“PlayStation 4 Pro is the first console to take 4K UHD gaming seriously.”
- 4K gaming for less than $500
- Improves visuals on select PlayStation VR titles
- Makes all games run slightly better than standard PS4
- Looks good even on 1080p TVs
- Supports all PS4 games
- HDR can be difficult to set up
- Very few titles offer 4K support at launch
- No 4K Blu-ray Player
This review was last updated by Digital Trends contributor Cody Perez on 5/11/2020.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro was the first of its kind for
Unlike past hardware leaps for game consoles, however, the Pro is still a PlayStation 4 at its core. It cannot play any games or game modes that can’t be found on a standard launch console. Instead, the Pro offers players, who care how about graphics and resolution, the privilege of knowing that their games run as well as they can.
The console does not do everything you’d need to make it the centerpiece of a high-end media system.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is largely successful in this regard. When played on a
We’re gonna need a bigger box!
Physically speaking, the PS4 Pro isn’t that much different than its new counterpart, the PS4 “Slim.” It features the same sharp, slanted design, but with three “slates,” instead of two. The Pro is not as big as you might guess by looking at it; at 295 x 327 x 55mm, it’s two centimeters wider and two centimeters deeper than the original PS4. At 7.3 lbs, it is also a pound heavier than the original PS4 and almost three pounds more than the Slim. Then again, it’s a console that just sits under your TV most of the time, so who cares?
It also has some additional ports: The optical drive and two USB 3.1 ports on the front are standard PS4, but the Pro features an extra USB 3.1 port on the back, which is useful if you have a PSVR headset. To accommodate the
Interestingly, the PS4 Pro’s optical drive is the same one used in the PS4, which means it does not support
When played on a
The real changes are on the inside. The PS4 Pro features a 4.20 Teraflop (TFLOP) AMD Radeon
The bottom line is the Pro’s technical upgrade is more than cosmetic. Even without software support from individual developers, games and apps run more smoothly, and load times may shorten. Some games that push the games hardware to its limits (or have been poorly optimized) will stutter less or see fewer framerate drops. At the same time, this is not the kind of jump that will enable a new generation of games like the PS5 will later this year with vastly more powerful specs over the PS4. Even if Sony did allow PS4 Pro exclusives, those games wouldn’t be much bigger or content-rich than what we’re playing now with the next generation on the cusp of release. The improved
Shiny, happy people
The primary benefit of the PS4 Pro is the ability to play games at
As long as you have a
Each game also requires a patch enabling
When it comes to
The Xbox One S also can upscale games to
In many cases, the resolution boost increases image quality to some degree on both
Of course, this is all a bit confusing. While many games will “just look better” when you plug the PS4 Pro in, you may find yourself tinkering with settings to make games work “right.” This isn’t a problem — more choice is generally a good thing — but, as with adding patches and other PC-style system features to consoles, the feature offloads more decisions onto you, and forces you to do more research about the technical aspects of games. After launch, Sony also added a “boost mode” to the Pro, which pushes games without dedicated support for the Pro to run at higher framerates. Unfortunately, the feature is far from perfect: The results of “boosting” varies from game to game, and Sony has acknowledged that it can cause unforeseen glitches to occur, adding more trial-and-error to your console. That’s a boon on PC, where those distinctions allow you to customize your hardware, but on a console, it feels more like a burden.
Shinier, sadder people
Both the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro support high-dynamic range, so it technically isn’t only a benefit of the PS4 Pro. But since
Even if you purchase a compatible TV, there’s a good chance you may experience frustrating technical issues that could impede or prevent your ability to play games with
For this review, we tested the PS4 Pro with a Samsung 8-series set, which meets the console’s specifications. The TV was able to register
All of these roadblocks make
While it would be easy to simply chalk this up to a defective TV, it’s worth pointing out that the problem would not have presented at all if not for the technical eccentricities of the PS4 Pro. While TV-makers have worked to make their
What’s more, the PS4 Pro must be plugged directly into your television to support
Even under ideal circumstances, enabling
All of these roadblocks make
Going “Pro” in VR
The PlayStation 4 Pro can also improve how well PSVR games work, regardless of what TV you have. According to Sony’s Mark Cerny, the PS4 Pro does not automatically incur any technical improvements without dedicated support built into individual games. Based on our testing, we generally found this to be the case. Though games may seek to use the PS4 Pro to enhance PSVR in different ways, the added graphical power seems to allow the headset to show more detailed renderings at a higher resolution.
The PlayStation 4 Pro includes a one-year limited liability warranty from the manufacturer.
The PS4 Pro is undoubtedly the best version of the PlayStation 4, but it is not so much better that you should feel compelled to upgrade when a better new console is on the way shortly.
Is there a better alternative?
That depends on your situation. The standard PS4 is capable of playing all the same games, so you won’t miss out on any titles with its cheaper price point. The Pro, in that case, is only for those looking to get the most out of their
How long will it last?
Not very long at all. The
Should you buy it?
Yes, though it’s worth remembering the
This article was last updated by Digital Trends contributor Cody Perez on May 11, 2020.
- The best upcoming PS5 games: 2023, 2024, and beyond
- All Resident Evil games, ranked from best to worst
- Death Stranding 2: release date speculation, trailers, gameplay, and more
- The best indie games on Nintendo Switch
- The best N64 games of all time