PS4 Pro or Xbox One S: an issue that concerns us since the commercialization of both consoles in 2016.
Mid-cycle upgrades on the original Sony PS4 and Xbox One consoles, they announced a more pragmatic approach to console development: Microsoft and Sony offered players more powerful hardware, better image quality 4K Ultra HD and enhanced features without having to leave the ship. to a brand new system.
Today, if you're looking for a powerful game console with the most advanced graphics, use the PS4 Pro, a pretty powerful upgrade from the original PS4, or the Xbox One S. which adds an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive and 4K upconversion to the original Xbox One.
The slightly newer Xbox One X is an even more advanced UHD panel, although we have described the main differences between the current Xbox consoles in a separate guide below. Or if you're not too concerned about the highest power and the latest graphics, we'll include the Nintendo Switch in the mix for your consideration and drive you to our comparison center.
For now, however, we are looking at the two upgraded consoles that made their first appearance in 2016: the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One S.
In some ways, this is no longer the battle of the moment – given the new consoles that have been launched in the past few years and the others that will be coming soon. But if you want to buy a new console with 4K capabilities now and do not want to shell out for the Xbox One X, then these are the two best consoles to consider.
This guide is specifically devoted to these two materials, but if you want to compare the two platforms as a whole, consult our complete guide. Xbox One vs PS4, which details everything from the console's respective controllers to game libraries and online networks.
Xbox One S vs. PS4 Pro Graphics
The main graphics feature of both consoles is their 4K output, but the way each console achieves this is slightly different.
With the Xbox One S, its 4K output in games is generated by a process called upscaling. The games themselves are rendered at a maximum resolution of 1080p (also called "Full HD"), then stretched to fill an entire 4K screen.
Since 4K resolution is four times faster than full HD resolution, this means that with the One S, each pixel of the game is extended to four pixels of your TV, giving a much less sharp and detailed picture than what 4K is really. able to.
Like the Xbox One S, the PS4 Pro is not always able to display native 4K content – some games, such as Skyrim, will reach impressive pixel highs – but most often it will also be a case of upscaling on the Sony machine. At least with the PS4 Pro though, she's slightly smarter with the way she simulates it.
Each game manages its scaling in a slightly different way, but so far, the main theme was that the games will be rendered at a resolution between Full HD and 4K, and then use a scaling method more advanced called "checkerboard rendering" to fill its 4K pixels.
When you talk about checkerboard rendering, things can get complicated very quickly, but it's important to note that the images that the PS4 Pro is able to display have a quality very close to the native 4K content, which is fine better than what the Xbox One S the upscaling is able to reach.
The PS4 Pro has greatly improved with the addition of its aptly named "Boost Mode" in its firmware update 4.5.
To really take advantage of the power of the PS4 Pro, the developers of a game would ideally activate the "Pro Mode", an extra line of code in a software program allowing the game to take advantage of more powerful hardware. However, adding Boost mode means that even games that do not have this patch are able to take advantage of the extra power of the console with more stable display frequencies and improved performance.
In the future, most (if not all) games will support additional Pro features, but it's good to know that the vast majority of existing games on the console can also benefit.
Outside 4K, HDR is another major recent development in image technology, and both consoles support it to varying degrees. With the Xbox One S, the list is limited to games specifically designed to support HDR and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, while for the PS4 Pro, most games with Pro mode should support it. However, the PS4 Pro does not have a 4K Blu-ray player, but more than that in a little while.
This means that the amount of games that support HDR is actually much longer for the PS4 Pro than for the Xbox One S.
On the audio side, however, the Xbox One S supports the latest and best-in-class surround sound technologies, including Dolby Atmos. You'll need a premium audio setup to take advantage of it (check out our best sound bar guide for some recommendations), but if you want the best, the Xbox One S has the audio edge.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro Games
Of course, graphics are only important if you want to play games in the first place. Although both consoles have excellent exclusives, the available games also overlap.
Recently, the Xbox One has seen great exclusives happen. We have seen the Gears of War series make a fantastic comeback with Gears of War 4, and Forza Horizon 3 has delivered a fantastic arcade racing action.
The Xbox also hosts the Halo series and, although the games have not been the same since development tasks were transferred from Bungie to 343 Industries, Halo 5 was still an excellent shooting game in its own right.
A final point in favor of the Xbox is that its compatibility with earlier versions is in a much better state than that of the PS4. Although you can not play all Xbox 360 games released in the last 10 years of the console, the list of 360 games available continues to grow and work on Xbox One.
Meanwhile, the PS4 has a number of excellent exclusives. These range from Uncharted 4 to Horizon: Zero Dawn, to excellent remakes of The Last of Us and Ratchet and Clank.
Where the PS4 is weaker in terms of exclusives, it's with its racing games. The Xbox One has several excellent entries in the Forza series, while the PS4 had to be satisfied with only one title (certainly now quite good), Driveclub.
However, apart from not talking about specific outputs, the vast majority of the most important games of this generation have been distributed on both consoles. Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, Overwatch and Hitman have all featured on PS4 and Xbox One this year, and most third-party publishers should now support each console more or less equally (notwithstanding occasional exclusive or exclusive downloadable content ). ).
If you want a complete list of the best games available for each console (exclusive or not), check out our guides on the best Xbox One games and the best PS4 games.
Movies and the media are another area where the two consoles are similar in some respects, but very different to others.
Let's start with the main difference: the Xbox One's Ultra HD Blu-ray player, which lets you play Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs in all their uncompressed 4K HDR magnificence.
Discs are not easy to find at the moment, but when a movie or TV show is available in the format, it's worth it to opt for the 4K version and, as time goes on will pass, the format will take more and more place in much the same way that the Blu-ray took over the DVD.
In terms of streaming, both consoles are on a much more equitable basis and are both equipped to handle Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube in all their 4K / HDR glory.
Video streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs have disadvantages. You'll need a fairly fleshy internet connection to get a good quality 4K stream (Netflix, for example, recommends a connection speed of 25 Mbps or higher), and 4K disks are expensive and unavailable for the vast majority of movies and television shows. shows.
However, although both have their disadvantages, the Xbox One S gives you the choice between them, while with the PS4 Pro, your choice has been made for you by the absence of a player Ultra HD Blu-ray disc.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro Price
While we love money as a game goal, the reality is that for most people price is a determining factor in determining what to buy, and this is especially true during the game. holiday season.
At the price level, the Xbox One S has the advantage. At $ 349 (£ 299 / AU $ 499), the console is a bit cheaper than the PS4 Pro at $ 399 (£ 349 / AU $ 559.95). However, there are always offers to make, especially in this generation of consoles, so be sure to keep an eye on our best Xbox One deals and our best PS4 offer pages if you want to get a discount.
However, if you do not want to wait, the best current details about the Xbox One S and the PS4 Pro are listed below.
So, what is the best?
Ok, this is the moment of the conclusion, which means that we will have to pave the way on how the two consoles are currently comparing.
Both hardware elements have their strengths, and which console will eventually be the one that suits you best to meet your specific needs.
If you care primarily about the 4K game, the PS4 Pro has the advantage. While the Xbox One S uses a fairly standard upscaling, the PS4 Pro uses much smarter processes to give its games a look very similar to the 4K.
Over time, the list of games compatible with Pro will increase and its Boost mode is an interesting addition to existing games on console.
The big advantage of the Xbox One S lies in its Blu-ray Ultra HD. Many have argued that the future of home theater was in streaming, and we would be inclined to accept it. But, although the two major streaming providers Netflix and Amazon Prime Video already support the 4K, you will need an internet connection fast enough to work properly. able to see it.
With the improved speed of the Internet, it will be less of a problem for the future, but as things stand, many people will not be able to stream 4K content.
So there you have it. An excellent versatile multimedia machine and a 4K game console with a small (but growing) number of games actually in 4K.