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PS4 Pro vs PS4: Time to upgrade?

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PS4 Pro vs PS4: All you need to know about Sony's new 4K console and how it stacks up against the original PS4 and PS4 Slim. Trusted Reviews will answer all the questions you might have, including the need for a 4K/HDR-ready TV to get the most from the machine, and how it takes advantage of existing 1080p displays.

The PS4 Pro is now out in stores. While it isn't a huge generational leap, it does bring some impressive upgrades.

In our PS4 Pro review, we describe the console as a "no brainer" for anyone who currently lacking a next-gen console. But for those with a PS4, is it that much better to consider upgrading? Let's take a look.

Best Deals for Sony PS4 Pro

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PS4 Pro vs PS4: Specs

The PS4 Pro is more powerful than the original PS4, mainly in the graphics department. It uses a new, updated graphics processor that's roughly twice as powerful, and a slightly faster processor. It also features improved Wi-Fi. Here are the PS4 Pro specs:

  • Main processor: Custom-chip single Processor
  • CPU: x86-64 AMD "Jaguar," 8 cores
  • GPU: 4.20 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon™ based graphics engine
  • Memory: GDDR5 8GB 1GB of VRAM
  • Storage size: 1TB
  • External dimensions: Approx. 295×55×327 mm (width × height × length) (excludes largest projection)
  • Mass: Approx. 3.3 kg
  • BD/DVD Drive: BD × 6 CAV, DVD × 8 CAV
  • Input/Output: Super-Speed USB (USB 3.1 Gen.1) port × 3, AUX port × 1
  • Networking: Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)×1, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE)
  • Power: AC 100V, 50/60Hz
  • Power consumption: Max. 310W
  • Operating temp: 5ºC – 35ºC
  • AV Output: HDMI out port (supports 4K/HDR) DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) port
Related: Xbox Scorpio – Everything we know

So, what does that mean in terms of performance in comparison to the PS4? Well, the Pro will run games faster, with fewer framerate tears in more intensive games, providing a smoother gaming experience across the board. The faster GPU, which is more than double that of the original PS4, allows for improved resolution, effects and performance, though the difference is less pronounced in games that rely heavily on the CPU.

All new and recent PS4 games are required to support a 'Pro' mode, which means either improved resolution and/or increased texture and effects quality. Crucially, games that support an increased '4K' mode have to run as smoothly as they do on the standard PS4 console. Even if you don't have a 4K TV, games will look better on the PS4 Pro, though to what degree is down to the developer.

Watch our PS4 Pro video review

Related: Nintendo Switch hands-on preview

Of course, the PS4 Pro adds support for 4K output to facilitate all of this, meaning you'll be able to play games and stream certain content in Ultra HD provided you've got a 4K-ready TV set. It'll also upscale some games to 'near 4K' and offer improved frame rates – a welcome, if imperfect enhancement

Disappointingly, the PS4 Pro doesn't feature a 4K Blu-ray player – though obviously neither does the new PS4 proper, which also won't be able to play games or stream content in 4K.

However, Sony's latest software update has introduced support for HDR video and gaming for the standard PS4 console (both the new slim design and the original console). That means that while the PS4 won't be able to stream or play games in 4K, it will bring HDR enhancements to content, which include brighter whites, more natural colours, and more detail preserved in the image. Naturally, the PS4 Pro will also support HDR, but you will need an HDR-ready set in both cases.

Another reason for the performance boost on the Pro is the arrival of PSVR, having launched back in 2016. Both the PS4 and PS4 Pro will be able to support Sony's new virtual reality platform. But some developers have expressed disappointment that the current PS4 tech is a bit of a bottleneck when it comes to virtual reality.

The complaint stems from the fact Sony has specified that all VR games have to run at 60fps minimum to avoid any issues with lag and motion sickness, which is a tricky task for the current PS4. The Pro console's extra processing grunt will ensure the experience is smooth without developers having to compromise too much on graphical detail.

Watch: PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S

PS4 Pro will also be capable of capturing 1080p video and 4K screenshots by using specific hardware or the Dualshock 4's share button. These can then be stored on the local hard drive or transferred to other devices via a USB. Either way, you'll be able to share some truly stunning pics on social media.

Those upgrading from a standard PS4 to a PS4 Pro will be able to transfer all their saved data using an Ethernet cable, meaning you shouldn't lose too much if you plan on upgrading. Once your current PS4 is upgraded to firmware version 4.0, you can find an option to transfer via Ethernet hidden away in the settings menu.

Related: Best PS4 deals

Best Deals for Sony PlayStation 4 (Slim)

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PS4 Pro vs PS4 – Games

Double the graphics power suggests we'll be getting some amazing games in the future and we're beginning to see that already. But Sony is clear that there can be no games exclusive to the PS4 Pro. All software must work on the older hardware, be it the original PS4 or the slimmer 2016 model.

However, games will be allowed to have Pro-exclusive improvements such as higher-res textures, better resolutions and improved frame rates, provided they still run at an acceptable pace on the original console.

"Pro-Enhanced" versions of PS4 titles can be identified by the following logo on packaging. Our guess is the same information will appear on the PlayStation Store alongside digital titles. Many digital titles have received post-launch patches adding PS4 Pro support, too.

Related: Best PlayStation VR games

ps4 pro

This is going a bit of a double-edged sword for developers. On one hand, they have more power to play with, which means better frame rates and higher resolutions. But they also have to make sure their games scale down to the older machine. This adds a whole load of extra work and means development teams may have to grow to handle the increased faff.

Ultimately, this means we may not see the true potential of the Pro realised until well into 2017, when studios have properly adapted to the new workload.

PS4 Pro vs PS4 – Design and accessories

The PS4 Pro is big. It'll measure 295mm x 55mm x 327mm (WxHxD) and weigh a hefty 3.3kg.

The new PS4 on the other hand is basically a slimmed down version of the original PS4, which is why it was known as the PS4 Slim prior to launch. At 265mm wide x 39mm high x 288mm long, it won't be much smaller than its predecessor, which measured 275mm x 53mm x 305mm, but it will be significantly thinner.

And while the new PS4 consoles may sport new looks, the accessories are mostly the same. The new DualShock 4 controller comes with a light on the touchpad, but that's the only difference

Related: Best PS4 Games 2017

Best Deals for Sony PS4 Pro

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PS4 Pro vs PS4 – Final thoughts

Depending on your gaming and media needs, both the PS4 Pro and new PS4 look like good value for what they offer.

There's no doubt the PS4 Pro is a better, more capable machine. For £100 extra you're getting something that is firmly future-proofed, what with its support for 4K and HDR, and it's a small amount compared to buying a new TV.

However, for now, the best rule to follow is to only buy the PS4 Pro if you already own a 4K HDR TV, or are planning to buy one in the near future. If you can't afford to buy a new console and a new TV, the standard PS4 is the better choice.

Are you leaning towards the PS4 Pro or new slimmer PS4? Let us know in the comments below.

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