PS4 Pro review
Sony’s high-end PS4 Pro has been available to buy in the UK for a year now, providing PS4 gamers with a high-end console experience. But what makes the PlayStation 4 Pro so special, and why is it more expensive than the standard 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 £100, right? We’ve spent some time with Sony’s PS4 Pro, and here’s what we think.
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PS4 Pro review: 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 ~£349, 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?
PS4 Pro review: Design and build
Before we get into the graphical enhancements of the PS4 Pro, let’s first discuss the design and build. The first thing you’ll notice is the change in design when compared to the launch PS4 – Sony has decided to step away from the angular design of the launch model, and much like with the new slimline PS4, opted for curved edges that give the console a much more elegant look.
It’s 20mm wider than the launch console, measuring in at 295 x 55 x 327mm compared to 275 x 53 x 305mm, but isn’t much taller, despite featuring the extra ‘slice’ on the PS4 Pro sandwich. It’s heavier though, weighing in at a rather hefty 3.3kg.
But it’s not all about the big changes – as well as overhauling the overall design of the console, Sony has made a few smaller changes to the new console. One such improvement is the use of the PlayStation symbols (Square, Circle, Cross and Triangle) as feet on the bottom of the console. The eject button is now a physical button too, rather than a touch-sensitive one, negating any accidental disc ejection issues. While these aren’t ground-breaking changes, they’re great examples of Sony’s attention to detail when designing the console.
With regards to ports, the PS4 Pro is near-on identical to the standard PS4, apart from one extra USB 3.0 port at the rear of the console. This should come in handy for those looking to buy a PlayStation VR headset, as the headset requires a USB port to be used.
For audiophiles and home cinema system users, the PS4 Pro has an Optical Audio Output – while this may seem standard, it’s worth pointing out that while it was featured on the launch console, it isn’t offered on the new slim PS4. The HDMI port has also been upgraded from HDMI 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 to allow for a dynamic 4K output – but we’ll come to that in more detail below.
New DualShock 4 controller
Along with the redesigned PS4 Pro comes the redesigned DualShock 4 controller. However unlike with the console, the controller redesign isn’t at all dramatic – in fact, the only difference is the addition of a mini lightbar on the touch-sensitive panel.
Many PlayStation 4 games use the lightbar as a way of indicating what is happening in-game – the lights will flash blue and red being chased by police in GTA 5, while other games will use the red light to signify being damaged/killed. The issue is that due to the lightbar facing away from the controller, many gamers miss these prompts. This change looks to rectify the issue, allowing gamers to see any change in colour at a glance.
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PS4 Pro review: Features and performance
The PS4 Pro has been described as offering a ‘premium’ gaming experience when compared to other consoles, so what can it do that other consoles can’t? The headline feature of the Pro model is that supports a 4K output, meaning those that have a 4K TV can finally take advantage of that higher resolution. The outcome? It’s gorgeous. But how is it done?
PS4 Pro specs
The PS4 Pro shares the same AMD Jaguar x86-64 8-core CPU as the launch PS4, with the Pro seeing a 30 percent boost in clock speed, going from 1.6GHz to 2.1GHz. However, that’s a minor upgrade when compared to the GPU – the power has been doubled, while the clock speed has also been upped from 800NHz to 911MHz.
Overall, the GPU has gone from 1.84 TFLOP to 4.2 TFLOP when compared to the launch console – quite the jump, although it’s needed to provide users with 4K gameplay. There’s also an additional 1GB of DDR3 RAM that can only be used by non-gaming apps, allowing the faster GDDR5 RAM to be used exclusively for gaming performance.
Storage has been upped compared to the launch console too, with 1TB on offer from the PS4 Pro. However, it’s still a HDD and not an SSD so it’s not the quickest ever, although it’s fairly easy to swap it out if you require the extra speed.
Along with 4K output, the PS4 Pro offers HDR capabilities, but only for TVs that support it. However it’s worth mentioning that Sony rolled this feature out to all models via a software update, and isn’t a feature specific to the PS4 Pro.