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It’s that time of year when kids and adults frantically run to the Christmas tree in hopes that the video console they’ve been wanting is under it waiting for them. Maybe you are a gamer yourself looking to purchase a new console or you are the one in charge of buying gifts for your family. Either way, this console buying guide is for you.
In this guide, I will not only talk a little about each console, but I’ll share my personal thoughts on each one, their positives and negatives, and who I think each console is for to aid in your buying decision.
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Let’s begin our console buying guide with the Nintendo Switch.
The Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is available in 3 different models, the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo Switch OLED, and the Nintendo Switch Lite. I’ve personally owned the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite, but have chosen not to purchase the Nintendo Switch OLED. The OLED model does add a slightly larger OLED screen to the console, but the overall performance remains the same.
The Nintendo Switch Lite is the fully handheld version of the console, and is perfect for kids or those that have a primary console, but would like a smaller portable option. You will lose having the higher resolution of either the OLED or the standard Nintendo Switch models, but the change is slight and barely noticeable on the smaller screen.
Out of all the three consoles we are discussing in this article, the Nintendo Switch is the most underpowered one, but this doesn’t hurt its popularity. There is still a huge variety of Nintendo games available, and many can be purchased online in the Nintendo eShop or you can buy physical cartridges from local retailers or online. We have a helpful guide for anyone that would like to learn more about how to purchase games on their Nintendo Switch.
Who Is This Console For?
The Nintendo Switch consoles are primarily for anyone that is a fan of the classic Nintendo properties like Zelda, Kirby, Pokemon, and Mario. You can only play these games on Nintendo platforms, and they are enjoyable for both young and older fans alike. In terms of portability, the Nintendo Switch consoles are the clear winner here. Playstation and Xbox are both in the early stages of cloud-based gaming, but there with the Switch, you can download games to the console or bring along cartridges to save space.
So if you’re looking for a console to keep your young ones occupied during long road trips or flights, there is no better option than a Nintendo Switch.
Price: Nintendo Switch – $299, Nintendo Switch Lite – $199, and Nintendo Switch OLED – $349. Visit the Nintendo Store.
Advantages: portability, and catalog of games.
The Xbox Consoles
There are a variety of Xbox consoles on the market, and the way Microsoft names its consoles can be quite confusing. If you are in the market for the latest Xbox console, then you should either purchase the Xbox Series S, or the Xbox Series X. Both consoles are considered next-gen in terms of specs, and you can play the entire Xbox library on either console.
The Xbox Series S is the much more common and easier to find of the two models. This option does not have a disc drive so gamers will need to download all of their games digitally. This isn’t really a negative as even if you purchase a physical disc with the Xbox Series X, you will still have to download each game before playing it. So this really isn’t a huge selling point in my opinion. The disc drive on the Series X is nice if you are someone that has a huge blu-ray collection that you will view on the console.
Performance-wise, both consoles will give you great performance, but the Series X is the higher-end model so it will include improved specs. I’ve owned both and if you are someone that is a serious gamer or are buying for someone that games regularly then you may consider the Series X over the S.
Who are the Xbox Consoles For?
The Xbox consoles are great for adults as well as children. The controllers are probably some of the most comfortable I’ve used, and there are a variety of games to play. You also have the option to purchase Xbox Game Pass, which is a service I highly recommend. With Xbox Game Pass, you will pay a monthly subscription fee to have access to a large variety of games that changes, and evolves over time. Many popular titles are already on Game Pass such as Halo Infinite, Minecraft, Forza Horizon 5, and Rainbow Six Seige.
This is a great way for someone new to Xbox to jump in and play a variety of games, and experience all that the console has to offer. The only disadvantage there is to purchasing an Xbox is the lack of exclusives or single-player narrative games. But to most gamers, this may not even be an issue.
If you are someone that primarily enjoys the online multiplayer aspect of gaming, the Xbox is the console you should purchase. Xbox Live, and Xbox’s overall interface and user experience during multiplayer is truly one of a kind and is being updated on a regular basis. Some popular multiplayer titles available on the console are Fortnite, Overwatch 2, and Call of Duty.
Xbox has soft-released its cloud-based gaming, and I’ve tested this out on my own. Not every game is available, and the experience was okay, but right now I can’t recommend that over the Nintendo Switch if you are wanting something that is truly portable. The Xbox Consoles and the PlayStation console, which I’ll talk about next, or more for those that prefer a setup with a monitor or TV, in their bedrooms or living rooms.
Price: Xbox Series S – $299, and Xbox Series X – $499. Visit the Xbox Store.
Advantages: Online multiplayer, Xbox Game Pass, Performance, and Games Catalog.
Disadvantages: Lack of exclusives, and single-player narrative games.
The PlayStation 5
Last, but certainly not least let’s talk about the console that has eluded me for such a long time, and that is the PlayStation 5. Yes, it was extremely hard to get your hands on one of these at first, but now that the inventory is increasing at retailers, and online it’s now the perfect time to talk about it.
The PlayStation 5 has a design that sets itself apart from its predecessors so you should make the mistake of buying a PlayStation 4 model over the 5. The PS5 is white, and there are many jokes online about it resembling a wifi router. All jokes aside, the console is fun and I have enjoyed it since I’ve owned it. PlayStation is known for its wide catalog of exclusive titles, namely, it’s single-player titles. Just to name a few popular games, you can play God of War, Horizon Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and much more. With no shortage of games to play, PlayStation is definitely a solid option for series gamers.
I love the PlayStation 5 controller, and I think you could debate that it is the most advance out of the three consoles I’ve discussed in this article. It has a very premium feel and is quite comfortable in hand, but oddly enough I prefer the Xbox controller over this one when it comes to playing shooters, and this is primarily due to the placement of the analog sticks and back triggers.
You can also play online with the PlayStation 5, and this console has its own subscription service similar to Xbox Game Pass, which is called PlayStation Plus. PlayStation Plus has three different tiers, and depending on which tier you choose you’ll have access to play many games, demos, and cloud stream.
On the performance end, the PlayStation 5 performs well and is most closely compared to the Xbox Series S. The PS5 is available in a digital edition, and a version that comes with a disc drive, but both will have the same hardware underneath.
There are many gamers that have complained about dust collection and just the poor overall design of the PS5 console. It’s big and not as sleek as its predecessor, and the awkward shape may make it hard to fit with your gaming setup. In terms of build quality, the Xbox consoles have the advantage here. The consoles feel like they are just made out of much higher quality materials and are small enough to fit with almost any setup.
PlayStations controller is the highlight of its hardware. It really feels like most of the money went into its overall design rather than in the console. The console can be placed on its side or stand vertically using the stand that comes with it, which I think is a very nice touch.
Who are the PlayStation Consoles For?
The PlayStation consoles are for adults as well as kids that enjoy story-driven games. There are games on this console that are available to play via online multiplayer, but the big selling point of the PS5 is its vast library of single-player titles. There are many games to play from the current generation and also in the past. Getting a PS5 is becoming much easier, so you may have a chance of getting one this holiday from your local retailer.
Price: PlayStation 5 digital only – $399, and PlayStation 5 with disc drive – $499. Visit the PlayStation Store.
Advantages: Online multiplayer, Games Catalog, Performance, Exclusives, and Controller.
Disadvantages: Console design
No matter what console you choose to buy this holiday season, the most important thing is just to have fun. Each console we’ve discussed is deserving of a purchase, and I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with each one.
I fit into the category of a much more serious gamer and primarily play my Xbox when I intend to play online multiplayer with friends or am playing a shooter. My PlayStation 5 is there when I’d like to play narrative games like God of War, and my Nintendo Switch is there for me when I’d like to play a game while laying on the bed or would like to take something with me on a trip.
I’ve enjoyed my experience with each one, and I hope you do the same no matter which console you choose to purchase.
That’s it for our console buying guide. Did you find this guide helpful, and which console are you considering purchasing after reading this? Let us know by leaving a comment below this article.