For video games and the people who love to play them, 2016′s holiday season is the first since 2013 in which brand new video game consoles are being sold. Granted, these aren’t brand new in the same way the PS4 and Xbox One were brand new three years ago, but they do represent significant refreshes to both Sony and Microsoft’s gaming systems.
After a long wait, we finally have an official announcement from Sony that the new PS4 Pro – what the company originally codenamed PS4 Neo – exists, and is coming soon. So, how does the new console compare to the existing PS4 we all know and love? That’s what we’re about to find out.
The original PS4
The big, black parallelogram has adorned entertainment centers since 2013, and for most people who currently own one, it’ll stay that way. If you don’t have a PS4 yet, this one is going to go out of fashion soon. The original PS4 measured 275.1 x 305.1 x 53.1mm, while the Pro measures 295 x 327 x 55mm.
The original PlayStation 4 will be replaced by this newer, slimmer PS4.
By the end of September, this newer, smaller model will be on store shelves. Internally, it’s not especially different from the regular PS4. It will run the same games in the exact same ways as before.
Externally, it’s much less bulky than its older brother. It inexplicably retains the shape of the original, but it will not take up nearly as much space underneath your TV as before.
The base model of the slim PS4 will retail for $299 with a 500gb hard drive, both the same as the original console. This will phase out the old PS4 over time.
While the original PS4 had two layers separated by a gap for the disc drive and two USB ports, the PS4 Pro has three layers. The dimensions of the console have also changed. It’s slightly bigger, it’s 2cm deeper and 2cm wider, but interestingly it’s more or less the same height. It’s also half a kilogram heavier, or just over a pound. It looks like if you stacked the Ps4 and PS4 Slim on top of each other but for a reason: It’s got more processing power under the hood.
The PS4 Pro comes out on November 10 for $399.
In terms of rear connectors, the PS4 Pro is nearly identical to the standard PS4, aside from the addition of an extra USB 3.0 port – which might or might not play an important role in hooking up the PlayStation VR.
This port is puzzling, since to our knowledge the PS4 doesn’t have any accessories that currently make use of a USB connector that would plug into the rear, the exception however being Sony’s upcoming virtual reality hardware.
Another theory is that the new PlayStation 4 camera might rely on USB rather than the current ‘Aux’ connector (which we should point out the PS4 Pro still absolutely includes).
Unlike the new slimmer PS4, the PS4 Pro does include an optical audio output on its rear like the original launch PS4.
The final difference between the ports on the back of the console is the HDMI port. While the original PS4 had an HDMI 1.4 port, the PS4 Pro has an HDMI 2.0 port to allow it to output at 4K resolutions (more on that later). Despite speculation to the contrary the PS4 Pro does not include an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. It can play Full HD 1080p Blu-ray discs just the same as the original PS4.
Sony’s decision to omit a Ultra-HD Blu-ray drive from the system is puzzling, considering that Blu-ray support was one of the major boons of the PS3. Now, Sony might be saving that for another console down the road, however, considering that Microsoft’s Xbox One S already has the high-end disc drive, it would’ve benefitted Sony to launch the Pro with one as well.
The PS4 Pro is undoubtedly a substantial step up from the PS4, but ‘true’ 4K gaming is difficult for it to achieve without compromise. The biggest difference between it and the standard PS4 visually is the addition of an extra layer, but the internals have been beefed up considerably. The GPU is a great deal faster, and although the CPU is architecturally similar we’ve been told it’s clocked at a faster speed.
So should you make the upgrade from your existing PS4? The answer largely depends on if you have a 4K TV or plan on upgrading to one in the coming months. If you are, then the PS4 Pro will present numerous visual benefits. If you aren’t, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to upgrade right now. If you don’t have a PS4 yet and you want the best console gaming experience on your nice TV, this is the way to go right now.