When it comes to the best gaming console it’s a question that, when asked in the wrong place, could start a riot. To diehard gamers, the beliefs held regarding the best gaming console are akin to religion. It’s not really something that can be objectively measured beyond console performance, because it’s purely subjective. We’re going to be going over what to look for before we look at the consoles below.
What you need in a gaming console is largely determined by your preferences, number of players in the home and where your friends are at. That last one is becoming a little less prevalent, especially between Xbox One and PC players, who are starting to benefit from big titles rolling out cross-play. If you have a big family and your console is often on with all the family around, you’re more likely to need something that fits around that. If you’re looking for something just for you, or for an older family that wants something with multiplayer available, but primarily for single-player use, then performance and exclusives will likely be clinch points. Write down what is important in a gaming console including whether or not multiplayer is essential or even remotely relevant, as some consoles have more local-multiplayer titles than others.
EHU Rated: 4 out of 5
The PS4 Pro was Sony’s shining, beautiful answer to Microsoft’s Xbox One S. Both being second iteration consoles, they both improved on their originals. The PS4 Pro is truly a stunning console, packing in an awe inspiring amount of performance. Unlike the original PS4, the Pro is easily capable of handling 4K (4K TV required). With exclusives like Days Gone, Spiderman and God of War there’s good reason to give this console some serious consideration. Unfortunately the list of games exclusive to Sony is a lot shorter than it used to be, not to mention the quality of the list being well below the mark of previous console generations.
Say what you will about exclusives, the performance of the console is surprising. As mentioned above, 4K is easily managed by the Pro. You’ll find the same processor used in the Pro as the original, but to give it some extra juice Sony decided to clock it up from 1.6GHz to 2.1GHz. The processor being the brain of the console, a faster one means it can complete every micro-process faster meaning when playing games it’s less likely to get overwhelmed at any point.
When it comes to graphics, not all games are created equal. This means if you were to play games from before the Pro was released, unless the developer releases the patch for the Pro its epic performance isn’t utilized. That said, God of War in 4K will give you a cinematic experience like never before from a console.
Improving upon an already gorgeous VR support from the original PS4, the improvements in both general and graphical processing really help the games you play remain smooth. It should come as no surprise that a console with VR as good as this is constantly bringing in bigger and better games as time goes on. At the time of writing, No Man’s Sky is almost ready for VR with a VR support patch being just days away.
The PS4 Pro has access to the extensive library of games that were available on the preceding console. The library available to all PS4 users includes a massive variety of games in a wide array of genres, with something to suit everyone. The price isn’t something you’ll find in your wallet or in the couch cushions, but if you love gaming and want to in smoothly running 4K then this is a great console to get.
Originally launched on November of 2016, all iterations of the PS4 are actually quite far along through their lifecycle. This is because as the quality of games gets better and better, there’s a need for what’s known as a hardware ceiling to be removed by releasing a new generation of console. The PS5 is already in late-stage development with a release date of November 2020. The good news is that even after the release of the PS5, the PS4 Pro will still be capable of playing a lot of the games released on the PS5, which is because it takes a while for developers to learn how to fully utilize new hardware when it’s been released.
The Pro is a truly unbelievable console that may not be cheap, but definitely offers a lot of bang for your buck. On top of that the exclusives like God of War make it a highly attractive proposition to gamers that aren’t loyal to a specific console. The controllers are easy and comfortable to hold, even with smaller hands, which can’t be said for any of the Xbox One controllers.
EHU Rated: 4.5 out of 5
The Nintendo Switch is absolutely packed with innovation. It shakes up the entire foundations of what we’ve believed a console should be for a very long time. We’ve always thought consoles should be much bigger than a handheld device, but be much more powerful and way more capable of playing high-spec games. The Switch turned that on its head when it became both a handheld device and a console at the same time, sacrificing little to do so.
The architecture for gameplay is where the big innovation is. With different control schemes available, there are different ways to play meaning you can go from playing an exclusive like Pokémon Let’s Go handheld, to docked and on the television.
The release of the Nintendo Labo VR Kit is yet another innovative addition to the Switch’s offering. It manages to turn your handheld switch into a VR headset.
Starting at $298.99, the Switch really isn’t helping itself. For a small amount more, you could get a console with much higher capabilities when it comes to gameplay. That’s not including any extra memory or Labo VR Kit, which sends it far above some top-shelf consoles.
At 720p handheld and 1080p when docked and on television, there’s no chance of 4K with this console. Some gamers are dying to play their favourite games and most anticipated releases with the best possible graphics, but they won’t be finding much satisfaction with the Switch. Offering a single teraflop of graphical processing power, you can imagine how limited it may be in comparison to 4 teraflops, which is toward the lower end of top-shelf consoles.
The official release was the 3rd March 2017 after an announcement towards the end of 2016. Most consoles go through a lifecycle of at least 5 years, which means the Switch has a long while to go before a next gen announcement is expected, let alone released. Instead, a version with ramped up specs is expected to be released, but it’s not likely to warrant upgrading if you do get a current iteration Switch. The stage of lifecycle means you’re more likely to get a good amount of mileage in terms of top-shelf content from the Switch than eighth-generation Xbox or PS consoles, with both announcing a ninth-generation for 2020.
It’s a tough decision when it comes to the Switch. On the one hand, the portability and innovation makes it a highly attractive option, especially with exclusives like the iconic Super Mario and Zelda franchises. But that doesn’t really make up for the pricing, certainly not when you take into account the lack of power with 4GB of RAM and a single teraflop of GPU power, between a quarter and a twelfth of competing consoles.
EHU Rated: 5 out of 5
The Xbox One X is truly the epitome of brilliance. The third iteration of the Xbox One, the X packs more power than any other console by a fair distance, with Microsoft going all out to make the first Xbox designed to play games in 4K. The One X packs more RAM, more GHz and more teraflops than any console on the market. If you don’t know what any of that means, you’ll have no problem running any 4K ready console game on the market without a problem.
The One X’s performance is absolutely insane. The hardware has the highest specs on the market making it the truly superior console for gameplay. The 2.3GHz 8-core processor is slightly better than the next best on the market. The Graphics processor is also better, but by a much higher margin. The biggest boost to the consoles gameplay capabilities comes from 12GB of the far superior GDDR5 RAM. All of this put together makes the Xbox One X a trailblazer in hardware engineering brilliance.
Astounding performance comes far from cheap, but it’s not that much more expensive than the next best console. At release however, the Xbox One X had a much higher price than any other console on the market, but has lowered over time as technology does, making it more affordable today.
The One X was originally released early November 2017, meaning it’s already been around a long time. The age really shows when you consider the One X is a 3rd iteration of the eighth-generation Xbox One, which was originally released way back in late 2013. Project Scarlett is the ninth-gen answer to the complex question “how can the One X be beaten on specs?” It’s due to be released late next year, meaning the days of the One X being king of the hill are finally numbered. Still capable of 4K and extremely beautiful graphics at a rate smoother than most would expect of even a top-shelf console. As project Scarlett draws closer to release, there’s the chance of incremental decreases in price over time.
This has to be the best console on the market. Not just for hardware and performance, but also because the Xbox One platform itself is a lot easier to deal with than other consoles when it comes to accessing media apps like Netflix and Prime Video.
EHU Rated: 3 out of 5
Here we have a throwback to many childhoods where the SNES was an icon, vastly overshadowing the Atari. Way back in the day, the SNES was competing against the likes of Atari and winning the battle. It was a superior console decades ago, and the Classic captures that same ‘90s magic. It comes pre-loaded with 20 classic games, which for the most part are the best of what was available for the SNES back then. A personal favourite for many is Super Mario World, one of the earliest Super Mario video games ever made.
Let’s be fair, the Classic isn’t competing against any console from the last 3 generations, let alone iterations, but that’s not why it’s on the list. It’s on the list as one of the best gaming consoles because it was in its day and the Classic encompasses all that it was before.
The specs are of little consequence with the Classic, as the hardware is only supposed to run the SNES games of the past. The hardware is the same in the original Super NES Classic as in the newer Super NES Classic Mini. Coming with 2 controllers as standard, it does show a bit of utility that isn’t seen with a lot of modern consoles, where only one controller is included and purchasing a second is by no means as cheap as one might expect.
The good news is, at under the $100 mark, it’s a console worth looking at for multiplayer and reliving good memories. Definitely a great gift for children of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s who played it before, or wanted one but never got one. On the compatibility side of things, some games aren’t due to a lack of emulation for customer chipsets, but most of the fan favourites are definitely available. There’s also a surprise of the Super NES Classic being able to play an unreleased sequel of Star Fox, Star Fox 2. Look at the NES Classic on the Nintendo website for more details.
The Super NES Classic is a reiteration of a classic console, meaning there’s no next gen planned and new games aren’t being actively developed for it as far as we know at eHomeUpgrade, but the value here is taken from the nostalgia and games of yesteryear as opposed to the bigger and better arms race posed by the Xbox and PS spec-war. There are as yet unsubstantiated rumours of an N64 and GameCube Mini being released next year but without any evidence, it looks like this console may be the last reiterated classic by Nintendo in the near future.
This console doesn’t try and be something it’s not by attempting to improve on what was done in the ‘90s. It’d be like reinventing the circular wheel and producing a triangle to even try. Under $100, it would make a great party piece, as well as a good way to bond with a Nintendo enthusiast. If you’re looking for some fun but don’t want to shell out more than a single hundred then this one’s for you.
EHU Rated: 2.5 out of 5
The original PS4 was released back in 2013 and the Slim was released 3 years later at the latter end of 2016. A smaller design, packing the same specs as the original. It’s quite an impressive feat to be able to make such a gorgeous and streamlined console even smaller without losing any gaming power. Although the Slim doesn’t support 4K, it does support HDR. What HDR does is allows for higher contrast between whites and blacks on the screen, making things like shading much more realistic in colour. If you want to see the price on Amazon, you need to see price in cart. This is because it’s cheaper than the MSRP set by Sony.
The performance with the PS4 Slim is exactly the same as the original PS4. This means it’s packing 1.84 teraflops, 8GB GDDR5 RAM and a 1.6GHz eight-core processor. These specs are good enough to play PS4 games at up to 1080p, but no 4K is available. It’s just as well, as the current hardware would have a hard time keeping frame rates high enough not to frustrate players.
There’s still access to the extensive library of PS4 games that has something to satisfy any user. Exclusives like the Yakuza franchise and God of War are still playable, but they lose something without the 4K experience.
The good news is the Slim is still perfectly capable of supporting the awesome VR platform that PSVR provides. With VR support for titles like No Man’s Sky coming in the very near future, you have to wonder what else Sony are waiting to pull out of the bag. With the next gen of consoles due for release some time in 2020, it’s also a point of debate as to whether or not Sony will keep investing time and money into securing and providing more and more top-shelf VR content.
The PS4 Slim was released in September 2016, 3 years after the original PS4 released. Since then, an update was made to the firmware to allow both the original and Slim versions of the consoles to be compatible with HDR capable televisions. This means the contrast between lightness and darkness is increased, giving that extra edge to the cinematic brilliance from adventure games like Uncharted. The days of all models of the PS4 are numbered as current gen consoles will be replaced in late 2020 by the release of the PS5.
The hardware in the PS4 Slim is the same as the original PS4, meaning there’s no real gain from upgrading from the original. If you’re yet to get a PS4 this is not only a bit of a space-saver, but also a reasonably priced move. The original PS4 cost more on release than the PS4 Slim costs now. If you’re looking for a mid-range option that still has insane entertainment value then this is definitely the way to go.
EHU Rated: 3.5 out of 5
The Xbox One S is the successor to the original Xbox One. The One S has a lot to offer. For example, if you love to watch Netflix or Prime Video, then the One S is able to play in 4K (Netflix charge more for 4K). It can even upscale a select few games to somewhere between 1080p and 4K. Unfortunately when it comes to games the One S isn’t capable of native 4K, with Microsoft deciding to optimise their 4K-ready games for the powerhouse that is the Xbox One X.
1080p is reached across every game on the Xbox One and One S, but HDR is only available through the One S with compatible TVs. To add to the bonus of 4K streaming, 4K Blu-Ray functionality is available with the One S.
The performance specs as far as graphics go are bumped up slightly with the Xbox One S, which has allowed developers to take advantage of that benefit. For example, the original Xbox One did tend to experience some severe frame rate problems when players were in difficult parts of Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain. The issues experienced will be lessened in the same situations on a One S thanks to the increase in raw graphical power.
The environment with VR differs slightly from other consoles. Instead of having a console manufacturer designed VR headset, the Xbox One VR system works with multiple headsets. The most prominent VR headset compatible with the Xbox One is the Oculus Rift. An Oculus Rift headset will run upwards of $380, meaning players without that much money would have to choose one of the cheaper, less reliable options if they insist on playing any VR content on the Xbox One.
The Xbox One S was released in August 2016, beating the PS4 Slim to market as second iteration consoles of the eighth-generation. It’s a good thing you can find them so cheaply in comparison to cost at release, because next year the One S will be rendered largely obsolete by the power of the One X and the drool-provoking mega specs for the project Scarlett Xbox.
The Xbox One S is not only the cheapest conventional console by almost $50, it’s also got the same very well laid out home screen and navigation layout from the original Xbox One. The reason that’s great is because the layout is divine and doesn’t need upgrading. All the upgrades done here are for where it counts, which is graphical processing. Even so, it’s not worth upgrading from an original Xbox One to the Xbox One S. If you’re looking to upgrade, it’d be worth saving up and getting the One X.
EHU Rated: 5 out of 5
As far as consoles go, NVIDIA has produced something that manages to qualify as both an oddity and a stunner. The Shield TV Gaming Edition features more innovation than the Nintendo Switch. The NVIDIA Shield TV is one device, and the gaming edition part comes from a different device. Basically, it comes from something called GeForce Now. Imagine, if you will, being able to plug a device into almost any MacOS, Windows or Shield device and be able to play AAA games at high quality and high speed without needing anything else (but the games).
The specs of the GeForce Now are being held close to the vest, which is no surprise for two reasons. The first is that it’s still in beta, meaning they don’t want to give too much away if a lot of that information is going to change in the near future. The second reason is, provided your device meets the required specs (Shield does) you’ll have no issue playing the supported games.
As this console is designed to allow anyone to have access to a high-spec PC gaming rig for a fraction of the price of building one, there aren’t any exclusives and they rely entirely on third-party content at present. There’s no news of exclusives hitting any time soon. The Shield TV Gaming Edition is capable of running AAA titles at between 60 to 120FPS with the use of Ultra Streaming Mode.
Released back in the end of May 2015, the Shield TV is both a set-top box and a high-end PC gaming console thanks to the GeForce Now that turns compatible devices into amazingly capable gaming consoles.
GeForce now is the gaming component, so focusing on that, we’re looking at a very young product. It’s so young in fact, that’s it’s still in beta. GeForce Now was released back in September 2015, but it’s still going strong. There’s a highly active community forum where you can find useful information and updates, including newly supported games, news about new updates, and solutions on any issues that may arise.
Such an active community on both player and dev side gives the impression that GeForce Now may soon be ready to leave beta. Even when it does leave beta, it’ll still be around for years after release, making it worth getting your hands on if you want true longevity in the console you invest in.
This is a truly stunning console setup with more power under the hood than anything else anywhere near its price range. The innovation involved could usher in a new age where high-end PC gaming is finally accessible to the masses as opposed to those with $1000s to spare. If you’re already a console gamer with a large collection, switching to the NVIDIA Shield TV Gaming Edition isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, as non-PC games can’t be used, even if they’re supported. The good news is that if you are switching or haven’t owned a console before, games tend to be cheaper on Steam than in the likes of the Microsoft Store or PS Store.
The main thing to keep in mind is that the best gaming console for one person won’t be for another. If you’re looking for. Every console on the list has merit, but some have more than others. On one side you have the likes of the Xbox One X and NVIDIA Shield TV Gaming Edition with massively high specs to give the best high-end graphics experience. On the other end, you have the more conventional consoles that are relatively budget friendly like the Xbox One S and the PS4 Slim. We’ll break the best into categories below:
A: The Xbox One series of consoles have superior specs in the second iterations forward (Xbox One S vs PS4 Slim). Superior specs for graphics means the Xbox One S has a lot more ability beyond HDR.
A: Xbox One has titles like Gears of War, Forza Horizon and the iconic Halo franchise. Need I say more?
A: Based on sales alone, the PS4 is the most popular, likely owing to having the superior original console, with the second and third iterations netting minimal sales by comparison for both PS and Xbox.
A: Everyone’s favourite is different, but a lot of people believe Destiny to be the best. After a rocky start Bungie came out with DLC to freshen things up regularly enough to keep the replay value for grinding loot high.