As of Nov. 10, the PlayStation 4 line will look radically different as two new models come to retail. The PlayStation lover well-versed in specs will know exactly how to discern one version of the PS4 from the other. What about the layman, though, who can’t tell a PlayStation from a PSone?
Comparing this generation’s entire PlayStation 4 hardware family — that’d be the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 slim and PlayStation 4 Pro — is a simple task, if you’re willing to take the time to do it. Below, find how each version of the PS4 differs in terms of dimensions, processing power and, most importantly, looks. We've also got charts with all the specs you need at the very end.
How big are these things?
The original PS4, which Sony is phasing out in favor of its lithe little sibling, is almost 11 inches wide, 2 inches tall and 12 inches long. The differential between it and the slim is more than an inch all around: The new and improved PS4 is 10 inches by 1.5 inches by 11 inches in size.
The PS4 Pro, what with its expanded power and talked up graphical capabilities, leans toward the other end of the scale. It’s almost a foot wide, two inches tall and almost 13 inches long, which is a significant change from the slim in particular. A comparison shot below demonstrates how these dimensions translate to a showroom and, with some imagination, your living room.
For those keeping score at home, the PS4 Pro is a big dude. It’s nearly a foot wide and more than a foot long, to the tune of two inches over the PS4 slim. Potential PlayStation owners with a dearth of space should take note that the slim is, obviously, the smallest of the three, although the difference from the OG system isn't as major as they may expect.
How much do they weigh?
If, for some reason, you have a proclivity for repeatedly picking up your consoles, the PlayStation 4 Pro will give your arms the best workout. At 3.3 kilograms (or more than 7 pounds), the console is far heavier than its older sisters. Just look at Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Andrew House, struggling to keep hold of it:
Andrew House is having difficulty holding that PS4 Pro pic.twitter.com/xSKvRWb3Zd— Wario64 (@Wario64) September 7, 2016
PlayStation 4 slim lives up to its unofficial title, weighing in at a comparably featherweight 2.1 kilograms. That’s a bit more than 4.5 pounds, which is nice for people who expect to cart the console between rooms and friends’ houses and what have you. We’d call this disappointing news for the PlayStation 4 powerlifting community, but then, why would anyone expect the slim to make for a good dumbbell?
The original PS4, to that end, is a nice in-between for the two. It’s far meatier than the slim — it’s 2.8 kilograms, or 6 pounds — and not too much lighter than the Pro. Current PS4 owners, then, should adapt to the Pro’s weight with ease, while the slim will be like carrying a bag of feathers. Relatively speaking, that is.
What about processing power?
The PlayStation 4 Pro exists for the primary reason that it is more powerful than either the slim or the original PS4. Expect those differences to be immediate and obvious when playing new games or patched-up older titles on that nice 4K set of yours.
The CPU is the same on all three systems, but the Pro’s is overclocked at 2.1 GHz, while the original's is at 1.6 GHz. It also has a GPU capable of a blazing 4.20 teraflops, while the GPU in slim and original tops out at 1.84 teraflops. (Have no clue what that unit of measurement even means? You’re not alone. Thankfully, Polygon has done the research for you.)
Of course, with great power comes great power bills. The Pro in particular uses a ton of power when it’s running; its maximum is 310 watts. The miserly billpayer may want to spring for the slim, which consumes at most 165 watts during a gameplay session.
Any other big differences?
This may be of interest to those who tend to use their PS4 as a charging station for USB cables and compatible devices of all kinds. The original PS4 and slim both come with two USB ports at the front of the console. The Pro? This guy has three USB ports to be proud of, with the extra one sitting in the back. That’s perfect for charging those new DualShock 4 controllers, shipping alongside the slim.
Also, right now the PlayStation 4 is most readily available in a 500 GB model. The slim will ship with that storage space on board as well, but there will also be a 1 TB version coming to retail. PS4 Pro has a 1 TB hard drive as standard.
So which one do I buy?
Careful: This isn’t a buyer's guide. We’re just here to clarify just what makes these three similarly named consoles unique. Which one works for you is a decision you and you alone can make, and it’s dependent on several other factors that go beyond the basic internal and external differences between the three consoles.
If you absolutely need an answer, though, here’s what we can offer: The slim, which is becoming the de facto PS4 when it hits retail Sept. 15, is a standard option that does all of the things anyone would expect a PS4 to do. It plays every PS4 game, it streams Netflix and it outputs in a crisp 1080p. With a firmware update arriving next week, the console will even be HDR-compatible, just like the Pro is by default.
If you’re into the sharpest graphics, 4K video streaming, the best frame rate (for single-player games, at least) and most high-end tech on the market, though, the PS4 Pro is your guy. Also, again, if you’re really into cradling your consoles in your arms, expect the biggest gains from lifting up the heavy Pro.
Yet there’s one other console that 4K-loving console owners may be considering before they make the choice to buy a Pro on Nov. 10. Microsoft’s Project Scorpio is a revision on Xbox One that will have many of the same, higher end functionalities as PS4 Pro and then some. We sent those two toe-to-toe as well; find out how PS4 Pro and Scorpio stack up against each other next.