Revised for 2019.
If you’re here, it’s likely because you’ve been gifted (or you’re gifting) a PS4, PS4 Pro or PlayStation VR for Christmas. First off, congratulations! Second, we’re here to help you get the most from your new pressie.
(And a reminder to those giving the console as a gift: it’s not a bad idea to open the console and set it up before hand, installing all updates prior to repackaging it, wrapping it and putting it under the tree!)
Technically, there are three types of PlayStation 4 consoles available: the original PS4, the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro.
The original PS4 and the PS4 Slim are essentially the same, though (as you’ve probably guessed), the PS4 Slim comes in a smaller form factor. Both consoles are capable of HDR, though your TV needs to support the feature.
The PS4 Pro (shown at right at the top of this post) is the newest iteration of Sony’s console, with both HDR and 4K upscaling (again, your TV needs to support that). It’s more powerful than the base model, and it has a third layer of PlayStation-ness to show that off physically. If you’ve upgraded to a PS4 Pro from its base model, it’s quite easy to transfer content between the consoles.
There are a couple issues with the PS4 Pro, but thankfully, there are also fixes:
- PS4 Pro 4K TV image fix
- PS4 Pro: Force 1080p mode on your console
- How to remove black border around game captures
The Pro also comes with an enhanced controller (below), offering up a lightbar at the front of the DualShock 4 rather than just at the back. It’s a neat little addition.
The lightbar(s) work with the PlayStation Camera for some games, and in others use the bar’s colouring to show in-game health and other functions.
If you’re in the market for beefier controllers, Sony’s teamed up with a bunch of third-party manufacturers to scratch that itch. Fair warning, though — we didn’t like the Nacon Pro controller.
Interface and console-specific features
To get the most of your console, you’ll need to connect it to internet and sign-up for a PlayStation Network account. Doing so will give you access to the PlayStation Store (and its games and apps) and other goodies like Trophies. You can upgrade to a PlayStation Plus account to gain access to multiplayer play, free games each month and cloud-based saves.
The PS4 is the only game console that supports virtual reality play. If you want in, you’ll need to purchase a PS VR unit and connect it up to your PS4 or PS4 Pro.
A PlayStation Camera is required, and two PlayStation Move controllers are recommended to get the full experience. You can also use the PlayStation Camera to control your console via voice commands or as a motion controller for myriad titles.
The PS4 plays PS4 discs and digital games, while some games feature enhanced visuals with the PS4 Pro. Many titles are also cross-buy compatible, meaning they’ll work across PS3, PS4 and the portable PlayStation Vita.
Sony’s PlayStation Plus program also provides free titles each month. This month offers the spectacular Titanfall 2.
Additionally, here are links to the biggest PS4 exclusive titles of 2018 and 2019:
- God of War
- ASTRO BOT: Rescue Mission
- Detroit Become Human
- Tetris Effect
- Death Stranding
- Concrete Genie
- Days Gone
Enjoy your new hardware!