What’s the PS4 Professional?
The PS4 Professional is Sony’s supercharged model of the PS4. Not a real next-generation machine when it comes to options or horsepower, however a high-performance variant designed to dish out smoother body charges, 4K photos and excessive dynamic vary (HDR).
Launched on the tail finish of 2016, it’s now established as Sony’s high-end gaming console, with a powerful and rising library of video games that use its additional graphical grunt. The one drawback for PS4 Professional is that it’s now not the beefiest super-console on the block. Microsoft’s Xbox One X has it crushed on uncooked CPU and graphics efficiency. It has the facility to run many video games at native 4K resolutions, the place the PS4 makes use of ingenious visible trickery to create one thing that carefully resembles 4K. Has the PS4 Professional’s limelight been stolen by Microsoft’s new machine then?
Not likely. Whereas it’s now not essentially the most highly effective console on the planet, the PS4 nonetheless dishes out astounding-looking video games. The truth is, you possibly can argue that it hits the candy spot on worth and efficiency, each for homeowners of 1080p and 4K screens.
Associated: PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X
Sony PS4 Professional – Design and options
For those who’re used to the usual PS4 or the dinky Xbox One S and Xbox One X, then the PS4 Professional is one hefty matte-black slab of console. It’s taller, wider and deeper than the present PS4 mannequin, and whereas the One X sits barely taller, the Professional is wider and deeper.
It has the identical parallelogram profile, however now with three ranges of deck to the design, plus the identical matte plastic all through the case and rounded corners. It makes a bit extra fan noise than the previous PS4 or the Xbox One S and X, however not sufficient to be annoying. Tucked away in your AV stack or beneath your TV, it’s a surprisingly discreet unit.
Sony has changed the touch-sensitive energy and eject buttons of the unique PS4 with mechanical efforts, simply because it has on latest PS4 revisions. That is an enchancment, regardless of the marginally low cost really feel of the buttons – however they continue to be a bit awkward to seek out in a rush. Would it not have killed anybody to place in buttons you possibly can really see?
There are two USB ports on the entrance – useful for charging controllers – plus a 3rd on the rear, the place it’s notably helpful for USB laborious drives or for connecting PSVR. There’s additionally a selected connector for the PlayStation digital camera, plus an Ethernet out, an HDMI-out and a digital optical output. The place the smaller PS4s can get all the facility they want from a slim figure-eight cable, the PS4 Professional calls for a chunky kettle lead.
Associated: Best PS4 Games
Sony PS4 Professional – Specs
Any enhancements to the bodily design or function set are pretty inconsequential compared to the PS4 Professional’s actual benefit: an up to date spec. The PS4 Professional has broadly the identical eight-core AMD Jaguar CPU because the vanilla model, however working at 2.13GHz, not 1.6GHz. The essential system structure is similar, as is the 8GB of GDDR5 RAM.
The additional punch comes from the PS4 Professional’s GPU, with the variety of Graphics Core Subsequent Laptop Models doubled from 18 to 36 and clocked up from 800 to 911MHz. This will increase uncooked graphics efficiency from 1.eight teraflops to four.2 teraflops.
The truth is, one of many PS4 Professional’s key options – HDR – doesn’t actually use this additional energy, which is why you’ll discover the usual PS4 now helps it too. The extra vital process for the PS4 Professional’s supercharged GPU is working 4K graphics, or 1080p with extra element at smoother body charges, if that’s what you favor.
HDR offers higher distinction, and a wider vary of tones and colors. This improves the depth of the presentation, giving fantastically vibrant and vibrant highlights. As you’ll know for those who’ve seen HDR video, it’s a extra reasonable image with higher visible affect. 4K is an easy 2 x enhance in decision from 1080p to 2160p, giving PS4 Professional video games unbelievable sharpness and readability, with extra detailed textures in some instances.
Nevertheless, there are two issues we have to point out. First, whereas the PS4 Professional is extra highly effective than the PS4, it isn’t fairly highly effective sufficient to run most video games at 4K with a 30fps – not to mention 60fps – body price. Consequently, many video games really run at a decrease decision, between 1080p and 1440p, after which are cleverly upscaled or run via a checkerboard rendering algorithm to ship one thing that appears very similar to 4K.
Second, Sony has given builders a level of freedom as to how they use the additional horsepower. Most supply a 4K decision, however some provide you with a smoother body price or further visible results on the similar 1080p. Some give you a alternative within the choices menu, so you’ll be able to prioritise readability or body price.
What’s extra, the newest 5.5 firmware replace has added a brute-force Supersampling mode that forces PS4 Execs linked to a 1080p display screen to render at a 4K decision then downscale, smoothing out edges and giving Full HD photos a cleaner, almost-4K look. Add Increase mode, which ensures that even video games with out PS4 Professional enhancements run quicker on the mannequin, and the PS4 is a reasonably versatile beast.
In brief, calling PS4 Professional a 4K PS4 console isn’t 100% correct, ever so barely overselling it to 4K TV homeowners and underselling it to these with a 1080p display screen.
Associated: Upcoming PS4 Games
There’s one different purpose to get the PS4 Professional, although: it has a SATA three laborious drive as an alternative of the PS4’s SATA 2 drive, which suggests quicker loading occasions in lots of video games.
Sony PS4 Professional – Controller
Sony tweaked the DualShock four controller for the Professional and Slim releases, and the brand new model is now the usual mannequin. It’s simply Sony’s greatest ever controller, with snug, correct analogue sticks, analogue triggers and left and proper bumpers, and the addition of a translucent space on the high of the touchpad that lets mild from the sunshine bar present via.
In fact, the sunshine bar doesn’t get a number of love or use in most PS4 video games, and the identical goes for the touchpad – as soon as pushed as a significant plus for navigating in-game interfaces, however today nearly ignored. Nevertheless, the lightbar does play a job in PSVR video games, notably for those who’re taking part in with out Transfer or Purpose controllers. The PlayStation digital camera can use it to trace the place of the DualShock four, turning it into a comparatively succesful movement controller.
If I had to decide on between them then I’d say that the Xbox One X has the most effective controller, with its excellent really feel, near-perfect analogue sticks and highly effective pulsing Impulse Set off suggestions. Nonetheless, the DualShock four remains to be incredible. As somebody who spends a number of time taking part in throughout each consoles, I’m at all times snug and in full management with the lighter Sony pad in hand.
Sony PS4 Professional – Leisure and Blu-ray
You’d assume that with its 4K slant the PS4 Professional can be a fantastic console for followers of 4K video. Sadly, that is one space the place there’s some disappointment.
For price causes, Sony didn’t match a 4K Blu-ray drive – one thing you could find in each the Xbox One S and One X. The console remains to be completely satisfied to play Blu-ray discs, and upscaled Blu-rays proceed to look good on a 4K display screen. All the identical, if you need a console that performs 4K Blu-rays in all their HDR glory, you’ll don’t have any alternative however to hitch the Microsoft workforce.
Associated: God of War PS4
There’s higher information relating to streaming providers, with 4K streaming throughout Netflix and YouTube – though not presently Amazon Prime within the UK. Curiously, whereas Sony sells motion pictures to stream via PS4 and PS4 Professional via the PlayStation Retailer, you’ll be able to’t purchase 4K variations. This appears weird when 4K variations can be found on 4K Blu-ray, as with Spider-Man: Homecoming, Blade Runner 2049 or Justice League.
Sony PS4 Professional – VR
One of many massive hopes for PS4 Professional was that it could supercharge the PlayStation VR expertise, giving us extra element and improved efficiency whereas utilizing Sony’s VR headset – however this hasn’t actually panned out to this point.
A number of the video games we’ve tried throughout each PS4 variations run a bit extra easily with fewer texture pop-in points, whereas there’s rather less blurring across the fringe of the body the place PSVR sneakily culls element to maintain the body charges up. We’re not saying that there aren’t variations. Nevertheless, it gained’t make Skyrim VR appear to be the full-on Skyrim Particular Version, for example.
Homeowners of a PS4 Professional and a first-generation headset may also pay attention to a significant annoyance: the breakout field can’t move on a correct 4K HDR sign, so you need to hold plugging-in and unplugging the HDMI cables whereas switching between 4K gaming and PSVR. Sony has fastened this for the PSVR refresh, however remember when you have the unique model.
Associated: Best PSVR Games
Sony PS4 Professional – Efficiency
Now we come to the nitty-gritty. The PS4 Professional isn’t as highly effective because the Xbox One X. It very hardly ever delivers correct 4K output and, by PC requirements, its is ageing fairly quick – notably the Jaguar CPU. Play sure key cross-platform titles throughout PS4 Professional and Xbox One X – Rise of the Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Call of Duty: World War II – and the Xbox One X variations look that little bit higher, with barely richer, sharper 4K visuals at silky-smooth body charges. The Xbox One X has extra GPU horsepower to throw on the visuals, and that’s simply how the maths stacks up.
However whenever you’re exterior a direct comparability, the PS4 Professional nonetheless produces amazing-looking video games. They won’t be ‘true’ 4K, however they’re presentation is incredible on an excellent 4K display screen, and I think that every one however essentially the most discerning avid gamers will spot treasured little distinction. There’s additionally a large and particular leap in high quality over the identical video games working in 1080p on a normal PS4, even when upscaled by a 4K TV. When you’ve performed on the PS4 Professional, you gained’t need to return.
Direct comparisons additionally miss an important level, in that the studios which have at all times greatest pushed the PS4’s efficiency are these creating video games completely for Sony itself. We noticed this on PS3 with Uncharted three, The Last of Us, Killzone three and inFamous, and we’re seeing it once more on PS4 with Uncharted four, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and Horizon: Zero Dawn. You’ll battle to seek out any recreation on any console that out-dazzles these final two titles. On a giant display screen 4K TV with HDR, they’re as jaw-droppingly spectacular as gaming will get.
Sony has additionally achieved proper by 1080p TV homeowners, encouraging builders to place greater element 1080p modes in some PS4 video games, as with Rise of the Tomb Raider, or utilizing the extra efficiency to keep up a 60fps body price. Increase mode and Supersampling imply that even at 1080p, you will get crisper visuals and smoother, extra responsive motion.
Why purchase the PS4 Professional?
There are actually two arguments in play right here. If you need the quickest, strongest, most feature-rich 4K console then the Xbox One X is now the king of the hill. Nevertheless, at round £340 to the One X’s £425 on the present going price, the Professional is considerably cheaper and, most would agree, it has a superior library of video games. For those who’re out there for a 4K superconsole, look into the video games you need to play earlier than you decide.
The PS4 is roughly £100 costlier than the bottom PS4, however for those who’re even pondering of shopping for a 4K TV then we’d say the additional is price it. The PS4 Professional provides a major bump in visible constancy for not an terrible lot extra money – and you continue to get the extra efficiency and Supersampling enhancements on a 1080p TV.
The PS4 Professional is the undisputed console champ now not, however for those who’re in search of a step up into 4K gaming, it’s nonetheless the most effective deal on the town.