Sony has dominated the videogame market over the last decade with its PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles. So, what exactly makes these consoles so special? Better yet, which console is superior between the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5? Now, performance-wise this may seem like an obvious choice. However, in this article, we will not only compare technical specifications but also gameplay and controllers to truly see how these two consoles compare. So, let's not waste any time and jump right into this comparison of the PlayStation 4 vs PlayStation 5.
What is PlayStation 4?
The PlayStation 4 is Sony's fourth-generation PlayStation console, which was released in 2013. It sold 117 million units during its seven-year run in the spotlight. As a result, it is one of the best-selling consoles of all time. The PS4 is available in two versions: standard and Pro, with the latter capable of playing games at 4k resolutions. Finally, contrary to our image, the PlayStation 4 is a horizontally seated console, vs the PlayStation 5, which is vertically seated.
What is PlayStation 5?
The PlayStation 5 is Sony's latest PlayStation console released in 2020. As of April 2023, the PlayStation 5 has sold over 38 million units worldwide. There are two versions available: the standard PlayStation 5 and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. The only difference between the two is that the Digital Edition can only run games downloaded from the PlayStation store, whereas the standard version can also run games from a disc. Now that you know a little bit about each console, let's get to the important part: how their technical specifications compare.
Coming into this section, we believe we know what to expect: the PlayStation 5 will easily outperform the PlayStation 4, but is this true? It's finally time to find out.
- PlayStation 4 – 18 CUs at 800MHz, 1.84 TFLOPS
- PlayStation 5 – 36 CUs at 2.23GHz, 10.3 TFLOPs
- PlayStation 4 – 8GB GDDR5
- PlayStation 5 – 16GB GDDR6
- PlayStation 4 – Custom 825GB SSD
- PlayStation 5 – 500GB, 1TB HDD
- PlayStation 4 – 1080p (4K for PS4 Pro version)
- PlayStation 5 – 4K at 120Hz, 8K
First and foremost, we can see that the PlayStation 5 has a much stronger GPU and, as a result, better video output than the PS4. In comparison to the 1080p resolution of the PlayStation 4, the PlayStation 5 can output 4K at 120 Hz, and even 8k at lower variables. The PlayStation 4, on the other hand, is limited to 60 Hz regardless. On top of that, the PS4 is locked at 60 FPS, whereas the PS5 can support up to 120.
Moving on, the PlayStation 5 doubles the PlayStation 4's memory and even storage by offering 1TB versions; however, storage doesn't tend to matter all that much since you can always get external storage. Nonetheless, the PlayStation 5 excels in the most important areas, which are, the GPU and Video Output. Evidently, these are what deliver the most immersive and detailed picture when gaming. So, to no one's surprise, the PlayStation 4 falls short in terms of tech specs vs the PlayStation 5.
In terms of gameplay, we know from the tech specs section that the PlayStation 5 will outperform the PlayStation 4. With the PlayStation 5, you're getting a much sharper and smoother experience thanks to the 120 FPS and refresh rate. Furthermore, thanks to the technological advancements of the PlayStation 5, video game publishers and developers can push their graphic fidelity.
Just consider the difference between remastered titles such as the original The Last of Us for PlayStation 4 vs The Last of Us Part 1 for PlayStation 5. The top image is a cinematic screenshot from The Last of Us for PlayStation 4, and the bottom image is a cinematic screenshot from The Last of Us Part 1 for PlayStation 5. When comparing the two images next to each other, it is clear to see that the bottom image is far more detailed.
So, in terms of gameplay and image on the page, the PlayStation 5 will provide more detailed and realistic cutscenes, character models, environments, lighting, and well, you name it. We know this not only because of the technical specifications, but we can also physically see the difference in terms of gameplay.
Before we get to the verdict, there's one more thing we need to talk about: the PlayStation 4 controllers vs. the PlayStation 5. Sony made significant changes to the PlayStation 5 controllers, not in terms of layout, but rather in design. The PlayStation 5 controller is significantly thicker than the PS4 controller. And while we believe most people would agree, we prefer the PlayStation 4's nimble and streamlined design.
Another big difference can be felt in the DualShock of the PS4 and the re-named “Dual Sense” of the PS5 controller. This is essentially a fancy name for the mechanic in your controller that vibrates when something physical happens to you in a game. If you've used both controllers, you'll notice that the PS5 Dual Sense feels very different from the PS4 Dual Shock. The PS5 Dual Sense rattles your hands so much that it almost hinders my ability to play. Rather than adding to my experience, it detracts from it.
It's difficult to describe, but if you've used both controllers, you'll understand what we mean. Nonetheless, we'll take the PlayStation 4 controller over the PS5's any day of the week.
Our verdict in this PlayStation 4 vs. PlayStation 5 comparison is a pretty clear-cut win for the PS5. The PlayStation 5 will cost around $650, while the PlayStation 4 will still cost around $380. That's not a huge price jump, so if you can swing it, we see no reason why you would get the PS4 over the PS5. That being said, in an ideal world, we would combine the PS5's performance with the PS4's controllers for the best possible experience.