Which is the better buy?

PS4 Pro vs. Xbox One X:

PlayStation 4 might be outselling Xbox One this generation, but each console has upgraded itself mid-generation. If you could only buy one, would you buy a PlayStation 4 Pro, or an Xbox One X? The answer lies in your own preferences.

Regular Pricing
PlayStation 4 Pro: $399.99
Xbox One X: $499.99

As far as pricing is concerned, the choice is clear.

Winner: PlayStation 4 Pro

Which console delivers better better graphics? The Xbox One X can achieve true 4k gaming, while the PlayStation 4 Pro can only acieve 4k through checkerboard rendering. PlayStation 4 Pro’s checkerboard rendering is a fancy trick that helps the hardware to achieve its full potential, and to many eyes an unnoticeable difference. Still, if you have a keen eye, or you’re not one to be fully satisfied by the idea there is a more powerful gaming console out there, the choice is clear.

Winner: Xbox One X

Although PlayStation 4 has improved the design of its controller with longer trigger buttons, and the overall feel of the controller with larger handles to grip, Xbox One has also made improvements to its controller design, making it even more comfortable than the Xbox 360 controller. Xbox also has the highly customizable elite controller. Both controllers are excellent, but we still give the edge to Xbox One.

Winner: It’s a matter of preference, but we’ll choose the Xbox One X.

Online ecosystem
Xbox Live delivers fluid online gaming, continuing the tradition established and honed during the first two generations of Xbox. Both systems have been subject to hacks, although it seems PlayStation Plus has been more susceptible. PlayStation Plus began with strong lineup of free games for not only PlayStation 4, but also for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. However, the lineup of free games has continued to disappoint many in the past year, as Sony has dropped most of its support for PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita. On the other hand, when Xbox Gold roles out a “disappointing” month of free games, it seems to be the exception rather than the norm. Between free Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, fans usually find one, if not multiple free games to enjoy.

Winner: Xbox One X

Backwards compatibility
This one seems easy, but PlayStation does have a few avenues for gamers to enjoy backwards compatibility on a PlayStation 4. There are handful of upgraded PlayStation 2 games available, such as Red Dead Revolver, Bully, and the Grand Theft Auto 3 trilogy. PlayStation Now also gives PlayStation gamers the chance to play both PlayStation 3 and 4 games, but at a monthly price. However, if you want to play original PlayStation games, you’d better buy yourself another system that has that capability. PlayStation 4 gamers can play three generation of games, but it won’t be native, and it will cost a monthly subscription. That being stated, Xbox blows PlayStation away in this category. Up-scaled original Xbox and Xbox 360 games, three generations of Xbox are available on one platform; all of which run without an internet connection. When Microsoft originally rolled out backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, Sony representatives seemed a bit shocked by this engineering feat. Three platforms running native on one machine, each with different architectures, is an achievement unique only to Xbox One as far as consoles are concerned.

Winner: Xbox One X

Media features
Both systems have the capability of streaming several apps, some of which such as Netflix and Amazon have some 4k content. One can stream video files to either system. The Xbox One X plays 4k blu-ray movies, PlayStation 4 Pro does not. Some fans care about this feature, some could care less. If you want a platform to play 4k blu-ray movies, you have one choice.

Winner: Xbox One X

When the original versions of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One rolled out, I wrote a similar article comparing the two. I, like many fans, was encouraged by the planned lineup of Xbox exclusives. Forza, Halo, Fable, and Sea of Thieves all had promise. Forza continues to impress, but it can’t carry the lineup on its own. Halo 5 was a disappointment, Fable Legends was canceled and subsequently resurrected as Fable 4 (so there is hope), and Sea of Thieves has had mixed reviews. (As a lifelong fan of all things pirates, I have to admit I wasn’t interested in Sea of Thieves. I still enjoy several versions of Sid Meier’s Pirates and a few other pirate games that feign some sort of reality that was the pirating world, but that’s not what Sea of Thieves offers.)

Uncharted, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona, God of War; should I continue?

Winner: PlayStation 4 Pro

Handheld connectivity
A moot point for most gamers, but not all. Remote Play can be very powerful, from Europe I’ve awoken my PlayStation 4 in New York to play a few games. I only tried a few times before going to bed, sometimes the lag was negligible. The issue is the lack of physical L2 and R2 buttons made some games impossible. For me it was more of an experiment, one in which was successful but did not serve a higher purpose to me. If I want to play a console on-the-go, my choice is clear.

Winner: Nintendo Switch (gotcha!)

The Bottom Line
If you want the most powerful system available at all cost, you own or plan to own 4k blu-rays, you love backwards compatibility gaming, you enjoy the quality of free games that come with Xbox Gold, and you prefer the Xbox controller; go buy yourself an Xbox One X.

If you’re more concerned with price, don’t notice the difference between true 4k graphics and up-scaled checkerboard rendered 4k graphics, you an enamored by the strength of PlayStation’s exclusive lineup; go buy yourself a PlayStation 4 Pro.