Why PS4 Slim and Xbox One S is the Better Deal This Black Friday Over the Pro and One X
If you're on the fence as to whether you should pick up a 4K console this Black Friday, you should give the baseline consoles a good look before you buy.
On a technical level, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X deliver the “best way to play” current-generation video games on consoles. If you’re in the market for either one this holiday: you should probably consider their lower cost alternatives instead.
This past weekend at Microsoft’s X018 event in Mexico City, it was announced that the company would be slashing the prices on games and Xbox One hardware; both the Xbox One X and One S will be receiving $100 discounts during the week of Black Friday. This news comes fresh off the heals of Sony’s PS4 Slim bundle receiving a $100 discount with Marvel’s Spider-Man (one of their biggest releases of the year) packed in for $199.
While the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X may seem like the more alluring draws during Black Friday as the chance for gamers to pick up the higher-end systems at a lower price, here are the reasons why I think that you’ll get the most bang for your buck by going with the base model PS4 and Xbox One systems this holiday season.
HDR gives higher returns than 4K on consoles at the moment.
Outside of a few marquee titles, native 4K gameplay resolution in many recent AAA games is still few and far between. Many titles use various rendering techniques (like checker-board rendering) to achieve the highly-coveted 2160p resolution. High Dynamic Range (HDR) on the other hand is incorporated by many more titles, and it’s a feature that — in my opinion — gives much more noticeable returns to what you see on-screen. Games like God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn have colors that just explode on the screen.
With that said: both the PS4 Slim and the Xbox One S fully support the HDR10 standard for video games on compatible displays. Xbox One goes a step further in this regard as it also supports the newer Dolby Vision HDR standard as well (for its video streaming services and 4K UHD video playback).
Another important aspect about HDR is that unlike 4K resolution, your screen size will not determine whether or not you are able to truly experience it. When it comes to 4K, if you’re not playing on at least a 55″ display and sitting within 5 feet of it, the gains over 1080p are negligible. One the other hand, if you enable HDR (on a compatible display) your results will be instantly noticeable.
Don’t pay a premium for 4K to catch up on what you’ve missed.
For both Sony and Microsoft, when you compare their baseline consoles to their 4K counterparts this Black Friday, there’s a delta of $200 for both. On the Xbox side, the One S is $200 less than the One X and you’ll likely get to pick up a bundle that includes a game of some sort. For PlayStation, the decision is a little bit harder to make. While the PS4 Slim will come with Marvel’s Spider-Man for $200 less than the PS4 Pro, the 4K Pro variant will include Red Dead Redemption 2 and keeps the price at $399.
If you’re someone who has somehow not yet purchased any kind of generation 9 console, then the above may not apply to you, as you owe it to yourself to experience what’s been an amazing generation of games at their very best. But if you already own a PS4 and are intrigued by the value of Xbox Game Pass (and you should be), Xbox One S at $199 with a game packed-in is a no-brainer. If you’re an Xbox One owner who is jealous of seeing all of those Spider-Man selfies we were bombarded with on social media in September (and you should be), again – a PS4 Slim at$199 with Spidey packed-in is obviously a “go.”
We still don’t know if these prices are strictly making an appearance for Black Friday this year. If these promotions are hints of the kind of pricing we can expect in 2019, I still cannot recommend people pay a premium a couple hundred more dollars for 4K consoles, especially as more signs indicate that we’re nearing the tail-end of this generation, with new hardware (or at the very least announcements) on the horizon.