Why I Love the PS4 Pro

Why I Love the PS4 Pro

A few months after the PS4 Pro was released, I sold my original PlayStation 4 to help me buy one. A couple of friends questioned my judgment; it was "basically the same", and I'd sold my PS4 at a fairly cheap price. But after a year and more of owning the Pro, I'm glad I made that exchange every time I turn it on.


To give you an idea of where I'm coming from, I'm less interested in owning a lot of games and more in owning the best ones. I'm a firm believer that games are about much more than their graphics—I'm one of those old-school, isometric RPG gamers—but there's a visceral difference in the experience between playing something on the PS4 Pro and the base PS4, and many of the best PS4 are extremely graphics-intensive. The PS4 Pro has a 2.1 GHz Jaguar CPU vs. the 1.6 GHz in the base version, a bit more RAM, and a Polaris integrated graphics card with more than double the performance capacity, and the difference shows up more than I ever expected.


I freely admit that for some games it doesn't matter. However, I had a chance to watch a friend play Horizon Zero Dawn on his base system after I'd beaten it on the PS4, and it was almost painful to see. That's the only direct comparison I've been able to make, but I imagine it's similar for other newer titles—I love Fortnite and the Shadow of the Colossus remake as they are on my Pro, and I can't imagine those being just as smooth on the base system. It makes a difference with most of my older games as well; I'd say the biggest improvements were with Bloodborne, Overwatch, and Destiny, but they almost all feel better to play. (The one game where I haven't felt a major difference is Rocket League, but that's a good example of a game that doesn't ask too much of the system.)


The thing that surprised me about the Pro even more than the graphic improvements was the boost to online gaming. I knew the Pro's graphical performance would be better, even if I underestimated the extent; on the other hand, although I saw the upgraded specs for the Pro's wireless connection, I didn't know enough about them to appreciate what it would do for the multiplayer experience.


If you don't know the difference, let me save you time: the Pro offers WiFi on the 5 GHz band as well as 2.4 GHz. The base PS4 only offers the 2.4 GHz band. The 2.4 GHz connection has a longer range and does a better job when solid objects (walls, doors, floors) are between the device and the router, so that's the default for most things. 5 GHz is faster overall and has more available channels, which means less risk of overcrowding and thus a more stable connection at that faster speed.


In my apartment, the PS4 is about fifteen feet from the router through a big archway. I wanted to use wireless at first, but I ended up running an ethernet cable because the multiplayer experience was so bad, which I had to connect and disconnect every time I wanted to play online because my roommates didn't want the tripping hazard around. Now, with the 5 GHz connection, everything is playable, and I don't have to fiddle around with cords or apologize to grumpy friends for the inconvenience. Hardcore online gamers will say, correctly, that a wired connection is always better, but if that's not a reasonable option for you and there's enough open space for you to make use of the 5 GHz band, it's pretty good.


And these are just the major differences. The double-sized hard drive has proven useful (if only because I hate deleting things), the S/PDIF port improved the audio so much that I decided against replacing my speakers, and even my Bluetooth headset sounds a little cleaner.


Basically, if you're going to get a new gaming console, I think the PS4 Pro smashes everything else currently available. It's just a dream.