PS4 Pro vs. PS4 Slim: Which PlayStation is Right For You?

Sony currently offers two versions of the PlayStation 4, and while they both look like elegant high-tech hamburgers, they're actually pretty different.

The $299 PS4 Slim (which is now simply known as PS4) replaced the original model with a slightly shrunk-down design. The $399 PS4 Pro is a 4K entertainment machine that can play games and movies in ultra-high resolution. So which one should you buy?

PS4 Slim

The PS4 Slim is the latest version of the standard PS4, with a design that Sony says is 30 percent smaller, 16 percent lighter and consumes 30 percent less power than the launch model. So unless you really need those few inches of extra space, folks who already own a PS4 have virtually no reason to buy the Slim.

At $299, however, the Slim is the cheapest barrier of entry for aspiring PS4 owners who want to play some God of War or Horizon: Zero Dawn. Also, the Pro won't do you much good if you don't have a 4K television, so if you're on an extra-tight budget, go with the Slim.

PS4 Pro

If you don't have a PS4 yet, own a 4K television and can spend a little more, you should absolutely go for the PS4 Pro. For $100 more, you get a console capable of playing games and streaming movies in 4K.

The PS4 Slim (Left) and PS4 Pro (Right). Photo: Mike Andronico/Tom's Guide

The PS4 Slim (Left) and PS4 Pro (Right). Photo: Mike Andronico/Tom's Guide

So should existing PS4 owners upgrade to the Pro? That's a tougher call. The ever-growing list of PS4 Pro enhanced games includes Red Dead Redemption 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4 and Destiny 2, so it all depends on what you play and how badly you want to see those games in shiny 4K. Naturally, due to its extra power, the PS4 Pro is notably chunkier than the PS4 Slim.

PlayStation VR and HDR

The PlayStation VR headset works on any PS4, though you'll get the smoothest virtual reality experience possible on the Pro when getting immersed in games like Tetris Effect and Resident Evil 7.

Both the PS4 and PS4 Pro support High Dynamic Range for richer, brighter colors on supported TVs.

Game Library

One thing you won't have to factor in when choosing your PS4 is game selection. All current and upcoming PS4 games work on PS4, PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro — the only difference is they might look a little prettier on the Pro. That means that you'll get to play excellent exclusives like Spider-Man, God of War and Uncharted 4 as well as third-party blockbusters such as Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 no matter which console you choose.

What About the PS5?

If you're debating between the PS4 and PS4 Pro, you should also know that the PS5 is eventually coming -- but not anytime soon. Sony confirmed in October 2018 that it's begun work on its next-generation console, though analysts are pinging the system to launch as late as 2021. Whether this is a full-on PlayStation 5 or another half-step upgrade like the PS4 Pro remains to be seen, but for the time being, you shouldn't worry about your PS4 or PS4 Pro being replaced anytime soon.

MORE: PlayStation 5 Rumors: What We Know So Far About the PS5

Bottom Line

All in all, the PS4 Slim is a good budget buy, while the PS4 Pro is a wise choice for gamers with 4K televisions who want the very best experience available. You also shouldn't forget about Microsoft's $249 Xbox One S, which is the only current console with a 4K Blu-ray player and offers HDR gaming, as well as the $499 Xbox One X, which offers even more 4K power than the PS4 Pro for a more premium price.