Weighing the pros and cons of Sony’s 4K console

THE PS4 PRO. Photo by Nadine Pacis

It’s been roughly two months since the PS4 Pro was released. I could still remember the struggle of many Filipino fans to find a store that had stocks of the machine available. The moment you caught wind of a freshly stocked store was also the same moment that the said store would run out of PS4 Pros.

I admit, I was just lucky enough to find a toy store with only a single Pro available. It turns out I arrived just as it was delivered to them. I also distinctly remembered that five minutes later, two men entered the store hoping to find the item as well. It was that hyped.

I imagine many of the die-hard fans have received their coveted console by now, and the rest are patiently waiting for their reservations. But for those who want to be a little more practical, the question still remains: Should I buy a PS4 Pro?

It’s not an easy question to answer. Based on my needs, I felt that the PS4 Pro was a good buy. Yet, there are still a lot of factors that can sway you into just purchasing the lighter and cheaper PS4 Slim. So instead of convincing you to buy the PS4’s bigger brother, I’ve listed the things that you should consider if you are tempted to get the PS4 Pro.

The Pros – Why buy now

Yes, the visuals and loading times are generally better

Right out of the gate, if you have a 4KTV, then it is definitely worth it to skip the standard or slim and get the Pro. More than a handful of games have been enhanced for the PS4 Pro and if you’re a stickler for graphics, then you’ll most likely notice the changes.

For the average gamer who does not own a 4KTV, let’s be honest, the visual changes in 1080p are incremental and most likely won’t look too significant. So if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re already good to go with a PS4 Slim. However, what the Pro+1080p combo lacks in the visuals department, is definitely made up for when in the performance upgrade.

The difficulty about doing visual comparisons with the PS4 Pro is that on a regular screen, you won’t be able to see a difference. You can look at countless of videos on YouTube and screenshots but because these images and clips are always compressed when uploaded, much of the quality is taken away. But perhaps one of the best games that shows a definite gap between the standard console and the PS4 Pro running with a 1080p TV is The Rise of the Tomb Raider.

The game will allow you to select from three settings: You can choose to go with the 4K mode, giving you the highest possible resolution while limiting the framerate to 30fps, the High Frame Rate mode, which supports a smoother 60fps framerate at 1080p, or Enhanced Visuals mode which supports a 30fps framerate at 1080p but brings out the best visual improvements that the game can offer.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zEAlRiHash8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

This is I think the best execution for games that are looking to bring out the best of the PS4 Pro. It’s also a good way to cater to users with different visual preferences.

Aside from the performance and visuals department, I also felt that loading times are much shorter on the PS4 Pro. I now die more often on Dark Souls 3 because it significantly loads faster than when I played it on the standard PS4, and FFXV’s rare yet annoying long load screens were shorter when played on the PS4 Pro.

If you have PSVR, even better

What makes the PSVR such a great piece of hardware is that it makes VR gaming more accessible to consumers. It has a low price point and while it requires some assembly, it still doesn’t take much effort to use. You can even use it with the PS4 standard and slim versions. (Read: 30 days with the PS VR)

However, as expected with the PS4 Pro, you can expect a slightly better performance. The visuals on the PSVR are not the best out there right now, but with the PS4 Pro you should be able to see a little more clarity and depth. This is especially true if the game is patched for the Pro.

Batman’s Arkham Asylum is one of the VR games that loads faster with the PS4 Pro. If you aren’t too taken aback by the game to actually notice the visuals then you’ll also notice a few texture improvements and clearer, sharper lines.

Should developers choose to update their VR games for the Pro we can expect better looking visuals and better, less eye straining frame rates.

Easy to upgrade

This may be insignificant to some but what I appreciate about the PS4 Pro’s design is how easier (and safer) it is to upgrade the hard drive. In a way, it makes up for the fact that the PS4 Pro still does not support external hard drives.

The PS4 Pro already has 1TB storage but I know that it will be filled fast after the first few months of 2017. So for those who are looking to to save more games and gameplay videos, the hard drive caddy located at the back of the PS4 Pro is easy to swap out.

Take out the blue tape at the back then snap up and slip out the plastic cover over it. From there you can now unscrew the caddy and switch out the stock hard drive there for one with bigger memory. For your reference, the PS4 Pro supports the typical laptop drives, whether they’re HDD, SSD (for even faster load times), or SHDD.

Relatively decent pricing

4K gaming and stable 1080p performance for P22,000 – P25,000? That’s not a bad price at all.

One could argue that the PS4 Pro cannot fully handle the requirements of a native 4K game, but the improved performance and the upscaled HDR visual treat that the PS4 Pro can dish out for a price that’s not even half of the value of a 4K-capable PC is a sweet deal.

It’s even better considering that the price is around the former price of the original PS4 when it was first released to the market.

Now for many, it’s still a pretty steep price to pay, especially for those who just bought a PS4 a year ago. If you’re in that situation, then it’s definitely not practical to go ahead and grab the PS4 Pro unless you really have the money to burn.

The Cons – Why you can wait

It all depends on the developer

While you can expect better visuals or better performance, it’s important to take note that much of these upgrades will depend on the developer. It’s up to them to decide if they want to make full use of the PS4 Pro’s power. This is why it’s okay not to purchase the Pro yet.

I know a lot of games that I wish could have a dramatic change when it comes to playing it on the PS4 Pro. The Witcher 3 for instance, is an incredibly beautiful game, and I would love for its world and overall visuals to look more vivid and detailed. Unfortunately for me, CD Projekt Red has decided to focus instead on their new IP, Cyberpunk 2077 and Gwent.

The same could be said for PSVR games. While you could see and feel the slight improvement in the performance, you won’t feel a huge change unless the developers decide to patch it for the PS4 Pro. Eve Valkyrie is a game I would love to see enhanced when played with the Pro.

So it would be best and probably more practical for you to wait until more patches come out for your favorite games or your favorite developers release games that already have enhancements prepared for the PS4 Pro.

The Slim and Standard supports HDR

It doesn’t help the PS4 Pro when both the Slim and the Standard supports HDR in gaming. If you aren’t familiar, HDR gives games a dramatic boost in lights and colors.

Provided that you only want to get that sweet HDR enhancement and nothing else, then all you need is an HDRTV and a Standard or Slim PS4 and you’re ready to go. There’s no need to buy a PS4 Pro for HDR visuals.

It also needs a little more TLC

Perhaps the slight caveat in the design for me is that it heats up pretty quickly. On my first day with the Pro, I was trying out different games to see if they performed differently. After 12 hours, I felt that it heated up more than the original PS4. To be clear, I never had an overheating issue in the two months that I played on the Pro, but after that day I felt the need to take it off the usual TV shelf and place it on a more open surface to make sure it was safe.

The country’s humid weather might not be agreeable for the Pro, or even the Standard for that matter, so if your room isn’t well ventilated and if you had to buy a fan for your original PS4, then it is also probably safer for you to find a good cool spot for your PS4 Pro.

The threat of the Scorpion

If you’re a loyal Playstation fan or you prefer the exclusive content of the PS4, then you already know that this section of the article won’t sway you to not get the PS4 Pro. But if you have no console loyalty, it’s best to consider the looming arrival of the Xbox Scorpio.

The console is reported to be released this holiday season so it may be more practical to wait and see. It’s being touted that the Xbox’s answer to 4K gaming is more powerful than the PS4 Pro, thus if specs hold more weight for you than the exclusive content, then you may want to keep safe your money right now and decide when the Xbox Scorpio is officially revealed.

You don’t have to wait too long though, as it is for certain that the Xbox Scorpio will make an appearance at this year’s E3 in June. By then we will find out which one is truly the more powerful mid-generation console.

The Bottomline

It’s the more future-proof choice

As of now the PS4 Pro looks less of a necessity and more of an investment that you can live without. However, soon, you’re going to want the PS4 Pro when 4K TVs become more accessible to consumers. And if you’re planning to upgrade your television or getting a PSVR soon then it’s best to bring home a PS4 Pro with it to maximize the visual treat that these screens provide. You’re also going to want a PS4 Pro once more content comes out that supports the console’s enhancements, whether they be visual or performance upgrades or both.

And with the increasing visual quality of many games, we can expect that among the three PS4s, the PS4 Pro would be able to run these more powerful games smoothly and with better visual quality.

Will you be getting the PS4 Pro this year? Or are you planning to wait? – Rappler.com

This article was sourced from http://newsvictoriabc.com