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The Best Gaming System

Last updated on September 10, 2020

We looked at the top 5 Gaming Systems and dug through the reviews from 42 of the most popular review sites including Armchair Arcade, MEGATech News, Video Game Critic, Polygon, Game Rant, Tom's Take On Things and more. The result is a ranking of the best Gaming Systems.

Best Gaming System

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Our Picks For The Top Gaming Systems

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Nintendo NES Classic Edition Gaming System

Nintendo

NES Classic Edition Gaming System

Overall Take

Retro Gaming ExperienceGo back to the days of arcades with this gaming system that gives you the full retro gaming experience.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus BestReviews, CNET, Tech Radar, Tech Crunch, Digital Trends, PC Magazine and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Modern updates like HDMI make set-up a snap. Iconic styling brings a blast from the past to any living room. The abundant included games make it a remarkable value."
Cons
"The one included controller isn't wireless, and the cord is really short."

Nintendo Handheld Switch Lite Gaming System

Nintendo

Handheld Switch Lite Gaming System

Overall Take

For Mobile PlayThis gaming console is highly portable, with a carrying case, screen protector and lightweight build that will let you take it anywhere.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus The New York Times, BestReviews, Digital Trends, Tom’s Guide, Wired, The Verge and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The Switch Lite is best as a second Switch for a family member with smaller hands, or for someone who doesn’t care about connecting the console to a TV."
Cons
"If you have another Switch concsole set as your primary Switch, you need an internet connection to play games on the Lite. Suffers from slight stick drift."

Xbox One S Gaming System

Xbox

One S Gaming System

Overall Take

4K Video SupportYou'll get a sharp, vivid display with this console, which supports 4K video streaming, 4K UHD Blu-Rays and HDR contrast on video games.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus The New York Times, BestReviews, CNET, Tech Radar, Digital Trends, Trusted Reviews and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Unlike the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One S supports 4K video streaming and 4K UHD Blu-rays."
Cons
"The trial memberships are temporary, but any game bought via Xbox Game Pass comes with a nice discount!"
  The Best Value

Sega Genesis Classic Gaming Console System

Sega

Genesis Classic Gaming Console System

Overall Take

Includes 81 GamesYou'll get 81 classic games built into this console, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Vectorman and Mortal Kombat.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Armchair Arcade, MEGATech News, Video Game Critic, Polygon, Game Rant, Tom’s Take On Things. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Includes two wireless controllers"
Cons
"They’ve captured a similar kind of aesthetic here, but the plastic machine does feel decidedly hollow by comparison."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
12

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the gaming systems available to purchase.
5

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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42

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Armchair Arcade, MEGATech News, Video Game Critic, Polygon, Game Rant.

31,042

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart.

Our experts reviewed the top 5 Gaming Systems and also dug through the reviews from 42 of the most popular review sites including Armchair Arcade, MEGATech News, Video Game Critic, Polygon, Game Rant, Tom's Take On Things and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Gaming Systems.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Nintendo NES Classic Edition Gaming System

Our Expert Score
8.4
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
6,068 user reviews
Our Take

This gaming system comes preloaded with 30 popular games, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and PAC-MAN. You'll get support for two-player games, and the console connects to any TV that has an HDMI input. If you'd prefer to play on your laptop or desktop computer, you can just connect via USB and start playing.

What other experts liked
Modern updates like HDMI make set-up a snap. Iconic styling brings a blast from the past to any living room. The abundant included games make it a remarkable value.
- BestReviews
It includes 30 classic 8-bit games, perfectly preserved. It connects to any current TV with HDMI, and has multiple save slots available to freeze progress in any game. Supports two-player games.
- CNET
Authentic retro-gaming experience
- Tech Radar
If you love NES games, buy this thing. It’s a great value, it has a few (though not nearly all) of the best games available for the system and it plays like a dream.
- Tech Crunch
Access to lots of classic games without an expensive console
- Digital Trends
The NES Classic Edition is a miniature Nintendo Entertainment System with 30 classic games, an HDMI output, and a fantastically nostalgic design.
- PC Magazine
You can also run the console off of USB power, which is awesome, so you can just plug it into your laptop and play it right there on your laptop screen (or desktop, etc.)
- Forbes
The selection of 30 beautifully emulated, mostly classic games makes a strong case to own a NES Classic as a way to easily revisit old favorites and introduce them to new generations.
- IGN
The slick presentation of the hardware, an adorable, miniaturised design, and a list of games that are a whirlwind tour of 80s essentials make it a must-have.
- Games Radar
What other experts didn't like
The controllers' only upgrade is compatibility with the Wii and Wii U consoles.
- BestReviews
The one included controller isn't wireless, and the cord is really short.
- CNET
No expandable games library
- Tech Radar
That said, the cord for the controller is way too short. Well shorter than three feet, which doesn’t help when you want to pass it to the next person on the couch.
- Tech Crunch
Minor framerate and screen-tearing issues on some games
- Digital Trends
Can't be expanded or updated in any way.
- PC Magazine
The second gamepad issue is the fact that there is no second gamepad. I understand this would have made the system a tiny bit more expensive, but it also would have made the system more of the genuine deal.
- Forbes
I just can’t understand why somebody thought limiting us to 2.5ft controller cables was a good idea, because it really limits where and how you can enjoy these games.
- IGN
Can’t be expanded (officially)
- Games Radar

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Sega Genesis Classic Gaming Console System

Our Expert Score
10.0
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.2
1,119 user reviews
Our Take

Classic game enthusiasts will love this gaming console, which comes with 81 free games. It comes with two controllers and a USB charging cable, as well as an SD slot. The easy setup makes this a great console to move around to various rooms in your house or take to a friend's place for gaming night.

What other experts liked
Includes two wireless controllers
- Armchair Arcade
The best part is that you don’t have to re-invest in a bunch of classic games, because dozens of them are built right into this machine.
- MEGATech News
Overall Genesis Classic Game Console packs a substantial amount of 16-bit joy into one convenient package. Timeless games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Streets of Rage will appeal to everybody, and the more obscure titles will attract classic gaming enthusiasts.
- Video Game Critic
While the Sega Classic Game Console series has always been Sonic-heavy, this year’s release includes one additional Sonic game, as well as some Phantasy Star games.
- Polygon
While the portable game player contains a USB charging cable and an SD slot, the console version contains the original and working cartridge slot, 2 wireless controllers and 80 built-in games, including some of SEGA's greatest hits like Sonic the Hedgehog, Vectorman, and Golden Axe.
- Game Rant
The controllers are wireless making it easy to set it up, and sit where you want in the living room or game room and play your favorite games.
- Tom's Take On Things
What other experts didn't like
Poor audio quality
- Armchair Arcade
They’ve captured a similar kind of aesthetic here, but the plastic machine does feel decidedly hollow by comparison.
- MEGATech News
Unfortunately since the games are emulated they do not play 100% like the originals (this goes for using real cartridges as well).
- Video Game Critic
It’s still, in 2016, missing one major enhancement that Nintendo’s console brings with it: an HDMI connection.
- Polygon
Unfortunately, some of the games that have been removed are fan favorites such as all three Streets of Rage games, Ecco the Dolphin, and Virtual Fighter II.
- Game Rant

Overall Product Rankings

Nintendo NES Classic Edition Gaming System

1. Nintendo NES Classic Edition Gaming System

Overall Score: 9.7
Reviews Included: 10

Nintendo Handheld Switch Lite Gaming System

2. Nintendo Handheld Switch Lite Gaming System

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 10

Xbox One S Gaming System

3. Xbox One S Gaming System

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 10

PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Gaming System Console

4. PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Gaming System Console

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 10

Sega Genesis Classic Gaming Console System

5. Sega Genesis Classic Gaming Console System

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 10

Our Gaming System Findings

Nintendo NES Classic Edition Gaming System

Best Overall

What We Liked: This gaming system comes preloaded with 30 popular games, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and PAC-MAN. You’ll get support for two-player games, and the console connects to any TV that has an HDMI input. If you’d prefer to play on your laptop or desktop computer, you can just connect via USB and start playing.

Nintendo Handheld Switch Lite Gaming System

Runner Up

Nintendo Switch Lite - Turquoise (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Nintendo
ESRB Rating: 
Platform: 
Genre: 
New From: $199.00 In Stock

What We Liked: This sleek, lightweight personal gaming console is great for taking on the go. It’s been improved from previous versions, with a longer battery life and a sharper display that makes your games jump off the screen. It comes in multiple colors to help you express your own personal style.

Xbox One S Gaming System

What We Liked: You can play games and watch videos with this gaming console, which supports 4K video streaming and 4K UHD Blu-Ray DVDs. The audio is also a standout, featuring Dolby Atmos and DTS. Your console gives you access to the Xbox One library, which includes features, games and video content.

PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Gaming System Console

Strong Contender

PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Sony
ESRB Rating: 
Platform: 
Genre: 
New From: $439.00 In Stock

What We Liked: Faster framerates and 4K support make your games jump off the screen. You’ll get 1TV of internal storage to hold all your favorite games and a DUALSHOCK4 wireless controller. With some titles, you’ll receive extra visual clarity when you’re connected to a TV that supports 1080P video.

Sega Genesis Classic Gaming Console System

Also Great

Sega Genesis Classic Game Console - Sega Gear (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Sega
ESRB Rating: 
Platform: 
Genre: 
New From: $72.90 In Stock

What We Liked: Classic game enthusiasts will love this gaming console, which comes with 81 free games. It comes with two controllers and a USB charging cable, as well as an SD slot. The easy setup makes this a great console to move around to various rooms in your house or take to a friend’s place for gaming night.

Our Gaming System Buying Guide

Gaming systems have come a long way since the early days when you had to buy cartridges to play your favorite 8-bit game. Those cartridges gradually progressed to compact discs, but today, all you need is an internet connection and you can download games and start playing.

But advancing technology has also expanded the types of gaming consoles you can buy. You can find systems that support the latest video advancements, displaying your game in high definition on your big-screen TV. But you can also find classic gaming consoles that give you a nostalgic experience while you’re playing retro games like PAC-MAN and Donkey Kong.

There’s also the option of a mobile gaming console that allows you to take your fun on the road with you. With these lightweight, portable units, you can play at home or while you’re on vacation or in the waiting room of your doctor’s office.

There are three brands that dominate the gaming industry: Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. If you’re looking for the latest innovations in gaming, you’ll likely be choosing between the latest Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Switch or Sony Xbox One.

With Nintendo Switch, the company has focused on providing a simple, streamlined gaming experience, so you may not get the power you want. The best thing about the Switch is that you can detach the box to take with you and play anywhere.

PlayStation attracts consumers by providing exclusive games, and those games have become popular in recent years. These gaming consoles pack plenty of power, allowing you to play complicated games that feature stunning graphics. If you have a PlayStation, though, you’ll probably want to invest in the latest high-definition technology for your TV to take full advantage of the graphics built into the game.

But Sony’s Xbox is no slacker itself. You’ll get power with this model, too, but you’ll find the games are more versatile than PlayStation’s. You can play your Xbox games on other gaming consoles, which comes in handy when you’re hanging out where there’s only a PlayStation or Nintendo.

Before you start shopping for a gaming console, take an assessment of how you’ll play. Do you mostly play alone? If so, you can get away with one controller, but you may want to have at least an extra one so you can play with friends. You should also look at the capacity of your TV so that you can make sure you get a system that will render graphics in the high-definition display you want.

DWYM Fun Fact

Even with all the advancements in gaming in recent years, gamers seem to still enjoy the old-school experience. The classics have endured since their inception, but game developers have realized that embracing retro gaming pays off. You can find not only classic games, but also consoles specifically dedicated to giving you the true arcade experience.

Instead of buying a dedicated console, you can get the retro experience online, thanks to developers who specialize in retro gaming emulation. You can also retrofit your newer consoles to play older discs, if you have them. Of course, if you have the room and the money, you can invest in a full arcade game that gives you the same experience that gamers of the 1980s had when they slid a quarter into the slot.

The Gaming System Tips and Advice

  • Look for the ease of getting games for the console you choose. Some consoles have their own exclusive games, while others are more universal in nature. You’ll probably need an internet connection to download any games you want to play, although you can still buy discs if you want to play that way.
  • If you’re buying discs, pay close attention to the used market. You can get great deals on games that others are selling because they’ve upgraded or are relying on the internet for downloads.
  • Pay close attention to the way the console connects to your TV. You’ll probably need an HDMI port on your TV, as well as an HDMI cable to connect things up.
  • Some consoles have a secondary USB cable that lets you play games on your laptop or desktop monitor.
  • If you opt for a mobile gaming console, make sure you get a storage bag to carry it around with you. Also check the weight to make sure it won’t become burdensome if you’re carrying it in your backpack or laptop bag.
  • Battery life is also important in a mobile gaming console. You won’t be near a power outlet at all times, so having a battery that can provide hours of play between charges will be a huge benefit.
  • Style is probably the least important factor, but you’ll find gaming consoles are available in a variety of styles. Some retro gaming consoles even come with a retro look to add to the fun.
  • If you ever plan to play DVDs, make sure your chosen console not only supports DVDs, but plays them in high definition.
  • Although modern gaming consoles allow you to download games and other assets, each manufacturer has its own online library. Look into what’s available before you decide on a brand.
  • If you want to save all your favorite games, look at the storage provided with each console. Many of the best boast 1TB of storage. Keep in mind that the most high-powered games will take up quite a bit of space, so that storage will go quickly if you like a big collection of games.
  • You may get at least a couple of free games with your console. This is especially prevalent with retro consoles, which often come with dozens of free games.
  • Xbox has something called Game Pass, which gives you a substantial discount on games for a monthly subscription fee.
  • If you want to take advantage of virtual reality technology, you’ll be limited in your consoles. PlayStation supports it, but some others may, as well. Check to see what gear you’ll need if you want to take advantage of this.
  • By the time you buy your console, chances are, it will already be outdated. The latest, greatest gaming system is always just around the corner. You may want to wait until a new version releases, then enjoy it until the next version debuts.
  • Families looking for kid-friendly consoles should take a serious look at the Nintendo console. You’ll get a bigger selection of youth-geared games, along with features like being able to later invest in a smaller console like the Switch Lite without having to buy all new games.

About The Author

Avatar
Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a former information technology professional who spent most of her career working with computers and printers. Now a novelist and professional writer, her writings on electronics have been published on top tech sites. When she isn't writing about technology, she's often checking out the latest news on the upcoming iPhone release.