Nintendo Switch, PS4, or Xbox One? Which Game Console is Best?

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Are you searching for a new game system? We’ve combined hundreds of hours of gaming experience and 16 hours of gathering the latest research and reviews available to help you make the right decision. If you are just starting to look around, you’ve probably noticed there aren’t just one or two choices out there, but many. This becomes even trickier when buying a console for someone else! Don’t sweat it. Let us help you make the best decision possible.

In summary (spoiler alert!), we believe the Xbox One X is the best console on the market as of the publication of this article. However, each console offers a unique twist, and that difference might sway you. Let’s walk through each of three consoles groups first, starting with the newest addition to the market, the Nintendo Switch.

Our Pick- Xbox One X

PCWorld

The Xbox One X is currently the best game system on the market. With top notch processing speed and memory, and a 4k UHD Blu-ray player to boot, it simply can’t be beat. Currently priced at $499.99.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

What is consumer analytics?

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo

Remember the classic Nintendo Entertainment System from 1985? Mario and his friends are back, and Nintendo has come up with one of the most innovative game consoles to date in the Nintendo Switch. After the failure of the Nintendo’s previous console, the Wii U, Nintendo badly needed a win with the Switch. Released March 3rd, 2017, Initial sales reports are indicating that Switch sales are competing very closely with the PS4 and Xbox One.

So, what is the Switch all about? One of the greatest selling features of the Switch is its versatility. You can play on your home TV, and literally “switch” the gaming unit out of the charging dock (go figure!) for mobile gaming without losing a beat. This is an especially great feature for anyone who currently plays with a portable hand-held Nintendo DS or Playstation Vita.

Nintendo likes to break the possible ways of playing the Switch into three categories: Handheld, table play, and TV play. All of these playing options are made possible by the new detachable, motion-sensing controllers, which Nintendo calls Joy-Cons, and the docking station, which allows you to slide the screen portion in and out for mobile play.

The Nintendo Switch is powered by a 1020MHz Nvidia custom Tegra SOC and a 768MHz (docked)/307.2MHz (undocked) Nvidia custom Tegra SOC. If this doesn’t make much sense to you, that’s ok. It is a step forward from the Wii and Wii U consoles, but this is a very slow processing speed when compared to what Sony and Microsoft are offering. However, it is perfect for Nintendo’s purposes. In fact, the Switch already has a few highly rated games under its belt in Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda.

Storage is a touchy subject, being that the Switch can only hold 32GB of internal data. You can always buy a separate MicroSDXC card to expand the storage if that becomes a problem. That being said, the Switch offers a built-in data management tool, essentially a pop-up menu prompt that helps you clear out space for a new game by automatically scrapping untouched data from your library. This is useful for those players that want to play all of Nintendo’s hits, which will fill up the internal memory very quickly.

The portable unit comes with a kickstand allowing you to place the screen on a table for multi-player play. The question is, how would your Nintendo Switch be used if you bought one, docked, undocked, or both? Early data from Nintendo shows that most players are playing in both modes, with some sway towards handheld or tabletop play (see below).

My Nintendo News

Here is a breakdown of what you are paying for in a standard Nintendo Switch Box:

  • Nintendo Switch console
  • Nintendo Switch dock
  • 1 Joy-Con™ (L) controller, 1 Joy-Con™ (R) controller
  • 2 Joy-Con™ wrist strap accessories
  • Joy-Con grip accessory
  • Nintendo Switch AC adapter
  • HDMI cable

 

Vooks

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Playstation 4 and 4 Pro

Sony

The Playstation 4 is well known for its collection of exclusive games, great processing speed, and jet-black good looks. Originally released November 15th, 2013, total PS4 sales worldwide have topped 63 million units, making it the most sold console of the three we are comparing. Making things a bit confusing is the fact that two subsequent PS4 models have since been unleashed, the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro. Let’s cover each of these now.

 

PS4-

The original PS4 was replaced by the PS4 Slim back in September 2016, so you will only find the original unit if you are shopping for a used console. In fact, Sony doesn’t even call the second upgraded console “PS4 Slim”, you will only hear Sony call it the PS4. Despite its age, the original is still a great purchase. As far as power is concerned, the PS4 has the eight-core AMD Jaguar CPU and an AMD Radeon GPU running at 1.84 terraflops. The PS4 comes with one DualShock4 controller, which has an improved dual analog stick system and a touch pad in the center for new, immersive gaming situations. The price of the original PS4 varies, since now you can only buy this unit used.

 

PS4 Slim-

Perhaps disappointing to some, the PS4 “Slim” offers no upgrades in power from its original predecessor. A better way to look at the Slim is as a true replacement of the original. The body design of the console is the distinguishing factor here, hence the name. To provide you with an idea of the size difference, the original PS4 weighs 6.2 lbs and the Slim weighs 4.6 lbs. Despite design being the only change here, the new PS4 “Slim” retains everything that was great about the original console. Plus, reports are in that the cooling fan on the Slim version is much quieter than the loud fan found in the original PS4. As far as accessories go, you can expect to find that everything that worked or connected with the original PS4 works for the Slim model. The PS4 Slim currently sells for $299.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

PS4 Pro-

The PS4 Pro is truly an upgrade from its predecessors, coming in with a 2.1GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU, and Integrated AMD Polaris graphics with 4.2 teraflops of performance. To make room for these upgrades, Sony needed to increase the weight of the unit, making it a heavier 7.28 lbs. This console is all about power and performance. It will play all of the PS4 games out there, but some of the newer games have been optimized to take advantage of the PS4 Pro’s processing power. It also uses the same DualShock4 controller as the original PS4, so if you are a situation where you are upgrading to the PS4, you can plan to get more mileage from your old controllers. This also goes for the PS4 camera and motion controllers.

Sadly, Sony decided not to give the PS4 Pro an upgrade to allow 4k Blu-ray disc play. This is discouraging, to avid Playstation fans, since the Xbox One X and S, as you will find below, have this ability. It should be noted, however, that Playstation allows for 4k streaming in of some content (or at least, very close to 4k).

You can pick up a PS4 Pro for $399 right now.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

VR Headset-

As a side note, Sony has also created a Virtual Reality headset, which is playable on any of the above-mentioned PS4 consoles. If Virtual Reality is something you are interested in, you might consider giving a PS4 console a try. Sony’s VR Headset in on sale currently for $269.99 at Walmart.

Game Chair Pro

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Xbox One, One S, and One X

 

Microsoft

Like the PS4, the Xbox One consoles offer a great value as total packages. Don’t let their somewhat generic designs throw you off- there is plenty of punch inside! Return users of the Xbox 360 will notice that the Xbox One unit is bigger. Even the original Xbox One’s Kinect sensor is bigger this time around (although Microsoft is all but done with the Kinect at this point. There are no Kinect ports for the Xbox One S and X consoles). Ample breathing room within the unit has presumably helped rid the Xbox One of the reliability issues which plagued it in the past (think red ring of death). Let’s take a look at each console.

Xbox One-

Similar to the original PS4 console, Microsoft has officially replaced the Xbox One with the Xbox One S. You can still, however, find many used units floating around, and it is still a very good console. The Xbox One has sold over 31 million units worldwide to date. While this is far short of the PS4’s 63 million, it is still a tremendous global presence for a console to have, and always a good thing for consumers when it comes to game availability. At the end of the day, the more consoles sold, the more likely it is that game developers will keep creating games for the console.

An original Xbox One game system typically includes the following items:

Note Limited editions and special bundles may include different items.

  1. Xbox One console
  2. Kinect sensor (if purchased with the Xbox One bundle)
  3. Power supply
  4. Power cord
  5. Wireless controller
  6. Two AA batteries

Xbox One S-

The Xbox One S was released August 2016. The Xbox One S is actually much smaller, a whopping 40%, than the original Xbox One. In our opinion, the Xbox One S looks much better than its predecessor as well. It also has more tricks up its sleeve, like HDR lighting (high-dynamic range) which helps make games look better than ever. This console also plays 4k Blu-ray discs, which is a huge plus! The Xbox One S currently goes for $240 on Amazon. An Xbox One S game system typically includes the following items.

Strangely, the Xbox One S does away with the Kinect port found at the back of the Original Xbox One. If you are unfamiliar with the Kinect, it is an all-in-one tracking camera and voice command center that captures movement and voice. That’s not to say you can’t use a Kinect on the Xbox One S or X, it just means you will have to shell out more cash for an adapter which allows for the connection. What this really means though, is that Microsoft is moving on from the Kinect, hopefully to something better.

An Xbox One S game system typically includes the following items:

  1. Xbox One S console
  2. Power cord
  3. Wireless controller
  4. Two AA batteries
  5. One HDMI cable
  6. Vertical stand (included with some models)

Note The vertical stand is available for purchase separately.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Xbox One X-

The Xbox One X is absolutely the most powerful console on the market. Having been just recently released on November 7th, it outdoes even the powerful PS4 Pro in terms of sheer processing power.  Aside from beating out the competition, it also easily outdoes the Xbox One S in a big way. You can expect game makers to take great advantage of this new freedom by releasing incredible games over the next few years.

Like the PS4 and PS4 Pro, Xbox One X users can play all of their original Xbox One and One S games. Newer games that are labeled with “Xbox One X Enhanced” will require an immediate update which will greatly optimize game graphics to 4k HDR levels.

As awesome as all of this is to Xbox One fans, you really have to ask yourself if the extra bump in performance is worth not only the extra $250 for the new console, but also worth the price of a new 4k TV set, which will be required to truly take advantage of the Xbox One X’s 4k capabilities. As you can see, the total cost to join the One X Club can climb very fast.

Here is what you can expect to find when you open your new Xbox One X:

  1. Xbox One X console
  2. Power cord
  3. Wireless controller
  4. Two AA batteries
  5. One HDMI cable
  6. Vertical stand (included with some models)

Note The vertical stand is available for purchase separately.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Comparisons

Now that we’ve reviewed each console, let’s make some important comparisons. Again, each console offers something different, so you want to keep in mind your unique situation. Are you buying for kids, teens, or adults? Are you a mobile gamer? Are you picky about processing speed, Blu-ray or DVD capabilities, or the availability of games? Or maybe it just comes down to the sticker price! Whatever your reasons might be, be sure to keep them in mind as we review together.

 

Power-

Switch PS4 PS4 Pro Xbox One S Xbox One X
Power 1020MHz Nvidia custom Tegra SOC, 768MHz (docked)/307.2MHz (undocked) Nvidia custom Tegra SOC 1.6GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU, Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 800MHz with 1.84 teraflops of performance 2.1GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU, Integrated AMD Polaris graphics with 4.2 teraflops of performance 1.75GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU, Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 914MHz 2.3GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU, Integrated AMD graphics with 6 teraflops of performance

 

The Nintendo Switch is quickly dismissed from any awards in this category. Nintendo simply doesn’t involve itself in the processing power arms race between Sony and Microsoft, for better or for worse. What Nintendo lacks in processing power, it clearly makes up for in novelty and innovation, as Switch sales have shown us. Nintendo’s brand strength is a wonder to behold.

The PS4 Pro was the honorary King of the Hill in this category, until the recent release of the Xbox One X, which has effectively overpowered all other consoles. In terms of processing power, it simply can’t be beat right now.

Does console power matter to you? Again, your console’s ability to produce amazing graphics is only as good as the TV you display it on. If you have a 4k TV already, then you are set up nicely to make the jump to the Xbox One X. If not, then you will only be experiencing a fraction of what you paid for until you get that 4k TV. If you care a great deal about graphic output, then do yourself a favor and pair your Xbox One X with a decent 4k TV!

Winner- Xbox One X

The Xbox One X is the most powerful gaming console on the market right now. It simply can’t be beat by any non-PC system, and even easily takes on many PC gaming systems. If sheer performance is your driving force, this is the system for you.

 

Optical Drive-

Switch PS4 PS4 Pro Xbox One S Xbox One X
Optical Drive N/A Blu-ray/DVD Blu-ray/DVD 4K/HDR Blu-ray drive 4K/HDR Blu-ray drive

 

The Nintendo Switch once again is out of the running in this category, being that the Switch console runs off of small cartridge-based games as opposed to disc-based games. The only work around here is the availability of streaming content over the Switch, and Hulu is currently the only option for that right now. There are currently rumors that Netflix has an app set to go and is awaiting the green light from Nintendo, but until this is confirmed by either party, it is only hearsay.

Therefore, the real competition is once again left to the PS4 and Xbox One console. In reality, all of the PS4 and Xbox One consoles are good options, as they all play Blu-ray and DVD discs. Where this gets tricky is whether you want the option of playing 4k enabled Blu-ray content from your console. If that is the case, the Xbox One S and Xbox One X are your only options.

When considering whether having any sort of disc player is important to you, consider this- having a gaming system that doubles as a disc player effectively saves you from buying a separate disc player. Plus, less room is taken up around your TV. Sony and Microsoft have made this decision very easy for consumers, especially if you are interested in buying a 4k disc player. With an Xbox One console, you simply can’t get a better deal than having 4k capabilities and gaming all in one unit.

Winner- Tie, PS4 and Xbox One

If you want the option of playing your Blu-ray and DVD collections from your gaming system, your best options will be any of the PS4 or Xbox One consoles. The Switch is left out here, since it simply can’t play discs. Streaming content, however, is an option on all consoles. If 4k disc content is important to you, go with the Xbox One X or S.

 

Storage-

 

Switch PS4 PS4 Pro Xbox One S Xbox One X
Storage 32 GB 500 GB or 1TB 1 TB 500 GB or 1TB 1 TB

 

The winner of the storage category is a tie between the PS4 and Xbox consoles, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to price. How much are you willing to spend in order to upgrade your console? You can buy 1 TB of internal storage with any console purchase except the Nintendo Switch. It should be noted, however, that the Nintendo Switch allows for external storage expansion, sold separately of course. Thankfully, the Switch makes it easy to review storage and delete unwanted or old saves to make room for new saves.

So how do you know if you would really need more storage? This mostly depends on what you plan to use the system for. 500GB might seem like a lot of storage space, but a heavy gamer can easily blow through this amount of storage simply through storing game content over a few months, let alone storing pictures, movies, or other content. If you are a casual gamer, 500GB should be fine for you.

Winner- Tie, PS4 and Xbox One

Sony and Microsoft are equals in this regard, but if premium storage is what you’re looking for, you will have to pay for it.

 

Game Selection-

We just can’t seem to cut the Nintendo Switch a break in our discussion today. Being as new as the Switch is, it just simply doesn’t have anywhere near the game libraries of its competitors. In fact, at release, The Legend of Zelda was the only true game available. Thankfully, this has changed quickly and many great games have since released or will be released soon. That being said, the Nintendo Switch can’t possibly be a contender here.

That once again leaves us with the Sony and Microsoft consoles to discuss. This becomes a bit tricky, as both consoles have exclusive rights to various games (for example, Sony has Uncharted and Microsoft has Gears of War). Many will say that Sony’s exclusive library is the best, and it is hard to disagree with that. The fact that sales for the PS4 are double that of the Xbox One show that people are drawn to the Sony’s content.

Winner- PS4

Sony has the best exclusive list of games for the PS4, and sales reports back up the fact that game developers and gamers have taken notice.

 

Price-

Switch PS4 PS4 Pro Xbox One S Xbox One X
Price $299 $299 $398 $249 for 500GB$349 for 1TB $499

 

We have saved this very important category for last. The total cost of a game console forces many of us to make trade-offs, which ultimately leads us towards one system over the other. The Xbox One S currently wins here, given its very low price of $249 for a 500GB console. When you consider that you are buying a 4k Blu-ray player and exceptional game player all in one, it is a definite steal!

Consider, however, the accessories you are interested in before making your console purchase. For example, the Nintendo Switch comes with two Joy-Con controllers. This is great for multi-player use, but if you lose one, or want to add more players to a Mario Kart 8 game, you will be shelling out $80 for a new pair!

Also consider the cost of typical games for the console you are interested in. Most games these days, for all three consoles, fall with the $50-60 range for the standard edition game. More if you’re interested in a special edition release of any given game. If you are interested in keeping costs down and don’t feel the need to buy a new release when it comes out, it is always cheaper to wait 4-6 months for the price to inevitably drop. If you simply can’t bear to wait that long, consider checking out your neighborhood used game store, or Craiglist. Many gamers seek to beat their new games quickly, and then turn around and sell them right back.

I will close this section with one caveat. It is always better to buy a system during a Black Friday or similar sale event. You will often find great deals on consoles, bundles, controllers, games, and more. This year’s 2017 Black Friday event promises to deliver great deals for gamers, so keep your eyes peeled.

Winner- Xbox One S

The Xbox One S is a great deal at $249. With this, you not only get a great gaming console, but also get 4k, UHD Blu-ray capabilities. The 4K Blu-ray player alone makes this a great deal at this price.

 

Conclusion

We’ve covered a lot of ground. Hopefully at this point, our research has pointed you in the direction of the right console for you. While the Xbox One X is unquestionably the best console on the market, its price tag will scare all but the most avid gamers away. If cost is an issue, as it is for most of us, you have great options to choose from in the Nintendo Switch, PS4 or Xbox One S.

If you are considering a cheaper console, keep in mind the ages of those who will be playing on the console. Nintendo has always catered their gaming content to much younger audiences than Sony or Microsoft. If the range of ages in your home vary greatly, the Nintendo Switch might be the perfect option. If you are considering a console for a teenager or adult, Sony and Microsoft have you covered with the more mature content. Console makers definitely have a demographic in mind when they create a console, and game makers rely on that to create certain age-specific games. For example, Nintendo publishes their age and gender-specific user data in the below chart.

Nintendo Everything

Furthermore, if you travel extensively, whether on family road trips or even business trips, the Nintendo Switch would be a great option. It seems to have also been made for multi-player use, so if keeping family members or friends engaged is important to you, Nintendo will most likely continue to create multi-player games. You can currently find Switch demo stations at Target stores right now, if you’d like to try it on for size first.

Lastly, if you’re already sure that Sony or Microsoft consoles are more your thing, but you’re not sure how to decide, consider the following:

  • If price is your concern, go with the Xbox One S. It is the best deal and a great system.
  • If exclusive gaming is important to you, go with the PS4 Slim or Pro. Sony has done a great job landing exclusive games for Playstation, like the Uncharted series or Horizon Zero Dawn.
  • If you just picked up a 4k TV, go with the Xbox One X or S. While the PS4 Pro can produce a 4k gaming experience, it can’t play 4k Blu-ray discs.
  • If you are interested in VR, go with the PS4 or PS4 Pro. With a Playstation VR headset, you can play content straight from your console into the headset. Microsoft on the other hand has yet to truly get their Xbox One units involved in VR.

 

That’s it from us. Best of luck on your next purchase, and enjoy your new game console!

Sources

  • https://www.nintendo.com/switch/features/tech-specs/
  • https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/explore/ps4/tech-specs/
  • https://www.xbox.com/en-us/xbox-one-x#techSpecs
  • http://nintendoeverything.com/kimishima-on-how-people-are-playing-switch-usage-by-household/
  • http://bgr.com/2017/09/17/nintendo-switch-vs-ps4-xbox-sales-august-2017/
  • http://www.vgchartz.com/analysis/platform_totals/

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