If Sony was trying to make a statement with the launch of its PlayStation 4 console, it did a pretty good job. Unlike most of the pre-game rhetoric and inflated talk, the PS4 seems to have lived up to its claims and is the most powerful console on the market. It has seen another revision to its exterior and some major design tweaks to its Dual Shock controller. In addition, it has expanded memory and greatly increased the performance of its processors. These upgrades are clearly evident and the PS4 offers stunning HD graphics that run smooth and lightning fast.
With some very well-equipped exclusive game titles, streaming access, and multiplayer capabilities, PlayStation enthusiasts will most likely welcome newcomers with open arms. Not to mention, the price of this console is around $100 less than its ardent rival: the Xbox One. As it stands today, the PS4 has made a grand entrance.
Performance: 5.0 / 5.0
The PS4 has a single-chip processor that combines an octa-core x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” CPU with a 1.84 teraflops GPU. It is supported by 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM and has a 500 GB mechanical hard drive. Sony boasts that its new hardware allows it to perform ten times better than the last PS3. That’s a pretty impressive feat.
Another nice touch is the fact that the PS4 comes with a 500 GB drive. This extra space helps when downloading movies and games from the PlayStation market. If you ever feel pressured for space, don’t worry, because the hard drive can also be upgraded without voiding your warranty.
PS4’s HD graphics are stunning and the responsiveness of consoles these days is unmatched. What’s even more impressive is the fact that this machine can perform at such a high level without sounding like a plane on a runway or overheating. Not to mention, the entire power supply is encased within the unit; unlike Xbox One, which still has it connected to the external power cable in an attempt to save space inside the console.
Features: 5.0 / 5.0
The PS4 comes in the same half-matte, half-gloss black exterior as the Xbox One. Still, it has a completely different look. That’s because the PS4 has a sleek, slim design and doesn’t look like an oversized mid-’80s VCR. I’m not saying the Xbox one is the ugly half-sister of the bunch, but it probably wouldn’t be asked to prom if the PS3 was available and ready. Now, for all of you who have just been offended by such a superficial statement, I know full well that Mom always said, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” And in that sense, I assure you, the PS4 would still be the first guest at a dance.
The PS4 has seen some modifications to its components and for that reason any of your older PlayStation peripherals won’t work, imagine that.
Although the PS4 doesn’t have previous capabilities to play your PS3 titles, many of the games you previously had can be purchased at a considerable discount from its online store. The only problem: you’ll have to insert the old PS3 disc into the console while playing the online version.
Games purchased from PlayStation Store are downloaded directly to your hard drive, and there’s no need to worry about your drive getting lost or scratched. The only negative is the fact that downloaded titles cannot be borrowed over the weekend or exchanged for credit at your local game store. As this way of buying games becomes more popular, stores like GameStop and other game trade retailers could take a hit, that or a seat next to Blockbuster at “Reminiscence Park.”
The new PS4 Dual Shock 4 has seen some physical changes that make it stand out a bit from its older counterpart. Some of the most notable changes pertain to the analog sticks; which have been spaced out a bit more to avoid collisions with thumbs. They have also been designed with recessed caps and covered with a rubber coating to improve grip. The Dual Shock 4 also comes with an external speaker and a headphone jack for your headphones, just keep in mind that you can only output in stereo from the controllers connection; however, it is a nice touch. I would say that one of the best design features of the Dual Shock 4 is the metallic touchpad on the front of the controller. It works just like a laptop touchpad and is extremely smooth and responsive.
Although the Dual Shock 4 can be purchased and used on the PS3, older Dual Shock 3 controllers are not compatible with the PS4.
For those who already have a PS Vita, you can stream games from your PS4 over Wi-Fi to the portable drive. This creates a second display screen, much like the Wii U, and allows you to play while someone else is using the TV. While this is a nice feature, it probably wouldn’t justify buying the PS Vita on its own.
The PlayStation Camera is a nice touch, but it takes very little interaction to realize that it’s not quite as robust as Xbox Kinect and doesn’t seem to have enough game interaction to make it worth your while. It also has a voice command feature, albeit a very limited one, and you may want to consider spending your money on another controller.
Media: 4.4 / 5.0
The PS4 seems to have been relegated to the background in its previous plans to be the all-in-one media center. While it can still boast one of the best-performing Blu-Ray and DVD players on the market, unlike the PS3, you can no longer play music files, CDs, or easily stream content from your PC. Instead, it seems to work more like a Roku. However, if you just want to use the console for gaming or occasional access to Netflix and other movie apps, you’re all set. Not to mention, the movies are easily accessible and can be loaded at lightning speeds. You can even use the PS4 to connect to social networks and share some of your featured games, nothing like showing off.
When it comes to music, both Xbox and PS4 have their own channels. PlayStation offers “Music Unlimited,” for a small fee, of course. It works much like Pandora and allows users to listen to entire albums. The only weakness is that it is a bit slower and less refined in recognizing the true genre of music or artist you want. Along with this feature comes “Video Unlimited”. Another movie-based channel that is surprisingly deep in the title selections and also allows streaming to alternative devices.
The PlayStation online gaming community has seen great improvements in the interface and gameplay features. The only downside is that, like Xbox, PS4 users will now have to pay to access the multiplayer area. Although this is a change from the PS3 where it was free, the experience has been vastly improved and will probably be considered worth the cost.
One useful feature of the PS4 is the iOS and Android app that allows users to connect to the PlayStation Store and purchase and download games while on the go. With this app, games can be automatically downloaded to your console, while you’re away from home, and then ready to play once you arrive. All in all, the PS4 still has some good interaction and feature variety in the multimedia department, but it lacks the depth experienced with the PS3. Due to some of these complaints, Sony has taken note and I imagine they will make some adjustments in their updates.
The final result: 4.9 / 5.0
The PS4 is $100 cheaper than the Xbox One, but even if you removed the Kinect component to lower the Xbox’s price, the PS4 is much better value for the dollar. Its performance is undeniable, and while the Xbox One is a well-built unit, until Microsoft irons out some performance issues, it won’t be rubbing shoulders with Sony.
As for the downside, the PS4 only comes with two front USB ports. We felt that this design flaw also present with the PS3 would have been fixed, but apparently not. It also lacks the depth of gaming titles like Xbox One, and always has. However, it is within reach and has many blockbuster exclusive titles and a promising future.
The PS4 is a powerful gaming console that offers gamers exactly what they are looking for; a seamless HD gaming experience with full functionality and control. Based on its undeniable performance, improved design, and price, Consumer High Five Reviews considers a first-round pick a no-brainer.
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