Playstation 4 Pro vs Xbox One X: Battle of the 4K Consoles

Console wars never change. Beginning back as far as the era of pong-only console clones and leading all the way up to the Xbox One vs PlayStation 4, the argument over which console reigns supreme is a fight that never seems to end. This November, when the Xbox One X drops from orbit and lands at retailers across the world, it will also land squarely in the sights of the Playstation 4 Pro, which has been the lone 4K gaming console since its launch last fall.

This begs the age-old question: which console is better? Follow BFAds once more into the breach, dear friends, as we run headlong into the Battle of the 4k Consoles!

Hardware and Performance

Hardware and Performance

Xbox One X has the obvious advantage of having been released an entire year after the Playstation 4 Pro hit store shelves in the Fall of 2016. That year was not wasted as the Xbox One X has significantly stronger hardware than the PS4 Pro:

Console Processor (CPU) Graphics Processor (GPU) Memory Bandwidth System Memory (RAM) Storage Capacity
Playstation 4 Pro x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, Octa-core @ 2.1Ghz 4.20 TFLOPS, Custom AMD Radeon GPU 218GB/s 8GB GDDR5 1TB
Xbox One X Custom AMD Octa-core CPU @ 2.3Ghz 6 TFLOPS, Custom AMD Radeon GPU 326GB/s 12GB GDDR5 1TB

Back in the console wars of old, most didn’t have an in-depth technical understanding of consoles and simply used terms like 8bit or 16bit to describe a console's power. Those days have long past and since consoles now are essentially PCs with custom hardware and software, it becomes easier to observe the raw power of home consoles in terms many are familiar with.

In comparing the Playstation 4 Pro to the Xbox One X, their custom AMD CPUs are very close in performance, with the Xbox One X having a slightly higher clock speed, and storage is a somewhat paltry 1TB on either console.

Where the consoles really begin to diverge is in the most important aspect of the video game performance: the GPU. The power of a GPU is most often judged by how many trillion floating-point operations per second (teraflops) the GPU is capable of running. That’s a mouthful, so to put it more plainly, teraflops is a simple measure of the computational power of the GPU, the more teraflops a GPU can handle, the better the GPU is at rendering the detailed and complex games to which gamers have grown accustomed.

4K Media Capabilities

4K Media Capabilities

While this category is a bit of a no-brainer, it is important to take note that the Playstation 4 Pro lacks one of the key components that many would consider an essential addition to their 4K living room: A 4K UHD Blu-ray player.

Both the Xbox One X and the Playstation 4 Pro support HDR 10 and 4K streaming from sources such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, but the lack of a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive was the most puzzling omission in the Playstation 4 Pro’s feature set, and means that Playstation 4 Pro owners still must buy a dedicated UHD Blu-ray player if they want to experience the ultimate in home cinema picture quality.

The Xbox One X, as well as the 2016’s Xbox One S, both feature a 4K Bluray player, making the choice clear for those that need help deciding between the two.

Winner: Xbox One X

Game Library

Game Library

Rather than trying to dissect which console has the best games, which is entirely subjective, let's have a look at objective some facts about the game libraries of both of the 4K home consoles.

Xbox One X has a sizable advantage here when taking in to consideration only the sheer number of games available to play on Xbox One X. Aside from the Xbox One's library of games, all Xbox One systems are backward compatible with an ever-growing list of Xbox 360 games, and at E3 2017, Microsoft announced that backward compatibility with original Xbox games is coming this fall. That means the Xbox One X will soon be the only home console capable of playing games from any generation in that console's history, meanwhile the Playstation 4 is the first home Playstation console to have no backward compatibility whatsoever.

This, however is the 4K era of games, and while it's nice to be able to dig out old games and play them again, to focus on new, console exclusive games paints a different picture. Both consoles have the multiplatform blockbusters like Call of Duty and Assassins Creed, and each have their own storied franchises like Halo and Gears of War on Xbox or Uncharted and God of War on Playstation.

The problem here for Xbox One X is that so far, all of the hit games have a bit of sequelitis. Gears of War 5, Halo 5 Guardians, Forza Motorsport 7, Crackdown 3, may be great games but none really bring anything new to the table aside from better graphics, sound, and new game modes, and with Microsoft's Windows 10 cross-platform initiative, going forward these games will not even be console exclusive. Playstation 4 on the other hand, has its sequels but also has new and exciting IPs like The Last Guardian, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, Until Dawn, and The Order: 1886 just to name a few.

Then there is the matter of VR, and while Microsoft has had press events detailing various ideas and demos they have for virtual reality and augmented reality with their Hololense, there is currently no way to experience VR and no release dates planned for any VR or AR release for Xbox One or One X. Playstation 4, on the other hand, has PS VR which has a growing library of VR titles, many of them Playstation VR exclusives, and buying a Playstation 4 or 4 Pro and a PS VR is currently one of the least expensive ways to get into VR.

Although backward compatibility is a great feature for new and past console owners, the variety of multiplatform hits, fan favorite franchise sequels, as well as wholly new and original IPs, and a robust library of VR titles makes Playstation 4 Pro the winner here.

Winner: Playstation 4 Pro

Design and Price

Design and Price
Console Dimensions Weight Color Ports Wireless Price
Playstation 4 Pro 12.8in x 11.6in x 2.1in 7.2lbs Black HDMI out, USB 3.1 x 3, S/PDIF Ethernet, PS Camera port 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 $399.99
Xbox One X 11.8in x 9.4in x 2.4in 8.4lbs Black HDMI in/out, USB 3.1 x 2, IR, S/PDIF, Ethernet 802.11 n/ac dual band, Bluetooth $499.99

As far as the overall look of the console goes, the better design is a matter of personal preference. Both consoles are black and somewhat rectangular in shape, and while the Playstation 4 Pro is quite a bit larger in size compared to the Xbox One X, it isn't prohibitively large and is smaller than the VCR-like form factor of the first Xbox One. The only notable feature that the Xbox One X has over the Playstation 4 Pro is inclusion of the HDMI-In port, which allows the console to be used as a DVR for cable or satellite television.

The matter of price is a bit trickier, but we'll start with the obvious fact that the $499.99 Xbox One X is $100 more than the $399.99 Playstation 4 Pro. This seems cut and dry over which console wins here but there is still the subject of UHD Blu-ray movies. Standalone 4K Blu-ray players are still priced well over $200 and having one built into a video game console means frequent software updates and, more importantly, one less HDMI 2.0 port needed on your 4K UHDTV or home theater receiver.

The winner here really comes down to personal preference. If both systems play your favorite games and you don't care about 4K movies, you'll save a bit by going with the Pro, but if you do decide to buy the Xbox One X for the 4K Blu-ray player, you will save a bit a money over buying a standalone.

Winner: Draw

Overall Winner: Xbox One X

Overall Winner:  Xbox One X

When keeping in mind the theme of this article, the smaller, faster, and more capable Xbox One X is the clear winner here by delivering the best in 4K gaming performance and 4K media options. With 40%+ more power, built-in UHD Blu-ray capability, and actual native 4K 60fps gaming available on day one, there is little argument against the Xbox One X being the technically superior console, and would be worth the extra $100 for most, all things considered.

With that said, as with any video game console purchase, the prime decision maker should be the games rather than the console itself. You could haul a super computer into your garage and hook it up to your 4K UHDTV, but it wouldn't do you a bit of good if it didn't play your favorite games. So keep in mind that although the Xbox One X is the more powerful console, it can't play Playstation 4 exclusives, and vice versa. Games look and play great on both consoles, so going with the console that will deliver the most fun is the best choice a shopper can make.

Final Thoughts

The best way to save money when choosing a new video game console is to look for one the fantastic bundle options that make their annual debut just in time for the holiday season. That’s why the second best choice a shopper can make when choosing a new 4K gaming console is to stay tuned to, where we will examine every leaked ad to compare prices, bundles, and throw-ins to take the guess work out of your Black Friday shopping with our signature buying guides.

October 13, 2017
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