[Review] PS4 Pro - A PlayStation made for 4K and PlayStation VR


Available since November 10, 2016, the PS4 Pro has replaced the classic PlayStation 4 and sells for around € 399. Equipped with a 1TB hard drive, this new platform is intended to be a response to the Xbox One X. It also incorporates within a new design a more powerful processor and two AMD graphics cards, which significantly increase the visual quality of games, whether classic or virtual reality. Indeed, developed at the same time as the PlayStation VR, it takes into account the energy greed of the virtual reality headset from Sony.



This new Sony-stamped home console, which is no less than a PlayStation 4.5, is it worth the detour? Do the graphics improvements of the PlayStation VR justify its purchase for those who have already adopted the virtual reality headset? Should we seek to resell his PS4 or his PS4 Slim to get his hands on this latest iteration which has long been referred to as the PS4 Neo? All the answers can be found in our PS4 Pro review.

Buy the PlayStation 4 PRO at the best price:

Buy the PlayStation VR at the best price:

Buy the PlayStation Camera for PS4 V2 at the best price:

Unboxing the PS4 Pro

On the PlayStation color box, you can immediately judge the new design of the PS4 Pro against a more modern background than on the packaging of the previous versions. Inside, an excellent surprise: the various elements are perfectly compartmentalized, so that the installation of your new living room console will be done in just a few minutes.

In the center of the box, you will find your PS4 Pro, held firmly between two cardboard receptacles. A single cardboard box fills the little space that the living room console wants to leave. In the latter are grouped the various cables and accessories accompanying the platform. In the box of the new PS4 Pro, you will therefore find:



  • The PS4 Pro
  • A Dualshock 4 controller
  • An earphone with integrated microphone
  • HDMI 2.0a cable
  • Micro USB cable
  • A power cable
  • An installation guide

Design and ergonomics of the PS4 Pro

Above

The PS4 Pro weighs about 500g more than the traditional version for the following dimensions: 295 x 327 x 55mm. So it's slightly bigger, but nothing really significant. It adopts a new style, different, but quite similar to the previous iterations. Where the PS4 and PS4 Slim offer a two-layer design, the PS4 Pro now incorporates three layers, without being higher. The top surface of the PlayStation 4 was demarcated two-thirds by a light strip. The Pro version has exactly the same matte black design as the PS4 Slim when viewed from above. 

In the front

On the front of the console, the tactile buttons, on which it was often necessary to work hard to obtain a result and that it was difficult to differentiate were replaced by physical buttons, in relief. The On / Off and Eject controls have therefore been separated, the first being on the right and the second on the left of the console. Two USB ports, used to connect the controllers, but also to connect the PlayStation VR are slightly more recessed than in previous versions, which does not facilitate access to large USB keys.

In back

Behind the PS4 Pro, nothing very new, we simply find the main part of the connection. These are also recessed, which makes it slightly difficult to access them if you are facing the Sony console. Note the appearance of an additional USB port used to accommodate the various accessories necessary for the operation of the PlayStation VR : The PlayStation Camera and the PS Move. Here is all the connections that you can find:



  • A power connector (two-pin PC C13)
  • One HDMI 2.0a output
  • A USB port for the PlayStation Camera
  • A USB 3.0 port
  • Optical digital audio output
  • An Ethernet port

PS4 Pro Performance: A War Machine?

The PS4 Pro integrates as promised a processor twice as powerful as those of the PS4 and the PS4 Slim, thus offering a power of 4,2 TFLOPS against only 1,84 TFLOPS for the other two models. The Jaguar 8-core AMD APU is clocked at 2,1 GHz instead of 1,6 GHz. The RAM, 8 GB GDDR5 also accelerates the operation of the console, the bandwidth reaching 218 GB / s against 176 GB / s.

1TB hard drive lets you record more content on your system. In view of the space required by the most successful games (The Witcher, Final Fantasy XV or GTA V) which approach 60 GB, this space saving is not negligible. Also note that this storage space is removable and that you will be able to connect an external hard drive in order to further increase the memory available on the PS4 Pro.

More simply, the new components of the PS4 Pro make it possible to increase, with optimized games and PlayStation VR games, the graphics resolution, the number of frames per second as well as the fluidity. On the other hand, such power could not come without inconvenience: The PS4 Pro is far from silent. Here are the details of the features of the PS4 Pro:


  • Processor : CPU x86-64 AMD Jaguar, 8 coeurs / GPU 4.20 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon
  • Memo : 8Go GDDR5
  • Hard disk : 1 To
  • DVD / Blu-ray player
  • Dimensions : 295 x 55 x 327 mm
  • Weight 3,3 kg

PS4 Pro graphics: is the PS4 Pro really 4K?


The PS4 Pro, optimized to display 4K resolution will not only benefit you with 4K television, but also with FullHD and Ultra HD televisions. The games will pass for this second type of televisions from 1080p to 2160p. The graphical difference will actually depend on the content you play and the performance of your screen.. Note that the PS4 Pro is not equipped with an Ultra HD Blu-Ray player, unlike the Xbox One X, which is surprising for a console that wants to be created for 4K. You will therefore have to turn to applications like Netflix or YouTube to view content displaying that image resolution.

However, it should be noted that most games will not be offered in native 4K, but upscaled in 4K thanks to software algorithms. The result is much better than the initial definition, but not as impressive as the native 4K.

Full HD TVs

With a Full HD television not compatible with 4K, you will enjoy an upscale (or downcale depending on the game) which will slightly increase the image resolution, but still does not justify the purchase of the PS4 Pro. In addition, only certain games like Rise of the Tomb Raider or Uncharted 4, relying heavily on the quality of their graphics, will benefit from optimized graphics performance at 60FPS. We will have to wait for the games developed taking into account the architecture of this home console to see a significant difference. On the other hand, players with 4K televisions will be able to turn their eyes closed to this Pro version.

In February 2018, however, Sony announced that a system update would bring a supersampling mode for the PS4 Pro. With this mode, Full HD (1080p) TV users will enjoy visual enhancement on some PS4 games. The definition will be up, and the clarity will also be increased without even needing a 4K television.

Remember that Microsoft already offers a supersampling feature on the Xbox One X. On PS4 Pro, however, we will have to wait for the software system update 5.50. This update is currently being rolled out for beta testers, but it is not known when it will be released to all users.

4K TVs

Indeed, with the PS4 Pro, the visual rendering is much finer when viewed on a 4K or Ultra HD TV (which are very similar apart from the marketing issues). You will be able to enjoy on these televisions an image resolution almost twice as high as on a Full HD television. On the program: a smoother image, more depths, improved effects, better management of light and contrast, etc. However, it should be noted that a 4K-only television, even if it will provide a more pleasant gaming experience to its user, will not yet take full advantage of the capabilities of the PS4 Pro. To unlock the full potential of this living room console, it must be paired with a 4K HDR television.

4K HDR TVs

If the acquisition of a 4K television was in your plans to accompany your PS4 Pro, make sure that the HDR mention appears in the characteristics of your screen. A only 4K television will offer a higher picture resolution than a simple Full HD television, but less obvious than a 4K HDR television. The HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature, well known in photography circles, allows more levels of light intensity to be displayed in an image. The user will easily be able to see more natural colors, a marked improvement in contrast and a better play of depths, which has nothing to envy to PC iterations.

However, the HDR function must be activated in the settings of the TV, the PS4 Pro and in the options of the game to which the user wishes to play.. Please note, some television brands have named this feature differently, for example Samsung, which has chosen the name HDMI UHD Color in the settings of its 4K HDR Smart TVs. To help its customers in configuring HDR, Sony has posted an official video that explains very well the maneuver to follow.

PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR

It's a fact: No game, no matter how greedy, demands as much power as a virtual reality game.. Delivering an interactive and compelling 360-degree experience requires computing power and a graphics card that only large gaming PCs can offer. This was already the case for the HTC Vive, for'Oculus Rift and since October 13, for PlayStation VR. Virtual reality regulars decried the graphics offered by Sony's virtual reality headset. Indeed, the latter suffers from more pronounced deficiencies than those of high-end VR headsets. Pixelization, poor light management, and poor image refresh are all flaws that detract from the PlayStation VR experience.

But the PS4 Pro, which is twice as efficient on paper as the classic model, significantly improves the picture quality of optimized PS VR games., of which you can consult the complete list. Even though the lenses of the PlayStation VR do not support HDR (which is strange considering the simultaneous development of the PS4 Pro and the PS VR), some VR games like Farpoint will be displayed with twice as many pixels thanks to the PS4 Pro. .

This is what Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios said in an interview with Gameblog.. He also says that “PS VR developers will be able to choose to add things like real-time lighting effects or whatever. Although the PS4 Pro is not required to enjoy PS VR games, it will give you better graphics experiences on some games ”. The possibilities for PlayStation VR developers are therefore more numerous with the PS4 Pro.

PS4 Pro vs PS4 and PS4 Slim: what are the differences?

The PS4 Slim was only a miniaturized version of the PlayStation 4. The PS4 Pro represents a real technical update and offers a significant performance gain. This machine is designed to take advantage of the new possibilities offered by 4K TVs. However, 4K is a definition four times higher than Full HD, and therefore requires much more graphics performance.

Thus, the 4,2 teraflop GPU clocked at 911 MHz based on the AMD Polaris micro-architecture is 2,2 times more powerful than that of the PS4 / PS4 Slim. We find the same Jaguar AMD CPU, but it is now clocked at 2,1GHz. It is 500MHz faster than that of the PS4 / PS4 Slim. In terms of RAM, the PS4 Pro still packs 8GB of GDDR5, but adjust 1Go of DDR3 RAM for 4K video streaming.

In addition, instead of SATA II storage, the PS4 Pro relies on a SATA III storage interface. In fact, if you install an SSD on the PS4 PRo, it will be much faster and can reach a theoretical speed of 6Gbps. The HDD natively embedded by the PS4 Pro offers 1TB of storage space, i.e. twice as much as HDD of PS4 and PS4 Slim.

When it comes to design, the PS4 Pro is a little bigger and heavier than the base model. Its dimensions are 11x10x1,5 inches and 3,2 kilos. We find the design of the original PS4, but the angles are rounded as on the PS4 Slim. Note also the addition of an LED bar in front. The port SPDIF, absent from the Slim version, is making a comeback to allow optical speakers to be connected. Finally, the console embeds three USB 3.1 ports one more than the PS4 Slim.

The last difference is that of the price, since the PS4 Pro costs 100 euros more than the PS4 Slim. However, if you have a 4K TV, that extra investment is worth the price. Even for Full HD televisions, the new supersampling functionality provided by version 5.50 of the software system will add a gain in graphics performance on certain games.

The PS5 4 times more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro?

Update 07/2019: The new console confirmed before E3 would be “only” four times more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro. This is what reveals a Benchmark revealed by twittos APISAK. He would have had access to the development kit from an independent development studio.

This one would have used 3DMark Fire Strike to obtain the APU score of the PS5 in order to compare it to that of the PS4 Pro. The first gets 20, while the second gets “only” 000 points. Note that Mark Cerny, the project manager responsible for the architecture of the new console, unveiled some of its characteristics in April 5000.

The PS5 will be entitled to a custom Ryzen 3 processor equipped with 8 cores. To ensure compatibility with 8K resolution, the Japanese manufacturer promises the integration of a suitable AMD Radeon Navi graphics card, capable of supporting Ray Tracing and 3D audio. Finally, a quality SSD will greatly reduce loading times compared to the previous generation.

However, the APISAK Benchmark should be taken with a grain of salt. A SDK can change during the design of a console. Separately, Sony has yet to announce a release date. Regarding the PS VR, there will be no need to buy one on the day of marketing. The console promises backward compatibility with its first VR headset. The latest patents in circulation tend to prove that the second model would be wireless. Nothing says however that we will have to do without the PS5 to enjoy it.

Our opinion on the PS4 Pro

The PS4 Pro lives up to its promises and is clearly above the traditional PS4. Offering almost twice the power and graphics resolution, those who do not already have a PlayStation 4, whether they have a 4K television or not, will be able to acquire this latest version to enter the world of gaming by Sony in the most beautiful way.

Owners of the PS4 or the PS4 Slim will be able to settle for their current version if they are not equipped with a 4K television. Indeed, the difference in terms of graphic resolution is so slight that it does not in itself justify the purchase of a model worth a hundred euros more. But for those who would buy their first PlayStation 4, this model is recommended in order to be prepared for future games, especially on PlayStation VR.

Those who want to afford a 4K television will take full advantage of this optimized version of the home console and even more if HDR is integrated into their television.. This hundred euros will be largely profitable by the quality of the gaming experience that the PS4 Pro will provide them.

Finally, those who have been wowed by the PlayStation VR can seriously consider the PS4 Pro option to improve their gaming experience. Virtual reality being very greedy, such a powerful console, developed especially for this new platform will be an essential ally in their discovery of VR by Sony. You can also check out our PlayStation VR review to see if the adventure is worth it.

Update 02/05/2019: The Pro version of the Playstation has allowed Sony to sell more consoles. Add to that the reduction in the price of the normal version, the console has sold 96,8 million copies in five years. The Pro version is finding more and more buyers thanks to the massive adoption of 4K television. In addition, most publishers optimize their games for this augmented model. The same goes for VR titles which since the release of the PS4 Pro increasingly require the power of the machine. The arrival by 2020 of the PS5 will be a game-changer. In the meantime, gamers can continue to rely on Sony's flagship machine.

Advantages and disadvantages

Good points

  • its design
  • Its performance
  • Optimized graphics 

Negative points

  • No Ultra HD Blu-ray player
  • A noisy game console 

Buy the PlayStation 4 PRO or the PS4 Pro pack at the best price:

Buy the PlayStation VR at the best price:

Buy the PlayStation Camera for PS4 V2 at the best price:

8.3

Design: An elegant design, but similar to that of the PS4 Slim with one more stage. Performance: Twice as powerful as the classic model for a reasonable price of 399 €. Graphics: A staggering improvement with 4K HDR TVs and PlayStation VR, a little less noticeable with other displays. Quality / price ratio: Heavy and well-oiled machinery at an affordable price.

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