As it stands there are three major contenders in the video game console market at the moment, possibly four if you take into account Google's upcoming console "Stadia," and each one respectively has their unique benefits and shortcomings.
That's a lot to contemplate when you are looking to purchase your next gaming console, which is why we look at the five main gaming consoles to figure out which one would best suit you. We are going to break down the best and worst of the PS4 Pro, PS4 Slim, Xbox One X, Xbox One S and the Nintendo Switch for anyone looking to immerse themselves into the wonderful world of gaming.
Before we get started, it’s worth noting that this article is not intended to help you decide which console is better than the other, but instead to explain how each console differs from one another and how one might be better suited to you.
The PlayStation 4 is arguably one the most popular and successful consoles of the current console generation. Three years after the PS4's debut, Sony launched two upgraded systems, generally referred to as the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro. The PS4 Pro factors in a significantly more powerful system that delivers high-grade performance capable of 4K gaming and HDR.
Its other console became known as the PS4 Slim, which extends the same functionality as the original PS4 launch model but in a sleeker look. Sony now calls this the ‘PS4’ as it’s phased out the original console. That’s the basics, however in the rest of this guide, I will explain the details in simple terms and more complex ones for those who like numbers and answer some of the common questions you might have.
The graphics processor in the PS4 Pro, (that’s the piece of hardware that produces the 3D graphics in games) is twice as powerful as that in the original PS4. Sony has also improved the processor, which manages tasks like physics and artificial intelligence in games.
Sony insists that the PS4 Pro can run at 4.2 teraflops, compared to the 1.84 teraflops of the original PS4, (teraflops is a simple measure of the performance of a computer). While the PS4 Pro has an equal quantity of memory as the original PS4 (8GB GDDR5), it operates at a higher speed to enhance performance. The PS4 Pro also has an extra helpful 1GB of spare memory for non-gaming apps like Netflix, Amazon, Youtube and Internet Browsing, this signifies it won’t drain the memory dedicated for games, and you will be able to switch your game and between apps a lot faster.
Developers can use the extra power of the PS4 Pro to enhance a game. Most will generally increase the resolution (the number of pixels that make the picture) of their games, so they appear sharper to the eye on 4K TVs. Developers can also use the more robust PS4 Pro GPU to enhance the textures, and lighting effects lead to more realistic graphics and smoother gaming experience with fewer slowdowns and framerate issues during gameplay.
The most noticeable difference in games is lighting and foliage. The ‘god rays’ give the scene a fresh dynamism, lighting up the textures and enhancing the contrast in the picture and the extra greenery, such as additional plants, grass, trees, and vines. The PS4 Pro isn’t merely about creating things to look sharper. The additional power enables developers to render more items in the game, which helps create worlds that are packed with more impressive details to enjoy.
HDR, also known as High Dynamic Range, is used for making films, TV, and games appear more vibrant, colorful, and closer to how our eyes perceive real life. HDR brings introduces a new standard that allows TVs to exploit their full potential. What this implies is higher peak brightness and brighter, more vibrant colors, which leads to a more realistic and immersive picture.
Check out some of the comparisons below;
PS4 vs PS4 Pro Size Comparison(WxDxH):
The PS4 Pro is a solid three centimeters wider, four centimeters deeper and close to two centimeters taller. I'm sure that doesn’t sound like much on paper, but the PS4 Pro is roughly 78% bigger in volume than the PS4 Slim’ model and 20% larger than the original PS4 console.
If you want to be on the cutting edge of technology, you're going to need to get yourself a PS4 Pro when it comes out in November – along with a shiny new 4K TV of course. The PS4 is aging well though, and with Sony promising to support the old console along with the Pro going forward, you'd do well to invest in the old PS4 if you're not interested in 4K gaming or PlayStation's take on virtual reality.
If any company is going to close the gap between gaming consoles and gaming on PCs, it's going to be Microsoft. Xbox One S vs. Xbox One X: Microsoft’s two consoles offer some reasonably similar features, but very different levels of performance. Which console is right for you? The decision isn’t as easy as first think. To make this decision as simple as possible, we’ll run through the advantages and disadvantages of each Xbox One model, plus some handy information for each.
The One X is somewhat smaller than the One S, but the variations don’t stop there. You’ll be excited to know that all the heat extraction takes place at the back of the console, unlike the S, which blows hot air out straight out of the top. The top of the Xbox X is entirely devoid of any opening which means you could stack another AV kit or gaming console on top of your X, which you couldn’t do with the S.
In terms of technical awesomeness, the two consoles are vastly different. Without getting too deep into the specifications, the Xbox One X is a very modern console with components that come close to today’s mid-range gaming PCs. The One S is not so much, but it’s using very comparable technology to the original Xbox One that launched back in 2013.
Which means in regards to gaming performance, the two will handle very differently, even though on the face of it they both produce the same UHD resolution. In regards to the Xbox One S, it delivers UHD gaming which upscaled from Full HD. The console is using clever ‘checkerboarding’ which is an anti-aliasing technology to create pixels where there are none, giving the user the impression of a sharper, clearer image. It looks great, but it’s not ‘true’ 4K.
The console supports HDR gaming at any resolution while the One X has massively stepped up its specifications. The console will occasionally use some upscaling, it’s powerful enough to render games at a much higher resolution than the One S is able too, so there’s a lot less upscaling to be done. This means the screen displays a more detailed, much richer picture. The increase in the memory means textures in games will be higher resolution, and there’s more scope for significant effects such as smoke and explosions.
Check out some of the comparisons below;
The Xbox One X has a brand new cooling and power system, which is crucial for such a small and powerful console, where keeping temperatures down and efficiency up is top on the top of the list.
The One X and S run almost at the same noise level. In other words, they both run nice and quiet. Storage is a little different the One S model can be found with as little as 500GB of storage and up to massive 2TB, all on hard drives. The One X comes with a standard 1TB hard drive with 8GB of flash storage. Sounds confusing, but what this 8GB does is help speed up the operating system by storing the most frequently-access filed on faster solid-state storage.
With the Xbox One, you have the choice to make between power and affordability. The Xbox One S offers a quality system at a lower price. For those without a 4K TV, the Xbox One S is a great option. If you want to get the most out of your console games, though, the Xbox One X is the system to get, as it offers performance the One S can’t match.
The Switch is a wonderful little console and has carved out an entirely new niche for itself. As you probably guessed It's not the most powerful gaming console available in today gaming market nor does it support 4K, most apps or the broadest diversity of games, however, the Switch is everything Nintendo had promised it would be. It's a hybrid two in one console, able of playing games up to 1080p on your TV or up to 720p on its portable, 6.2-inch display.
In the unlikely chance that you don’t already know, the Switch is Nintendo’s pioneering hybrid console, providing you with the best of the home and handheld gaming in one handy little package. It’s one of the first gaming systems which you can start playing a game on the big screen in your loungeroom, then grab the console, connect the controllers and continue playing anywhere you like, well until the battery dies out that is.
This is all thanks to the astonishingly intelligent and adaptable design. The console is a 6.2-inch tablet that plugs directly into an HDMI/USB-C dock. The two removable Joy-Con controllers slide straight into the tablet when you’re out on the move or directly work through Bluetooth when you’re not. While it doesn't come close to the graphics horsepower of the PS4 or Xbox One, let alone the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, It does have enough to run games of a comparable nature,
The Switch itself is a somewhat a chunky tablet, with thick bezels and a 6.2-inch touchscreen sporting a 1280 x 720 resolution. Nonetheless, the foundation feels rock-solid, and the metal finish looks incredible. The Switch might be the thinnest, sleekest and least intrusive console ever made. However, two things stand out, a substantially large vent at the top for cooling reasons, and the kickstand at the rear that allows you to brace the console for tabletop gaming sessions when you’re out and about.
The kickstand is one of the few areas where Nintendo has gone in the wrong direction. The kickstand feels surprisingly fragile and flimsy and allows for only one viewing angle, which can be a little annoying at times. There have been reports of the kickstand flapping about while using the Switch handheld, others have reported that console suddenly falls back a couple of times while playing games, although they could have got a little too excited playing Mario Kart, a tougher kickstand and a stronger mechanism would go along way with Switch users. It's also worth noting that charging the device while in tabletop mode can be somewhat tricky since the USB-C charging port is positioned underneath the Switch.
The dock itself is a reasonably elegant piece of matte black plastic. You can connect and charge the tablet through its USB-C port. The Switch has sockets for the USB-C power adapter and an HDMI cable, plus three USB 3 ports two on the side on the console, and one behind the flap on the back of the console. These USB ports can be used to charge both the Switch Pro Controller and a Joy-Con Controller. It can also be used as an Ethernet adapter. Unfortunately, you can’t connect a USB hard drive or USB memory stick, which sucks given the limited 32GB onboard storage. If you want extra and trust me, you will then a microSD memory card is the only way to go.
There have been some complaints regarding the dock, with some users saying that sliding the Switch into it resulted in scratched screens, as well as some Samsung TVs owners have found that the Switch makes the TV switch sources over HDMI when it wakes from sleep to check for updates. The first issue doesn’t seem to be that widespread, and the second has been resolved via firmware updates.
Switches screen may not have a 1080p resolution; however, don't let that be a deal breaker. 720p is a reasonable objective for mobile gaming hardware, and at this size, you still get an amazingly immersive experience.
Nintendo maintains an average battery life of three to six hours depending on which game you are playing, the brightness level and whether Wi-Fi is enabled. Realistically it's closer to a little under three hours of battery life for more demanding games and tack on another 20 minutes with the brightness set to a comfortable level. With that being said, some less graphically intensive indie games will give you another thirty minutes or so, it depends on what you’re playing.
If you are always out and about and need that extra battery life, then your best bet here is a USB-C battery pack with a high capacity and fast-charging capabilities, such as the Anker PowerCore+ 20100, the smaller PowerCore 10000 or RAVPower 26,800.
There's more to the Joy-Con than just an analog stick you've got four face buttons and a trigger and bumper per controller, an accelerometer and a gyroscope, Nintendo’s HD Rumble haptic feedback engine for the left Joy-Con and with the right Joy-Con you've got an NFC reader for Amiibo and an infrared depth-tracking sensor. Sounds like a lot, right? But everything has its purpose.
The motion controls are put to excellent use in games you’d expect, with Super Mario Odyssey’s advanced hat-chucking controls. They’re a must-have if you want to make the most of Nintendo’s excellent beat-em-up game, "ARMS." If you prefer a more conventional controller, you can always slot them into the bundled Joy-Con grip. Another impressive advantage of the Joy-Con controllers is that you have two controllers at your disposal when playing multiplayer games. Slide them out of the Switch, connect the wrist-strap modules and you’re set for multiplayer Puyo-Puyo Tetris or Mario Kart.
If you prefer a more conventional controller for your Switch, like the Xbox and PS4, the Pro Controller is your best choice, and it’s Nintendo’s best controller yet with excellent, large analog sticks, rubberized handles and solid feeling triggers and bumpers than the Wii U equivalent.
The Pro Controller also ties in all the tech from the Joy-Cons, including the gyroscopes and accelerometers and the HD Rumble, although since it doesn’t split in half, it’s still secondary compared to the Joy-Con for playing "Arms." The D-Pad isn’t as spectacular as it could be, so fighting game fans might want to look for another alternative.
The responsive touchscreen and friendly user interface make the Switch a delight to use, whether you’re starting a game, adjusting settings or browsing the eShop, it’s straightforward and easy to get around.
You can switch between users quickly. The Switch currently supports up to eight different users with the home screen adjusting to display the most recent games you’ve played. One thing that is a surprising aspect of Nintendo’s software is how barebones and game-focused it is. There’s no real application ecosystem as there is on the Xbox One and PS4, meaning you cant watch video-streaming services like Netflix or Amazon.
Nintendo isn’t trying to compete on graphics with the other consoles; Its primary focus is delivering a new experience that works as well in your hands while on the move as they do on a TV screen. The Switch fits into your busy life. It’s a smarter, more sociable gaming machine you can pick up and play whenever the opportunity arises. The Switch has earned both a place on the console podium of awesomeness and in gamer’s hearts.
There is no "best" console, each gaming systems excels and fails in its unique ways.
The only determining factor is what you and what you want to get out of a gaming console. Do you want the latest AAA games and other players in an easy to use package? Go for the PS4 Slim, but go Pro if you're going to want to show off your 4K TV.
However, if your primary goal is to run your 4K TV, UHD Blu-ray collection and homemade gaming PC, an Xbox One X might be worth the extra cash. For people who travel the world to the daily commuters and party people, the Switch makes a lot of sense; It also has a surprisingly rich library of high-quality games, everything from AAA to indie games. With three solid console lines, a thriving PC scene, thriving esports market, and more titles than ever before, it's an excellent time to be a video game fan, regardless of which system you choose.