Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been out for 5 years now. It’s apparent that the aging console has started its age, as Sony recently announced a mid-cycle upgrade, the PS4 Pro last year. The Pro, as the name would suggest, comes in as quite the graphical upgrade over the original. With a processor locked at a higher clockrate and over 4 times the graphical power, it might seem like a better buy. Heck, even the 4K support seems to adhere to most consumers’ minds, so why would anyone even need to consider buying the original?
The price, it seems, is a major factor. The PS4 slim comes in at roughy $300, while the Pro will cost about a $100 more. For some people the price difference may not make much difference, but taking in certain factors it might make more sense to just get the base PS4 (or rather, the PS4 slim).
The Base PS4 is Cheaper
So what exactly are you getting for a $100 more? 4K support? Check (sorta, more on that below). HDR? Yep. Higher framerate? Kinda.
Let’s be honest, while 4K may be the future standard of consuming media, most people don’t own a 4K TV. Forget higher resolutions, even the promise of higher framerates aren’t delivered upon. While game prices have remained at $60 for years, the rise of micro transactions tell a different story. Now, we’re not judging you for investing in them (ok, maybe we’re judging a little bit), but that’s your conscious choice.
And with the PS5 on the horizon, are you really sure investing in a $400 console is the best decision right now? Instead, it’d make more sense to take some of that extra money you save and buy some really great games, particularly the exclusives. In fact, most of the slim variants come with acclaimed bundled games such as Uncharted 4 and Horizon Zero Dawn. Pretty great value if you ask us.
Higher Framerates? Not really.
Gamers around the world have been clamouring for higher framerates for years now. When it comes to the age old PC vs console debate, 60 fps is always the first thing that comes to mind of those on the PC side.
While the base PS4 has always held 30 fps as the standard, the PS4 Pro’s case is more…complicated. The Pro can output 60 fps, but only when developers deem it necessary. So while God of War can be enjoyed at a silky smooth 60 fps at 1080p, the recently released Marvel’s Spider-Man can’t.
Whether that’s good or bad, it really depends on your preferences. I am personally fine with 30 fps, provided it’s consistent. Ask our managing editor Areej, and he won’t hear the end of it. Although, it is sad to see that even the upgraded console seems to be at the weaker end when it comes to some of the biggest games that release around the year. The recently released Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is locked to 30 fps on both consoles, and that’s quite the bummer.
You’re Not Really Getting 4K
The major selling factor of the PS4 Pro is its 4K support. But that’s not exactly the truth. Sony has implemented a very clever technique for upscaling the base image to near-4K resolution, with what is known as checkerboard rendering. More on that here. The essential thing to remember is that image that you’re getting, for the most part, isn’t native 4K, that is 3840*2160. While you will get a native 4K experience in some games, the more graphically demanding ones won’t be able to break it.
The Next PlayStation is Coming Soon
Analysts predict that the next PlayStation, aka the PS5, will be with us by 2020. Some are even claiming that the console could be released as soon as next year! With the next generation of gaming upon us, it really doesn’t make sense to invest in a more expensive machine right now to essentially get a similar experience as the base console.
At this point it’s almost a given that the next generation will be adopting 4K as a standard, along with higher framerates and better graphical support (duh). If not a steady 4K 60fps, at least we’ll get 1080p 60fps (we hope). So why invest in the Pro, which essentially is half the upgrade as Sony would make you believe.
Instead, if you don’t own a PS4 and are really itching to try out Sony’s exclusives (which are just as awesome as the reviews say), just get the slim variant. You can find one for pretty cheap nowadays, especially if you’re getting one used.