Sony PlayStation 4 review: The gaming console from the future
- great design
- has the comfortable DualShock controller
- high-performance gaming
- great launch titles
- reasonably priced
- user interface looks uninspiring
- navigation isn't easy for certain tasks
Sony has been hugely successful with its PlayStation 3 console launched way back in 2006. Although it was one of the top gaming consoles on the market aside from its direct rival Xbox 360, Sony had to reconstruct the PS3’s design for three revisions until they have attained the “super slim” status. Nine years from that historic launch, another milestone empowers Sony’s vision for the console of the future. With the launch of the PlayStation 4, the next-generation of gaming is in our hands (and controllers). This is the comprehensive review of the Sony PlayStation 4. Know everything about the PS4 that makes it a futuristic proposition for a console for the years to come.
Sony’s very high attention to detail clearly shows on the PlayStation 4. The angled prismic box is a great-looking fixture for your living room or entertainment area. In fact, it sports a futuristic look with its minimalist features. The PS4 looks like two angled slabs of plastic bounded by a wide seam. Sony has used this design philosophy to the advantage of PS4’s great looks. The ports are well hidden on the wide seam that runs across the PS4’s angular body. On the front of the console sports two USB 3.0 ports, a slot-loading Blu-Ray drive, an eject button, and the power button. There is a minor design flaw on the positioning of these two buttons. You can easily confuse both of these buttons. By trying to eject a disc from the drive, you can rather turn off the console. It takes some time to be familiar with this button layout. On the back are the ports for HDMI, Ethernet, optical audio out port (Toslink), and a proprietary plug for the PlayStation Camera that is optionally available.
The insides of the PlayStation 4 are top-notch components that make the console run like a beast. The console sports a custom-designed octa-core AMD Jaguar processing unit, a specially-made Radeon GPU, 8 GB of GDDR5 memory, and a hefty 500 GB hard disk drive. The PS4 has 16 times the amount of RAM from its predecessor, and its chip has been improved significantly with eight cores, giving a smooth gaming experience. With an x86 chip architecture, the PS4 is ready for the future of games. The PS4 is capable of running the most graphically-intensive games in 1080P HD resolution at a smooth 60 frames per second. It is also equipped with 802.11n Wi-Fi chip working in the 2.4 GHz band, by which many would say that the wireless capabilities of the PS4 are not at par with the next generation wireless technologies like the 802.11ac broadcasting on a 5GHz wireless band.
Sony have had the well-known DualShock wireless game controller. With the PlayStation 4, this well-loved wireless controller has been improved even further with new ergonomics, making this controller hard for your hands to put down. For this reason, the new DualShock controller is the most comfortable version of the wireless controller since it became available for the PlayStation. It boasts of a reengineered ergonomic design that allows for extended periods of use without straining your hands and fingers. Although more comfortable, the layout of the controls on this controller is basically the same for 16 years now. It still sports the same symmetrical pair of joysticks, the directional pad on the left, four shape-coded buttons on the right, and four triggers on the back. Like every DualShock controller introduced, it still has the same vibrating mechanics, yet the external hardware is improved with new features like a rechargeable battery, a new touchpad on the top center, a 3.5-mm headphone jack for porting the PS4’s audio to a pair of headphones (useful for late night gaming), and a glowing light bar running along the front. It is safe to say that the latest revision to the DualShock is the best wireless controller ever bundled with the PlayStation.
When you start up the PlayStation 4, you will be greeted by a setup screen. After entering your basic info and downloading a relatively small update, the blue-themed homescreen will be the next thing to greet your eyes. The interface of the PS4 is game-centric; navigating to get to your games is pretty quick, but for all other uses like accessing your media files or trying to hook up a streaming service, you will be having a hard time at first to get to your content. Needless to say, the PS4’s interface isn’t what we are expecting for such a top-class hardware.
One good thing about the PS4’s interface is its voice-activated user control feature. By just using certain voice commands, PS4 does the job of getting your content for you or simply just to turn the console off. Like the Xbox One, which also comes with voice command support, it might not work perfectly at all times. Voice command features in general are not that polished enough to be futuristic, but it’s getting there.
Not only the PlayStation is able to deliver immersive gaming experiences, it is also one of the most popular entertainment devices. The PlayStation 4 comes with out-of-the-box support for third-party streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Vudu, among others. The predecessor to the PS4 was popular with users that used it for viewing their favorite TV shows and movies on Netflix. The PS4 keeps the tradition of PlayStations as an excellent home entertainment console.
The PlayStation 4 even improves on the best console gaming experience from Sony with its great hardware. Even more, the console comes with great launch titles such as Need for Speed: Rivals, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and Injustice: Gods Among Us, among other great game titles. The gaming quality on the PS4 rivals the performance on a high-end gaming PC, but not to the extent that it wows seasoned gamers. Undoubtedly, games on the PS4 look amazing, but it can be better with a more powerful rig.
Another great gaming feature that the PS4 has is its dual-screen support with a PS Vita companion device. When paired with the PS Vita, the PS4 extends its screen to the portable console – essentially making the PS Vita as a touchscreen wireless controller. This proves its benefits in certain games that come with the PS4, but it becomes limited to some extent in the most control-demanding games. Aside from its gaming benefits, the extended controller feature of PS Vita can also be used as a remote for navigating the PS4’s user interface.
The Sony PlayStation 4 is truly the next-generation gaming console for the hardcore gamer. It offers great performance with updated hardware that’s designed to last for the years to come. The new DualShock controller is the best wireless controller from PlayStation that you can put your hands on. New gaming titles for the PS4 are also top-notch in visuals and overall experience. If you really want to get your hands on this beast of a console, then you should be ready to shell out $399. Its price tag can justify all of these great features, and even with some shortcomings, the PlayStation 4 is making a great start for Sony in the future of console gaming.