As I wrote about earlier in the year, both console manufactures released a revised console in time for Christmas. This time both aspiring to bring 4K to the masses.
Sony has finally released its much-talked about PS4 Pro and its a whole new beast, much more powerful than before.Microsoft released more of a gentle revision Xbox One S. The comparison is slightly unfair but they will be drawn none the less.
Microsoft will be introducing its own beefier machine in 2017, but in the meantime we expect many people will be looking at the Xbox One S and PS4 Pro, wondering which of the two to invest in this year rather than next. So lets look at a big talking point 4k and HDR
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: 4K HDR gaming
Ever since the PS4 Pro was first announced, Sony has shown plenty of games running in 4K with high dynamic range (HDR) picture processing. We’ve played quite a few ourselves and been impressed. The console is even capable of playing games natively in 4K.
The Xbox One S on the other hand is not capable of 4K gaming. It does upscale all video output to 4K, including games, but you don’t get any more detail – it just takes on the upscaling duties rather than rely on your TV’s abilities.
The Microsoft machine does offer HDR gaming though. Developers can now choose to offer a greater level of contrast and a wider colour gamut in their games, for users with TVs capable of showing them. Forza Horizon 3 a Gears of War 4 are two games coming with HDR graphics. The PS4 Pro has around 30 4K HDR enabled games available at launch.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
One of the main reasons existing Xbox One owners would consider an upgrade to the Xbox One S is that it also doubles as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. It is capable of playing the new format discs and in HDR to boot.
This is one where the Xbox One S is better than the Sony powerhouse. Remarkably, even with Sony’s heritage in the format and being one of the major drivers of 4K Blu-ray, the PS4 Pro does not have a 4K Ultra HD drive so cannot play the discs.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: 4K video
As well as 4K Blu-ray support, the Xbox One S is also 4K-ready for streaming services. At present, that just means Netflix and Amazon, but we fully expect an updated YouTube app soon. The PS4 Pro can happily play 4K (and HDR) content, but only the Xbox has an Ultra-HD Blu-ray player built in.
Even though the PS4 Pro doesn’t have a 4K Blu-ray drive, it does come with Netflix in 4K from launch. YouTube too. We’re expecting HDR from both soon.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Performance
This is where things really start to head in different directions. In effect, the Xbox One S is a slightly tweaked version of the former model. Its quad-core processing chip is clocked higher in order to run faster and offer a boost in performance, but it is fractional. RAM also runs faster too, but the most obvious improvements come with faster menu screens than in-game activities.
On the other hand, the PS4 Pro sports an octa-core processor and a graphics chipset with 4.20 teraflops of power. There is also 8GB of GDDR5 memory. The PS4 can apparently play games in 4k but given the specs I would speculate its not native 4k and is actually some kind of up scaling
In comparison, that’s like having a drag race between a Ferrari and an Audi A5. Yeah the Audi A5 is a lovely car… but it’s no Ferrari.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Design
The white One S is 40 per cent smaller and thinner than its former generation, with the power supply now tucked away inside the main casing. It is, in fact, one of the best looking consoles on the market.
The PS4 Pro also has the power supply inside but is chunky and less sleek than the Xbox. It’s even larger and heftier than the original, standard PlayStation 4.
Consider its spec is more akin to a gaming PC, then imagine how big a decent gaming rig can be thanks to sufficient cooling and you can see why the PS4 Pro is on the beefy side. You’re basically swapping looks for power.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Price
The Xbox One S, available here, is priced at a very reasonable £249 for the 500GB model, £299 for the 1TB and £349 for the 2TB edition, although the latter is now completely sold out.
It could be said that the bigger bargain is the PS4 Pro, available here. At £349, it almost matches the top end Xbox One S, but it is a far more powerful machine. It only comes with a 1TB drive though.