Is the PS4 Really the Best Gaming Console? We Review, You Choose
If Sony was trying to make a statement with the release of its PlayStation 4 console – it did a good job. Unlike most of the rhetoric and over inflated pre-game smack talk, the PS4 appears to have delivered on its claims and is the most powerful console on the market. It has seen another overhaul of its exterior and some major design modifications to its Dual Shock controller. In addition, it has expanded the memory and vastly increased the performance of its processors. These upgrades are clearly apparent and the PS4 delivers stunning HD graphics that run seamless and lightning fast.
With some nicely equipped exclusive game titles, streaming access, and multiplayer capabilities, PlayStation enthusiast will most likely greet the newest arrival with open arms. Not to mention the price for this console runs around $100 less than its ardent rival – the Xbox One. A it stands today, the PS4 has made quite an entrance.
Performance: 5.0 / 5.0
The PS4 has a single-chip processor that combines an eight core x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” CPU with a 1.84 teraflop GPU. It’s supported with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM and has a 500GB mechanical hard drive. Sony boasts that its new hardware allows it to perform ten times better than the latter PS3. That’s quite an impressive feat.
Another nice touch is the fact that the PS4 comes with a 500GB drive. This extra space helps when downloading movies and games from the PlayStation market. If you ever feel pressed for space, don’t worry, because the hard drive can also be upgraded by do-it-yourselfers without voiding the warranty.
The HD graphics of the PS4 are stunning and the consoles responsiveness is presently unmatched. What’s even more impressive is the fact that this machine can perform at such a high end level without sounding like a jet on a runway or overheating. Not to mention, the entire power supply is encased inside the unit; as opposed to the Xbox One which still has it attached to the external power cord in attempt to save space inside the console.
Features: 5.0 / 5.0
The PS4 comes in the same half matte black and half gloss exterior as the Xbox One. Even still, it has a completely different appearance. That’s because the PS4 sports a slim and sleek design and doesn’t look like an oversized VCR from the mid 80’s. I’m not saying the Xbox one is the ugly step-sister out of the bunch, but it probably wouldn’t get asked to the prom if the PS3 was available and willing. Now then, for all of you who just got offended by such a superficial statement, I am well aware that mother always said, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” And in that regard, I assure you, the PS4 would still be the first one asked to a dance.
The PS4 has seen some modifications to its components, and for that reason, any of your older PlayStation peripheral devices will not work – imagine that.
Although the PS4 does not have backwards capabilities to play your PS3 titles, many of the games previously owned can be purchased for a considerable discount from their online store. The only catch – you will have to insert the older PS3 disc into the console while playing the online version.
Games purchased from the PlayStation Store are downloaded straight onto the hard drive and there’s no need to worry about the disc being lost or scratched. The only negative, is the fact that downloaded titles can’t be borrowed out for the weekend or traded in for credit at your local gaming store. As this form of purchasing games becomes more popular, stores like GameStop and other game trading retailers might be taking a hit – that or a seat next to Blockbuster in “Reminiscence Park.”
The new PS4 Dual Shock 4 has seen some physical changes that cause it to stand out a bit from its earlier counterpart. Some of the more notable changes pertain to the analog sticks; which have been slightly spaced out a bit further to avoid thumb collisions. They have also been designed with recessed tops and covered with a rubber coating to make gripping enhanced. The Dual Shock 4 also comes with an external speaker and headphone jack for your headset, just be aware, it can only output in stereo from the controllers connection – nonetheless, a nice touch. I would say that one of the nicest design features of the Dual Shock 4 is the metallic touchpad on the face of the controller. It operates the same as a laptop touchpad and is extremely smooth and responsive.
Although the Dual Shock 4 can be purchased and used on the PS3, the older Dual Shock 3 controllers are not compatible with the PS4.
For those who already own a PS Vita, you can stream games from your PS4 over the Wi-Fi to the handheld unit. This creates a second viewing screen, much like the Wii U, and allows for playing games while someone else is using the TV. Although this is a nice feature, it probably wouldn’t justify buying the PS Vita in and of itself.
The PlayStation Camera is a nice touch, but it takes very little interaction to realize that it is not nearly as robust as the Xbox Kinect and doesn’t seem to have enough game interaction to make it worth it. It also has a voice command feature, although very limited, and you might want to consider spending your money on another controller instead.
Multimedia: 4.4 / 5.0
The PS4 seems to have taken a back seat on its earlier plans to be the all-in-one media hub. Although it can still boast of having one of the best performing Blu-Ray and DVD players on the market, unlike the PS3, it can no longer play music files, CDs, or easily stream content from your PC. Instead, it seems to function more like a Roku. Nonetheless, if you only desire to use the console to play games or have occasional access to Netflix and other movies apps, you’re set. Not to mention, the movies are easy to access and can load lightning fast. You can even use the PS4 to connect to social networks and share some of your gaming highlights – nothing like showing off.
As far as music goes, both the Xbox and PS4 have their own channels. PlayStation provides “Music Unlimited,” for a small fee, of course. It operates much like Pandora and allows users to listen to entire albums. The only weakness is it’s a bit slower and less refined in recognizing the true genre of music or artist you desire. Along with this feature comes “Video Unlimited.” Another movie based channel that is surprisingly deep on title selections and allows for streaming to alternate devices as well.
The PlayStation online gaming community has seen some great improvements to the interface and gameplay features. The only downside, is much like the Xbox, users on the PS4 will now have to pay for access to the multiplayer area. Although this is a change from the PS3, where it was free, the experience has been vastly improved and will most likely be considered well worth the cost.
One handy feature of the PS4 is the iOS and Android app which allows users to connect to the PlayStation Store and purchase and download games while away from home. Using this app, the games can be automatically downloaded onto the console, while you’re away from home, and then ready to play once you arrive. All in all, the PS4 still has a nice interaction and variety of features in the multimedia department, but lacks the depth experienced with the PS3. Due to some of these complaints, Sony has taken note and I would imagine they will be making some adjustments in their updates.
The Bottom Line: 4.9 / 5.0
The PS4 weighs in $100 cheaper than the Xbox One, but even if you removed the Kinect component to drop the price of the Xbox, the PS4 is a much better value for the dollar. Its performance is undeniable and even though the Xbox One is a well-built unit, until Microsoft addresses some performance issues, it won’t be rubbing elbows with Sony.
As far as the downside is concerned, the PS4 only comes with two front facing USB ports. We felt this design error also present with the PS3 would have been addressed, but apparently not. It also lacks some of the depth of gaming titles like the Xbox One, and always has for that matter. However, it’s well within range and has plenty of exclusive heavy hitting titles and a promising future.
The PS4 is a powerful gaming console that delivers gamers exactly what their looking for; a seamless HD gaming experience with full functionality and control. Based upon its undeniable performance, improved design, and price point, Consumer High Five Reviews finds making the first round draft pick a no brainer.
For more reviews and helpful gaming and tech articles, visit Consumer High Five. We review, you choose. You may also see the list of our top five gaming consoles for 2014.