Sony, while never intentionally (outside of sales) has meant to compete with Microsoft is finally doing just that with their “next gen” console; PS4 also called PlayStation 4 is a true rival to the Microsoft brand.
Here is the “Dads” review for Sony’s next generation masterpiece.
Included when purchasing a PS4 is of course the console itself, a two prong ‘Figure 8’ power cord, a ‘dualshock 4’ controller, HDMI (High-Definition Media Interface) cable, USB (Universal Serial Bus) cable and a mono headphone/mic.
The console or hardware itself is sleek and slim, light weight and includes two USB ports, AUX (Auxiliary), HDMI, Digital Out (Optical) and LAN (Local Area Network/Ethernet) ports. Both Eject and Power on the console ‘buttons’ are touch — meaning through gloves or otherwise you may have a tough time turning your PS4 on.
Now, to the ‘DualShock 4’. The evolution of the infamous Sony controller is very compelling. Before the DualShock feature was in place, the PlayStation controller was one of the best controllers to have been created. It was light, slim and every button was in a very comfortable place. Then the DualShock function was added — which used to equally positioned and equally weighted vibration motors and let’s not forget the two analog sticks that would be used in place of or in conjunction with the “D-Pad”.
With this next gen edition, you still have the PS, X, square, circle, triangle buttons, directional pad, analog sticks, vibration function, USB port and, L 1-3, R 1-3 buttons. Replacing start and select are options (mimics start except can also display options) and share (which does exactly what you think it does, displays share options) buttons.
Four other features were added to the DS4 as well, a speaker: which will play sounds (such as turning on your flashlight in “The Last of Us: Remastered“), a touch pad that can be used for quick typing, swiping and much more. Lastly they added a stereo headset jack and an extension port — the extension port can be used for a number of things including charging on some licensed stands.
Lastly, the DS4 has a light bar that dims three ways, lights when the controller is charging and is used in the motion feature in conjunction with the PlayStation camera. Supposedly has a VR (virtual reality feature) that may be utilized in the future — that however is a story for another day.
PS4 and it’s Hardware specs while impressive leave something to be desired. Especially when considering that the console only comes with 500 GB storage space (has no external HD add-on feature as of yet) and every game has to be loaded onto the HD whether digital content or disc.
Main Processor – Single Chip Custom Processor
CPU: Low power x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores
GPU: 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon™ Graphics Core Next engine
Memory – GDDR5 8GB
Hard Disk Drive – Built-in 500GB
Optical Drive (Read only) – BD 6xCAV (Blu Ray) and DVD 8xCAV (DVD)
I/O – Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0), AUX
Communication – Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR)
A/V (Output only) – HDMI and Digital Output (optical)
The OS (Operating system) is also not without its flaws. PS4 used Orbis OS which is a variation of FreeBSD. While keeping in line with its visual lineage using an updated form of the PS3 XMB (XCross Media Bar). Sony’s XMB (desktop/background) can be visually appealing but, can also be very busy and irritating to navigate.
XMB may not be as clunky as the One’s dashboard which mimics and is a simplified version of Windows 8 (without the desktop option/functionality) can and will leave you saying “really?”
When you first turn the PS4 on, it will lead you through a set up (which includes setting up voice commands, time, date, etc.) process which can take up to 10 minutes to complete. After that you will make or add (if you already have a PSN ID) and then be thrust into the world of the PS4 XMB. Unless you turn the PSN ID login option to automatic; you will be asked to confirm your PSN ID each and every time.
Once on the XMB you’ll see two distinct parallel areas. One will be your apps and the other your options. Apps will include PlayStation store, What’s new, TV and Video, Internet Browser and Library. Options include Notifications, Friends, Messages, Party, Profile, Trophies, Settings and Power Options (which can be accessed by holding the PS button).
Apps in some cases have sub screens that can include things like rating a game, DLC (downloadable content), overview and much more. Apps will be added when a game is downloaded or a disc is loaded onto the console and each app will have a rating number associated that we can get to later.
The XMB will have a background behind it that can be changed at anytime, whether pre-loaded or purchased you can change your ‘theme’ at will. Some themes are dynamic or static in nature — this of course is of your choosing.
Online or PSN (PlayStation Network) which is now ‘pay to play’ with regards to the multi-player functionality of any game disc or DLC, is for lack of a better term revamped. PS2 and PS3 while free to play had many a problem on a regular basis when playing online multi-player enabled games.
However even if you do not want to play online or you don’t want your kids playing online having a PSN account has only ups and zero downs. You get weekly discounts on full game and add-on DLC and at least once a month you will get a free game or two — some are much better than others. Plus some extras that we can get to later in the review.
Now getting to what LagDads is all about and that is family — plus, Good. Clean. Fun. Let’s talk about security.
First off, you can have as many SEN IDs (Sony Entertainments Network Identification/s) as you want, but as was mentioned before you are able to play online multi-player only when you have a PSN account associated with each SEN ID — i.e. if you have four SEN IDs and only one of them is linked to a PSN account that one ID will allow you access to online multi-player and not the other three.
However, the other three accounts will be able to access all other features like Netflix, Spotifiy, PlayStation store and others (if you have subscriptions to each individual service). Again only the associated SEN ID will be allowed to buy items from the store at discounted prices or access the ‘free’ games.
This will make it easier for Dads to limit access to online multi-player right out of the box. If you don’t want your kids to access other features such as chat or, to limit how much they can spend on the ‘PlayStation Store’ (if any) you’ll have to create a sub account.
A sub account will need to be associated with an e-mail account and you’ll have to consent to allowing Sony and third parties access to you child’s info. This can easily be avoided by not using actual names, birth dates and using an already existing email of your own or creating a new email that has little to none or bogus info.
Once your sub account is created (more than one sub account can be created) you can control four options, Chat/Message, Content Restriction, User-Generated Media and Monthly Spending Limit.
While these options may seem minimal, if you utilize the features and don’t make your kids (or any other) SEN account into a PSN account you can control almost all aspects of your child’s experience on a PS4.
You and you child’s PS4 experiences can be as limited or as limitless as you would like it to be.
On to the PS4 library we go.
All three consoles have their share of exclusive titles — which in a nutshell means titles that can only be played on the relative console. For example, you will never see Super Mario 3D on any Microsoft/Sony console. Just like you will never see Halo on any Sony/Nintendo console (Anything can happen but, I’ve digressed).
You will also run into DLC (Downloadable Content) that is somewhat exclusive. An example of DLC exclusivity is Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare and its DLC content is available on Xbox Live a month before it is available on PS4 and PlayStation 4 will have exclusive Destiny DLC months before it reaches Xbox One. Most if not all “exclusive DLC” is timed — it will be available for a limited time on one console before the other.
Sony does have some exciting exclusive titles past and coming soon such as “Infamous: Second Son“, MLB The Show, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Little Big Planet 3, The Order: 1886, Until Dawn, The Last Of Us: Remastered and more. “The Show” maybe the most exciting title PS4 has to offer — the reason being outside of arcade style baseball games such as RBI Baseball Sony has exclusive rights to any true MLB title.
PlayStation store also has many independent titles to offer (some exclusive and some not). Most of these titles are available for download only but you may be able to find a few on disc. A few exciting titles are Apotheon, Outlast, Flower, Minecraft, Valiant Hearts: The Great War and many others.
Titles will differ in look, content and playability. One may be a simple sidescroller (Valiant Hearts) and others may be full expansive 3D universes (Outlast).
All-in-all PS4 has around 500 titles give or take and will only be in its second full year since launch in November of 2015 — not bad at all for a sophomoric next gen console.
Our last section we here at Lagdads will delve into is Extras from ‘A-Z,’ Sony and it’s PS4 Extras which includes accessories (both licensed and unlicensed) and “apps” like NHL Gamecenter Live, MLB.tv and more.
First off the PS4 world is not limited to just games and a controller. While you can have a virtually unlimited experience with just the console and the single peripheral — there is quite an expansive world to explore which includes but is not limited to the PlayStation Camera, PlayStation Move, PS Vita (Remote Play), Headsets, Arcade Sticks, Feedback Wheels and much more.
While sitting down with kids (or alone), perhaps a snack, controller in hand and maybe a drink (or two if you’re so inclined) can be more than satisfying. However, Sony who since the birth of PS1 has been about games first and entertainment as a whole second brings you a universe in which you can immerse yourself with endless games and entertainment at your fingertips or simply by using your voice.
Apps are nothing revolutionary by any means but make the console an “all-in-one” as it were.
Playing Little Big Planet 3 with the young ins, finding yourselves stuck on a level and need a break? The PS4 offers you a chance to power down the brain by simply closing the application and opening a new one i.e. Netflix and just veg out for a while while catching up on some favorite TV shows or movies until you’re ready to give the game another go.
“Next Gen” isn’t just a term for graphics or quality of game-play but for quality of entertainment as a whole. Gone are the days of being frustrated by a mission or level and having to pause or save the game and turn on your cable box, dish or dvd/blu-ray player to get your mind off of what is vexing you. You can do all of this and more with a PS4. Just save your game, close the application and open another with your controller or voice.
Applications aren’t vast, yet satisfying. PS4 offers the following apps (in no particular order):
Spotify: Great music app on it’s own and it also allows you to stream whilst gaming. Making your own soundtrack of sorts.
PlayStation Vue: is a stand alone Live TV/DVR (style) app. Only available (for now) in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Features include Live TV, My shows (cloud based TV that saves shows for up to 28 days and adds zero conflict it will save any TV shows you want to watch later or that you enjoy watching live), Explore (don’t know what to watch? Vue will adapt and find shows for you), Favorite Channels (self explanatory except that these will be available front and center on guide or home) and lastly, Timeline (shows the last 8 shows you watched, see what you’re watching and what is up next).
Netflix: Unless you have been living in a cave since 1999 (online disc distribution) or 2007 when they started streaming your favorite TV Shows and Movies online you know what Netflix is.
Hulu: Day after (sometimes longer) TV streaming. You can also watch trailers, clips and select movies. If you have a cable/satellite subscription your options are much more expansive.
NHL Game Center Live: Watch live NHL games (blackout restrictions apply) or watch a mix of past games and select classic NHL game.
NFL Sunday Ticket: You can now watch every NFL game on PS4 without a DirecTV subscription…Sort of. You have to be in an area where DirecTV is available but you can’t host an actual satellite dish — in other words live in an apartment or a house where your landlord/property management does not allow a dish installed.
NBA Game-time: Official app of the NBA. Watch any out of market NBA game anytime (black out restrictions apply).
MLB.tv: Watch and listen to any and all out of market (black out restrictions apply) games and all games after they have aired live all regular season long and use the post season companion when the post season starts.
Crackle: Free TV and movies (you will not be able to watch any and all TV/Movies)
Epix: Is a cable/satellite subscription based streaming Movie/TV app.
YuppTV: Over 150 channels of Indian television.
Vudu: World’s largest catalog of HD (High Definition) movies to rent or own.
Amazon: Watch any available TV and Movie in HD (when available) or SD (Standard Definition) you rent or buy. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime the app also includes select TV/Movies you can stream for free while available.
Crunchy Roll: Despite having a name that makes you think of a certain delicious sushi roll, you’ll find only Anime at its finest here. Free or premium subscriptions available.
IGN TV: Pretty much exactly what you think it is. Reviews, Previews and the like all that IGN has to offer outside of written material can be found here.
Vidzone: Free music videos
Headset Companion app: For use with the PlayStation Gold and Pulse Elite headsets. Click here for more info.
Qello: Subscription based concerts and music documentaries. Free for 7-days.
Share Factory: Record, share and edit your doings on the PS4.
WWE Network: Subscription based live and otherwise WWE entertainment.
Live Viewer Events: From music to video games Sony’s own live streaming app.
YouTube: Again, under a rock or in a cave you know what YouTube is and does.
Photo Cloud: PS4/PS3 exclusive photo gallery.
Snag Films: 5,000 plus TV Shows and movies for free.
Plex: Organize all of your media from PS4 to Tablet to your desktop — keep all of your media organized.
PlayStation Now: A small catalog of PlayStation 3 games you can play on demand. Internet connection required.
Popcorn Flix: As the Motto says — Movies. TV. Free.
HBO Go: Don’t have cable or satellite? No worries, watch HBO with this subscription based streaming app.
Dish: For this one you’ll need a Dish Network subscription and a “joey”. Basically a Dish “box” on your PS4.
Drama Fever: The name says it all. All drama, all the time…on the go. International and national shows.
Twitch: PS4 finally gets Twitch.tv proper app.
PlayStation F.C. UEFA Champions League: Watch classic matches, play mini games and win amazing prizes.
Red Bull TV: All the action packed excitement of Red Bull TV now available on PS4.
Trend Micro: Trend Micro™ Premium Security provides comprehensive, multiple device protection so you can do great things online safely. It safeguards against viruses, fraudulent websites, and identity theft.
Besides apps you have the PS Store which allows you to buy, rent and even pre order (games) on demand (download only). Unfortunately with PS4 you will not be able to buy any PS1-PS3 games as you were able to do with the PS3 — which is rather frustrating and beyond disappointing.
PlayStation also offers a seemingly limited browser. Clunky, irritating and yet helpful whilst laziness ensues. However you phone, tablet, laptop and desktop will always be abundantly better than any browser a console has to offer.
Lastly let’s talk about accessories.
PlayStation Camera: Microsoft’s ‘Kinect’ has set a standard for bringing consoles to life and the PlayStation camera is no exception. Not only is there a huge price differential $45 compared to $140 but, PS Camera is very comparable. Voice command, face recognition and more.
PS Vita: While the PS Vita review is another article it is worth mentioning that being able to save a PS4 game and play it on Vita while on the go is beyond awesome.
PlayStation Move: PS3’s better than Wii remote is back and works just as well if not better on the PS4.
Headsets: From $12 to almost $300 you’ll find what you need for your best gaming experience.
Internal HD: No update for an external HD. Sony has released blue prints for expanding your internal HD that does not void any warranty. Up to 6GB (5.4 actual) is available for purchase.
Media Remote: As the name mentions, control anything that isn’t a game with this “media” remote.
Game Capture: From $50 to almost $200 you can find what you’re looking for to broadcast, stream and record your PS4 gaming sessions. LagDads.com does stand by anything made by El Gato.
Chargers: Whether looking for a simple A-B USB (Universal Serial Bus) cable or an external Charger, licensed and unlicensed chargers abound. Find one that suits your every need.
The PlayStation 4 is an exciting and powerful piece of hardware that deserves some shelf space in your man cave or entertainment center.
Not only is Sony’s PS4 a gaming console it is an all-in-one/one-stop-shop for everything entertainment. Play, watch, interact and shop ’til your hearts content.
LagDads gives the Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) it’s highest marks and wholeheartedly would and does recommend this next-gen console to all the Dad’s and their lucky kids.