Which console is right for you? Part 2 - The Sony Playstation 4 Pro
Console gaming has never been more complicated. Multiple consoles with the same branding, how does somebody not versed in the arcane arts of the gaming world know which one to choose? Have no worry, as we’re here to help. In our second entry, we’re taking a look at the bigger, badder version of the current leader in console gaming; Sony’s Playstation 4 Pro. Is it the console for you? Read on and find out.
• Better performance for nearly every game
• Does everything the regular PS4 can
• 4K capable
• More expensive than a normal PS4
• Doesn’t have UHD 4K Blu-ray support
What it can do:
It uses Blu-Ray discs, can function as a Blu-Ray player, a multimedia server and also has tons of online streaming apps like Netflix available for it. PS4 Pro units also support HDR out of the box, something that normal PS4 consoles can only do via a patch. The biggest draw though is that the Playstation 4 Pro can support resolutions up to 4K in some games. There is done achieved through a combination of the beefier hardware in the PS4 Pro and also through some technical wizardry called Checkerboard Rendering. Without going through all the technical aspects (some of which are baffling even to us), Checkerboard rendering makes a game look like its native 4K, but in actuality it’s not.
Don’t have a fancy 4K or HDR capable TV? That’s ok, the PS4 Pro also comes with Boost Mode, which allows you to enhance the performance of normal PS4 games. While not as effective as special PS4 Pro-specific patches, Boost Mode has been proven to increase framerates of some early generation titles like The Evil Within and make them run smoother and better.
Of course, the PS4 Pro also has the ability to swap the internal HDD to a hybrid HDD or an SDD. This makes a significant difference as both SSDs and hybrid HDDs have been proven to provide faster loading times, even over the default HDD the PS4 Pro comes with. Of course, you can also slot in a higher capacity drive if you prefer and just leave it at that.
As the PS4 Pro is an online capable console, Sony also offers an online multiplayer network called the PSN. It’s this network that the PS4 Pro automatically connects to when you get online. The PSN is the hub of all the online activities for the PS4 Pro. From buying new games, getting patches and even playing with multiplayer games online, you’ll need the PSN. This comes at a price though, while the service used to be free, it’s now $69.90 for an annual subscription. PSN does have its perks; Sony regularly holds sales that provide deep discounts to PSN subscribers (called PS Plus members) and also provide selected free games monthly. These can be cheap indie titles to Triple A blockbusters. They’re not all good games but since they come free with the subscription, it’s acceptable.
Then there’s Sony’s PS NOW streaming service, which allows you to play PS3 and other legacy titles via streaming. That comes with its own subscription but we Singaporeans are out of luck since the capability isn’t available for us, due to the servers being too far away for effective low latency gaming. The PS4 Pro, like the PS4, is also capable of Remote Play, which allows you to stream your own PS4 Pro’s output to another device. You’ll need a stable and fast connection but when it works, it’s brilliant. PS Plus owners also have access to a special feature called Share Play, which allows you to allows a friend to not only view your PS4 Pro’s screen, but also let them play the games you own OR join in as a virtual second player for local split-screen gaming. There are exceptions, but most games support both Share Play modes, which is great if you know somebody with games you want to try before you buy.
You’ve seen the great games the PS4 has in its arsenal. Now see how the PS4 Pro can enhance games into making them look prettier and play better. If you’re hardcore about gaming and want a Playstation console, there’s no question at all which machine you should be getting.
Watch the video done by Digital Foundry (one of gaming’s most respected technical analysts) and you’ll see why a PS4 Pro is better with VR than a normal PS4 is. Hint: It’s better in every way. If you're wanting to experience console VR, the PS4 Pro will deliver the best possible experience.
The bottom line:
If you just want to play games, the PS4 is undeniably the console for you. There are a ton of them on Sony’s console, and the exclusives are some of the best in the industry. The PS VR adds in a new element to gaming that’s still not replicated on other consoles, though the need to pay extra might turn off a lot of people. Its multitude of features means you’ll get a lot of use out of it, even if you’re not gaming. The PS4 Pro takes what’s already good with Sony’s base PS4 unit and supercharges it to the next level. Practically everything is better on the enhanced console and there’s really zero reason to get the basic console if you can afford a PS4 Pro.