Sony PS4 Pro 4K UHD Review
The Sony PS4 Pro is the first console to take 4K UHD gaming seriously. It is the first game console able to process game play at 4K UHD resolution with high-dynamic range (HDR), thanks to a better graphics card and other hardware improvements. Sony PS4 Pro 4K UHD offers more than it shows.
Basically, the Pro is supposed to offer players who care how about their games look the option to pay more for the privilege of know that their games run as well as they can.
You can also read our review on Nintendo Switch: The New Nintendo Game Console.
Table of Contents
Let us have a look at Sony PS4 Pro 4K UHD:
The PlayStation 4 Pro is essentially a PS4 with better hardware which is designed to improve the performance and visuals beyond a standard PS4 provides. Not every PS4 game can take advantage of the Pro, but it will play any PS4 game you throw at it.
The PS4 Pro promises to deliver better, smoother graphics than its predecessor. You’ll only get that graphical upgrade on games with a free downloadable software patch installed. The most noticeable improvements will also likely require TVs with support for 4K resolutions and HDR, the high contrast mode that can offer bright whites and more gradated blacks.
On the other hand, Sony’s choice to give players the ability to maximize their consoles’ performance has opened Pandora’s Box. Getting the console to output at 4K HDR is a complicated and expensive process that most people simply will not do, at least not until 4K UHD TVs become cheaper, and HDR becomes a widely adopted standard.
When played on a 4K TV, the PS4 Pro makes games look sharper and more detailed. On a standard, Full HD set, the games also run smoother. It is the best PS4 you can buy.
DESIGN AND FEATURES
The PS4 Pro has a bigger engine which made it a beast. It’s a little taller than original PS4 and clearly wider and deeper. The overall effect is more of a slab than a box.
The parallelogram shape remains but the sharp corners have been rounded off. A chrome-effect PS logo at the top is the only thing that really stands out from the matte black plastic. It adds a premium vibe. The very thin power and eject buttons don’t feel luxurious at all.
The original’s two-deck design is now a three-deck. There seems to be no functional point to this extra deck, besides maybe confusing people into inserting games where there is no disc drive.
As before, two USB ports hide in a gap at the front, but Sony has – at last – added a third to the back. You can finally charge your controller without a cable sticking out the front. The other connections are as before: Ethernet, HDMI out, Aux, optical out, and power.
Under the hood, the PS4 Pro promises twice the power of its predecessor. That means the Pro can run games faster, with fewer frame rate drops in intensive games. Most importantly, the PS4 Pro supports 4K and HDR.
A quick word on these, for the uninitiated: 4K refers to the picture resolution and is roughly four times the number of pixels you get on a regular Full HD picture – about eight million pixels. Theoretically, that means finer detail and greater clarity.
HDR, or high dynamic range, means a wider range of brightness, contrast, and color. This technology has come along because traditional production and display technologies don’t show nearly as much information as our eyes can see. A higher dynamic range means a more realistic picture.
There’s a new controller with a slight tweak. It’s the one released with the new slim PS4.
Functionally it remains very much the same. The analog sticks, face buttons, Options/Share buttons and D-pad have been given a new gray tone to contrast with the black of the controller.
The touchpad is also now translucent at the top, which lets through a little of the light bar on the back of the controller. It’s an odd move, considering the general apathy (or even disdain) towards the light bar, but it does make it easier for players to see which color they are in multiplayer matches.
It is fun playing games like Gran Turismo Sport, Uncharted 4, The Last of Us Remastered, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Horizon Zero Dawn; all on 4K with HDR-compatible TVs. The results are very impressive but differed depending on the game.
The Last of Us Remastered looks better than ever in 4K and HDR. Textures on the clothing are finer. Color shading is more subtle. There’s much more of a kick to sunbeams and shadows are both murkier and yet contain more detail. Revisiting Joel and Ellie on the PS4 Pro is almost like playing the game for the first time.
Then there’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, a newer game and already a stunner. This game’s PS4 Pro mode ignores HDR entirely, and instead focuses on detail and frame rates. You get to choose between visual fidelity and stability. Stick with 1080p and you can run the game at 60fps.
You would be blown away by Gran Turismo Sport playing in it. It runs at 4K (using 1800p checkerboard rendering) and HDR at 60fps. Ferrari red is accurately rendered, which is a big deal because it wasn’t possible until now. It’s a subtle thing, but when everything looks a little more realistic, it all adds up.
Less subtle is the matter of contrast. Sun glinting off a shiny bonnet ought to make you squint, and here it definitely does. Combined with the fine bumps and scratches on the metal, that’s the most lifelike video game rendering of cars I’ve ever seen.
All this and the PS4 Pro is only just getting started. We are looking forward to the flood of games that will make full use of all this extra power. You can play the new PS4 game Horizon Zero Dawn here.
OTHER EXCLUSIVE FEATURES
The PS4 Pro will launch with Netflix support at 4K resolution in addition to a YouTube app with 4K and HDR compatibility. More apps will open up support for 4K and HDR features as the platform matures.
Also exclusive to the PS4 Pro is improved bandwidth for the Remote Play and Share Play options, which let you stream gameplay over the internet. Both modes will be able to share, stream and play at 1080p seamlessly.
Of course, we can bring up the most glaring of missing features like – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback. For whatever reason, the PS4 Pro cannot play these discs (unlike the Xbox One S). However, the standard Blu-rays will be upscaled to fit 4K screens.
- Stunning graphics with 4K and HDR
- Games load more quickly
- Enhances some PS4 and PSVR games
- 1TB storage
- 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
SHOULD YOU BUY THE PS4 PRO?
The Play Station 4 (PS4) Pro has some niggles, but it also offers the power that you’d struggle to find out of a high-end gaming PC. You won’t find better graphics on a games console this year. You don’t need a Sony PS4 Pro 4K UHD, but when you see games in 4K, you’ll definitely want one for yourself.
Release date: 10 November 2016
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