The end of summer may be fast approaching, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a little bit of fun. With the rise of tablet and phone games, consoles may not have quite the draw that they used to, but they still support some of the most sophisticated games on the market. And depending on which you love to play, they can also provide great nostalgia fodder.
Here are the top gaming consoles:
Microsoft XBox One X
Microsoft wins the category for “most confusing product branding.” First there was the XBox. Then the Xbox 360. Then Xbox One (commonly shortened to “XBone”). Then the XBox One S. And, finally, XBox One X, which is the premium Microsoft console on the market. A faster processor gives it enough power to render true 4K games (rather than the upscaling that the XBox One S offers). It’s even faster than the previous reigning console champ, the PlayStation 4. The XBox One X also has built-in Blu-ray and the ability to control your A/V equipment via a built-in IR blaster. But at nearly $400, it’s meant for gamers who are looking for the cutting edge of gameplay.
Microsoft XBox One S
For half the price of the XBox One X, Microsoft’s XBox One S is a great system, able to give you nearly the same gameplay and A/V experience of its faster predecessor. The speed drop means that it can only upscale games to a 4K resolution rather than rendering them in 4K, but then most of the current XBox library wasn’t developed with 4K rendering in mind. Long story short? You’ll pay about $200 less and unless you are obsessed with speed, you likely won’t notice the difference.
PlayStation 4 Pro
The PlayStation 4 Pro by Sony is one of the best-performing consoles on the market today. It’s ridiculously fast (still not quite as fast as the XBox One X, but very fast). Able to fully render 4K games and handle 4K video streaming, you’ll enjoy gorgeous scenery and incredible details on some of the best games on the market today. PlayStation has always offered some of the best experiences in gaming. With current hits like Spider-Man and the upcoming exclusive Final Fantasy VII Remake, it’s the system to get if you prize good games above everything else. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a Blu-ray player, you’ll have to get a separate device or go with one of Microsoft’s offerings.
I’m the kind of gamer who eyes glaze over when I start reading about how hardware can render 20-gazillion gigaglorps of rendered detail per nanosecond. Sure, I want an HD system that looks good on the screen, but if the game I’m playing isn’t engaging and fun, what’s the point of the system in the first place? Nintendo excels at creating and cultivating a game library that appeals to everyone (like Mario Kart), while still leaving room for the occasional darker title (such as Diablo 3). Are they representative of the most advanced graphics on the market? No—but they don’t need to be. With the Switch’s versatile and unique portable form factor, you can take A-grade games wherever you go. There’s a reason that I usually have to wander the house, looking to see who has the Switch, while our XBox One gathers dust. It may not have hardware bragging rights, but then it doesn’t need to. The Nintendo Switch does what a gaming console needs to do—it delivers fun.