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Should You Buy a PS4 Pro?

/ Dec 22nd, 2016 No Comments

PS4 Pro

When the PS4 Pro launched in November, its release was more a whimper than a bang. Sure, there were the fervent early adopters, fan boys and those with serious tech FOMO (insert me) clamoring for it, but the hype was relatively dull. Whether it was the hefty price tag on the system, its in-between status or its lack of serious bells and whistles (no 4K Blu-ray player), the PS4 Pro wasn’t lighting the world on fire like the PlayStation 4 did a few years ago.

So, does that mean you shouldn’t buy a PS4 Pro? I’ve been using the PS4 Pro since its launch, and the question still isn’t easy to answer. There are some nice things about it, but everything feels circumstantial. What type of gamer are you? What do you really care about? How’s your gaming set up? Facts seem meaningless, but here are some observations from someone running a PS4 Pro on a 1080p TV without HDR.

4K and Performance Boost

The system is supposed to be better in terms of visuals, but unless you’re in the growing but still small demographic of 4K TV owners, you won’t get much of an upgrade from the PS4 Pro. Those running it on a 1080p TV will get a minor visual bump in games patched for the system due to the 4K downscaling. Unless you are dying to try some 4K-ish gaming, this isn’t a compelling reason to drop $400 on the PS4 Pro.


Watch Dogs 2 has better visuals and performance on the PS4 Pro.

Performance wise, you’ll notice some minor improvements in PS4 Pro-patched games targeting better frame rates. However, unless you are running the PS4 Pro and PS4 side by side, any difference is basically indistinguishable.

For what it is worth, Watch Dogs 2 looks and runs better on the PS4 Pro than it did on a traditional PS4, even if the improvement isn’t a monumental difference.

That Big Mac Design, Doe

What is nice about the PS4 Pro is the actual design of the system. While the Big Mac design looks funny at first, it quickly becomes comforting.

The most obvious improvement is the power and eject buttons, which are mechanical rather than digital. This makes it easier to find and press the buttons. It is a welcome change from the initial PS4 design.

PS4 Pro

The Big Mac look aside, the re-design on the PS4 Pro is solid.

The additional USB port is a blessing, and the system runs significantly quieter than its predecessor, which is nice for long gaming or Netflix sessions.

The biggest benefit for the PS4 Pro is the 1TB hard drive. While there have been a few 1TB special editions of the PS4, they have mainly been in limited quantity (or ugly as hell, like the Black Ops III Special Edition bundle). Sure, you can upgrade your PS4’s hard drive, but unless you get a great deal, you might be spending a similar amount on buying the new hard drive than you would buying a PS4 Pro and selling your old PS4. Since the PS4 Pro supports SATA-III, it would also be more beneficial to upgrade your hard drive down the line in a PS4 Pro.

The other drawback about upgrading your hard drive is re-downloading all the content on your old hard drive. The PS4 Pro has a very simple and relatively painless process to transfer all your old content to your new system. All it takes is an hour or so of time and two Ethernet cables. After that, you’ll have all your downloaded games, installs, save files, captured material and preferences, and plenty of space for more.

Stream Me Up

Streaming has risen in popularity since the launch of the PS4, and players are looking for newer and easier ways to stream. The PS4 Pro offers streamers a lot more options on how they can stream.

PS4 Pro

The new Dualshock 4 is a good companion for the PS4 Pro.

One of the biggest benefits is the ability to stream in different frame rates and in 1080p. The only drawback is sacrificing persistent background recording. For those looking for high fidelity streaming, it is worthwhile.

In addition to more streaming quality options, the PS4 Pro captures screenshots and videos in higher quality, allowing players to share beautiful images and videos.

Is It Worth It to Buy a PS4 Pro?

At this time, there is no significant reason to rush out and upgrade to a PS4 Pro. It isn’t a game changer nor does it fix serious performance issues like the Xbox One S does. The re-design is nice and the larger hard drive is a bonus. Performance and visuals for PS4 Pro-patched games varies depending on what developers did to optimize the experience for the new system and your specific gaming setup.

Unless your PS4 is on its last legs, you don’t need to upgrade. However, if you do not own a PS4 but you’re interested in buying one, the PS4 Pro’s features and future proof technology make it worth the extra dough.


Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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