Sony PlayStation 4 Pro vs PlayStation 4: Should you upgrade?

No! There's HDR for all

One surprising twist that came out of the PlayStation Meeting in September is that the addition of high dynamic range (HDR) lighting support won't be solely limited to the PlayStation 4 Pro, and it won't just be built into newer PS4 hardware (like the slim console).

In fact, it's now available for each and every PlayStation 4 via a firmware update that came out earlier this autumn. So yes, the three-year-old PS4 you bought back at launch now has HDR support once you're fully up-to-date - you'll just need the right kind of TV to take advantage of it.

Talk about a slap in the face to Microsoft, which just introduced the Xbox One S with HDR support while the original Xbox One isn't slated to get it. Still, that means that HDR won't be an exclusive perk to the Pro, and you'll still get the benefits on an older PS4.

Maybe! VR gets a boost

Sony says that the PlayStation VR can benefit significantly from the PlayStation 4 Pro, allowing games to run at higher and smoother frame rates, as well as with more details packed within their immersive worlds.

All of that is super critical for virtual reality. While PSVR games look pretty good and run solidly well with the standard PS4, frame rate stability is absolutely crucial to enjoying VR and not getting sick in the process. Boosting the frame rate and enhancing the visual experience could be felt very strongly in VR – perhaps even more so than on your TV.

That said, the early batch of PS4 Pro-enhanced VR games don't really show the potential of the Pro upgrade. Battlezone adds some improved lighting effects and such, and Rez Infinite brings in some particle effects, but we couldn't see any difference with The Playroom. All told, the enhancements so far seem extremely minor.

With more time, we'll hopefully see more of an advantage to the Pro experience when it comes to PlayStation VR, but right now, the tweaks are nice-to-haves rather than must-haves.

Yes! Share and stream better

If you're big on the PS4's social and streaming functions, then you might see some extra benefit from the PlayStation 4 Pro.

For example, the Share Play feature - which lets you bring an ally into a game like FIFA 17 by streaming a portion of the game you own to his or her PS4 - can now deliver a 1080p experience to the other console, whereas it's limited to 720p on the regular system.

And if you don't like to play without an audience, now you can enhance their viewing experience by streaming gameplay at 1080p resolution running at 60 frames per second to services like Twitch and YouTube. Even still screenshots can be grabbed at full 4K - that's 3840 x 2160 - and flung out into the world.

Many PS4 players probably use these functions sparingly, if at all, but those who really love them could see real value in the Pro upgrade.

Verdict: Worth the upgrade?

Your initial reaction to the PlayStation 4 Pro is probably a strong one to follow. Are you a die-hard PlayStation fan who needs to be on the cutting edge? Do you care about 4K and already have the TV for it? Will you spend months locked inside the PlayStation VR headset? If all of these things apply to you, then it's probably worth trading up to get the Pro.

It's out this Thursday, 10 November at a price of RM1799, in case price will sway your opinion. In our eyes, that seems like a sweet spot for a system that offers pretty major enhancements over the previous model.

On the other hand, if you play casually, are fine with your 1080p set, or aren't yet sold on VR, then the upgrade might not be as important for you. The PlayStation 4 will live on for years and continue receiving great games, regardless of the Pro and how well it does, and there's plenty of awesome gaming ahead for the console.

The Pro is for the super-fans and ultra tech-savvy, and if that's not you, then don't sweat it – and certainly don't feel bad about it. This isn't an essential upgrade, but it is a really fun and worthwhile one for a lot of PlayStation aficionados.

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