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For the 4K/HDR TV owner, the PS4 Pro's benefits speak for themselves. It offers high-resolution gameplay at higher frame rates that you will notice and appreciate.
However, for non-4K TV owners, especially those who don't think they'll end up with a PlayStation VR, the benefits are a bit murkier. Sure, you still get a nice bump in frame rates and better textures in dozens of games; however, by and large the difference you'll see is negligible. At its heart the PlayStation 4 Pro is just a souped-up PS4 after all.
We feel a slight twinge of compunction when we say "it's just a PS4," as that implies that the system Sony has made isn't an already wonderful piece of technology. But because the original was so fantastic, the bar is higher for the PS4 Pro – a bar that I don't feel like is totally met for the majority of gamers out there.
The lack of a UHD Blu-ray player hurts the value of the system, and while we appreciate 4K/HDR capabilities on a select few titles, the system doesn’t scream "this is a must-buy" to us. If someone asked us to summarize our opinions on the PS4 Pro in one sentence, we'd say: how much you'll appreciate the console and its capabilities comes down to your TV.
PS4 Pro: we liked
4K resolution gaming, obviously. If you have the equipment, some of your favorite titles are going to look absolutely incredible on the PlayStation 4 Pro. Add to that High Dynamic Range capabilities (again, if your TV has it) and you have one of the best visual experiences on any console, bar none, with the PS4 Pro.
I also appreciated the two minor tweaks to the inside of the console itself – the larger 1TB hard drive and upgraded 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna. Games are not only downloaded faster on this system, but – thanks to an extra 500GB of storage – you won't have to make the decision which games to keep and which ones you need to uninstall to clear up some room.
PS4 Pro: we disliked
If I ever find myself in a conversation with a Sony engineer, the first thing I'm going to ask about is the PS4 Pro's lack of a 4K UHD Blu-ray player.
I've tried to avoid the direct comparison to the Xbox One S throughout the review, something that's now even harder to do with the Xbox One X on shelves, but it completely boggles my mind that Microsoft – the company that once thought HD DVD would beat Blu-ray – now offers a 4K Blu-ray player while Sony does not.
That said, the growing catalog of games built to take advantage of the 4K power gets more appealing all the time, while a recently-introduced boost mode, giving marginal improvements to all titles on the system overall, is a welcome (if not groundbreaking) addition.
PS4 Pro: our verdict
Let's pick up a car analogy to really drive this point home: the PS4 Pro is truly a marvelous piece of machinery. It's capable of so much and yet the rest of your setup also needs to match its capabilities.
Sure, the latest model of (insert your favorite car here) might be capable of reaching incredible speeds (read: 4K compatible), but if you're limited by the law to stay under a certain speed (read: using a 1080p TV), then what good is all that speed?
Of course many of you will have now made the jump to a 4K HDR TV, and if so – or if you're keen on buying a PlayStation VR too – then we'd say the PS4 Pro is well worth its $399 / £349 / AU$559 price tag. On the other hand, if you're yet to make the jump to either 4K or VR, then you might want to jump straight into the PS5.
Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.