Budget-friendly

PlayStation 4 Slim

4K Ready

PlayStation 4 Pro

The slimmer PlayStation 4 plays every game with ease, but the lack of 4K output is noticeable if your TV supports it.

$300 at Amazon

Pros

  • Fits just about anywhere
  • Whisper quiet
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No 4K support

If you want the best possible PlayStation experience, this is the one to buy.

$400 at Best Buy

Pros

  • 4K HDR gaming looks incredible on everything
  • PlayStation VR performance is best on this PS4

Cons

  • Noticeably larger
  • Can get loud during intense gameplay

Sony offers two versions of the PlayStation 4 without sacrificing a ton of features with either. You're really just choosing between a great gaming experience and a greater gaming experience here.

What's the difference?

PlayStation 4 Pro

Sony has a history of releasing a "slim" version of the PlayStation a couple of years after its initial release. In the past, those consoles have been labeled a little differently at launch to make it easier to tell the new version apart from the old one. These slimmer versions typically offer more a physical difference than a functionality difference, and this year is no different. The significant feature and performance difference comes with the PlayStation 4 Pro, and even then the difference isn't huge unless you own a 4K television with HDR support.

Category PlayStation 4 Slim (2016) PlayStation 4 Pro
Price $269 $399
Dimensions 10.43in x 11.34in x 1.54in 11.61in x 12.87in x 2.17in
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
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)

The biggest functional difference between the original PS4 and the new slimmer PS4 is power consumption. Sony claims the new PS4 has a max power draw of 165 watts, which sounds impressive next to the original 250w max of the first PS4 until you see most benchmarks. The original PlayStation 4 had an average power draw of 150w during its heaviest gameplay sessions, and never pushed anywhere near that 250w max. It is slightly smaller though, so there's that.

PlayStation VR performance is something altogether different.

As you can see, Sony is using the same CPU and a GPU that's a little more than twice the performance in the new PlayStation 4 Pro. There's also an updated version of the HDMI standard in the PS4 Pro, but there's no immediate difference in performance out of the box for video output. Games that struggled in the past to maintain 30fps or 60fps on a standard PlayStation 4 will be able to offer a more consistent experience with the PlayStation 4 Pro through its "boost mode" feature. This basically means games that appear a to stutter a little on a normal PS4 will look and play smoother on a PS4 Pro.

Understanding 4K and HDR on PlayStation

PlayStation 4 Pro also offers 4K video streaming and enhanced graphics on supported titles. Game developers will have the option to offer higher quality graphics to PlayStation 4 Pro gamers, which will be clearly labeled with PS4 Pro Enhanced on the box. Not only are most new PlayStation games being made to support this Enhanced ability, many of the more popular games from the past year are releasing updates to look better through the more capable console.

Take a look at every PS4 Pro Enhanced game you can buy today!

As for HDR support, while all of these consoles are technically capable of outputting HDR visuals thanks to a software update from Sony, the HDR content offered by almost every app and game doesn't apply to anything but the Pro. HDR is typically tied to either 4K content or PS4 Enhanced content, neither of which will play on these older consoles.

Category PS4 Slim (2016) PS4 Pro
HDR Output 🤔 ✔️
4K Streaming ✔️
Remote Play 720p 1080p
Share Play 720p 1080p

What about PlayStation VR?

PlayStation VR performance is something altogether different. PlayStation 4 Pro was built to better support PlayStation VR (You know, Project Morpheus and PlayStation Neo kinda go together and all that) but even here the differences are subtle on many titles.

Most titles that were available before the Pro was released look slightly better on the Pro, and those titles updated to support the enhanced graphics in the Pro are noticeably better looking than on the standard PS4. Because of the high focus on framerate in PlayStation VR, what you'll see in Pro Enhanced titles is more detail, not smoother transitions like you'd see on the television.

Budget-friendly

PlayStation 4 Slim

Save some money.

The slimmer PlayStation 4 plays every game with ease, but the lack of 4K output is noticeable if your TV supports it.

Powerhouse

PlayStation 4 Pro

For the best possible PlayStation experience, this is the one to buy.

The PS4 Pro is the best gaming console you can buy right now, but it's definitely more expensive than the Slim model.

Update August 2018: This article has been updated with new information on PlayStation 4 updates and new bundles available for the current models.