Microsoft and Sony are head to head again in the console wars, and this time it is Microsoft’s Xbox One X vs Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro in the battle for the top spot for 4K/HDR gaming supremacy.
What we have done below is taken a look at both machines, and analysed the pros and cons of each to hopefully help you decide which platform is best for you and your gaming requirements.
We have compared system performance, games, backwards compatibility, cross-platform gaming, online communities, and subscription services amongst other things worth noting and we hope you enjoy the read.
True Native 4K Gaming: Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro
The main difference that you will find between the two consoles here is that while the Xbox One X will offer true native 4K gaming for Xbox One first-party Games, the PS4 Pro doesn’t have the same facility for its PS4 games. Only a few titles are actually native 4K on the PS4 Pro, the rest are upscaled with clever checker-boarding techniques that give the impression of 4K high-resolution gaming.
Backwards compatibility is a big thing for a lot of gamers, especially when there are games that are close to your heart, and you want to replay again in the future.
This isn’t really a viable option with the PlayStation ecosystem, as Sony hasn’t offered any true backwards compatibility between systems. By backwards compatibility, I mean putting in a PS3 game or even PS2 into the system and playing it on the console. Sony just hasn’t added that kind of emulator support and they likely never will in my honest opinion.
On the other hand, Sony does actually provide a paid service by the name of PlayStation Now, which is now offering more and more of their older titles to be able to play that were originally made for the older PlayStation consoles. However, you’ll need a decent internet connection because these games are rendered in the cloud somewhere and streamed back to your system. You cannot download them and play later, which could be a problem if you don’t have a access to a fast internet connection.
Both teams take a different approach to playing older titles it seems, with Sony you pay for a service that lets you a vast library of games with Xbox you’re limited to whats available to download in the store and physical copies of the games you may own.
Both approaches have their own advantages;
Sony offers a library of games, so if you haven’t ever owned any of the older titles you wanted to play there’s a chance you play them all to your hearts content, providing you have a decent enough internet connection to avoid latency issues.
Xbox’s aproach is simpler in that if you already own the titles physically and they are backwards compatible, it is simply a case of putting the disc in and waiting for the download to complete and you’re ready to go. Digitally you need to navigate to the title in the storefront and download as you would a normal digital game.
Xbox One X & PS4 Pro Enhanced Games List
Xbox are very transparent here, readily providing a detailed list of Xbox One X enhanced titles for both current gen and much older titles like Fallout 3 and Halo 3.
I must admit I never thought I’d see Halo 3 – a title so close to my heart – available in its original form with HDR support.
PlayStation on the other hand…
Well, the systems been out a full year longer than the Xbox One X and there is no list on PlayStations official webpage. I did, however, manage to dig this list up after a quick search.
As someone from the community helpfully pointed out there are more PS4 Pro available titles than I was initially able to find during my research. An article over Neogaf lists 197 games with PS4 Pro Enhancements and another 191 that gain benefits when using the PS4 Pros Boost Mode.
I’m happy to admit that maybe I could have indeed dug around the corners of the internet a little more and perhaps would have eventually come across this list, but please note that on the site itself containing the list it states;
“Please note that none of the lists are exhaustive, due to the difficulty of finding public information regarding Pro enhancements.”
Which is why you can’t really help but appreciate about Xbox’s approach in regards how they’ve handled publically displaying this information for all to see over at Xbox.com.
As you can see, there is a vast difference in supported games that get a benefit from the extra horsepower these systems provide. Microsoft recently announced that Xbox One X now supports 100+ games, whereas PlayStation might be sitting pretty around the 30 mark of titles that benefit from this added power. Not a good showing for the PS4 Pro here then.
Online multiplayer is now very popular across both platforms, with fans of both sides claiming their machines are better online than the others. So, on that note, let’s dive into the online subscription services for both, and the costs associated with them.
Looking at Xbox Live first. Xbox Live Golds subscription is currently £39.99 per annum if paid upfront on an annual basis, meaning you’ll have full access to online gaming and cross platform-play gaming across your gaming library on an unlimited basis within that 12-month period from the date of purchase.
Purchasing an Xbox Live Gold package also provides you with exclusive gold member discounts and games to play. Membership certainly has its perks then, as you can also receive up to £500 worth of games for free during a year’s worth of membership. These also include backwards compatible Xbox 360 games.
Games currently available to with Xbox Games for Gold in August 2018 are:
- Forza Horizon 2 (August 1-31)
- For Honor (August 16-September 15)
- Dead Space 3 (August 1-15)
- Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (August 16-31)
Moving Along to the PS4, the online subscription for PlayStation has now changed almost forcing you to purchase a subscription to PlayStation Plus to get the most from the system, which now costs £49.99 per annum after the recent £10 price increase. This will also give you full access to the online multiplayer facility, along with monthly games available for you to download at no extra cost and, of course, exclusive discounts on other items within the network.
Games currently available to with PlayStation Plus games in August 2018 include:
- Mafia III
- Dead by Daylight
- Bound by Flame
- Serious Sam 3 BFE
- Draw Slasher
- Space Hulk
Again, similar to the Xbox subscription, these free games change monthly (and sometimes sooner), giving you the best chance of playing a wider variety of games, including those you may have never considered playing.
As mentioned above, both the Xbox and PlayStation subscription services also give you exclusive discounts on the purchasing of new games. In all fairness, they can offer a fair bit of money off in comparison to the RRP, as an incentive to keep paying for membership.
What you need to consider here is that Xbox Live membership has been going strong since 2002 with the Xbox’s original release, whereas PS Plus is a relatively new service launching in 2010. The price for Xbox live has also stayed the same, at £39.99 since initial conception. Is PlayStation really being competitive here by increasing their membership cost this late in the game?
It’s also worth considering that PlayStations servers have been hacked on numerous occasions by different hacker groups over the years, affecting both the online service and putting its member’s private details at risk. The same cannot be said for Xbox, likely due to Xbox being a part of Microsoft, who are of course responsible for the most used operating system in the world Microsoft Windows. It’s safe to say that this company knows a thing or two about fixing flaws in its systems before malicious intent could ever acquire all users details.
Rounding off the online memberships for both systems, both platforms offer cloud storage for your game saves. If the worst were to happen to your system, your save data would at least be safe. PS Plus offers 10gbs of cloud storage with its membership, which is plenty given the size of modern game saves, Xbox Live, on the other hand, handles things a little differently.
I myself have never seen a size on my Xbox One for cloud storage space, so I had to look this one up for you guys, Xbox.com states:
“On Xbox One, each game is provided storage. As a user’s game library grows, so does their cloud storage, and an Xbox Live Gold subscription isn’t required. This gives Xbox One users unlimited cloud storage based on their library size.”
Unlimited cloud storage even if you aren’t a subscriber? Top showing here from Xbox.
Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Console Breakdown
Now, let us take a look at both consoles separately, in order to understand more about which one could be best suited for your requirements.
I’ve also scouted around the web to gather collective information from the gaming community and added their thoughts to this comparison:
The PlayStation 4 Pro is very similar in its design to the original PS4. It does, however, bring an updated edge to its aesthetic, by losing the rounded edges in favour on a more striking and sharp design.
Performance out of the box
The initial start-up of the console is still rapid due to it’s minimalistic GUI dashboard that’s been largely the same as it has been for years. However, after this is things start to slow down a bit.
If you’re coming from another PS4, you’ll need to start the data transfer to move all of your game saves/game data from your previous system. This can take some time depending on what you’re transferring over.
Sony’s marketing (in the UK at least) toting the tagline “PS4, for the players” and although there is some truth to that in itself, it is a system focused on gaming and that’s pretty much all it is. Boot ups are snappy – even without power-saving mode on, patches never seem to be so awful for games it’ll stop you playing for hours waiting for a patch if you haven’t booted the system up for a week or so. Really you really can’t fault it for the minimalistic approach, but that doesn’t mean the community doesn’t want more?
The PS4 Pro doesn’t offer great or even any performance boosts for many older games circar the PS4 Pro’s release and although games released after the PS4 Pros launch have had pro support, it could be so much more by taking the approach that Microsoft has with the Xbox One X
Now I know it won’t run past generations games of systems past, that’s just Sony, it’s in their best interest to make the decisions that bank them the money after all, but that doesn’t mean support for PS4 games of old needs to be as poor and lacking as it has.
Sure, we got a system-wide supersampling for Pro users in a system update, which is great but it only affects patched titles and those without a 4K TV (or at least in my experience).
If this supersampling affected all unpatched PS4 games I think this could be a big win for Sony here as the implementation of a general SS is easier to implement than patching all titles individually.
I’ve personally experienced a cooling issue that nobody else seems to have reported on.
There is a relatively good amount of space either side of the system and there is a hole in the back of the cabinet for the cables to go through. But as you can see even just standing still in Uncharted 4 – a 4K title for PS4 Pro, you can hear the fans spinning up obnoxiously loud trying to keep the system cool. I had to remove the entire back panel from my TV cabinet to keep it at a reasonable audio level.
It is worth noting that I have the Xbox One X the other side of the unit with the same amount breathing room as it were and it was whisper silent in comparison, even with the back panel on the cabinet, a top tip if you’re looking to put either system into tight spaces.
Overall on the performance side, notable points are:
- There is a simple but slow data transfer process moving from a base PS4 model.
- There are limited benefits for those who own a 1080p TV.
- If you have a 4K HDR TV, the picture looks great and will blow you away for support titles, (in which there are few).
- There has been a substantial improvement in quality for virtual reality titles, so if this is your thing then be prepared to notice a significant positive difference.
The Gaming Community – Likes
Based on other independent reviews and sources, collectively the community has following likes from the new PlayStation 4 Pro:
- 4K resolution gaming – makes some of your favourite gaming titles look absolutely unreal.
- HDR (High Dynamic Range) capabilities giving you one of the best visual experiences across any console (providing your TV has this facility).
- Larger 1TB hard drive in comparison to the standard PS4.
- Upgraded 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna.
- Faster download speeds when it comes to games.
- Across the board 1080p gaming supersampling for patched titles (introduced in PS4 system update 5.50).
- The Last of Us Remastered in beautiful 4K/HDR.
The Gaming Community – Dislikes
Based on other independent reviews and sources, collectively the community has the following dislikes from the new PlayStation 4 Pro:
- Lack of a 4K UHD Blu-ray player.
- No Cross-Platform gaming (Fornite).
- Extra processing power only benefits certain games that have been coded by the developer to support the extra power.
- No plans for upcoming Dolby Vision/Atmos support.
- No 1440p Support
PlayStation 4 Pro Overall
Overall, if you are already immersed in the world of 4K HDR TV’s, then this could be a great investment for you. If you have yet to make the crossover into the world of 4K/HDR, or VR, then you may want to hold off purchasing a console at the moment and see what else comes up in the near future – as rumour has it that the PS5 is only a few years away!
If you caught my unboxing of the Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition, you may remember that I compared the Xbox One X size directly to the Xbox One S. The X is a slimmer system although a little bit wider and deeper than the S, it still keeps the sleek minimalistic design of the last system. A true feat in itself given how much more powerful this system is to fit it into an even smaller package.
Performance out of the box
Prepare for a patch coming in at around 5GB+ from the first setup, this can be a pain for those who don’t have fast internet speeds. Transfering data from another system is a little faster and more straightforward than in the PS4 Pro, but still prepare for an initial slow down, during first boot. It’s not so bad with the Xbox One X because all of your cloud save data doesn’t try syncing automatically, you’ll find that it only syncs to your system when you try to start the game up, reducing the transferring overhead.
Games look incredible across the board, no matter whether you are using a 1080p TV or playing the games in 4K/HDR.
This new console is touted as the worlds most powerful console. Games are designed to run at a native 4K resolution and are also sporting 60 frames per second which leaves you with an outstanding picture and gaming experience. Most of these right now are first-party titles, with most third-party titles still supporting 4K native textures but capped to a 30fps frame rate. However, many of these titles offer a super crisp highly textured 1080p option that boasts the 60fps frame rate, given gamers their choice of preference over the two.
Like I mentioned with the PS4 Pro and its ventilation issues, I’ve also spotted an issue caused by Xbox’s instant on mode. The mode itself is designed to keep the system on in a low-power saving state, allowing it to update your games library when patches are released and keep your system up to date.
No more boot-ups to a whopping system update, or not being able to join your friends for some multiplayer fun in your favourite game because it just released a whopping 9GB patch, sounds great right?
Well.. in practice I’ve never had a problem with the Xbox One, or the Xbox One S, but it’s not the same affair with the Xbox One X. I’ve had countless occurrences where the system just get a bit buggy and slow, for instance;
It won’t let me connect to Xbox Live despite an active internet connection showing in the settings, or the Xbox no longer recognises external USB drive, so half of my games library is missing. My favourite of these being that the system can’t detect a Kinect is plugged in -despite me looking directly at the white glowing X symbol on the Kinect itself, leaves me thinking hmmm.. more times than I’d have liked.
The only way around it is a game of hard resetting the Xbox One X itself and USB swapping from port to port for the external drive in the hopes it’ll pick it back up. I get that systems can get bogged down, especially when handling so much in the background, but this happens far more than I’d like it to.
In these instances, I like how quickly the PS4 Pro can just boot straight up and into a game, even from a cold boot, with its OS and GUI focused towards a minimalistic approach.
The Gaming Community – Likes
Based on other independent reviews and sources, collectively the community has following likes from the new Xbox One X:
- It is a premium console through and through and is priced accordingly.
- Playing backwards compatible games with Xbox One X Graphical enhancements.
- When hooked up to a decent 4K HDR screen, the console plays games at an incredibly high level of detail.
- If you watch a 4K Blu-ray with Dolby Atmos sound, you’ll have a truly cinematic experience, up there with anything you’ve ever experienced in the cinema.
- It is the pinnacle of console gaming in its present form.
- Upcoming plans for a system update to support Dolby Vision Media.
- Cross-Platform gaming between Xbox 360, Windows 10 and Nintendo Switch.
- Freesync + 120hz Support
- 1440p Support
The Gaming Community – Dislikes
Based on other independent reviews and sources, collectively the community has following dislikes when it comes to the new Xbox One X:
- Slightly overpriced given that the PlayStation 4 Pro isn’t far behind.
- The 1TB hard drive can be filled up quite quickly given that several games have 100GB + downloads (incl. Gears of War 4, Forza Motorsport 7, and Quantum Break).
- Still No new groundbreaking console exclusives to showcase the systems new power.
Xbox One X Overall
This machine has been dubbed as the pinnacle of console gaming, but the main question to ask yourself when it comes to deciding if you want to purchase one should be – ‘Will I appreciate the extra horsepower it provides?’
If you are the type of person to sit back and appreciate the picture quality in various games, then this console would be a sound investment for you.
On the other hand, if you are the type of person that just enjoys playing games that are good looking on a screen, maybe hold off buying this console and look at the much cheaper Xbox One S (that we reviewed here) as it will do exactly what you are looking for with no added bells and whistles.
An Honest Summary of the Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro
So, there you have it.
Two reviews, two different consoles.
As you can see, there are pros and cons, positives and negatives to each one, so read through carefully before you make any purchase decisions to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting for your money.
For now, that is it from us. However, we have also compiled a neat little table below which gives you the system specs for both consoles side by side so that you can compare and contrast with ease.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this comparison between the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X consoles, let me in the comments below if you agree or disagree with my comparison.
|XBOX ONE X||PS4 PRO|
|UK RELEASE PRICE||£450||£349|
|RELEASE DATE (UK)||Out Now||Out Now|
|CPU||Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz||2.1GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU|
|GPU||Integrated AMD graphics with 6 teraflops of performance||Integrated AMD Polaris graphics with 4.2 teraflops of performance|
|RAM||12GB GDDR5||8GB GDDR5|
|STORAGE||1TB 2.5 inch||1TB 2.5 inch|
|MEMORY BANDWITH||326GB / sec||218GB / sec|
|DIMENSIONS||11.8 x 9.4 x 2.4 inches, the “smallest Xbox ever”||12.8 x 11.6 x 2.1 inches|
|WEIGHT||8.4 pounds||7.2 pounds|
|OPTICAL DRIVE||4K / HDR Blu-ray drive||Blu-ray / DVD|
|Dolby Atmos Support||Yes (with app)||No|