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Console Review: PlayStation 4

It’s been out for several years now, but with the PS4 Pro coming out soon, what better time is there to review the existing standard for Sony? Today I’m here to check the console out and scrutinise it for what makes it good and not so good, as well as a bit of information on how the console stands up to a typical PC.

Overview

Developer Sony
Initial Release November 15, 2013 (North America)
Price (release) RRP £349.00
Price (today) £249.00 new (John Lewis)

Review

When we review a console, there’s a few factors we have to take into effect: The hardware, the operating system and the cost effectiveness of the console. In this review, I’m looking to break the console down (without physically damaging it, of course) into these sections.

Hardware

ps4

The hardware inside of a PlayStation 4 is actually strikingly similar to a modern computer’s. By being built in this way, Sony made it more accessible to indie developers as well as big developers alike. By working with AMD, the PlayStation 4 has 8 cores (2x quad-core) processors inside of the APU unit. An APU combines the CPU and the GPU together, making it pretty powerful. Now, we’re not talking about some of the greatest level of power inside of these machines – We’re talking akin to a high-end i3, which is still pretty good. My current home computer happily runs an i3 and can run plenty of games which punches far above its weight.

APU aside, the PlayStation 4 also has 8GB of DDR3 RAM, which isn’t ground-breaking in its own right, however when it came out in 2013, it was still a pretty high amount of RAM. Heck, even by today’s typical computer standard, it’s got quite a lot of RAM. The fact it’s DDR3 does lower it down a point or two, as we’re all moving into DDR4 on a modern computer, however let’s not take away the sheer amount of RAM for such a cheap price. Consider this however: it is highly possible to get 8GB DDR4 for approx £80. This is using a branded type of RAM too, so it’s not like RAM is too expensive. In most applications however, 8GB of RAM is certainly more than sufficient.

As a special note, there are specific chips built into the hardware which handle specific tasks. A download, upload and social chip all exist within the console, which means you’re able to do more than “Just play” whilst on the console. As such, because it likes to download in the background, I’d highly recommend having an Ethernet cable plugged into your PlayStation 4. WiFi is great and all, but you’d really want that extra reliability. Blu-Ray support, 3 USB ports and Bluetooth included in the bundle makes this a very attractive console. The Blu-Ray support alone was one of the major selling points of the PS4 on release. Finally, with 4K output, but no support for 4k games (which is what the PS4 Pro is going to address), the PS4 offered a lot for a relatively low price.

Operating System

Source: IGN

Source: IGN

The PlayStation 4 did a lot of work to make sure it was consistent to the PlayStation 3’s approach, however it’s made a few key changes. Games are listed right in front of you in an orderly and clean way. By having 500GB to play with as standard, you will get plenty of games going on here. With intuitive shop interfaces and simple information accessible about each game you have played, such as your latest achievements and news about the game, the PS4’s operating system is brilliant. It’s clean, it’s simple to use… But sometimes, it can be a bit tricky finding exactly what you’re looking for.

Certainly it’s all there and accounted for, but it doesn’t half keep specific things hidden away. For instance, I was looking for an easy way to upload plenty of pictures in one go – and you know it is certainly doable. You have to upload it to a drive (Something like a USB stick would be usable in this case). However, I didn’t have a drive to connect to it. Fortunately, it allows you to connect to Facebook, upload them privately to your own uploads and then go from there. However, this was hidden away – you had to press the share button whilst on the menu (rather than in a game), then not upload the screenshot you just took of the menu, by pressing the Facebook button, press back THEN select the screenshots to upload. Weird design flaw, but at least it’s doable.

Cost Effectiveness

The level of detail you can get out of a PS4, which you can buy for so cheap these days, is simply staggering.

The level of detail you can get out of a PS4, which you can buy for so cheap these days, is simply staggering.

Granted, with the architecture that’s inside of the PlayStation 4, you could build a computer of similar or arguably better quality for a similar or lower amount. Certainly, you could do this but the real power comes in the form of those chips that the PS4 has. Okay sure, you will be able to make something similar for certainly not much more money than you’re spending on this machine, but since the price drop, you’re going to struggle. Especially if you’re paying for branded names, such as Intel or even AMD. I don’t believe it’s possible to make anything quite as seamless for the same price, with things such as that download chip to make sure it’s not wasting any of that precious internet speed whilst you play a game.

Over it’s competitors, it seems to have an edge again. But, the only falling factor for the PS4 might be the fact that it didn’t allow 4K gaming from the get go. Mind you, a typical PC cannot handle 4K gaming as is… So that’s possibly not unexpected. Mind you, at least PC’s allow you to scale your settings.

Overall

dualshock_4

The PlayStation 4 is far from a perfect console in my view. However, for what you get and what you pay for, it’s certainly a top quality item. To get something of similar quality on a PC, it will cost you a fair bit more – Trust me, I know. My current rig is nearing the end of it’s life and trying to buy parts that even compete with what’s inside of there will cost you more than the £300 you will spend for the console and a game. With this said though, it’s only fair that people criticise it. When it first came out, it retailed at £349, which for a console at the time was mind-numbingly expensive. Whilst this was expensive, even more expensive at the time (and questionably so) was the £429 Xbox One.

Now, this isn’t a review about saying “look at how much better the PlayStation 4 is than the Xbox One”, because I genuinely do not know. Instead, I’m comparing this with my experience as someone who finds computers interesting. For the specs that are inside of the PS4, you certainly can’t complain about the price. Buy this with someone else if you have to, you can even buy one right now for £249 brand new. All I know is, for the money you put into it, you will get some pretty solid gaming out of it – and everyone loves the DualShock controllers. But I digress – What do you think of the PlayStation 4? Are you an Xbox One gamer instead? Or is PC the way to go? As always, thanks for reading and please remember to leave your comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

2 responses

  1. For me it has to come down to the games. If Sony exclusives excite you more than XBox or Nintendo ones then the choice is made.

    I don’t believe that consoles and PCs are direct competitors.

    Like

    September 20, 2016 at 8:01 am

    • Absolutely, the games make all the difference. However, the hardware in the PS4, at least on paper is more impressive than the Xbox One. Furthermore, the pricing is important too. Just so happens the PS4 was generously priced for the hardware.

      I think they are and aren’t. Computers can be more, but are more susceptible to breaking. When you pit a PC of the same price to a console though, the gaming power will go to the consoles, if just for the dedicated chips. Now I’m hungry! :D

      Like

      September 20, 2016 at 8:04 am

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