TECH REVIEW | PlayStation 4 2018

It’s post Christmas and a few of you either have some crap gift you’re gonna trade in or some gift cards burning holes in your pockets. So why not get a PlayStation 4 to top off 2018?

Is it worth it?

Well guess what? You’re in luck. We decided to cover each the major platforms we use for reviews and give you a deeper analysis about them. In this review we’ll look at the PlayStation 4, and how it holds up in 2018. As the Number 1 selling console of this current generation, you be hard pressed to find a better platform than it. The PS4 is a great piece of tech with a massive library of high quality games in it’s catalog.

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The PlayStation brand is now stronger than than ever before

During each console generation there is always a console that reigns supreme. This platform usually gains control of the market, setting the trends for the rest of the industry to follow. This generation Sony’s PlayStation 4 is that console.

Coming off the success of the PS3, the PlayStation brand is now stronger than than ever before. With more than 88 million units sold to date, the PS4 sold twice as much as the XBOX ONE, and four times as much as the Nintendo Switch. This behemoth of a platform can potentially surpass Wii or even the legendary PS2 if sales continue at this current rate, and with what Sony has planned for it in 2019, it just might.

So what was it like to own a PlayStation 4 is 2018?

The experience you’ll get from the platform will vary slightly depending on the model you get, but overall the experience is exceptional.

The PlayStation 4 boasts gorgeous 1080p visuals, while the PlayStation 4 Pro boasts impressive 4K visuals. The PS4 Pro has better GPU performance (4.2 TFLOP vs 1.84) and an additional 1GB of DDR3 RAM when compared to its standard counterpart. What this means in actual use is faster loading times, and better visuals. If you’re not sure which of the two you should get, then I’d say check your budget, as well as your current entertainment setup. If you have the two extra $150 to $200 USD and a 4K tele/monitor then get the pro, if not just get the PS4 Slim.

The console also comes with either 500GB or 1TB HDDs in them. Heavy digital consumers should consider the 1TB model, while those who like collecting plastic cases should be more than happy with the 500GB model. The drives can be upgraded easily so don’t feel pressured to get a larger one if you’re on a budget. The system supports HDDs up to 8TB, which is a lot. In practical use I’d say at least 2TB should be fine for a heavy digital user.

PlayStation 4 Region Free

The user interface on the system is also the best this current generation of consoles has to offer. Via the use of neat square tiles, folders and a seamless shelf system, the PS4 offers a clean easy to use interface. This is further enhanced by special themes and backgrounds. On my main account I use the standard theme with an anime picture background. For my other accounts of which I have 3 – one for each region), I use themes from the store. These themes all add that little bit of personalization to each account on the system. This is perfect for families who share a console or players who like playing games from other regions.

Given that the PlayStation 4 is region free, all it takes is making an account for a different region and PSN Prepaid cards for that region and you’re set. This works out quite well for hardcore gamers because some games are only available and or go on sale depending on region. E.g. At the time of writing there is a sale on the UK PSN store offering 2 games for the price of £25. This sale is not available in the US store, though there are equivalent ones like Mortal Kombat XL at $4.99 while the UK version is £12.99.

Like other modern PlayStation devices, the PS4 uses PlayStation Plus. PS Plus is a service that is offered for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita users. On the PS4 this service is necessary for playing multiplayer in *purchased games. The service also gives the user access to 6 games each month, 2 for each of the 3 platforms previously mentioned. The first 14 days of the service is free and then it’s $10 per month (plus tax). If you pay for the year then it works out to $60 USD. PS Plus also includes cloud saves and auto trophee backups “as a feature”. I think those two should be free, but I guess they needed some more things to justify the price of the service.

*Free to play titles don’t require PS Plus to play them.

PS Plus January 2019 Free Games:

  • Steep (PS4)
  • Portal Knights (PS4)
  • Zone of the Enders HD Collection (PS3)
  • Amplitude (PS3)
  • Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion (PS Vita, Cross Buy with PS4)
  • Super Mutant Alien Assault (PS Vita)

The Playstation 4 also has access another service called PlayStation Now. This is also a subscription service like PS Plus, but it’s for gaining access to a catalog of cloud games. What this means is that as long as you have access to high quality internet you’ll be able to use the service. The catalog of games include PS4, PS3 and PS2 titles. It has a 7 day trial and will set you back $10 per month (plus tax) or $80 annually. The service is also on PC so it’s not a system seller, but it’s nice to know that it is an option. Hopefully Sony find a way to merge Now and Plus into one neat package for the same price for $10/month.

The Games Are Reason We Play

Keeping on the topic of games, the PlayStation 4 has a lot of great ones. Game consoles have two primary types of games; Exclusives, and Third-Party. Between these two there is one that sells consoles and those are the exclusives. A commodity of which playstation has a lot. On the PS4 alone we have God Of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Uncharted 4, The Last Of Us Remastered, MLB The Show Franchise, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and BloodBorne. Each of these games have a Metacritic score of high 80s or higher, with the majority having 90+ ratings.

Now as you may know by now, I don’t usually care about ratings, but I use them here because some of you do. I will however recommend checking out multiple reviews of each of those games to learn why they got the ratings they did. It’s also possible to get lots of third-party titles on the PS4 like Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Given that it’s the top selling platform most games are well optimized for both versions of the PS4. There are also regular sales on PSN, similar to Steam, so gaming on a budget is very possible.

In Practical Use

Party chat, instant messaging, trophies, video/music streaming, and community feeds are just a few of the options you’ll find on the PS4. The on-screen keypad is easily the best I’ve used on a console, and it’s predictive text is on par with that of smartphones. Games can also be launched and left in standby mode while using other features on the console, even hopping between profiles or in rest mode.

The PlayStation 4 ships with the Dualshock 4 wireless controllers. This evolution of the Dualshock 3 has all the buttons you’d expect in the places you’d expect them. The only major differences are the touchpad (a new input option) and the share/option buttons. The Touchpad acts as a large button in most games though it does have multiple pressure points and gesture features.

Share your Experience

Gone are the select and start buttons inplace of share and option. Share allows the user to screenshot, record or stream gameplay. By holding the share button the system will take a screenshot. This does have a delay and so is not effective when trying to capture scenes i motion. Double tapping the same button will start the recording feature. Each recording session can last up to 60 minutes with a resolution of 720.

The controller also has a light bar which you will only use for differentiating controllers during loca multiplayer sessions, and a 3.5mm audio jack that is useful for voice chat. It works well with any 3.5mm headset, even the cheap ones that come with phones.

The Only Blu-ray Player You’ll Ever Need

Each PS4 comes with a Blu-ray drive and the ability to play Blu-ray video natively. HDCP is required to be enabled to use this featured, but it works perfectly without need to install any extra software. Just make sure to switch off HDCP when not watching Blu-ray or streaming movies. Oh did I mention you can stream/ download movies directly from PSN? Well you can. There is also Netflix, Twitch, Hulu, Funimation, YouTube, Crunchyroll, ESPN, and a lot more streaming options. The PS4 is an all in one entertainment box, it even has a video editing app and VR support.

You Need The Right Equipment

Speaking of VR support, the PlayStation 4 supports lots of accessories including a VR headset called the PlayStation VR headset. At the time of writing you can find a PS VR for roughly about $300 USD. The accessory is supported by a large amount of experiences including titles like Skyrim. VR hasn’t been perfected yet so motion sickness and lack of proper control support limits the kind of experiences I’d recommend, but it is there for those who want it. A few members of our team has them and they seem to be satisfied with their purchase.

*Please note: The standard PS4 does support PS VR, but the PS4 Plus is the ideal option for using the accessory.

Outside of VR, the PS4 also has other accessories including; A camera, motion controllers, Racing wheels, flight sticks, qwerty keypads, Bluetooth Headsets, and controllers. Brands like Snakebyte also offer their own third-party controllers and accessories for the PS4, including their Charging Station and wired headsets. This all means that the system offers multiple ways to use it depending on the preferences of the end user.

Final Verdict

The PlayStation 4 is an easy suggestion when it comes to choosing a console during this generation. It has all the third-party support a gamer could hope for and it’s first-party offerings are enviable. As an entertainment box it’s packed to the brim, and as a console it leaves almost nothing to chance. I have noticed some unwanted things like ads for the US army on the system (why is that on a gaming system), but that is a minor annoyance in an overall almost perfect package. No matter which version of the PS4 you buy, you’ll be sure to have a great experience, just make sure to keep those controllers charged.

Qudduws Campbell

That messy hair bloke: Romantic, Food lover, Gamer, Sports Fan, Manga Reader, Tech Head, Podcaster... Pretty much do a bit of everything.