on 18 January 2015
For starters I noticed many other amazon reviewers have been promoting the PS4. However after reading several I also noticed that the people are not getting the full picture of what exactly they're buying.
I created this review in order to provide an in-depth technical review since i noticed the other reviewers haven't done so.
I suggest reading this review if you want to know EXACTLY what you're buying.
For your information, I have been a long time PC and Console gamer. I personally don't have a preference of the 2. However I specialise in PC Hardware and thought it was extremely interesting that consoles have now moved to more computer like hardware.
Note: If you're a non-technical person i advise trying to understand the information provided. If you can't understand it at all, then I would then suggest skipping it.
Let me just say the hardware provided inside the PS4 is some what similar to a PC worth £400+ or so and you're receiving excellent for value for performance.
*Processor & Graphics*
The PS4 has a Custom APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) created by AMD featuring the "Jaguar" architecture.
For people who don't know what an APU is, its a CPU (Central Processing Unit) and a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) combined.
The Jaguar architecture was designed for notebooks, mini pcs and micro-servers offering low power consumption. It was created in Mid 2013. It is the successor of the older generation architecture "Bobcat". All the Jaguar based CPUs only offered up to quad cores before the announcement of the PS4.
The APU has the CPUs, GPUs and shared memory controllers on the same die
The CPU side of the APU is created on a 28nm manufacturing (smaller the nm the more transistors can be placed for efficiency as well as improved performance - however there is a limit to the amount of shrinking they can do to a chip) As a comparison the AMD FX 8350 has a 32nm manufacturing and the Intel i7 4770k has a 22nm manufacturing.
The CPU uses Dual 4 Core Modules (x86-64) (Total 8 Cores) with a base clock frequency at 1.6GHz however there is an unknown uptick in speed for intensive CPU usage. My personal guess due to the PS4's maximum power consumption limit due to the PSU would be around 2.5GHz to 3GHz. Cooling is also a limiting factor to the lower GHz clock speed. Since AMD CPUs at higher clock speeds produce too much heat, the energy efficiency goes out the window and the PS4 doesn't have enough cooling potential for something like a 4GHz turbo clock. Modern games can't run at a 1.6GHz clock speed unless its featuring League of Legends graphics or something along those lines. Though ultimately the GPU is the graphics manager so there might be some optimisation i am unaware of for the consoles.
Each CPU core contains a 32KB Level 1 instruction and data caches with 1 shared 2MB Level 2 cache for each module (In total 4MB Cache)
The GPU side of the APU is based on the GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture.
GCN is featured in 28nm graphics chips which for PCs are the HD 7000, HD 8000, and AMD R-series graphics cards. GCN is also featured in AMD's Latest APUs.
I can assure you this is an extremely powerful graphics chip which they have placed in the PS4's APU. As other sources have announced, the chip is capable of producing 1.84TFLOPs which puts it almost on par with a HD 7850 / 7870 / R7 260x which are £100 graphic cards. They are considered to be the better mid range gamer cards for PC.
No bias/fan boy intended however this is also dominates the Xbox One's graphical performance capabilities hence why games have better graphics on PS4 as to Xbox One. For example Thief runs at 1080p on PS4 and only 900p on Xbox One.
Moving back to the main topic the GPU consist of 20CUs (Compute Units) - 2CUs are disabled meaning only 18CUs are running. This produces a total of 1152 Cores (64 cores per CU).
AMD made some adjustments to the GCN architecture so that the GPU now has an additional dedicated 20GB/s bus which avoids Level 1 and Level 2 GPU cache for direct system memory access. This makes the overall system smoother during intensive graphical usage.
They also added Level 2 cache support for many graphical and single compute tasks. Reducing graphical strain and general compute operations.
The chip is clocked at a 800MHz frequency clock speed.
Peak performance of 1.84TFLOPs / 1843.2 GFLOPs
Can perform 25.6GP/s Pixel Fillrate
Produce a Texture Fillrate of 57.6GT/s
Compare these numbers to a technical spec of an AMD R7 260x if you want to get a rough idea of what power the PS4's graphical chip has to offer.
If people want to argue that the graphic card is weak. PLEASE just take a look at the price range that this console is fighting in compared to other Desktops and Laptops at this price. It's honestly the best you will get in a sub £350 PC build.
This also means don't expect 4k gaming on a PS4. You need a £1500+ Gaming Desktop to even run 4K gaming.
*Memory / RAM (Random Access Memory)*
Now this is a really smart move from Sony. Instead of having a dedicated graphic memory which many graphic cards have they decided that the GPU and RAM should be shared. Average graphics card now have a standard of just 2GB DRAM which is more than enough for all the latest games out on the market. However higher end GPUs for PCs have 4GB DRAM which only really the higher texture games make use of. Such as 2k and 4k gaming.
Incase people don't know, the GPU's DRAM is a lot faster than your typical system RAM. Modern GPUs use GDDR5 which is based off DDR3 SDRAM Memory. They have a much higher bandwidth compared to DDR3 because the GPU's GDDR5 needs to transfer data a lot faster to display the graphics.
This also improves general loading times if data was to be pre-loaded into the GDDR5 RAM.
GDDR5 works with 2 different clock types. A differential command clock (CK) and a forward differential write clock (WCK)
The PS4 uses 16x 512MB GDDR5 Memory Chips to make 8GB of GDDR5 RAM which produces 176GB/s of Bandwidth.
A CK of 1.375GHz
A WCK of 2.75GHz (5500MT/s)
It also features a 256 Bit Bus Width.
The APU also benefits from higher clock speeds (I have read reviews and benchmarks for the AMD's A10 7850k in comparison to using standard DDR3 1600MHz and 2133MHz RAM) The faster RAM allows the APU to produce higher FPS in games due to bandwidth limitations.
This being said, the combination of GDDR5 RAM and an APU creates an extremely powerful setup for gaming graphics at a cheap cost. "The most powerful APU built to date".
Thanks to Sony's move on the RAM they have corrected the issues of the previous generation console. The PS3. Which believe it or not only contained 256MB of RAM. 8GB of RAM makes for future proofing. Though in my experience a maximum console's life expectancy is only about 7 years before they need to replace it with the next generation console.
Unfortunately there is a drawback of using GDDR5 instead of DDR3 for system ram. Its because of the higher latency compared between the 2. This might explain for the 2nd processor they had installed for the console (Mentioned in the Additional Hardware Info).
I have been also informed that the PS4 is set up to have 4GB dedicated for system memory. Which leaves the developers to have the other 4GB to work with for the games.
*Additional Hardware Info*
The Audio Processing Unit shares the same die as the rest of the APU components. It is a Digital signal processing SIP Block so it's pretty much the same as AMD's TrueAudio offered in their latest GPUs.
Memory Controller is found on the die of the APU. As mentioned earlier is it shared by the CPU and GPU. It contains features similar to the Heterogeneous System Architecture resulting to a non-partitioned system memory meaning a portion of it is exclusively available to the GPU however its Unified allowing Zero-Copy hardware (another power saving feature).
Auxiliary Processor. This is a secondary ARM Processor which is in the PS4. It contains a separate 256MB of DDR3 RAM to assist with the PS4's OS features and other background functions. Overall it adds smoothness to the interface of the PS4 making it a more fluent experience.
*Storage and Optical Drive*
The PS4 has a read-only optical drive which reads Blu-Ray at a speed of 6x with has a maximum read speed of 27MB/s (PS3's Blu-Ray drive only had a speed of 2x which capped it at 9MB/s)
PS4 also has a hardware feature called a "on-the-fly zlib decompression module" which quickly decompresses the data on the Blu-Ray Disc which has been compressed to save space and bandwidth
This module allows higher bandwidth whilst at the same time the console caches the data onto it's HDD (Hard Disk Drive) also buffering unread data when a game is not accessing the Blu-Ray Drive.
The Console's Hard Drive is a 2.5 inch HDD running at 5400RPM. Contains 500GB of storage. You can change this just like in the PS3. Due to how the game load on to the PS4 (Installation process)
I can advise upgrading to a SSD (Solid State Drive) if you intend to benefit from the PS4's performance. It will offer you shorter load times, faster texture loading (the shift from the hard drive to the RAM) and overall a general smoother experience. It could improve any possible lag. However I don't advise having less than 250GB of storage since modern games eat up a lot of memory. However if you don't fancy spending much money even a 7200RPM HDD or a Hybrid HDD will be good enough. Might as well shove 1-2TBs in there which you're at it.
This also improves the boot up time of the console.
*Other additional stuff*
The PS4 has a 802.11 b/g/n Wifi connectivity, a huge improvement over the PS3's G limited bandwidth. Thanks to this move you can now download all your games at maximum fibre optic speeds and make the most out of your super fast internet. If you don't have internet faster than 10 Mega Bits then you will see no difference other than slightly lower latency during online gaming aka reduced lag.
An Ethernet port - For those who prefer a more stable and faster connection to the router.
An Auxiliary port for the Playstation Camera.
HDMI & Optical Audio port
2x USB 3.0 ports (faster than the PS3's USB 2.0 ports) USB 3.0 is 10 times faster than USB 2.0. It can transfer up 4.8 Gigabits per second (480mb/s). Offers up to 900mA of power, at the same time as better power efficiency with even less power at idle states per port.
2.1 Bluetooth connectivity + EDR.
The console does not support analog audio/video outputs (You will need a new TV if it doesn't support HD)
I am probably missing a few other stuff however this is all i can remember off the top of my head for "Other additional stuff".
*PSU (Power Supply Unit) and Power Consumption + Cooling*
The PS4 has an internal universal 110-240v AC power supply. It offers a maximum of 250w power rating. Which is your average power supply limit from a standard desktop.
AMD manage to make the APU of the machine a pretty low power efficient one especially since it contains 8 physical cores.
Depending on what you're doing on the console the power consumption will vary. Of course it will consume more during gaming compared to idling on menu. However rest assured, the PS4 can only consume up to 250 watts a second.
The PS4's cooling system is a single centrifugal fan spinning at about . It draws air in from both sides of the console, then splits the flow above and below the Motherboard before going into the fan from bottom to top. The exhaust fan then calls the main APU which is connected to a heat pipe from the heatsink. The exhaust passes to the main power supply before it blows out of the rear of the console.
#Added 09/03/15 - Mind you this is one quiet piece of hardware. It does produce a bit of heat whilst gaming (So don't shove this in a confined space if you care about its longevity) however causing a speed up on the fans regardless this console's noise peak is still quieter than my desktop on idle (My gaming PC is very loud. During gaming it sounds 3/4 as loud as a hoover due to not using liquid cooling and heavy overclocks + one fan is a Noctura 3k RPM Fan which is known to be loud) So as a standard noise to me this is extremely quiet, footsteps are louder. However people have different noise opinions when it comes to loudness so I'll just say its alot quieter than the PS3.
#Added 15/03/15 - Also forgot to mention that the PS4 vibrates and does make some noise (nothing unreasonable of course) when the disc drive is in use however when it turns off the console is next to silent.
Features? - Less technical now shall i say.
The PS4 offers a lot of new features. Its using an OS called "Orbis OS"
I must say the new user interface is some what of an improvement over the PS3's XMB Crossbar interface. Overall more fluent and certainly easier access to social media. It is possible to multitask during gameplay too unlike on the PS3.
The interface is also customisable.
The PS4's DualShock 4 Controller offers a new share button, a touch pad, a built in motion sensor, mono audio speaker and touch controls. Also the quality feels some what stronger and more sturdy as to the PS3's DualShock 3 Controller.
DualShock 4 also uses a micro-USB, All the same buttons as the the PS3's Controller but with an added Share button. Options button has Select and Start merged.
There is a light bar with colours to measure battery life, and can be used with the Playstation camera. The light bar isn't just for show by the way. It changes colour during in game situations for example. In Tomb Raider, when you light up a torch it turns bright red.
The battery is a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 1000mAh (1210mAh less than the PS Vita's Battery, 200mAh less than the PSP Slims)
You get approx about 7 hours of battery life before having to recharge.
The Share feature lets you "share" your gameplays as video content or even screenshots just by pressing that share button (P.S. This is the best feature for me since i have an addiction of spamming Screenshots of my favorite Final Fantasy or Video game characters during PC gaming - getting video content is a huge bonus, i might need to upgrade to a 2TB HDD just for this.)
You can also stream your gameplay just like everyone else does on Twitch with PC games. (Gaining popularity is a pain, so unfortunately just an added attraction for people)
The thing is so great it lets me edit the clips too using the "SHAREFactory" app.
I don't know if you got a PS Vita but I do. Lets me do Remote Play over Wifi so if i am feeling lazy instead of sitting at my PC desk i just play the PS4 on my PS Vita in bed. HUGE Bonus.
Due to being accustomed to cheap games on sale on Steam for PC I also like the idea of how you can get some games on both the PS4 and PS Vita for just one price. Somewhat like a bargain.
PS Vita can be used as a controller as well.
Voice Control. Personally i find this very tedious and useless just like in all other mobiles. Though I guess its fun to play with for a bit.
Many other apps such as Twitch, Facebook, Youtube, Amazon, iPlayer, Netflix etc... Personally i don't use these at all thanks to my PC. Though the apps are optimised for easy use on the console. But if there isn't something you're looking for you can just use the internet browser implemented on the console.
The PS4 browser uses a WebKit based web browser. (Improvement over PS3's browser which uses NetFront) WebKit is the same stuff which is used to make Google Chrome, and Apple's Safari. Which excels in HTML5 making it the best out of all the consoles. Unfortunately PS4 does not support flash player.
Due to no backward compatibility (Hardware and reducing cost) , Sony has attempted to counter this with a "PlayStation Now" cloud-based service which offers certain titles on PS3 to be played on the PS4 via active internet connection. Though I don't know how this will perform on slower internets. I have not used this feature yet. So I can't give any experiences on lag etc...
Can't forget that the PS4 is pretty much a blu-ray player too. The successor of DVDs.
Irrelevant to non-PC gamers however thanks to using computer like hardware in consoles. This will allow developers to make better and easier optimisation to Console Ports for PCs. Thus improving the overall gaming industry.
PS4 is region free just like the PS3 so you can get a game from the US or Japan and it will work in your PAL/EU Console. However DLCs won't due to law etc... An example will be a Japan game will only work with Japanese DLCs. Not too sure about multiplayer.
You can still copy your game saves on to USB! Useful if you fancy going around a mates house or something.
There is a standby mode as well which you can still download games with. Ultimate power saving feature.
#Added 09/03/15 - Basically on this mode the PS4 leaves a yellow standby light line on the top side of the PS4 as opposed to no light when properly turned off. On this mode the PS4 makes no sound as if it was off. Only difference is that its like in a hibernated state, the stuff you was doing is stored on to the RAM so then you can continue the downloads you was running in this mode. So if you're downloading a game and you want to leave the house. This is the best time to shove it on standby mode to allow the game to download in a very low power consumption state. Also you can charge your controller during this state so you can download your game and fully charge the controller in preparation for when you arrive back home to continue gaming. One of my top prefered features for sure.
*What's in the box*
PS4 Console Unit
DualShock 4 Controller
Cords and cables, Standard AC Cable, USB Cable for charging the controller and a HDMI for the TV.
Instructions and Manuals
Great for value console. Definitely exceeded my standards for the "best bang for buck".
I extremely like the design of the PS4's case. The glossy finish black on the topside of the PS4 and how the console is shaped. Very attractive and space saving "computer" shall i say :)
Definitely performs better than its price offered. I can assure you that graphical wise you won't find anything prebuilt from another company offering this much power. (System Builder for Desktops for over a decade) The AMD's HD 7850/7870 graphics cards was the best for value in 2013 offering decent performance at an affordable price. They was capable of running PC games on high to max during those days. At the very worst PC games was ran at medium high, 1080p for those cards. So i can assure you you're getting your money's worth from the PS4 from a technical perspective.
Don't be put off by the lack of games which was out for the consoles. The game Developers are much more familiar with working on a PC x86/64 based hardware. Consoles moving on the PC like hardware is to show attraction to developers so that more games will be created on the consoles. So expect many many more attractive games to arrive on to the market to the PS4.
Thank you for your time and reading my review, It took me about 3 and a half hours or so to write this up.
My aim was to inform you, the readers of what exactly is the PS4, what it contains inside the console, and what it is capable of doing. Making sure you get the full description of what the PlayStation 4 actually is.
on 8 March 2015
I love the PS3. There, I've said it. It was very hard for me to get used to the idea of replacing it. Which is why although it offers improvements in several key areas I don't think the PS4 is quite as good as the PS3. In many ways the two systems are nearly identical. Controls, Settings, the PSN are all still here in only slightly different forms. The interface has been changed from a row of different options to two rows with one controlling settings/extra features and the other containing the games and apps. Instead of only displaying the game in the slot you now install everything like an app, which can make it confusing when you're not sure what disc is in the machine. This system makes it easier to find the most recently played game but gives fewer options for organization. I preferred the old system with its neat rows but this one is perfectly functional.
On a technical level the PS4 is a marked improvement over the PS3. Games run much smoother and don't suffer from long loading times. The games that have come out so far seem to make good use of the system's capabilities and larger save files by, for example, keeping track of your character interactions and making the NPCs carry a grudge. It's an interesting and engrossing idea that really helps with immersion. A nice feature is that now the system can multitask. While playing your game you can pause it and go out to the main menu to check on downloads or settings and then go back to your game without losing your place. One downside to all this is that the game files now take up an enormous amount of space. Games can take up over 40 GB of storage room, and that burns up a 500 GB hard drive fast. After installing ten games I was out of room. This is true even if you use physical copies of the game. Upgrading to a 1 or 2 TB hard drive might be advisable.
Some of the other changes are less interesting. The social gaming idea is something that Sony has worked very hard to incorporate into the basic design of the PS4 but apart from game reviewers I'm not sure how much use people will make of the ability to record gameplay. I've taken a few screencaps just for fun, but it's not a feature I'm likely to use very often.
One change that is a step back is that they have limited video/audio file functionality. Unlike the PS3, which tried to be a media centre as well as a gaming platform, the PS4 intends to encourage the use of DVDs or paid streaming services, and has therefore made it more difficult to use digital copies of files. Since DVDs can be clumsy to carry around and streaming sites depend on reliable internet connections this simply isn't a reliable option for some people. This goes for MP3s as well, so no playing songs through your TV or listening to your own music through Snake's iPod. A recent update has given the PS4 the ability to download an app that reads video files (including for the first time MKVs), which helps, but the PS3 system was better set up for it. Better keep that old PS3 around if you intend to use it this way.
I was more than a little skeptical about the new controller. Playstation has kept their controller design basically the same since the original in 1995, with the only major change being the dual analog sticks a couple years later and then a wireless version being used for the PS3. There's a reason for this, and it's not complacency. The design is quite simply the best yet offered for a video game system, and all of its competitors have imitated it to one degree or another at some point.
Which is why I was more than a little surprised to discover that the new controller is an improvement. Not much of one mind you, but enough to make the change worthwhile. First off they've added a touchpad to the area between the screens.which allows slightly more choices to be made with maps and the like and also makes entering text easier. It's easier to hit accurately than the select button so this is a big improvement for games that rely on that. Another addition is a motion sensor. I doubt that it's as sensitive as the Wii, but the new feature allows it to select areas on the screen simply by pointing the controller at them. Which is cool. A speaker and microphone jack have been added which allows for some cool in-game effects.The rest of the buttons remain essentially the same (why improve on perfection?) except that start and select have now been replaced with share and options. I'm not that fussed about sharing gameplay footage but the select button does basically the same things as the start button so I'm not sure why they bothered to change the name. I'm less impressed with the new shape. It's been altered slightly so that the smaller handles now sit in your hand smoother but the steeper angle for the L and R buttons means you really need to hold the controller in a loose low-down grip to access both at once. They also have a glowing light on the back now which doesn't seem to do much except waste the battery.
In short, the new system is better than the PS3 in some areas, about the same in others, and actually worse in a few places. I'd still recommend getting it if there are any games you're interested in, but keep the old system around since they complement each other well. Honestly, there's no point in buying a new console until a must-buy next gen game comes out anyway and that didn't happen until relatively recently for me. Most of the best PS4 games are also available for the PS3. Alien: Isolation, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Metal Gear Solid V, Persona 5, Destiny, Final Fantasy XIV... all available on last gen systems. So why upgrade? But now they are finally coming out with next gen exclusives. Assassin's Creed: Unity was the first good one (glitches aside) and in the next year we get Final Fantasy Type-0,Star Wars: Battlefront,Kingdom Hearts III, and Final Fantasy XV. These are all available for the XBOX One of course, and there really isn't that much reason to prefer one next gen system over the other. Titanfall aside Microsoft doesn't have that many great exclusives either. However, later this year we get Bloodborne and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, both exclusively for the PS4, and inFAMOUS: Second Son has already been released. Now there's finally a reason to buy a next gen system beyond the desire to simply have the latest platform.
on 29 November 2013
Be wary of fake reviews, listen to "Amazon Verified Purchases" and "Top 500 Reviewers"
To start I'd like to say how sad it is for me to see people bombing the product page of these consoles with fake 1/5 stars AND fake 5/5 stars. The human mind is a curious thing and for some people the success of the console they chose is, for some inexplicable reason, linked to their perception of their own self worth. They are so focused on this that they throw their allegiance in with huge multinational companies whose main goals are to, at the end of the day, make money - instead of throwing their allegiance in with other consumers/gamers.
To those people - shame on you.
As for the PS4, I will be brief and concise as the review by MrE is already a great read (go check it out).
1) The PS4 is small and light - surprisingly so for a "next-gen" console, especially next to the, comparatively, gargantuan Xbox One (yes I have one of those too). Both run relatively quite and cool, which is reassuring after the Xbox360s overheating issues last gen.
2) The PS4's shape looks nice but can make changing wires at the back difficult if it is already in place and you are viewing it from a top-down view. The two tone is pleasing enough and the blue light is... a blue light, also pleasing enough.
3) The PS4 includes the following ports: Ethernet, HDMI out, PlayStation camera port (proprietary), 2x USB 3.0 ports and a optical audio out. For those concerned this optical audio out port does output in surround sound (unlike the XB1, although Microsoft has said they will patch this in).
4) 3rd party headsets are supported, via USB, optical out or even through the 3.5mm jack in the controller itself (which is very cool). I plugged in my MDR-1R headphones into the controller and was pleasantly surprised at the audio quality.
5) PS4 supports upgrading it's hard drive, which can be done with any 2.5" SATA drive - I placed a 1TB hard drive in under 10 minutes which may be a requirement eventually for both consoles as games are so large now. Note that said drive needs to be no bigger than 9.5mm thick (deep).
6) It does support external hard drives BUT not for installing game data, only for other files - which is baffling as currently there is no support for MP3s or certain video types (Sony has stated they will patch this in due to consumer demand). This differs from the XB1 as they do not support replacing your internal harddrive but have stated they plan to patch in the ability to install to external harddrives (note that currently the XB1 doesn't support external drives, that support will be patch din shortly).
7) The controller (DualShock4) is a marked improvement on the DualShock3. The shoulder buttons (L2/R2) are a very big improvement on previous iterations and fingers should no longer slip off easily during intense gaming. The 3.5mm jack is welcome, so if you have a favourite pair of 3.5mm jack headphones you won't have to run them all the way to the TV. Some features are still to be proven useful, i.e. Lightbar is fine and not distracting but IMO should only light up if it's a specific game mechanic or if you're using the PlaystationCamera, the minispeaker in the controller is interesting in KillZone Shadow Fall (used for audio logs) but that's it so far and the touch pad, again, has an interesting use in KillZone Shadow Fall. Battery is built-in and this poses two things, 1 it's easy to recharge (even when the console is off/in standby) BUT you can replace them which isn't great as the battery life is average.
8) The UI a large improvement on the XMB from the PS3. Quick and sleek it's no longer laborious to navigate. Suspending to it and resuming gaming is fast with the PS button.
9) Download speed is no longer capped, thank god. I have fibre-optic and when I went to download games off of the PSN the PS3 would only ever hit a peak of 1MB a sec, which was utterly frustrating. That is no longer the case with the PS4 and this pleases me greatly.
10) Setup was fast and updates download in the background, which is nice. One thing I noticed was the HUGE difference in install times between the PS4 and XB1, under a minute typically for PS4 (till playable point), sometimes upwards of 5 minutes on the XB1 (till playable point).
11) PS+ is no required for online play - for me this is fine as I already have it and can't tell you how much value for money it is. Every month I get a new set of games and thanks to PS+ I already filled the 500GB hard drive of my PS3 with them.
12) PlaystationCamera - can't comment as I didn't get it, though I do appreciate the fact that I can choose to adopt it when it's functionality rather than be forced to before it's proven as viable tech.
13) Headset is very basic, fine in a pinch but I plan on ditching it asap.
14) Current games are fine, on par with the XB1, difference is focus but different strokes for different folks and all that.
Looks good, both externally and UI
Controller is much better, has some good and some unproven features, charges while console is "asleep"
Updates and installs are fast and don't hinder you getting to gaming
Suspending and resuming gaming is easy - I switched from Killzone to Netflix and back again with no problem
Easy to swap hard drive and increase storage space
Headset is basic
PS+ required for multiplayer (but free games so, eh)
Low multimedia support
The PS4 is a good console, far better than the PS3 at launch, but it's not quite 5 stars yet - it is 4 stars, the last star being held back until multimedia functions are included. For gaming, I would definitely recommend it.
As for how it stacks up against the XB1, does it really matter? In theory if you like multiplayer get whichever console your multiplayer partners play. If XB1 features speak to you more as a consumer get it, if the PS4 does then get that - don't get caught up in, what is quite frankly, the stupid console war between two multinationals and their rabid fans.
I will say this though; the PS4 is more powerful than the XB1 (sorry it is a fact so don't get angry) now whether or not this is a big deal is entirely down to you, 1080p vs 720p is only as important as you think it is. Also you should note that the XB1's TV functions ARE NOT available in the UK yet, if that is one of the deciding features of picking one over the other you should wait off getting either and decide when both are more complete packages. Also the idea of remote play, playing the PS4 on a Vita while my wife watches movies/etc, is more enticing (for me) than Microsoft's SmartGlass integration.
on 28 January 2014
After owning the console for a couple of months my impressions are generally positive, but it's yet to 'blow' me away with what I would consider a 'next gen' experience. The bottom line is that I'm sure great things are to come, but they're still a little while off.
My advice would be to hold out on buying this console, at least until some better games are released or the price has dropped - as at the moment you're really not missing out on much!
Compared to the juggernaut Xbox 360 (which I previously owned and loved), the PS4 is small, discrete and most pleasingly quiet! As seems to be the standard with modern consoles, it can be positioned horizontally or vertically. The only niggle about the design is the angled front and back of the machine, which may make it awkward for positioning in tight spaces.
Moving from the Xbox 360 gamepad to the PS4's was a bit of a challenge and took about a week or so to get accustomed to. I still think the Xbox 360 gamepad is superior, but the redesigned PS4 gamepad is a great step up from its previous iteration. What I love the most about the PS4 gamepad is the inclusion of the headphone port. It's just one of those small design details that makes a big difference. I often prefer playing games on headphones and therefore having to continually plug headphones in and out of a TV is a bit of a nuisance. There doesn't seem to be any degradation in the sound quality either when streaming from the gamepad.
However it's let down slightly by the battery life, you'll probably get around 6-8 hours on a standard charge (via standard mini usb cable). The touchpad is an interesting addition but is under utilised in applications and current games. To be honest I don't have much desire to use the 'Share' button, but I'm sure offers will enjoy this. The 'options' button is a bit awkwardly positioned, making it difficult to press quickly or accurately.
The operating system and homescreen are slick and fast, presented with a soothing blue wash of colour and ambient music (I like this, but it'll probably annoy people). However the organisation of the homescreen could do with some improvements, settings and options are often hidden away in less than intuitive places. The ability to seamlessly jump in and out of games via the Playstation button on the gamepad is convenient, but I'd prefer the ability to quickly jump from one game into another - this isn't possible as applications must be closed before starting another.
Having to install games, even after purchasing it on a disc is frustrating and something I believe the console experience should eliminate. Those who prefer to purchase their games on a disc seem to be at a disadvantage, as you must still insert the disc when playing a game, whereas those who download can simply browse titles and launch through the homescreen. No doubt this is to encourage a shift to digital distribution.
Playing DVD's and Blu Rays is hassle free as would be expected. At launch the console supports, Netflix, Love Film and iPlayer (amongst others). However it's still missing apps for 4oD and iTVPlayer.
In regards to the social features, you can can watch live video streams broadcast from other people's cameras (sold sep) or watch others play games live - not something I'm particularly interested to be honest.
The initial setup was a little frustrating, requiring a number of registration steps (pretty irritating inputting details on a gamepad) followed by gigabytes of system and game updates. Don't be fooled into thinking you'll be up and playing right away, it'll take you the best part of an hour (that's with a fast internet connection) to get things up and running. *Unlike the PS3, you'll have to subscribe to Playstation Plus in order to access the multiplayer elements of your games - a year's subscription will set you back around £40! I don't appreciate having to pay additional fees to play games I've already paid for - but the Playstation Plus does offer some nice discounts and 'free' access to games (which have been pretty good so far) - so this does soften the blow.*
Overall I was pretty underwhelmed by the offering of games at launch and this is why I've rated the console with three stars. Some people may disagree with this, but as an early adopter this has significantly tainted my experience of the console. I remember when I first got my PS2 or my Xbox 360 - there were those classic 'wow' moments where I first experience what the console could offer. However I've not really experienced that with the PS4.
I purchased the system with Battlefield 4 and later purchased COD: Ghosts, Assassin's Creed 4 and Killzone: Shadow Fall.
Overall the launch offering of games is nothing short but dire. BF4 and COD do not provide the graphical jump in performance that I was expecting from a next generation console, looking at best like slightly tarted up versions of the previous gen iterations. The single player on both of these games is very poor, predictable and offers nothing new to the stagnating FPS genre. COD has become nothing more than a shooting gallery and BF4 has some of the worst writing I've ever experienced in a single player game.
Multiplayer is slightly more fun, but doesn't live up to the hype generated, particularly by BF4 and the mammoth PR machine it deployed. They'll keep you amused, but those who've played these sorts of games for years will probably tire quickly, overall these games feel like uninspired franchise rehashes rushed out to meet the release of the consoles (no doubt the reasons behind the countless BF4 glitches and COD framerate issues).
Initially Killzone does provide some hope, it looks absolutely beautiful and if you want something to show off the capability of the console then have a look at this game. It comes close to achieving that 'wow' factor but just falls short. It has a strong opening but unfortunately is unable to maintain this throughout the game. I'd say the single player is slightly more interesting than the previously mentioned games, but the multiplayer offers nothing new.
Assassin's Creed 4 is perhaps the only game (out of the 4 mentioned) that has any depth to it. I'm still playing the single player and getting lots of fun out of it. This was my first AC experience, so I can't comment on what it's like compared to previous versions, but it has a lot to offer in terms of side missions and challenges. At times the game looks stunning, but overall I wouldn't say I was blown away by what I was seeing on screen. Some of the dialogue and audio can sound a bit dodgy as well.
The surprise performer here is actually a game called Resogun (free download on PSN) - it's a very addictive, but simple side scrolling shooter with some crazy and stunning particle effects. It is a LOT of fun and well worth checking out.
Yes, the PS4 holds lots of promise, recent announcements such as Playstation Now (allowing you to stream a back catalogue of classic games) suggest great things are to come - they're just not here yet! if you're sitting on the fence about whether to take the plunge, I'd say that there's no harm in waiting. The price is only going to fall and as of yet there are no games that really justify the move to this console. Don't be pulled in by the hype, although the PS4 is a lovely console, it just hasn't done anything interesting yet!
Compact, pleasing design and quiet
Controller - especially the provision of a headphone port
Being able to instantly jump in and out of games
What is coming in the future
Poor range of games at launch
Not convinced it offers a 'next gen' experience yet
Installing updates and games is a pain
Homescreen and settings could be better organised.
*EDIT* -10/02/14 - I confused PSN with Playstation Plus - this has been corrected.
I picked my PS4 up at my local GAME store launch party a good few hours ago, the unboxing took all of two minutes when i got home (smiley face). First thing to say is it looks and feels quality and has a good weighty feel to it for something so small. A lot smaller than i thought it would be but by and large on a par with the PS3 slim. The two tone look really suits it with the blue light in between as an indicator as to the status of the console. Port wise at the back you have Power, Gigabit Ethernet, optical audio, HDMI out and an AUX proprietary port for the PlayStation Camera. At the front is the slot loading bluray drive on/off and eject buttons (which are touch sensitive) and 2x USB 3.0 ports which are ideal for charging your controller from and if you so wish a 3rd party headset. At this point i will note that Sony have made the PS4 so that you can upgrade the hard drive without voiding warranty... the specs if you want to know are that it be greater than 160GB and no thicker than 9.5mm. Although it doesn't mention the spin speed the one that comes in the console runs at 5400RPM to reduce heat so i would advise you stick to that for good measure.
Finally onto what you get, the controller is a vast improvement, it now actually feels like a proper controller and the textured back of it feels very nice to hold. The trigger buttons now feel like proper triggers and have been positioned in such a way so your fingers rest on them perfectly. L1 and R1 buttons have been redesigned too and feel better. The thumb-sticks are perhaps the biggest improvement along with the trigger buttons and i can confirm that your fingers won't be slipping off due to the shape. Having tried the Xbox One controller i have to say i prefer the thumb-sticks on the duelshock 4 as they seem slightly bigger and hence you can rest a larger part of your thumb on it. There is a built-in mini speaker as well as a touch pad which game developers can use however they see fit, in a game by game basis. Select and Start buttons have been replaces with "share" and "options" buttons. The share button allows you to either capture past game-play footage (up to 15 minutes, a screenshot or even live stream footage to either twitch or ustream). The Options button kind of doubles as a start button. There is the inclusion of an in ear mono headset which simply plugs into the controller and i have to say it does feel cheap and basic but at least everyone will be catered for and won't have an excuse about not being able to talk to other players. If anything it will tide you over till you get something better after a few days/weeks and indeed would be good as backup so you can't really complain (at least they included one in the box). You also get a HDMI cable and mini usb to usb 3.0 cable to charge the controller. The battery is built in so no need for disposable batteries! (smiley face)
Setup was very quick and easy and i was up and running within 5 minutes, i include redeeming my current PlayStation account in that time too. Please note that there is a mandatory update when you first connect to the internet which did take a while but after that i was already at the dynamic menu and oh what an improvement it truly is compared to PS3! The menu system is easy to navigate, intuitive and fast to operate. Everything is where you yourself would think it is and there are no loading screens between menus. You can tell that Sony really wanted to push the social side of this console as everything from friends latest trophies, notifications, news and video uploads are available right from the off. Everything is also laid out in order of what you were doing last with the very last thing being the nearest to where you start. Above all this there is a kind of "cross media bar" where all the system info and settings can be found, again all very easy to get to and it's fast so those days of waiting around with the ps3 are long gone. Similarly the PlayStation store has been redesigned so it's even easier to navigate and also fast to operate, (ps3 owners will know how painfully slow accessing the store was on ps3, well that's a thing of the past).
To play online you will require PlayStation plus membership but because of all the included stuff that it brings you will never complain about what it offers. Everything from free games each month, updates that happen in the background, cloud saves and discounted games and DLCs are offered to PS+ members and i would argue you actually get your money back over the course of the year. For example in 2014 "Driveclub" will be free to all PS+ members, well that's a £50 game right there that they are including, and you get to keep the game once that month has gone! Indeed you can keep playing those games for as long as you want, so long as you remain a PS+ subscriber.
As i said earlier updates happen in the background while you are gaming and also when the system is in sleep mode, the controller can also be charged through the console while it sleeps too. Now there are mandatory game installations just like the ps3 but this time around they are much larger although i do need to point out that installation is extremely quick (under a minute per game). As for noise wise, the console runs very quiet most of the time although the main fan can be quite loud at certain points particularly when a game loads or when the console has been running for a good few hours. As for games, i have only managed to play Killzone: shadow fall for a limited time but have to say the graphics are stunningly beautiful, everything looks crisp and sharp! Game-play feels smooth and i like how they have used the touch-pad to control "OWL" a drone. Other things i wish to note are that the console has WIFI connectivity (which seems faster than the ps3) and the controller runs off Bluetooth technology so uses very little power. However, it's worth noting that the battery in the controller doesn't last as long as the DuelShock 3 did, i'm managing to get around 9-10 hours out of a full charge.
PROS: The Console looks beautiful and the User Interface is clean and crisp to look at * Controller is VASTLY improved * At long last we have cross game party chat * Background updates * quick install times * games i have played so far like black-light retribution (free to play for PS+ members) and Killzone are fantastic * you can get back to the main menu at any point mid game and it holds the game in suspension rather than quitting so you can instantly rejoin (double pressing the PS button takes you straight back to the game) * recharge controller while the console sleeps * for what you get i would argue the console is very good value
CONS: Party chat could sound clearer * included headset feels cheap to look at and use * PlayStation network needs to be made more stable especially as we are now mandated to pay for it if we want to play online * Sony need to reduce the amount of "maintenance" sessions it does and shorten their length or at the very least do them during the early hours of the morning rather than prime time during the day or evening.
VERDICT: I now have both of the next generation consoles and have to say that although I've only spent a relatively short period of time with the PS4 so far i'm very impressed at it's speed and ease of use along with it's potential gaming ability. The controller is a big plus this time around and feels like they actually listened to what gamers want. Will the inclusion of a touch-pad and speaker set the world alight? Probably not but it does open up possibilities for developers to get creative. I'm glad Sony didn't go down the Voice control path that Microsoft did, using a controller will always be faster and more reliable and i'm glad they put extra effort into the basics of the system rather than getting cocky. They've priced it right and it feels well put together, you feel like you're getting a quality package and from one gamer to another i can fully recommend this to you.
I hope you enjoy many happy years of gaming with this, it's a great time to be a gamer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
UPDATE 27th December 2013: It is only fair to point out that my review is of my own personal experience using the PS4 and i have to say i'm still enjoying the experience and still fully recommend this console to you. However, it is also fair to point out that a relatively small number of people have bought a PS4 and suffered a hardware failure of some kind, this is unfortunate and obviously must be aggravating for the people concerned, more so if it was intended as a Christmas present, i can only hope that Sony or Amazon (or whichever retailer you got it from) can help you out in a reasonable time frame. I will finish by saying every console launch over the past 10 years has had problems, the Xbox 360 for example was plagued with hardware malfunctions back in 2005 when it first came out with failure rates as high as 12%. It is worth pointing out that the official failure rate of the PS4 based on official figures so far is around 0.4%, which is on a par with any consumer electronics device.
UPDATE 2nd April 2014: There have been more software updates to the console to improve how the system works over the past few weeks and months and also to improve stability online although they still need to find better ways of implementing them rather than shutting everything down for the whole day. Besides that I'm very much enjoying the experience and still very much recommend it to you, inFAMOUS: Second Son is the latest game I've been playing and is great fun!
UPDATE 10th July 2014: Everything working as it should and still enjoying the experience. Some great games have come out recently and the software updates keep making the system better and better to use!
on 13 March 2015
Just absolutely love it!
I have been a playstation fanboy since the first one came out and I'll happily admit that this year when I bought the PS4 is the first time I was considering buying its competitor from Microsoft.
I'm glad I went for this one. It has nothing to do with the XBOX one being a bad console, in fact if I had the money, I'd buy both!
I just love the console so much. I've not played it nearly enough as I'd want to due to decorating the house and prepping for the imminent arrival of our first baby boy but the hours I've played it so far have just been awesome.
The new controller is one of my favourite upgrades. You can plug your earphones and mute the TV so that the sound is played through your pad. You can use the provided earpiece and talk to people on the other end. There is no lag, no muffled sound and it's just like you're speaking to them on the phone!
The graphics are good. It feels awesome knowing that even with such a vast upgrade in graphics during the early years of the console, there is more to come as programmers get to know and access the full strength of the PS4.
Don't really have any criticisms at all... maybe one criticism is that there are so many new features and upgrades that I need to spend ages getting used to it... but is that really a bad thing?!
The new menu is cool, the fact that you can jump in and out of a game without losing any unsaved data. Just wish my wife liked FIFA so I could play it all day! I suppose I'll have to get my little boy into FIFA and then I'll have an excuse to be glued to the TV 24/7!!!
on 23 June 2015
Seriously, Sony. What's with all the remakes?!
Definitive edition this and Ultimate edition that!
Nearly two years in and we're still getting tarted up old games instead of brand new IP. Well, decent new IP at any rate.
This has replaced my PS3 as my default media streaming box, but apart from a few definitive edition games there's not much reason to fire it up as a games machine. My Xbox 360 is played more, sadly.
E3 showed some great stuff coming, so add another star once those games ship.
AFTER they're all patched, that is.
on 26 January 2014
Before I start, let me say this review applies equally to the new Xbox one.
Having received a decent Christmas bonus I bought both consoles. Family tragedies meant ive only been able to sit down and unpack them today having had them since mid December.
Ive had mixed feelings on both machines. Initially I was put off by the sheer weight and size of the xbox and when I unpacked the PS4 it was so much simpler. The xbox took ages to set up where the PS4 was so simple. Two cables and done compared to faffing with the power supply, hdmi in, hdmi out, Kinect etc.
Its a mixed bag. The xbox whilst ugly as sin has a better quality feel to it all where the PS4 seems understated but the xbox is also less impressive in the visual department. The PS4 on the other hand has a such a minimalist approach that I struggled to find settings that were in abundance on the ps3.
Eventually I fired up my first game which was Battlefield 4. Now I know this has had problems, most notably with the online but there was simply no wow factor. it didn't feel like a massive leap forward and I may as well have been playing on PS3. To quote the south park episode where they are on the xbox one "yeah its totslly seamless and the graphics are like 10% better than xbox 360". That sums up how I felt. Nothing to blow my socks off like the last gen move from PS2.
Im sure there are great things to come but if im honest, there is nothing out on either console to warrant your money and I would just stick to last gen for at least another six months! BTW if anyone is in anyway doubting I have these machines and am just trolling I am happy to send you pictures!
on 18 August 2014
Having been a xbox 360 player for many years I was torn with what next generation console to get I did want to stick with xbox but to be honest all the hassle in the beginning with having the Kinect pushed on you did put me off its something that I'm not at all interested in. Plus I didn't want a multi-media station I just wanted a excellent gaming console that's purely dedicated for the gamers etc. I've never owned a PS3 but I'm delighted with my PS4 it's mind blowingly brilliant. I think the PS4 is going to be a very dominant console... the review by MRE is great and said it all for me.. I have upgraded the hard drive to a 1TB hybrid which is a nice little upgrade. All in all I give the PS4 10/10 well done sony..
on 30 November 2013
Really impressive console, looks very slick and stylish and looks fantastic as it sits next to my T.V. I will start with the graphics. They are truly amazing, much better than my PS3 and anything that I have ever played before. What amazed me is how even the smallest of things look good and overall the quality is superb, I have no complaints about the graphics. Assassins Creed IV shows them off in a fantastic fashion and these graphics really do create a great gaming experience.
The controller is everything I could have wished for. I wanted something different (next-gen) and this is exactly that. The controller itself feels very well made and crafted. The touch pad is something new and it is always fun when you have use it. The triggers are improved and really have a great feel to them and the analog sticks are shaped in a way that my thumbs do not slip off and they feel very comfortable.
As far as games are concerned, there may not be that many at the moment, but come February when things like Watchdog is released then the games will not be a problem. I find that at the moment I could do with a few more games but Assassins Creed IV is giving me plenty of game time with its beautiful graphics, along with Knack and Call of Duty Ghosts.
Overall I really love this console and I really do recommend it. The interface is fast and simple but looks neat and the controller is a treat to use, the games are great and the graphics are a dream. This is the ultimate gaming experience and it passed my high expectations by a mile.