The best PlayStation console
Sony PlayStation consoles are a mainstay of the video game industry, and their current generation has dominated with Sony's popular line of exclusive titles as well as their very generous selection of cross-platform games. The PlayStation 4 Slim is their flagship console, but the PlayStation 4 Pro offers superior performance and is our top choice for the gamer who is serious about graphics and frame rates. To learn more about the PlayStation line of consoles, continue reading our buying guide.
Considerations when choosing PlayStation consoles
Choosing the right PlayStation console for you
The three PlayStation consoles are the Slim, Pro, and Vita. Each has its advantages, and they vary in price and features.
PlayStation Slim: If you are looking for a basic console to play the best games of this generation on your HDTV, the Slim is the least-expensive option and includes a 1TB hard drive -- enough space for about 24 games. It comes equipped with popular streaming apps such as Netflix and Hulu, allowing your game console to serve as the entertainment center of your living room. The new slim design is thinner than the original PS4, but it doesn't hold back on performance. While this console's maximum resolution is 1,080p, it still offers excellent graphics and can play any game that the Pro can.
PlayStation Pro: For playing the latest games in gorgeous 4K resolution, the Pro is one of the most powerful consoles of this generation. The processor packs twice the power as the Slim's processor, and the sound card offers noticeably improved sound quality. Many PlayStation games feature an "enhanced" mode designed specifically to get the most out of the performance and power of the PS4 pro, with some games running at 4K with 60 frames-per-second for smooth and crisp gameplay. The only drawbacks to the Pro are its price point, larger size, and incompatibility with 4K Blu-ray discs.
The Vita is a handheld console made for PlayStation fans. While it offers a decent line of cross-platform titles, it stands out with its exclusive games. If you have a PS4, you can play many PS4 titles on your Vita through the Remote Play feature -- as long as your PS4 and Vita have strong Internet connections, you can enjoy games usually limited to console play with minimal delay. While the library of this console is comparatively smaller, it is more streamlined and easier to carry with you than the Nintendo Switch.
PlayStation consoles are among the most popular not only for their performance and quality design but also for their impressive library of exclusive games. Here are a few of their most popular games and franchises:
The God of War series
The Uncharted series
The Little Big Planet series
Horizon Zero Dawn
The Last of Us series
The Last Guardian
With virtual reality (VR) gaming on the rise, it's no surprise that Sony is a part of the scene -- in fact, PlayStation VR is one of the most popular VR headsets available. Not all PlayStation titles are compatible with VR, but with more than 100 VR titles, there's no shortage of games to play. The PlayStation VR headset is pricey, but its comfortable design and immersive gaming experience are well worth it.
PlayStation console prices
PlayStation consoles are moderately affordable, with the Slim and Vita both costing around $250 to $300. The PS4 Pro costs around $400, and bundles that include games may cost from $300 to $500.
Q. Is the PS4 backward compatible?
A. You can't use any discs from previous consoles, such as the PS3 or PS2 -- however, the PlayStation Now service gives you access to several classic PlayStation titles.
Q. Can the PS4 record or share gameplay?
A. Yes, sharing and saving gameplay is as easy as pressing the "share" button on the controller. In fact, you can even invite friends to watch you play a game or allow them to play the game remotely from their own console.
PlayStation consoles we recommend
Best of the best: Sony PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console
Our take: The most expensive PlayStation console is also the most powerful by a longshot, offering the same games as the PS4 with superior performance.
What we like: The CPU has double the power compared to that of the PS4. 4K graphics make most games look stunning and allow for high-quality streaming.
What we dislike: This console cannot play 4K Blu-ray discs, and it is a fair amount larger than the Slim console.
Best bang for your buck: Sony PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Console
Our take: While this may not be a feature-packed console, it is still a powerhouse capable of playing all of the same games as the Pro.
What we like: If you don't need the extra power of the Pro, this is a good option for more casual gamers. In addition, it makes for a great streaming device and Blu-ray player.
What we dislike: The resolution of this console maxes out at 1,080p.
Choice 3: Sony PlayStation Vita
Our take: A highly portable gaming console that pairs well with the PS4.
What we like: The sleek design of this handheld console makes it even easier to carry around than the Switch. Good selection of exclusive titles.
What we dislike: The battery life is on the shorter end, offering from three to six hours depending on your screen brightness.
Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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