The eternal battle continues. Who is going to win? Microsoft’s fans are betting on the Xbox Series S. Sony hardware lovers are forcefully putting forward the PlayStation 4 Pro proposition…
And what is the reality? Which console is better in terms of convenience, graphics and performance? Today, we compare Microsoft’s Xbox Series S and Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro consoles to settle the argument.
Microsoft Xbox Series S basics
The Xbox Series S console is almost identical in terms of basic hardware to the Xbox Series X. It has the same processor with slightly slower clock frequencies and uses a slower GPU, a custom RDNA2 with 20 CU’s at 1.55GHz for 4 teraflops. The Xbox Series S comes with 10 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD with a raw I/O bandwidth of 2.4 GB/s and does not include any optical drive, requiring the user to purchase all software from digital distribution. It is a hardware designed to render games at the default 1440p resolution, with support for scaling to 4K, at 60 frames per second, although it can reach up to 120 frames per second.
The Xbox Series S unit itself is around sixty per cent smaller in volume than the Series X and measures 275 × 151 × 63.5 millimetres in portrait orientation and is also available in a matte white chassis with a matching controller, which sets it apart from the matte black familiar from the Xbox Series X.
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro basics
The PlayStation 4 Pro is based on the x86-64 processor architecture, and the standard console comes with 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM. The console’s processor is an 8-core, 64-bit chip based on the ‘Jaguar’ micro-architecture, designed by AMD with a clock speed of 1.6 GHz per core, and the PS4 Pro has twice as powerful a graphics processor as the PS4.
An AMD Radeon chip with 1.84 TFLOPS of processing power is responsible for the graphics display. The processor and graphics chip are integrated on the same silicon wafer (the so-called Accelerated Processing Unit). In terms of performance, the chip is similar to the Radeon 7870. The PlayStation 4’s Blu-ray drive plays discs at 6x and DVDs at 8x. In addition, it has USB 3.0 communication ports, Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11n network card, HDMI and audio outputs. The console is sold in two versions: with a 500 GB or 1 TB removable hard drive. With the PlayStation 4 Pro variant, you can play and watch in 4K quality (with a screen suitable for this), and enjoy higher frame rates than the regular PS4 console.
Microsoft Xbox Series S vs. Sony PlayStation 4 Pro – the differences
The PlayStation 4 is the eighth-generation console, which was released in 2013. The Xbox Series S is a weaker version of Microsoft’s latest devices, which saw the light of day in 2020. It, therefore, belongs to the ninth generation. It deviates, in terms of processing power, from the more powerful Series X. In addition, it is characterized by the absence of a disc drive.
The two consoles vary in terms of processing power, which is not at all surprising given the generation difference. The difference between these consoles may seem surprising. For it turns out that the PlayStation 4 Pro is more powerful, in terms of pure computing power, than Microsoft’s newer generation console. The difference is marginal, as Sony’s device on paper has 4.2 TFLOPS of power, while the Xbox Series S has 4 TFLOPS. The PS4 Pro also has a disc drive, of course, something the weaker Series family model lacks.
The Xbox Series S is, of course, a console that bases its components on newer technology, which includes, Ray Tracing. All these goodies are unfortunately severely limited by the relatively low power. Nevertheless, as the Series S is the latest generation, it is the most future-proof hardware. So it will allow you to play all those productions that will not be released for the older PS4 Pro and PS4.
The extreme power limitation, however, is the price we have come to pay for the lower cost of the device. Indeed, these are cheaper than a used PS4 Pro. It is downright impressive that a last-generation console without any form of backwards compatibility, which will be stripped of new games in a relatively short time, is being sold more expensively in used form than a new Series S. A PS4 Pro on a popular auction site can be purchased for £300, while a new Series S costs just £250.
Microsoft Xbox Series S vs. Sony PlayStation 4 Pro – the verdict
So it would seem that the Xbox Series S is the clear winner because it is newer. However, the lack of a drive imposes many limitations. On the PS4, we can buy older, used games, the price of which will be incomparably lower than new games on the Xbox Series S. Of course, there are also some new releases on the PS4. The console is still supported by Sony. Nevertheless, the Japanese device has the advantage of having been on the market longer, and thus, has more games that have already come out and have lost their original high price.
Sony’s hardware is very expensive compared to both Microsoft’s console and the PlayStation 4 from which it is not that different. On the other hand, some people prefer Sony’s games and those will enjoy the PS4 more, although not necessarily the Pro version. The Xbox Series S has similar specs, a rich library of games in the Xbox Game Pass and a modern design. It is also significantly cheaper than Sony’s hardware.
In summary, it all depends on your preferences. If you are a Sony enthusiast and have a substantial budget and a TV that supports 4K, then you would enjoy the PS4 Pro. However, if you do not have that, then you are better off buying a PS4 and investing the rest in a PS4 custom controller – make your PS4 controller from the scratch or customize your PS4 controller as it would give you more benefits during gameplay than the Pro version. And if you prefer Microsoft games and value compactness, then the Xbox Series S should be your best bet.