PS5 vs PS4 Pro – which one is right for you? If you’re buying new, it's usually sensible to go for the latest release, but what if you already own a PS4 Pro? Are the differences between the two consoles significant enough to justify an upgrade? There’s much to consider, then, and this guide will help you decide what’s best for you.
The PS5 is Sony’s newest console, replacing the PS4 Pro as its most powerful gaming system. It boasts a better CPU, GPU, and an internal NVMe SSD, making the PS5 a faster and more capable console. It also comes with Sony’s new DualSense controller, including new features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to make you feel immersed in gameplay.
But if you currently have a PS4 Pro, you don’t necessarily need to upgrade it – at least not right away. There’s a growing PS5 exclusive library, like Returnal, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, and Demon’s Souls, but you’ll still find plenty of cross-generation releases to enjoy on your older PS4 Pro, and it already has a huge library of existing games that shouldn’t be missed.
It's worth noting that finding where to buy the PS5 is still tricky. We were hoping stocks would improve across 2022, but most retailers continue to sell out in minutes. For those buying new, though, it's double trouble as the PS4 Pro has been discontinued, making that tougher to find.
We're familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of both consoles, and you can read more about each system in-depth in our PS5 review and PS4 Pro review. The PS5 is the latest and greatest Sony has to offer, but that doesn’t mean the PS4 Pro is totally outdated yet.
Read on so that we can help you decide which is right for you or whether it’s time for an upgrade.
PS5 vs PS4 Pro price
Sony's top-tier PS5 costs $499.99 / £449.99 / AU$749.95, while the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (identical, except no disc drive) comes in at $399.99 / £349.99 / AU$599.95.
The PS5 cost $100 more than the PS4 Pro launch cost of $399 (£349, AU$559) – but that's to be expected. It's a brand new machine using cutting-edge technology, whereas the PS4 Pro was built upon the foundations of the existing PS4, and was considered a mid-generation upgrade instead.
You can sometimes find better PS4 Pro deals during sales – it plunged to just £299 in the 2020 Black Friday PS4 sales when bundled with Death Stranding – but now that it’s been discontinued, you’re very unlikely to see this happen again. Most retailers no longer stock new models.
If your heart is set on a PS4 Pro, getting it second-hand could present good value (though there have been price hikes even in that area, thanks to the global semiconductor crisis). But if you're really looking for your console to be brand new, the PS5 and its all-digital counterpart are backward compatible and as such, while they’re more expensive, they're probably the better value option in the long run.
PS5 vs PS4 Pro specs
The PS5 is armed with impressive specs for a console, offering an AMD Zen 2-based CPU and a custom RDNA 2 GPU with over 10.28 TFLOPs of computing power. What that equates is that most games will run at 4K/60, with some games able to achieve 4K/120fps - there's even support for 8K resolution in the future.
- GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency) with RDNA 2 architecture
- CPU: AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
- Memory: 16GB GDDR6, 256-bit interface, 448GB/s bandwidth
- Storage: Custom 825GB SSD with 5.5GB/s (raw), typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)
- Expandable storage: NVMe SSD slot, USB HDD support (for PS4 games only)
- Optical: 4K UHD Blu Ray drive
- Visuals: Native 4K 120Hz + 8K
- Audio: Tempest 3D
The PS5 is also capable of ray tracing, a graphically intense visual technique. Found in some of the prettiest PC games around, like Control, Metro Exodus, and Battlefield V, ray tracing is an innovative way to render light and shadows realistically.
But since every 'ray' of light has its own simulated source, only now has the power required been viable in consoles. In other words, ray tracing is going to make games like God of War: Ragnarok appear more realistic than ever before.
There's word of 8K support too, and we’ve already seen this (sort of) supported in The Touryst. But when it comes to choosing between the 4K vs 8K consoles, know that 8K won't be a mainstream prospect for several years. In fact, the option to select 8K on the PS5 doesn't exist yet, it’s being added via a firmware update in the future.
Ray tracing aside, another huge generational leap the PS5 boasts over the PS4 Pro is its solid state drive (SSD) – a long overdue upgrade that PC players have enjoyed for years. Games can load up to 19-times faster. Although the SSD in the PS5 is only 825GB (with only 667.2GB available) - you can upgrade this SSD storage internally - it's a welcome change over the slow, mechanical drives of old.
Meanwhile, the PS4 Pro is still held back by its aging HDD. While the PS4's UI design felt seamless, letting you pick up a game where you left off from standby or after visiting other apps, you'll eventually be envious of the lack of loading screens PS5 players enjoy. Even if you upgrade the PS4 Pro with an SSD, it won't offer the same bandwidth available in the PS5.
The PS4 Pro also doesn't have the 4K Blu Ray player that the PS5 thankfully does, nor does it have the option to go disc-drive free like the all-digital PS5 offers.
PS5 also features an entirely new audio engine known as Tempest 3D audio. It's a form of spatial audio, and is capable of handling hundreds of sound sources. You'll want to grab one of the very best gaming headsets to experience it, though Sony also added 3D audio support for TV speakers on the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition last September.
Meanwhile, here are the PS4 Pro's specs:
- CPU: eight-core x86-64 AMD Jaguar
- GPU: AMD Radeon with 4.2 teraflops
- RAM: 8GB GDDR5
- Storage: 1TB HDD
The refreshed mid-gen model proved a decent jump on the base PS4: it supports 4K streaming from Amazon and Netflix, but native 4K gaming isn't possible on all titles, and only then you're usually capped to 30fps.
Naturally, the PS5 is a healthy power jump over the PS4 Pro. But if you're all about the best graphics, can't get your head around gaming on PC, and are platform agnostic, it's also worth considering the most powerful console on the market today, the Xbox Series X.
PS5 vs PS4 Pro design
When the PS5 design was revealed it proved divisive. Even on the TechRadar team, there were those who loved it and those who hated it. This is partly because the PS5 design is just such a departure from Sony's usual approach, with its two-tone color scheme and its curved futuristic shape.
The PS5 is also the biggest console Sony has ever made. The PS4 Pro, on the other hand, looks more like a traditional console and sits unobtrusively within any entertainment set up. It's slim, light at 3.3 kg, and not in the least controversial. The same can't be said about the PlayStation 5.
The PS5's gargantuan size does give it one significant advantage over the PS4 Pro, though: it's practically silent and produces a minimal amount of heat. The PS4 Pro, meanwhile, can kick up a fuss when playing certain games, and it's also guilty of spitting out significant heat.
PS5 vs PS4 Pro games
If you buy a PS4 Pro now, we hope you've got some time off sorted: Bloodborne, God of War, Uncharted 4, The Last of Us, The Last of Us 2, The Last Guardian, and Marvel's Spider-Man are exclusive to Sony's box, alongside killer multi-platform experiences like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Control.
The good news? Nearly all of those games are backward-compatible on PS5. Some games like GTA 5, Madden 21, and Destiny 2 have received big PS5 overhauls. Better still, Sony's new PS Plus subscriber perk, PlayStation Plus Collection, offers PS5 owners free access to 20 of the best-ever PS4 games to download to their new consoles from the get-go, including titles like God of War, Uncharted 4, Ratchet and Clank and Bloodborne, provided they remain subscribers to the service. It's something that the PS4 Pro, even with a PS Plus subscription, can't match. That's a lot of gaming for your money.
On top of that, the PS5 has a number of games that will be exclusive to next-gen. While Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West are also available on PS4 Pro, Final Fantasy 16 will be PS5 only. This will only continue as time goes on, so if you're all about accessing the latest and greatest, the PS5 has the lead on that front.
It's also worth noting that some next-gen games are more expensive, we’ve seen a price increase of $10 (£10) more on standard editions of big releases when compared to Xbox One and PS4 counterparts. That pushes games up to $70 (£70) and that’s occurred across multiple publishers, meaning PS5 games will likely cost you more.
PS5 vs PS4 Pro verdict
In all honesty, there's little reason to buy a PS4 Pro right now unless your budget is very strict. Not only is the PS5 a more powerful console, Sony's efforts to enable backward compatibility means that even if you buy a PS5, but you also won't miss out on the PS4's finest experiences, and probably those older than that, too. Most run better than ever before, with games like Ghost of Tsushima now running at 60fps on PlayStation 5.
If you've been waiting this long to buy your first PS4, you’re probably better off going straight to the PS5 for future-proofing purposes as much as anything.
That said, upgrading from a Pro is another matter and a tougher dilemma. The Pro already supports 4K for many games at decent performance, and you'll need deep pockets for a 4K TV with HDMI 2.1 support to fully benefit from the PS5's power and higher frame rates. With that in mind, don’t feel like you need to push your PS4 Pro to the side and get a PS5 right now. There’s still a lot your Pro can do for you and while stock for the PS5 is hard to come by, it’s still a strong console to have.