PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S: Which console should you buy?
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S: We take a detailed look at Sony and Microsoft’s current flagship consoles and see how the specs, features, games and more stack up to help you decide which machine is right for you.
As well as comparing the two consoles, we’ll also answer plenty of common questions such as:
- Which console is more powerful?
- Will my existing games work on the console?
- Can I use 4K Blu-rays?
- Do I need a 4K HDR TV?
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S: Console Performance
The difference in performance between PS4 Pro and Xbox One S is pretty major, with the former having significantly higher specs while the latter represents a relatively modest upgrade over its predecessor.
Xbox One S is essentially the same machine as the 2013 launch model in terms of internal specs. There are minor differences when it comes to performance, although you’re unlikely to notice any discernible changes. PS4 Pro has received minor CPU improvements that have allowed for better performance in some kinds. Project Cars, for example, sees a 38 percent increase in performance with the PS4 Pro Boost Mode enabled. Unfortunately, visual quality remains unchanged.
We’ve compiled all of the specs below:
|PS4 Pro||Xbox One S|
|CPU||2.1GHz 8-Core AMD Jaguar||1.75 GHz 8-Core AMD Custom CPU|
|GPU||4.2 TFLOP AMD Radeon||Integrated AMD Graphics clocked at 914MHz|
|Memory||8GB GDDR5 + 1GB||8GB DDR3|
|4K||Yes||Streaming content only, gaming upscaled|
|Storage||1TB Hard Drive||500GB/1TB/2TB|
|USB||3 x USB 3.1||3 x USB 3.0|
|Wi-FI||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2.4GHz & 5.0GHz)||Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi A/B/G/N/AC 2.4GHz and 5GHz|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.0||Bluetooth 4.0|
However, the Xbox One S is still the best Xbox One on the market. That is, until Project Scorpio comes onto the scene in winter 2017.
Related: Nintendo Switch Preview
The PS4 Pro is a different beast when compared to the Xbox One S. Its internal components are a big improvement over the original model, as you can see in the above spec list. The newly implemented Boost Mode also allows players to gain extra benefits such as higher framerates across significantly more games, even those lacking a PS4 Pro-specific patch.
Related: Xbox One S vs Xbox One
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Dimensions
The PS4 Pro is quite a bit wider than the Xbox One S, measuring in at 295 x 327 x 55mm where the One S is 229 x 292 x 63.5mm. It's also longer, but ever so slightly thinner.
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Resolution and HDR gaming
Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S support HDR (High Dynamic Range). For more on this colourful new feature you can check out our HDR article. The standard PS4 and PS4 Slim also now supports HDR thanks to a post-launch patch.
The core difference here isn’t HDR, but instead resolution: the PS4 Pro has the ability to output games at a resolution higher than Full HD. Since release we have seen certain titles render at a native 4K resolution while others settle for an upscaled alternative. Several developers are aiming for something “close to 4K resolution” with all future projects.
Whatever the elevated resolution is then be upscaled to 4K. If you’re playing in Full HD, you’ll end up with smoother anti-aliasing, meaning the divisions between objects on screen will be much smoother than on the regular PS4. Many of the PS4 Pro supported titles use a 4K “checkerboard” rendering technique that subsequently improves textures and specular effects, making for a cleaner, crisper overall image without putting out a native 4K resolution.
Developers are also free to take advantage of the additional power of the Pro however they see fit. In the instance of the recent, excellent Nioh, players were given the choice whether to play the game with a higher resolution or framerate with multiple settings, much like PC players enjoy.
The Xbox One S only upscales games to 4K with no enhancements aside from HDR, as mentioned above.
Related: Upcoming PS4 Games 2017
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Boost Mode vs Ultra HD Blu-Ray
Features-wise, the two are very similar, but there’s one key differentiator that gives the Xbox One S a massive boost, and that’s its Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Incredibly, despite owning the UHD Blu-ray standard, Sony has chosen not to include the technology in its flagship console.
4K streaming is supported on YouTube and Netflix for both consoles, with more services on the way.
When it first launched the PS4 Pro was only capable of improving visuals and performance on titles officially patched by developers. However, this all changed with the arrival of Boost Mode, a new feature introduced in the PS4’s 4.50 firmware update.
When activated from the settings menu, this feature will improve performance of all PS4 titles, regardless if they’ve been patched or not. Of course, the results are mixed.
We’ll discover more about this new feature as it emerges from beta testing in the near future, along with which games best benefit from the rewards of Boost Mode.
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – What games can I play on it?
Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S support all existing games, whether they be physical or digital. Those wishing to upgrade don’t need to worry about re-purchasing their entire library.
In terms of games with visual benefits, specific games have been upgraded for both systems to support HDR content, with PS4 Pro being the only one to benefit from higher resolutions at the time of writing. We’ve compiled some specific games for each system below, including some of the things you can expect.
Best Games for PS4 Pro
Resident Evil 7 – Capcom’s latest survival horror masterpiece benefits hugely from HDR. The virtual reality experience is also enhanced by PS4 Pro with enhanced visuals on PlayStation VR.
The Last Guardian – Having launched with support for 4K and 1080p performance modes, Team Ico’s latest effort is a sight to behold. HDR is also supported on the standard PS4.
The Last of Us Remastered – Naughty Dog’s modern classic is a great showpiece for HDR. It also supports 4K at 60fps, which is nothing to sniff at.
Hitman – HDR support is absent, although both performance and textures are boosted on PS4 Pro.
Rise of the Tomb Raider – One of the shining examples of PS4 Pro upgrades. Crystal Dynamics has implemented visual improvements in both 4K and 1080p for Pro owners.
Battlefield 1 – The framerate across epic multiplayer battles receives a huge boost thanks to PS4 Pro, helped further by additional terrain detail on each map.
Best Xbox One S Games
Gears of War 4 – Acting as the pioneering example of HDR on Xbox One S, Gears of War 4 was the first of a few select titles to support the feature.
Forza Horizon 3 – Heralded as one of 2016’s best racers, Horizon 3 looks even better with a healthy dose of HDR on Xbox One S.
Final Fantasy 15 – It turns out HDR is just what Noctis and friends needed, adding an extra helping of colour to the JRPG’s gorgeous open world.
ReCore – It may have felt somewhat unfinished and underwhelming, but ReCore was a gorgeous sight to behold at times. The sandy environments are made even better with HDR enabled.
We’ll be updating this list as new titles are added, so be sure to check back.
See also: Upcoming Xbox One Games 2017
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Conclusion
The Xbox One S and PS4 Pro are two very different consoles. It’s clear Microsoft has focused on delivering 4K video content, while Sony has tried its best to produce a more powerful console designed with gaming in mind. The upcoming Boost Mode feature is bound to sway a lot of consumers looking for a genuine difference between the Pro and original PS4.
Which of these consoles is best for you can differ depending on your love for fancy visuals, top notch games or 4K video content. If you haven’t found yourself wishing for higher framerates and crisper visuals on your current console than upgrading might not be the right choice, especially if you’re yet to invest in a 4K display.
You could also wait for Project Scorpio, which is promised to be the most powerful console yet.
Which console will you be buying? Let us know in the comments below.