Gamers come in many forms. From the casual gamer to the serious expert gamer, there are many consoles available from which to choose that will satisfy even the most serious, ‘Is it morning already?‘ gamer.
The gaming console is now a central part of the family gathering space where not only collaborative gaming takes place, but access to streaming services like Netflix are watched. As more and more people decouple from their traditional cable TV providers, gaming consoles are taking over as gateways to all our visual entertainment.
What console is good for younger children?
The console is just a platform. The games, or titles will determine what is appropriate. Most consoles offer a child-friendly controller with simple and easy to use control which align with the games. Like any internet connected device, it is best to guide young gamers on the appropriate use of the console and how to get the most out of it, safely and responsibly.
Competition is fierce in this market, with each company aggressively upping the ante in terms of features, functions and adaptability. Depending on the type of gamer you are, the features you seek may vary. Is 4K compatibility important? Is the design of the controller a deal breaker? What about VR compatibility? Find your latest console online using the links below.
A monster improvement over the PS3, noted for being wrought with issues, the super thin, 1TB and HDR support with a budget friendly price (often $100 USD less than its competitors) and is built to game, without superfluous add-ons and unwanted features.
The PS4 is Sony’s best designed piece of hardware. It has a sharp, slightly angled profile with a light-bar/console status indicator.
On the back of the unit, the Sony PS4 has gone digital-only with HDMI/optical ports, with no analog audio or video outputs. The internal power supply means one less object to clutter up a shelf.
It’s all about the little things:
- Temporarily suspend a game at any time by hitting the PlayStation button
- Faster navigation of menus and UI with little lag time
- You can now skip the PS3’s user ID/PSN ID association process and directly download your profile onto the PS4
- Supports greatly improved user switching
- Guest feature allows you to temporarily download a PSN profile onto a friend’s PS4 and delete when logged out
- Double-tapping the PlayStation button to toggle between active apps and games
- Many exclusive titles
- The PS4 at launch cannot play music off of CDs
- Cannot play MP3 files from a USB stick or external hard-drive, and it cannot stream music from a PC.
- While CDs may be old school, next-gen Sony console not being able to support basic multimedia needs such as these is crazy!
Issues associated with previous devices have been solved with the release of the DualShock 4. The sticks are farther apart, with semi-concave pits in the middle, designed to secure the tips of your thumbs in place. The shoulders have sweet concave triggers with pull similar to an Xbox 360 controller.
This controller is slightly heavier, and just a little bigger than previous versions. It is easier to hold for long periods of time (serious gamers!).
The PS4 is really the market leader with the most amount of titles released for use on the platform.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is in reality, a PS4 with better and more robust hardware that’s designed to enhance the gaming experience and the visuals beyond what’s currently possible on a standard PS4. Not every PS4 game can take advantage of the enhance features of the Pro, but it will play any PS4 game you run.
The PS4 Pro is compatible with 4K- and HDR signals for high-end TVs, and promises improved visuals and increased frame rates for specific games. The console includes a 1TB hard drive, and works with all PS4 games, apps and accessories currently available.
- The PS4 Pro has Netflix support (at 4K resolution)
- YouTube App with 4K and HDR compatibility
- Some VR headsets will work with the PS4 Pro. This is changing by the day. The PlayStation VR will integrate with your PS4 and PS4 Pro – new games are coming out constantly!.
- 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback. For whatever reason, the PS4 Pro cannot play these discs (unlike the Xbox One S)
- Out of the gate, only a handful of titles offer dramatic improvements
- Sony’s labelling of which games support which video upgrade is vague at best
It’s a new controller – well, newish one. Similar to the new slim PS4, so if you’ve used that, you’ll know what to do.
Functionally, it is the same as the previous model, but much sleeker and easier to handle. The colours are subtler and the casing is softer to the touch.
Overall, the PlayStation 4 Pro only shows significant and visible improvements in a limited number of games, but that will change as more and more title are adapted to this format.
3. Xbox One S
Xbox One S is considered to be what Microsoft was supposed to have released three years ago. But now it is sleeker, less expensive and significantly more powerful than its predecessor. Those who dished out their money for Kinect may not be too happy about this result.
Although Microsoft originally stated there wasn’t any noticeable difference between the hardware inside the Xbox One S and the original Xbox console but performance has been found to run slightly more smoothly for certain games on the new console.
Much like the Sony PS4 Slim, the Xbox One S is the budget friendly console to get acquainted with Microsoft’s Xbox gaming platform.
- Netflix and YouTube streaming
- Improved over previous version
- Lots of titles released for XBox
- Bluetooth technology allows you to play your favorite games on Windows 10 PCs and tablets
- 4K & HDR streaming
- HDR gaming
- It’s not quite a complete 4K console – games adapt to the resolution but are not ‘native’ 4K
- No set date for VR Headset (or games) integration
- Needs adapter for Kinect
- Could fragment Xbox One audience
- 4K gaming limited to upscaling
Has a Wireless Controller, featuring a sleek, arctic camouflage design and textured grip for enhanced comfort and handling. Offers custom button mapping and a wider wireless range. Compatible with headsets with the 3.5mm stereo jack.
Nintendo is different and does not follow the pack in terms of console ideas. They were first with Wii’s motion controllers, then Wii U’s tablet-style GamePad. Now they deliver a portable and home console (bundled) that works well mobile or from your gaming den.
It has a 6.2-inch tablet and two versatile, removable Joy-Con controllers, capable of being used as a unit or split for two-player multiplayer sessions. On a full charge, it can offer gaming on the go with its portable and slim profile for anything between 2.5 to 6 hours of game play depending on the game which plenty for your daily commute. There is also a flip up stand on the back of the screen for multiplayer mode. While it may not have all the bells whistles of its competitors, its innovative design is a well-loved hit.
As a result of the Switch’s dual purpose, it comes with a plethora of gear and additional bits. These include Joy-Con L and R, Switch Dock for connecting the console to a TV and Joy-Con Grip, which slots the left and right Joy-Con into it to act as a more traditional controller. There are also two Joy-Con straps for games that use motion controls (no more smashed TV screens!)
- Extremely easy to use
- Gaming while mobile
- The Joy-Con controllers are packed with features and functions
- Bright and colourful screen
- Excellent battery life, with a whopping 40 hours off a single charge
- Accessories are rather expensive
- Games are more costly than other platforms
- Lacking the raw power to produce 4K HDR graphics
- No mention of VR capability or integration yet
The optional Pro Controller is probably the most comfortable way to game with the Switch. The Pro pad sits perfectly in your hand. It’s also super light despite including a majority of the functionality found in the Joy-Con, including:
- HD Rumble
- Gyroscopic sensors
- NFC for amiibo
5. XBOX One X [LATEST]
If you like the XBOX One S, and loves XBOX exclusive titles, then level up to XBOX One X. Microsoft claims that the XBOX One X is the world’s more powerful console. As with all tech newest, Microsoft has pulled out all the stops and used a processor that is said to be 40% more powerful than any other console for a truly immersive 4K gaming experience.
The XBOX One X uses a custom 8-core AMD CPU clocking in at 2.3GHz for enhanced AI, real world detail and smoother interaction. Complete with the Scorpio Engine, it can throw up 6 Teraflops of data with 326GB/s Memory Bandwidth all that without breaking a sweat or overheating. The system uses an advanced liquid cooling and centrifugal fan to manage the heat while keeping the noise level down.
With plenty of system memory, 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, 8GB of Flash Memory and 1TB of storage, the system promises to deliver 4K graphics at 60fps plus it comes with a 4K UHD Blu Ray disc drive with native 4K and HDR support.
Even with all that power, size wise, it is no bigger than the XBOX One S which is an amazing achievement considering the difference in size between the Slim and Pro version from its direct competitor.
- Powerful processor, silent cooling system
- Slim design, slightly slimmer than XBOX One S
- 4K UHD Blu-ray optical disc drive
- HDR10 support
- HDMI 2.0b with AMD FreeSync
- DTS 5.1 and DOLBY Digital 5.1 TrueHD with Atmos audio
- White case and white controller option
- No mention of VR support even though the gut of the console is likely to support this
The controller is very similar to the XBOX One S controller except, it is only available in black.
Ultimately, it is probably best to look at the games and titles you want to play, and at the overall media set up you desire for your TV room before deciding what will meet your needs. Which consoles support the games you love, and will give you the best possible experience?
Understand that consoles change and improve year after year and become redundant quicker than many other technologies. The demand for faster and more robust devices will always drive this.
So, have fun and get gaming!