Entry level

PlayStation 4 Slim

Enhanced experience

PlayStation 4 Pro

The PlayStation 4 Slim is perfect for those just getting into gaming or those who don't care about having the highest quality resolution possible. You're still getting amazing gaming experiences at a more affordable cost.

$300 at Amazon

Pros

  • Sleek and slim
  • Quieter
  • More affordable

Cons

  • No 4K support
  • Less powerful

The PlayStation 4 Pro is for more serious individuals who need the best gaming experience possible, complete with 4K graphics, HDR, solid frame rates, and more reliable PlayStation VR support.

$400 at Amazon

Pros

  • 4K HDR gaming
  • More powerful
  • Best PlayStation VR performance

Cons

  • Bulkier
  • Fans tend to be noisier
  • More expensive

What's the difference?

Both consoles may be 8th generation PlayStations, but the differences between them are more than just cosmetic. While they support many of the same features, the PlayStation 4 Pro bests the Slim in its power, meaning its internal components will vary.

Category PlayStation 4 Slim (2016) PlayStation 4 Pro
Price $300 $400
Dimensions 10.43in x 11.34in x 1.54in 11.61in x 12.87in x 2.17in
Weight 4.6 lbs 7.2 lbs
CPU AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64) AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64)
GPU AMD Radeon (1.84 TFLOP) AMD Radeon (4.2 TFLOP)
Storage 500GB / 1TB 1TB / 2TB
Memory (RAM) 8GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5 + 1GB
Optical out No Yes
WiFi 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz + 5GHz) 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
AV out HDMI 1.4 HDMI 2.0
Power consumption 165w max 310w max
4K Streaming No Yes
USB USB 3.0 (x2) USB 3.0 (x3)
PSVR support Yes Yes (Enhanced)

What do these features mean to me?

Most people won't be familiar with a lot of the terms listed above. You might be thinking how are CPU and GPU different? What do they really do? We'll break down exactly what they are and how they affect your gaming experience.

CPU, GPU, and RAM

The CPU (central processing unit), GPU (graphics processing unit), and RAM (random access memory) are all parts of a console that affect the console's power and performance. Essentially, they dictate how well games run and look.

The CPU is the console's brain, processing countless calculations to get the system up and running. The GPU creates and renders the images and videos that you see on your display. RAM stores the data and memory that is currently being used by your system.

So, how do you know which is better? Bigger numbers (when measured in the same units) are better in this regard. The PlayStation 4 Pro can perform calculations much quicker than its Slim counterpart, processing data with ease to give you the best experience possible on a Sony machine. This means higher resolutions, less frame rate drops—giving you a smoother moving image—and higher overall possible frame rates alongside better texture qualities, lighting, and shadows.

4K resolution

Any digital image that you see is made up of thousands of small pixels. The higher the pixel count, the clearer the image is as it visualizes more details. 4K images are considered ultra high definition at 3840x2160p (pixels), while normal high definition images are 1920x1080p. At a normal aspect ratio of 16:9 (a widescreen format), 4K images have 4 times the amount of pixels on screen than a 1080p image.

While the PlayStation 4 Pro does support 4K resolution, it doesn't always do so natively. This means that it uses checkerboard 4K rendering a lot where the console will render only half of an image and then extrapolate that data to render the other half at a higher resolution to give the final image the appearance of 4K to the naked eye. Despite this technique sometimes being labelled as a "cheap" method to attain 4K resolution compared to native, you're still getting a vastly superior image quality to that of the PlayStation 4 Slim, which can only render images up to 1080p.

PlayStation VR

Both support the PlayStation VR headset (sold separately), but the PS4 Pro does so better than the Slim. Because of its power advantage, you'll see images in PSVR on Pro are higher quality than they are on Slim. Still, sometimes these differences can be negligible in a number of titles.

What if I don't own a 4K television?

Even if you don't own a 4K television, the PS4 Pro still offers benefits in the way of higher frame rates and enhanced graphical rendering of lighting, shadows, and textures. Simply put: You'll be getting better quality on your PS4 Pro regardless of what kind of television you have.

Bottom line

The PlayStation 4 Pro is inherently the better console on paper as it offers more power, but ultimately what is best for you may have nothing to do with power. You'll know the type of experience you want while gaming, and your purchase should reflect those wants. Not everyone needs a PS4 Pro to happily play their favorite games (all PS4 games can be played on any PS4 regardless of which model you have), but if you can afford it, you're certainly getting a better product.

Entry level

PlayStation 4 Slim

Save some money.

The PlayStation 4 Slim gets the job done at a more affordable cost, it just lacks some of the enhanced features found on the Pro.

Enhanced performance

PlayStation 4 Pro

Play games at their very best.

The PS4 Pro is undoubtedly the best PlayStation you can get, but the benefits may not justify its price tag for some people.

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