Sony has officially launched two new PlayStation 4 consoles, the PS4 Pro and the PS4 Slim. The new machines were announced yesterday at the Sony conference in New York.
What a day for gaming fans, not one but two new consoles coming out of Sony. Together they represent the mid-cycle prowess of the mighty PlayStation 4.
Neither console are next generation machines and neither are to be mistaken as intending to blur the lines between current and next gen gaming. They simply offer a refresher, and seek to enrich our current gaming universe as they adapt to the 4K and VR markets that are set to expand in the coming years.
Let’s take a closer look at the future of Sony PlayStation, starting with the PS4 Slim
For starters, the older (2013) launch model has now been discontinued and the PS4 Slim will be the stock model going forward from this point. But what is so special about it?
The all new PlayStation 4 Slim is smaller, lighter and more energy efficient. The console is now the stock, mid-cycle unit for Sony. The PS4 has already been dispatched to retailers all over the world and will be purchasable from September 15, retailing at just $299.99.
The PS4 Slim is an impressive 30 percent smaller than the original; it weighs 16 percent less and is 28 percent more energy efficient. The PS4 Slim does not offer any advantage over its more portly predecessor processing wise but it does introduce a few new perks.
Not much has changed but the biggest and most noticeable feature added to the PS4 Slim’s new controller is the front facing light bar that adorns the top of the touchpad. This light will be the same as the light on the back but will allow for easier reading of light notifications.
Another new feature Sony have added to the controller is the USB communication gateway. The PS4 Slim can communicate only via the wired connection – this is an option that is not available on the current model.
The PS4 Slim, unlike the Xbox One Slim, does not offer up any 4K output. It will however feature HDR compatibility, as part of a new patch that will enable HDR across all PS4's, including launch models.
In essence the PS4 Slim follows the same blueprint of the PS3 Slim; aside from saving us a few extra dollars each month on our electricity bills, it has addressed a few of those niggling issues we experienced on the old PS4.
Other than that, not much has changed; the optical port on the rear of the console has gone along with the venting space. Instead, there is an open rim around the edge of the console. This has actually made the PS4 Slim quieter, although it does feel a little warmer to the touch than the older model.
Wanna see what this beast looks like on the inside? We have a whole article dedicated to showcasing the inner workings of the PS4 Slim. Check it out.
All in all, a smart piece of kit!
The Mighty PS4 Pro
Formally known as Neo, 4.5 or the PS4K, the PS4 Pro is the more powerful of the two systems. This console is designed to take the Sony PlayStation experience to new heights with integrated HDR technology and 4K output coming as standard.
The PS4 Pro comes with a significantly larger hard drive (1TB) and has double the computing power of the original launch model. The PS4 Pro will launch November 10 and retail for just $399.99.
HDR? Great! But why?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and basically allows for a higher contrast level between light and dark colors. This means that, in theory, the games you play on the new PS4 Pro will play at a higher level of fidelity than they do on the original launch edition machine.
PS4 Pro will even add increased gaming power to those of you that do not own a 4K TV. The overclocked GPU/CPU will allow for steadier frame rates and a richer, more immersive gaming experience across the board.
According to Sony, patches are already in development for current PS4 games that will allow for updated graphical content. First and third party developers are already working on making upcoming releases compatible with PS4 Pro enhancements. All games, both current and upcoming will be compatible with the PS4 Pro.
No 4K Blu-ray
The PS4 Pro will not come with a 4K Blu-ray drive, instead it holds onto the standard PS4 drive but it will receive over 600 hours of streamable 4K content courtesy of downloadable streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon.
The insides of the PS4 Pro are very special:
• Main processor: Custom-chip single Processor
o CPU: x86-64 AMD "Jaguar," 8 cores
o GPU: 4.20 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon™ based graphics engine
• Memory: GDDR5 8GB
• 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
The PS4 Pro is a far superior machine to the PS4 Slim and is certainly the best gaming console on the market today (or at least once it launches). The PS4 Slim is a great base unit for the PlayStation 4 but does not compare to Microsoft’s Xbox One Slim, but the PS4 Pro trumps anything Microsoft have.
Microsoft are yet to unveil their fabled mid-cycle machine, the Xbox Scorpio and Nintendo are yet to shed light on the NX.
Sony have the upper hand right now and the PS4 Pro looks like a solid machine, but the race is long -- the question is, with $400 on the table, is it worth holding out to see what the Scorpio and NX bring to the table before making a decision?