The introduction of the Xbox One X brings a new wrinkle to the ceaseless console war: a brand new mid-gen console upgrade vying for your cold-hard cash in the shadow of the more affordable Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Slim. But with the PS4 Pro already approaching its first birthday, there are fresh battle lines to be drawn: PS4 Pro or Xbox One X – which one should you buy? It’s a complex question that we’re going to attempt to unpack in this article, and hopefully by the time you’re done we’ll have helped you make up your mind.
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X: What’s the Difference?
There are a wealth of differences between the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X under the hood, but the bottom line is that they’re both similar plays from their respective manufacturers. Neither device is billed as a next-generation console – instead, they’re designed to boost the experience you’ll find in standard PS4 and Xbox One games. You can learn a little more about this in our PS4 Pro vs PS4 comparison, but the general idea is that more powerful GPUs are leveraged to enhance the base resolution found in the standard version of games to 4K – or thereabouts.
As alluded, the primary difference between the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X is the power that each platform is pushing respectively. Releasing a year earlier at a lower price, the PS4 Pro opts for a 4.2 TFLOP GPU, while the Xbox One X has a 6 TFLOP GPU. In real world terms, this means that the Xbox One X is capable of achieving resolutions closer to native 4K than the PS4 Pro, though obviously results will differ and vary dramatically depending on the game. Another bow in the Xbox One X’s quiver is that it’s packing 12GB GDDR5 RAM compared to the PS4 Pro’s 8GB GDDR5 RAM, and although Sony’s system comes with an additional 1GB DDR3 memory for operating system functionality, this essentially means that Microsoft’s machine has more headroom to support higher resolution textures. Again, though, your mileage will vary depending on the game.
Other differences include a 4K Blu-ray player in the Xbox One X which is absent from the PS4 Pro, as well as Dolby Amos support. Both consoles are compatible with HDR, however – the feature found in most modern televisions which improves the contrast and colour of games.
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X: What Are the Specifications?
As outlined above, the biggest point of comparison between the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X in specifications comes down to the differences in GPU and memory. While the PS4 Pro leverages a 4.2 TFLOP GPU, the Xbox One X instead is powered by a 6 TFLOP GPU. To ground this comparison, the launch PS4 (or PS4 Slim) has a 1.84 TFLOP GPU, so both systems represent a sizeable increase. The Xbox One X also has more memory to draw from with its 12GB GDDR5 RAM compared to the PS4 Pro’s 8GB GDDR5 RAM, though they both share comparable CPUs with an 8-core 2.3GHz processor and an 8-core 2.1GHz processor respectively.
What does all this mean? Ultimately, it all very much depends on the game. In theory, the Xbox One X will be able to push resolutions greater than those found on the PS4 Pro with improved textures – assuming developers are willing to put in the extra effort. As mentioned, however, both consoles are bound to their base model counterparts, with software being built for the Xbox One S and PS4 Slim first and foremost – and then boosted by the new hardware.
|PS4 Pro||Xbox One X|
|Price||$400 (US), £350 (UK)||$500 (US), £450 (UK)|
|CPU||2.1GHz 8-core CPU||2.3GHz 8-core CPU|
|GPU||4.2 TFLOP||6 TFLOP|
|Memory||8GB GDDR5 + 1GB DDR3||12GB GDDR5|
|Max Video Output||4K||4K|
|Inputs||3 x USB 3.1
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
1 x PlayStation Camera
|3 x USB 3.1
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
1 x HDMI-in
|Optical Drive||Blu-ray, DVD||4K UHD Blu-ray, DVD|
|Network||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.0||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.0|
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X: How Big Are They?
Microsoft has described the Xbox One X as the smallest Xbox ever, and it is an impressive engineering feat. In terms of depth and width, the Xbox One X at 239 x 300mm is smaller than the PS4 Pro’s 295 x 327mm chassis, though the latter is shade thinner by some 8mm or so. The PS4 Pro is also somewhat lighter than the Xbox One X, weighing in at 3.3KG compared to the 3.8KG of Microsoft’s machine.
Neither machine is particularly diminutive when compared to the PS4 Slim, though, which boasts 265 x 288 x 39mm proportions and weighs just 2.1KG. Bizarrely, the power draw on the Xbox One X is less than that of the PS4 Pro at 245W compared to 310W, though again, neither are anywhere near as energy efficient as the PS4 Slim’s 165W.
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X: How Do They Handle Virtual Reality and Backward Compatibility?
One particularly neat Xbox One X feature is that it’s able to boost the performance of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, much like a new graphics card in a PC is able to do. It’s also able to enhance loading times, framerate, and even resolution in unsupported games. Meanwhile, the PS4 Pro offers Boost Mode in order to enhance unpatched games by steadying framerates and smoothening any other performance issues. Outside of select re-released PS2 games, however, Sony doesn’t currently offer any form of backward compatibility on its console – likely due to the complicated architecture of the PlayStation 3’s CELL processor.
Conversely, the Xbox One family of formats does not currently offer a virtual reality headset – despite PlayStation VR proving popular on the PS4. Sony’s virtual reality solution supports both the PS4 Pro and the base PS4, though the former is able to render to crisper looking experiences thanks to the additional GPU grunt that it possesses. A technology called supersampling is employed to render games at a higher resolution before shrinking them back down to provide a clearer image.
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X: Are There Any Benefits for 1080p Television Owners?
Similarly to what’s described above, both the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X use a technology called supersampling on 1080p televisions to provide flawless image quality. This functions by rendering a higher-resolution image, before shrinking it back down to 1080p. This technology is hard-coded into the Xbox One X and available in virtually all patched games, while support has been a bit more inconsistent on the PS4 Pro.
Both consoles also benefit, naturally, from smoother framerates and, in the case of the Xbox One X particularly, there’s the potential for higher resolution textures depending upon the game. As is always the case, however, your mileage may vary.
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X: Which Has the Best Games?
Perhaps the most important part when purchasing a new console is which system has the best selection of games. While it’s always going to come down to personal taste, it’s here that the PS4 Pro starts to pull ahead. With a wider pool of first-party talent developing software exclusively for the PS4 family of consoles, you’ll only be able to play titles like God of War, Spider-Man, and The Last of Us: Part II on Sony’s systems. Even more importantly, developers like Naughty Dog and Sony Santa Monica are renowned for pushing the boundaries of video game graphics, meaning that despite the PS4 Pro being a weaker piece of hardware, you can expect the visuals to be industry leading.
Microsoft does have a handful of games on the way, including Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3, as well as first dibs on multiplayer shooter PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – though a PS4 release is planned at a later date. Despite this, though, stronger support from Japanese publishers as well as a wide array of virtual reality releases means that the PS4 Pro’s software support dwarfs that of the Xbox One X – even though both consoles will receive the majority of Western third-party releases.
PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X: Which One Should You Buy?
With the Xbox One X priced at $499 and the PS4 Pro currently at $399, both mid-gen upgrades represent considerable investments – especially when compared to their much more affordable Xbox One S and PS4 Slim alternatives. Both systems have been designed with enthusiasts in mind, and both offer outstanding results on 4K televisions with HDR enabled. Time will tell how much difference there is between the two machines, but early indications suggest that the Xbox One X will have a visual advantage over the PS4 Pro – though the jury’s still out on how meaningful this will prove to be.
And so, ultimately, it comes down to the games, as it always does with these kind of comparisons. With a wider array of first-party content and stronger support from Japanese publishers, as well as a very good virtual reality solution with PlayStation VR, the PS4 Pro edges out this all-important contest with considerable ease. But if you mainly play Western third-party games and demand the absolute best performance but refuse to buy a PC, then the Xbox One X may be the way to go.
That said, it’s worth remembering that all games still play competently on the PS4 Slim and Xbox One S, so if you’re not really fussed about higher resolutions and other bells and whistles, then remember that you’ll still be able to experience all of the same games at half the price on standard hardware, too.
Are you planning to pick up an Xbox One X, or are you happy with your PS4 Pro? Do you think that the base PS4 is the way to go? Try to keep your console warrior hat off in the comments section below.