Last updated date: August 26, 2019
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We looked at the top Video Game Consoles and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Video Game Console you should buy.
Update as August 26, 2019:
Checkout The Best Video Game Console for a detailed review of all the top video game consoles.
Versatility and fun are hallmarks of the Nintendo Switch, which you can play either on a home TV or the Switch's own portable screen. It's a surprisingly durable system too, with controllers that can detach and form different configurations. Even on the portable screen, graphics are sharp for Nintendo's large stable of exclusive games.
In our analysis of 88 expert reviews, the Nintendo Switch placed 5th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
Introducing Nintendo Switch, the new home video game system from Nintendo. In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system can be taken on the go so players can enjoy a full home console experience anytime, anywhere. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system, with unprecedented new play styles brought to life by the two new Joy-Con controllers. PLAY ANYWHERE Home Gaming System At home the main unit rests in the Nintendo Switch dock, which connects the system to the TV and lets you play with family and friends in the comfort of your living room. On-the-Go Lift Nintendo Switch from the dock and instantly transition to handheld mode for on-the-go gaming. By sharing Joy-Con, players can go head-to-head while away from home. You can also enjoy the same great games in tabletop mode by using the included stand to prop the system up. New Play Styles Remove the detachable Joy-Con from either side of Nintendo Switch for more play styles: One player can use a Joy-Con in each hand Two players can each take one Multiple Joy-Con can be employed by numerous people for a variety of gameplay options (additional Joy-Con sold separately) Slip a set of Joy-Con into a Joy-Con grip accessory, mirroring a more traditional controller. Or, select an optional Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Bring together up to 8 Nintendo Switch systems for local face-to-face multiplayer.
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An Overview On Video Game Consoles
In the market for a new video game console? If you’re buying it for a savvy gamer, let us save you some time right now: Just ask them which one they want. While the console wars are intense between the three major companies (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo), they’ve managed to keep their products fairly distinct so far. Currently, each company’s system has a rabid fanbase that loves their hardware and games for completely different reasons — and none of them are wrong. It’s about entertainment, after all, and there are more ways to capture someone’s imagination than fantastic graphics and sound.
That said, let’s start by explaining graphics capability quickly. All video game consoles display their games on your existing television by hooking up to it via HDMI or AV cable — although some devices can also display games on their own screen. The processing power of a console has a lot to do with how those games look when they’re displayed on your TV, though it can have just as much to do with the individual game you’re playing. The graphics capability of the TV itself also plays a factor. If graphics is your benchmark for quality, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are far and away the best options. But to truly see the difference, you’re going to need to use them with a TV with 4K capability — preferably one that also has HDR (high dynamic range).
Got one? Great. Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are going to be able to take full advantage of all that resolution. In terms of raw power, the Xbox One X might have a slight advantage here with its 6-teraflop AMD processor and 12 gigabytes of GDDR5 RAM. For those who we lost after the word “teraflop,” allow us to translate: Games on this system look great and run smooth. For that matter, so do the ones on the PS4 Pro. Both systems can even “upscale” older games that were made to display in 1080p resolution, essentially filling in pixels to approximate 4K. And when these systems are running on all cylinders, which is to say playing games that were made in native 4K on an HDR screen, the results are beautiful. That said, graphics capability is reaching a bit of an event horizon. If you’re sitting 10 feet away from a 70″ TV, you might not even notice a difference between the quality in 4K display versus 1080p.
Luckily, graphics are just one feature of a video game system, and they don’t necessarily make the games more fun. Hardcore gamers tend to buy systems based on the games that are available to play. While most games are cross-platform (meaning they can be played on multiple consoles), there are a few exclusive titles that can only be played on certain systems. The PS4 Pro boasts tentpole exclusives, like “Spider-Man” and “God of War.” The Xbox has “Forza Motorsport 7” and “Gears of War 4.” The retro Super NES comes pre-loaded with “Mega Man X,” “Final Fantasy III” and 19 other classic games.
Speaking of Nintendo, both of its primary consoles have a very distinct appeal. The Super NES Classic features the most games bundled with any of the four major systems: 21 ports of titles that hooked gamers back on the original Super NES. For retro gamers, this is a huge value, and the console comes party-ready with two controllers.
The cost of games on these systems varies, from $60 for brand new titles down to $5 or so for some used or indie games. Increasingly, these can be bought in digital format on the console’s online store, so you never have to leave the house — provided your rig has enough storage. (This is a particular highlight for the 1TB PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.) And if you’ve got games from older versions of these systems, like the PS3 or Xbox 360? You can still play many of them on the Xbox One X. While the PS4 Pro isn’t as compatible with older discs, you can buy upgraded versions of its older titles on the PlayStation Store.
The Video Game Console Buying Guide
- Most of the systems spotlighted here won’t come with games you can play right out of the box, although there are bundles that do include some popular titles for an additional cost. The exception is the Super NES Classic, which is possibly the most user-friendly console. It comes pre-loaded with 21 games from Nintendo’s golden age, including “Super Punch-Out!!” and “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.” While you can’t buy additional games for that self-contained system, those titles should keep any retro fan busy for years.
- Game prices vary for the rest of the systems, ranging greatly in price. You can buy physical game discs (or game cards, in the case of some devices) or download them digitally through each console’s online store. Bear in mind that storing the games this way takes up more storage space. Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X pack 1 TB of space for new games and save data. In all cases, upgrades are available.
- Exclusive games are a big draw for any console, and for many, it’s the main reason to buy. Popular titles that are only playable on the Xbox One X include “Gears of War 4,” “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Forza Horizon 4,” “Forza Motorsport 7” and “Sea of Thieves.”
- PS4 Pro exclusives include highlights like “God of War,” “Bloodborne,” “Detroit: Become Human,” “The Last of Us,” “Spider-Man” and “Horizon: Zero Dawn.”
- Once again, consider the TV you own before buying the more graphics-intensive systems (PS4 Pro or Xbox One X). If your television doesn’t have 4K capability, you won’t be able to take full advantage of the console’s main feature.
- Most homes these days have some form of internet package, but it’s worth noting that it will probably figure into your gaming experience. Apart from the Super NES Classic, all modern consoles incorporate online functionality to some degree. In most cases, you’ll have to sign up for a gaming profile and online membership that will allow you to buy anything from movies to games to enhancements for your existing games. Some games, such as multiplayer shooters, are not even playable offline.
- Game interface is another frequently overlooked part of the experience. If you’ve played extensively on previous versions of any of these consoles, you probably have a favorite controller. PS controllers tend to be slimmer while those for the Xbox have a fuller, heavier feel. And many gamers still swear by the simple, two-button elegance of the Super NES.
- The PS4 Pro is a powerful piece of hardware, and you can use them to do much more than just play games. On all three, you can download movies, music or apps, and watch your favorite shows through Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. If physical media is still your thing, you can watch Blu-Ray discs on the Xbox One X, although movie-watching on the PS4 is limited to downloads or streaming.
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