Sony has finally released its much-talked about PS4 Pro and it sets a new standard for console gaming.
And considering Christmas is rapidly approaching, the Japanese firm has put it squarely, if a little unfairly, up against the Xbox One S.
Microsoft will be introducing its own beefier machine in 2017, but in the meantime we expect many people will be looking at the Xbox One S and PS4 Pro, wondering which of the two to invest in this year rather than next.
That's why we've decided to look at them both and what they have to offer to see which you should splurge your money on.
- Xbox One S review: Best console and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player out there
- Sony PS4 Pro review: Worth buying on day one?
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: 4K HDR gaming
Ever since the PS4 Pro was first announced, Sony has shown plenty of games running in 4K with high dynamic range (HDR) picture processing. We've played quite a few ourselves and been impressed. The console is even capable of playing games natively in 4K.
The Xbox One S on the other hand is not capable of 4K gaming. It does upscale all video output to 4K, including games, but you don't get any more detail - it just takes on the upscaling duties rather than rely on your TV's abilities.
The Microsoft machine does offer HDR gaming though. Developers can now choose to offer a greater level of contrast and a wider colour gamut in their games, for users with TVs capable of showing them. Forza Horizon 3 a Gears of War 4 are two games coming with HDR graphics. The PS4 Pro has around 30 4K HDR enabled games available at launch.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
One of the main reasons existing Xbox One owners would consider an upgrade to the Xbox One S is that it also doubles as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. It is capable of playing the new format discs and in HDR to boot.
This is one where the Xbox One S is better than the Sony powerhouse. Remarkably, even with Sony's heritage in the format and being one of the major drivers of 4K Blu-ray, the PS4 Pro does not have a 4K Ultra HD drive so cannot play the discs.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: 4K video
As well as 4K Blu-ray support, the Xbox One S is also 4K-ready for streaming services. At present, that just means Netflix in the UK, but we fully expect an updated YouTube app soon and, possibly, Amazon Video will offer 4K streams in future too.
Even though the PS4 Pro doesn't have a 4K Blu-ray drive, it does come with Netflix in 4K from launch. YouTube too. We're expecting HDR from both soon.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Performance
This is where things really start to head in different directions. In effect, the Xbox One S is a slightly tweaked version of the former model. Its quad-core processing chip is clocked higher in order to run faster and offer a boost in performance, but it is fractional. RAM also runs faster too, but the most obvious improvements come with faster menu screens than in-game activities.
On the other hand, the PS4 Pro sports an octa-core processor and a graphics chipset with 4.20 teraflops of power. There is also 8GB of GDDR5 memory.
In comparison, that's like having a drag race between a Ferrari F12Berlinetta and an Audi A5. Yeah the Audi A5 is a lovely car... but it's no Ferrari.
It means the Pro can run games in 4K and up to 60fps, with HDR enabled too. You'll often get the choice between a stable 4K in 30fps, or 1080p in 60fps. The Xbox One S can run games in 60fps, but they are rarely full 1080p.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Design
The white One S is 40 per cent smaller and thinner than its former generation, with the power supply now tucked away inside the main casing. It is, in fact, one of the best looking consoles on the market.
The PS4 Pro also has the power supply inside but is chunky and less sleek than the Xbox. It's even larger and heftier than the original, standard PlayStation 4.
That comes as no surprise. Considering how powerful the PS4 Pro's chipset is, we think it will run extremely hot. Hotter than the Xbox One S and PS4. That means there will needs to be plenty of cooling inside.
Consider its spec is more akin to a gaming PC, then imagine how big a decent gaming rig can be thanks to sufficient cooling and you can see why the PS4 Pro is on the beefy side. You're basically swapping looks for power.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Backwards compatibility
The PS4 Pro is backwards compatible with all PlayStation 4 games, with many of them being patched to offer higher resolutions and HDR gaming when played on the new machine. You don't need to buy a new disc either, as it's a one disc fits all strategy.
The Xbox One S is also completely compatible with all current and future Xbox One games. Several will appear with HDR graphics, but even they will run in a conventional Xbox One without the added visual flair. Microsoft has said that its direct answer to the PS4 Pro, the Project Scorpio, will also be compatible with all Xbox One games when it comes out in late 2017.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Price
The Xbox One S, available here, is priced at a very reasonable £249 for the 500GB model, £299 for the 1TB and £349 for the 2TB edition, although the latter is now completely sold out.
It could be said that the bigger bargain is the PS4 Pro, available here. At £349, it almost matches the top end Xbox One S, but it is a far more powerful machine. It only comes with a 1TB drive though.
Xbox One S vs PS4 Pro: Conclusion
Some of those already in the know would say that this was an unfair comparison from the off. The PS4 Pro is designed to be a considerable step-up from the PS4, while the Xbox One S is more of a stop-gap console until Microsoft's Project Scorpio comes later next year. Both are mid-generation upgrades, but the Pro features the bigger enhancements.
Indeed, Project Scorpio is the Pro's direct peer, not the Xbox One S, and that's where the true mid-gen battle will take place.
As it stands, the Xbox One S is an excellent console and has the added bonus of being the cheapest 4K Blu-ray player on the market. However, the PS4 Pro is by far and away the best games machine, with stunning 4K graphics for those with compatible TVs.