We’re not even halfway through the normal lifecycle of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and already there have been not one but two brand-new PlayStation 4 consoles.
With over twice the power of the original PS4 and the ability to play games in 4K resolution this is designed as the ultimate PlayStation experience.
A lot of your decision-making around this will depend on whether you have a 4K TV or not, and if you care enough about having better graphics on your games.
If you do have a 4K TV however, then read on, because the PS4 Pro is about to become your must-have gadget for Christmas.
It’s rather big...
The PlayStation 4 Pro definitely looks the part of being a high-end games console. It’s about the same size as the original PS4 and a little bit taller, as visibly demonstrated by that triple-decker design.
It’s heavier too, a lot heavier, so don’t go leaping in and thinking you can just haul it out of the box with ease.
On the front you’ll find the optical disc drive, two physical buttons and two USB ports. We mention the buttons because the original PS4 had the most irritating touch-sensitive buttons that would almost always be accidentally pressed if you got too close to them.
On the back you’ll find a HDMI port, Optical Out, PlayStation Camera Port, USB and LAN.
Inside there’s a 1TB hard-drive, a welcome boost considering the average game these days will set you back between 40-60GB in size.
It’s really really powerful..
This is the most powerful console PlayStation has ever made, it’s more than twice as powerful as the original PS4.
That power allows the PS4 Pro (and developers) to do some rather exciting things with the games it runs.
For starters games that are already out can be upgraded to take advantage of the PS4 Pro’s power. Games like Titanfall 2, Mafia 3 and Hitman are now able to show better graphics on Full-HD TVs and 4K TVs.
Other games like Rise of the Tomb Raider go a step further, allowing you to play the entire game in natural 4K resolution with enhanced graphics.
It is also able to put that power to use with the PlayStation VR too, increasing the graphical fidelity and the smoothness of the gameplay.
The results are absolutely stunning...
Connect the PS4 Pro to a 4K HDR TV like this one and the results are absolutely breathtaking.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was one of the best-looking games of 2016 to begin with but in 4K resolution and with enhanced graphics the scenery can, at times, look almost lifelike.
From the light glistening off the snow to the dark, seemingly endless, blacks of the caves within which she explores the quality of the image is truly remarkable.
Of course again, much of what we’re seeing is down to the perfect harmony of games console and TV. Video games are no longer focusing just on the graphics, it’s about the quality of the image you’re getting to see and in that regard, the right TV is vital.
Another factor to consider is that the Pro requires some pretty considerable tinkering both within the console’s settings and in your TV’s settings.
HDR and 4K sounds fairly straightforward but unfortunately every company seems to have a different name for them e.g. to turn on HDR when using Samsung’s 4K TV you need to turn on the setting ‘HDMI UHD Color’.
Virtual reality also gets a significant boost thanks to the Pro’s increased power. Games like Robinson: The Journey look visibly better while games like RIGS run smoother too.
There is just one catch there, which is that you’ll need to detach PlayStation VR from the PS4 Pro every time you want to start playing in 4K HDR again. Annoying, but vital if you’re going to get the most out of your futuristic gaming setup.
The new controller is well....only slightly new
In addition to the new design of the PS4, the new DualShock 4 controller has been given the merest cough of a redesign. In fact the only real difference you’re going to notice when using it is the new light bar on the top of the controller.
It’s a small but significant change. Many games included a functionality wherein the colour of the light bar would signify something important in the game. Unfortunately, due to the design of the controller, this was often quite difficult to see.
By adding a tiny strip of the light bar to the top Sony is placing that functionality right in view. Personally we welcome this addition, the light bar isn’t just useful as a marker for virtual reality, it’s a great way of adding suspense of providing quick updates on your character’s current situation.
Who should buy the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro?
If you’re looking for an affordable (it costs as much as the original PS4) entry into the world of 4K gaming then the PS4 Pro is a no brainer. Pair it with a 4K HDR TV and games look absolutely astonishing. At present most games are simply being given a new coat of paint with the Pro but going forward there will be an army of titles designed with this console in mind.
Who shouldn’t buy the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro?
We’ve used the Pro on both a Full-HD TV and a 4K TV and honestly, the difference is huge. Yes the Pro offers graphical updates to Full-HD TVs but for us the increased price and size only really makes sense unless you know you’re getting a 4K HDR TV soon, or already have one.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is available now for £349.99