Sony has finally officially revealed both the PlayStation 4 Slim — the base model going forward — and the PlayStation 4 Pro (RIP, PS4 Neo) consoles. There are definitely differences between the two, but, ultimately, they both play PlayStation 4 games. Given that they were both announced at the same event, it’s only natural that people should now be wondering which one to buy.
Do you buy the PS4 Slim? Or the PS4 Pro? Do you buy either?
The PS4 Slim
The PS4 Slim (which is typically referred to as “the new, slim PlayStation 4” rather than officially branded in that manner) doesn’t really have a whole bunch going for it compared to the Pro. In fact, the removal of the optical port ostensibly means it has fewer features than the base PS4 that’s been out on the market. If you have a PS4, there’s probably no reason to bother.
But for those of you out there that have managed to wait, the $299 price tag is hard to pass on. That’s still a lot of money, but it’s relatively cheap compared to what it’s previously cost. The slick new design is just a bonus — playing PS4 games at all is where it’s at. And for the latter, the MSRP is at a good place.
Ultimately, the PS4 Slim is a valuable addition to Sony’s roster, but mainly because it’ll likely reach a bunch of folks the company had yet to tap. More sold consoles basically equals more sold games and accessories. For consumers, this is a more general win: It’s cheaper to play those games.
The PS4 Pro
The PS4 Pro is a little more difficult to justify. The $399 MSRP means it’s not that much more expensive than the Slim, but it does mean that $100 needs to be worth it. Granted, I’ve not yet put my hands on either console, but the recent Sony event didn’t exactly inspire the way they were maybe hoping.
In short, the PS4 Pro brings 4K and HDR to the table. Without delving too deep into either, the idea is that games — those specifically designed to take advantage of it, or patched to do so — will look better on the PS4 Pro. Thats the pitch, anyway. The reality is hard to judge before the November 10 release date.
Most likely scenario? You’ll need a 4K display in order to really make the most of the Pro’s capabilities. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and will certainly appeal to the kind of bleeding edge fans that regularly build their own PCs, but for the regular schmuck that just wants to play Uncharted on the TV they already have, the Pro isn’t guaranteed to be worth their while.
So, Which One?
Assuming all circumstances equal, and you’re just now getting into the game, the Slim is likely the way to go. It’s coming out sooner — September 15 — and costs less. That’s just good math.
But if you really like pushing the limits, and you’re already invested in the hottest gear and displays, nothing I say here is going to convince you not to back the Pro. You’d probably already made your mind up before even reading this. Even so: Maybe wait until after launch? Console releases, especially mid-gen upgrades, aren’t always the best idea to jump in with head first.