve probably been using for years. There’s now a light bar built into the touchpad – a nice feature when you don’t want to turn the controller over in your hand to find out what player you are – but more importantly the triggers have been tweaked and it feels a bit lighter in the hand.
Plus, as we pointed out in the PlayStation 4 Slim review, the controller can also switch seamlessly between Bluetooth and wired mode when it’s connected to the system via USB cable. While that might not sound like a huge addition, for a pro gamer it can mean the difference between a win (and a pot of esports prize money) or a loss.
PC gaming has always been considered the best option for those looking for the best gameplay experience possible, but thanks to the PS4 Pro, that’s no longer true. For the cost of a mid-range gaming PC, users have access to high-quality textures, dynamic 4K output and a generally high-end gaming experience.
While the 4K output is the headline feature of the console, those with regular HDTVs also see the benefits in-game, and it’s a similar story with PlayStation VR users. For us, the PS4 Pro is a winner, but it can’t quite compete with the true [email protected] performance of the £450 Xbox One X. It’s still a great premium gaming experience though – even without a Blu-Ray UHD player.