Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been out since 2013, however there’s a pair of recent, up to date gamers on the stage: The PlayStation 4 Slim and PlayStation 4 Professional. However what’s the distinction, and which one do you have to purchase?
Determining which PS4 to purchase may be fascinating—much more if you have already got a PS4 and are contemplating an improve to the new PS4 Professional. The excellent news is that the PS4 and PS4 Slim are, for all intents and functions, the identical machine for the most half, and all three machines will play the identical video games. Some could play them with further options or higher graphics, although, so let’s discuss the predominant variations.
PlayStation 4 (Launched November, 2013)
Ah, the unique PlayStation 4. It’s arduous to imagine this machine is already almost 4 years outdated, nevertheless it has really aged fairly properly. There are, nevertheless, some key specs which can be beginning to get a bit of lengthy in the tooth, which is exactly why Sony determined a brand new Slim mannequin was needed (identical to it did with the PlayStation 2 and three in the previous).
Earlier than we get into that, nevertheless, let’s discuss the PlayStation 4 itself. Initially launched at $400, it was a state-of-the-art machine for its time, that includes a graphics processor that made the previous PlayStation three appear to be, properly, a last-gen console. It will possibly output true 1080p graphics even in the most intense video games, the place its predecessor was typically restricted to 720p. Because of a latest replace it additionally helps HDR on suitable TVs, which is a pleasant enhancement that retains the unique mannequin extra according to the new Slim and Professional fashions.
It additionally featured a brand new controller design with the DualShock 4, which launched a touchpad and changed the conventional Begin/Choose buttons with new Share and Choices buttons. It additionally allowed the controllers to be charged when the console was in Sleep Mode, which was a large omission on the PlayStation three.
Total, the PS4 was a superb console for its time, and a worthy successor to the PlayStation three. However like I mentioned earlier, a few of its options are getting a bit of lengthy in the tooth, which is the entire motive for the new Slim mannequin.
PlayStation 4 Slim (Launched September, 2016)
As its title suggests, the latest model of the PS4—with an inventory value of $300, however typically accessible for much less—is a smaller, slimmer, and general extra minimal model of the PS4—at the very least on the outdoors. It does, nevertheless, convey updates to a few of the PS4’s extra outdated specs, which was truthfully wanted at this level.
First, and what I personally really feel is the greatest enchancment, is the Wi-FI: the place the unique PS4 solely helps 2.4GHz b/g/n networks, the PS4 Slim has each 2.4GHz and 5GHz help, in addition to including Wi-Fi AC to the combine. In different phrases, it helps all fashionable community configurations for sooner and extra dependable Wi-Fi, supplied your router helps those self same requirements. The Slim mannequin additionally bumps the Bluetooth connection from the long-outdated 2.1 protocol to Bluetooth 4.zero.
The USB ports have been up to date to the newer USB three.1 customary, however Sony additionally eliminated the optical audio port from the up to date mannequin to suit its slimmer dimension. Meaning all audio needs to be routed by way of HDMI for these with residence leisure programs. For many customers, this most likely received’t matter, however optical audio may be helpful in some conditions.
In relation to storage, the unique PlayStation 4 was restricted to 500GB out of the field, the place the Slim is available in each 500GB and 1TB choices. That further 500GB will go a good distance.
Previous this handful of variations, the Slim is in any other case similar to the unique mannequin—the graphics processor and RAM, for instance, are the identical. The actual replace there’s in the Professional mannequin, which takes every little thing to a brand new degree.
PlayStation 4 Professional (Launched September, 2016)
The PlayStation 4 Professional ($400) is the huge canine of Sony’s “new” lineup, providing greater than both of the different two fashions—together with 4K and HDR help for video games and video. The general kind issue of the Professional is a bit bigger than the unique PlayStation 4, although not by a lot—about 13 p.c—it’s, nevertheless, roughly 43 p.c bigger than the Slim mannequin, to not point out costlier.
It is sensible, although, as a result of it packs much more beneath the hood than the different two fashions. For starters, it presents three USB ports as an alternative of two (all of that are USB three.1). Similar to the different two, there’s a pair of ports on the entrance, however now it additionally presents one in the again—nice for USB storage.
Sony additionally up to date the HDMI port on the Professional to HDMI 2.zero. The older HDMI 1.4 customary (which is on each the unique PS4 and Slim fashions) limits 4K content material to 24fps (frames per second), the place HDMI 2.zero bumps this as much as 60fps—that is essential for with the ability to play video games in 4K. This newer HDMI customary additionally options HDCP 2.2, an up to date type of copy safety which permits companies like Netflix to output 4K content material.
All that mentioned, there’s one foolish omission right here: the Professional can’t play 4K Blu Rays. It’s unclear whether or not it is a software program or limitation, so we will’t anticipate that some software program replace will repair this in the future. It’s very, very dumb.
Since that is the 4K mannequin, Sony additionally bumped the GPU (graphics processing unit) up a notch or two. This make quite a lot of sense, as a result of 4K decision is actually 4 occasions bigger than 1080p, which implies there are extra pixels to push. The extra pixels the unit must push, the more durable the GPU has to work to do it.
The Professional presents a further gigabyte of RAM over the different fashions: as an alternative of simply 8GB or DDR5 RAM like the different two, it additionally has 1GB of slower, DDR3 RAM for non-gaming duties. As a substitute of utilizing the 8GB of “gaming” RAM for background duties like Netflix or Spotify, the Professional offloads these a lot much less advanced duties to the slower RAM, making extra of the “gaming” RAM accessible for, properly, video games. It’s a intelligent setup that ought to make the general system extra responsive and video games play a bit of higher.
It’s additionally price stating that simply because all three PS4s are utilizing DDR5 RAM doesn’t essentially imply they carry out equally. In line with Polygon, the DDR5 RAM in the Professional clocks at 24 p.c sooner than the unique PS4: 176 GB/second vs 218 GB/second. Once more, a marginal bump that may go a good distance in growing the lifespan of the Professional, serving to it to remain related till Sony releases its next-gen console some years from now.
Past this, all the identical upgrades accessible in the PS4 Slim—5GHz and AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.zero, and so on.—are all accessible in the Professional. It additionally comes customary with 1TB of storage—no 500GB possibility for this beasty.
Lastly, I wish to contact on software program. Whereas the Professional’s software program is principally the identical as the different fashions (and ought to proceed to be in the future), there’s one characteristic price speaking about: Increase Mode.
Increase Mode is an unique characteristic for the PS4 Professional that was launched with the 4.50 system software program. Principally, this characteristic permits present PS4 video games to place that further GPU energy to good use, which may dramatically enhance graphical efficiency. Or, in less complicated phrases: it makes present video games look higher and play smoother, even when they weren’t designed for the PS4 Professional.
And this isn’t simply one thing that applies to video games which have already been up to date to help the PS4’s elevated decision, both—that is for almost all PS4 video games. So, if a recreation pushes the PS4 to its limits by way of frames per second, it ought to be capable to zip proper alongside at 60 fps on the Professional with Increase Mode enabled. That mentioned, some video games are locked to 30fps regardless, so Increase Mode received’t do something to enhance that. It’s a software program limitation inside the recreation itself.
The “New” DualShock 4
Aside from the new consoles, there are some minor adjustments in the new DualShock 4 (notice: each controllers have the identical title, so there’s no differentiation there). Largely, the newer mannequin has a light-weight bar not solely on the again of the controller, but additionally simply above the touchpad. This makes much more sense to me, because it’s now a player-facing characteristic and not only a novelty merchandise.
The newer mannequin additionally options USB communication, so you may play video games both wirelessly or over USB—an possibility that wasn’t accessible on the unique DualShock 4.
In any other case, the remainder of the specs are similar. The brand new DualShock 4 controller comes with the PS4 Slim and PS4 Professional, however works on all three programs.
So, Which One Ought to You Purchase?
Not every little thing is black and white, so you may’t simply say “listed below are the specs, and here’s what’s beneath the hood” and anticipate that to be the whole dialog—that’s solely half the story. The remainder of the issues price contemplating are extra theoretical and even private in nature, particularly when you think about value.
The PS4 Slim formally prices $300, however you may typically get it for much less, and typically in a bundle—this PS4 Slim Uncharted Bundle goes for $255 at the time of this writing. The PS4 Professional, on the different hand, is $400, with no video games included—so there’s an even bigger distinction in value than it could appear at first look.
So what do you get for that extra cash? First, let’s discuss this entire 4K factor. Is a 4K TV essential to get pleasure from a PS4 Professional? No, however it’s good. The PS4 Professional remains to be an honest enchancment over the different two consoles on a 1080p TV, due to the enhancements and increase mode.
In case you’re in the marketplace for a PlayStation and don’t have already got a PS4, then you must completely purchase the Professional supplied it matches into your funds. Not solely is it noticeably higher, nevertheless it’s going to have the longest life—whereas the different two fashions will undoubtedly really feel dated earlier than Sony releases its next-gen console (at any time when that could be). The Professional much more future-proof, making it a significantly better buy determination proper now, even in the event you don’t have a 4K TV (but).
If you have already got a PlayStation 4, nevertheless, issues get a bit of extra convoluted. Listed here are some issues you must contemplate earlier than upgrading:
- In case you have a 4K TV or plan on getting one, the distinction is unquestionably noticeable. Even in your present 4K TV the enhanced efficiency and Increase Mode make a giant distinction, however you’ll actually prefer it when you improve to a 4K display.
- The Wi-Fi efficiency is considerably higher. Actually, this was the characteristic that pushed me over the edge. The Wi-Fi efficiency on my 2013 PS4 was so crummy most of the time I couldn’t even use PlayStation Now to check recreation streaming—with the Professional’s improved Wi-Fi efficiency and 5GHz help, nevertheless, that modified. That’s an enormous level that I really feel has gone principally beneath the radar, and most likely the Professional’s most underappreciated characteristic at this level.
- Increase Mode is legit, son. In case you love taking part in video games in your PS4 now, you’ll love all those self same titles much more on the Professional—even when they haven’t been up to date to help the Professional’s larger decision. Increase Mode makes every little thing smoother and sooner, which makes gaming extra enjoyable. That is positively a characteristic you’ll love and a strong motive to wish to improve to the Professional—even in the event you’re taking part in on a 1080p TV.
- Don’t fear about the upscaling factor. I do know lots of people are considerably involved about many video games not taking part in in “true” 4K. I’ll let you know proper now: don’t fear about it. The upscaled 4K content material nonetheless appears to be like nice, I promise.
In fact, it’s actually as much as you in the event you can or can’t justify the improve. I’ll let you know this: in the event you don’t have a 4K TV and are blissful along with your present PS4, don’t improve but. Give it a while—you’re not lacking out on something tremendous particular proper now, and in the event you wait lengthy sufficient some candy bundles will undoubtedly roll out, saving you an honest sum of money. I think about we’ll see some good bundles round the holidays.
So yeah, that’s form of the lengthy and wanting it:
- In case you don’t have a PS4, go for the Professional (supplied you may match it into your funds).
- In case you have a 4K TV and a PS4, it’s positively price the improve, however contemplate holding out for a PS4 Professional bundle to roll out.
- In case you have a 1080p TV and a PS4, the return received’t be almost as dramatic as it’s for customers with 4K TVs, so I’d counsel ready for a bundle. Give it a while—the worth will probably be a lot larger down the highway a methods.
I do know, it’s loads to soak up—like I mentioned, there’s much more to it than chances are you’ll notice at first. Hopefully I’ve been capable of assist parse a few of the particulars and level out stuff you haven’t thought of. And for what it’s price: I’ve zero remorse in upgrading to the Professional. I liked my PS4, and I really like the Professional much more. It was price each penny of my hard-earned .