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PS4 Pro review

It’s all about the games, and how you play them

PS4 Pro review
(Image: © Sony)

For

  • Outstanding exclusive library
  • VR Headset support
  • Cheapest 4K games console

Against

  • No 4K Blu-ray player
  • Weakest 4K games console

PS4 Pro: What you need to know

The PlayStation 4 Pro, better known as the PS4 Pro, is Sony’s mid-generation upgrade to their incredibly successful PS4 that launched back in 2013. This upgrade offers more power, a larger internal memory while still working with all existing PS4 games and accessories. Much like its competitor, the Xbox One X, the PS4 Pro offers 4K gaming, enhanced performance and improved visuals for those looking for the premium console gaming experience.

Where the PS4 Pro shines against its competition is in its exclusive games library, which blows Microsoft’s efforts out of the water both in terms of quality and quantity. Blockbuster hits like Spider-Man and Bloodborne lead the charge, but there’s a host of diverse titles across all genres.

The PS4 Pro has an MSRP of $399 and comes with the console and a controller as standard, though you can often find it bundled with a game or two. This is a full $100 cheaper than the Xbox One X.

PS4 Pro: Specs

  • 8-core Custom AMD CPU
  • 8GB GDDR5 RAM
  • 1TB internal storage drive

The PS4 Pro offers quite the upgrade from the launch PS4. Sony’s 4K gaming powerhouse features an 8-core Custom AMD CPU along with a 4.2 teraflop AMD Radeon based graphics engine. This is backed up by 8GB GDDR5 RAM and a 1TB internal storage drive for storing your games. On paper it’s not quite as powerful as Microsoft’s Xbox One X, but the PS4 Pro uses a lot of clever tricks and upscaling to reach the mythical “4K” resolution on its more demanding games.

With the PS4 Pro, Sony has opted for a standard DVD drive rather than the flashier Blu-Ray disc drive that it’s rival features. This has no effect on your gaming experience on the PS4 Pro, but it does leave it trailing behind as a multimedia machine. 

The rest of the PS4 Pro’s loadout is fairly standard, with 3 USB 3.1 ports, HDMI in and out, Ethernet port, and digital out optical port. These physical ports are supplemented by WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity options.

The Dualshock 4 controller comes as standard with your PS4 Pro, though you can buy additional controllers if you want to play local multiplayer games. This update to the classic PlayStation controller comes with an updated, ergonomic design and a dedicated share button, letting you instantly capture screenshots and share them to social media.

PS4 Pro: Games and Subscriptions

  • Excellent selection of games
  • Fantastic third-party support from all the major game publishers
  • PlayStation Now offers you access to hundreds of games

The PS4 Pro might lag behind its rival in the power comparison, but it blows the Xbox out of the water when it comes to the game library showdown. Spider-Man, The Last of Us, Death Stranding, Bloodborne, Gran Turismo Sport. The list goes on and on. 

Despite the impending PS5 launch, Sony are showing no signs of slowing down either, with both The Last of Us 2 and Ghost of Tsushima confirmed to be launching on PS4 and PS4 Pro in 2020. The PS4 Pro also has fantastic third-party support from all the major game publishers, so you’re not going to miss out on major releases like Call of Duty or FIFA.

If you’re looking to play online multiplayer, you’ll need a subscription to PS+ which costs $59.99 for a 12 month subscription. In addition to online multiplayer, a PS+ subscription offers you unique discounts and two free downloadable PS4 games per month. 

Spider-Man PS4

(Image credit: Sony)

There’s also PlayStation Now to consider. This is an additional subscription service that offers you access to hundreds of games - think of it like Netflix, but with games. Some games on this service can be downloaded, while others are available through online streaming. PlayStation Now costs $9.99 per month or $59.99 for a 12 month subscription.

PS4 Pro: User Interface

  • Offers a simplistic menu system
  • Easy to navigate
  • Polished controller

The PS4 Pro shares its user interface with the base PS4, offering a simplistic menu system. Everything makes sense and you’ll never have to figure out where Sony have hidden the options - an occasional issue on the Xbox One. But at the same time, it’s not a paragon of intelligent design. For some bizarre reason, the game library is the furthest tab to the right when scrolling through the options.

The Dualshock 4 controller is an improvement on the old Dualshock 3. Sony have finally bowed to the winds of change and updated the L2/R2 shoulder buttons, adopting a more trigger-like design that gamers have come to expect. There is also a nifty trackpad across the center of the gamepad, which can be used in a variety of interesting ways in game.

PS4 UI

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony are also the only console producer to have embraced virtual reality, releasing the own VR headset for the PS4, called the PSVR. PSVR is an optional extra with headsets costing around $399, as much as the console itself. But if you're looking for an entry into VR gaming, the PS4 Pro and PSVR combo is one of the cheapest options on the market. PSVR even has a good number of exclusive VR titles like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission. Add that to VR classics like Superhot VR and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes and you’ve got a fantastic VR machine at a reasonable entry price.

PS4 Pro: Multimedia

  • It can be the center of your living room entertainment system
  • Dedicated apps for streaming
  • Lacks a 4K Blu-ray drive

The PS4 Pro isn’t just a games machine though, it can be the center of your living room entertainment system thanks to fantastic app support from video and music streaming providers. There are dedicated apps for Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Crunchyroll, Disney+, and just about any other streaming service you can think of. On the music front, you’ve got Spotify, Soundcloud, and Pandora.

Where the PS4 Pro falls down is in its lack of 4K Blu-ray drive, a feature its main rival, the Xbox One X, can proudly lord over its head. It’s not going to be a huge deal for most people in this age of streaming, but it’s certainly something to consider if you’ve a Blu-ray collector.

PS4 Pro: Verdict

Compared to Microsoft, Sony had less to prove when it came to their mid-generation console refresh. As a result, they’ve taken less risks and not pushed quite as far as we might have liked. The PS4 Pro lags considerably behind the Xbox One X in power and the lack of 4K Blu-ray drive is a real shame. But at the end of the day, the PS4 Pro is a gaming machine and on that front it delivers, thanks to a phenomenal library of exclusive games.

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced 4K gaming device to play the best games then the PS4 Pro is a strong contender. The additional option of VR support is just the icing on the cake.