In Review

PS4 Pro 'Boost Mode' could revamp older games

High-performance setting may improve PlayStation 4 titles not optimised for the new console, says reports

Sony could be about to unlock even more graphics power from its PlayStation 4 Pro. A new high-performance mode has been spotted on a beta version of the upcoming 4.5 firmware patch. 

According to forum users on NeoGAF, a menu option called "Boost Mode" could smooth out frame rates on older PS4 titles not optimised for the new console. 

The menu description of the mode says: "Experience improved gameplay, including higher frame rates, for some games that were released before the introduction of the PS4 Pro. Turn off if you experience unexpected behaviour during gameplay."

ArsTechnica reports the performance setting appears to work by "taking out the stops that Sony itself put on the PS4 Pro to ensure compatibility with games coded for legacy PS4 hardware". 

The new mode has yet to be confirmed by Sony, although it has said that external hard drive support will feature on PS4 and Pro consoles in the 4.5 firmware update. 

Players will be able to install new games and move existing titles on to a USB 3.0 compatible external hard drive if their console's internal storage has been filled. 

It's also integrated seamlessly, meaning users will be able to use the home screen to access games on their external storage system and not have to manually enter the hard drive itself. 

There's no word on when the 4.5 firmware patch will be available to download for the majority of PlayStation owners - only a select few involved in the beta testing programme have access to the preview build. 

The PlayStation 4 Pro with a 1TB internal hard drive is currently available on Amazon for £349.99, while the entry-level PS4 Slim can be had for just £209. 

PS4 vs PS4 Pro: Should you upgrade? 

21 November

It's been a busy year for Sony, with the launch of both a slimmer version of its Playstation 4 console and its new Playstation VR headset. However, the company has one more trick up its sleeve to excite gamers over the Christmas period - the new Playstation 4 Pro.

The first console to bridge the generation gap offers improved graphics and performance on existing games available for the standard PS4. 

Inside, it boasts double the graphics power of the original console, displaying select games at 4K and running higher frame rates. The PS4 Pro also has improved lighting and colours thanks to HDR technology, which is also available on the PS4 Slim and the Xbox One S.

Having launched for £349, the console is around £90 more than the entry-level PS4 Slim and requires a 4K, HDR-enabled TV to fully benefit from the improved hardware.

Are the new features worth upgrading your standard Playstation 4? Or should you wait for a generation refresh in the future?

Here's how the two consoles compare and what reviewers think.

Design

The design is almost identical to the PS4 Slim, only with what appears to be an extra 'layer' added on top of it. At 7.2lbs (3.3kg), the Pro is 2.6lbs (1.2kg) heavier than the Slim and features more ports, including an extra USB slot and Optical output. 

However, says the Daily Telegraph, it "isn't so huge as to be intrusive" and is only marginally bigger than the first generation PS4, while still managing to be more compact than the original Xbox One.

Sony has also altered the design of the controller. Stuff reports the "slightly tweaked" device features a new light bar and grey buttons instead of the original black. 

Graphics

Gamers with a 4K, HDR TV will benefit from all of the PS4 Pro's graphical improvements. At the moment, 30 titles have been upgraded for the Pro's added performance, as well as 4K video streaming through Netflix.

Not every title supports 4K, however, and it's up to the developers to choose how they utilise the console's extra performance.

Nevertheless, TechRadar says video quality is "absolutely incredible", if not quite up to the quality of high-end PCs. 

The upgrade on Infamous: Second Son emphasises particles effects and makes the "contrast ratios spike through the roof", adds the site.

Ars Technica says those with an HD TV will get "some benefits" from the PS4 Pro's power, such as bumping games with lower resolutions up to full 1080p and smoothing out harsh renderings on straight lines.

However, these improvements can only be appreciated at close proximity to the screen, the site says, which means it "isn't worth the investment" over the regular PS4.

Price

PS4 Pro retails at £349, but Amazon is offering the 1TB model for £332.49. If you're not convinced by Sony's new system, you can pick up the PS4 Slim with a 500GB hard drive for £218.65. 

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