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The Best Current Gaming Consoles Based on Graphics and More

The new console generation boasts powerful specs and great graphics. There are also plenty of games to choose from. Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X are the big three, while Nintendo has the Switch.

Each console fits into a different niche. The PS5 has exclusives at launch, while the Series X is power-graphically powerful on paper. The Nintendo Switch is the perfect portable device. While you wouldn’t regret owning them all, most people will choose between the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5, if they are in stock. We believe everyone should own a Nintendo Switch. It’s the best option for gamers on the move.

If you aren’t a big console gamer, our list of the top gaming PCs may appeal to you. Read on to find our opinion on the best current gaming consoles.

The Rundown of the Best Games: Sony PlayStation 5 at Amazon Jump To Review Best Mobility: Nintendo Switch at Amazon Jump To Review Best Handheld: Nintendo Switch Lite @ Amazon Jump Jump Review Best Streaming Platform at Best Buy: Google Stadia Jump to Review Best Re-Release at Walmart: Nintedo Super NES Classic Jump to review Best Versatility at Amazon Luna Jump to Read

This article explains.

  • Our Picks

  • Our Trusted Experts

  • What to look for in a Gaming Console

Best Games: Sony PlayStation 5

4.3

Courtesy Best Buy

View on YouTube Sears.com – View Our Products Sony PlayStation 5 Review

The PlayStation 5 is a major improvement in visual quality over the previous models. It has more than five times as much graphical output as the original PlayStation 4, and more than twice that of the half-step PS4 Pro. It delivers smooth, crisp and detailed game worlds at native 4K resolution at 120 frames per second on compatible screens. 8K content compatibility will be added in the future. The SSD storage speeds make it much more enjoyable and dramatically reduces load times.

The DualSense controller’s power boost is not the only thing that makes it exciting. It features precise haptic feedback as well as adaptive, resistance-providing trigger button for an immersive experience. You can get the PS5 with or without disc drive. It also has an excellent selection of launch games including Spider-Man Miles Morales, and Demon’s Souls. While the Xbox Series X rival is more powerful and has a smaller, more user-friendly design, the PlayStation 5 offers more reasons to buy new hardware in these early days.

CPU: AMD Ryzen

The NVMe solid state drive (SSD) on the PlayStation 5 offers additional benefits beyond visuals. It delivers a tectonic shift to loading speeds, compared with the PS4. — Andrew Hayward, Product Tester

Andrew Hayward / Lifewire

Best for Mobility

4.5

Amazon

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  • Extremely portable

  • This is a great place to play local multiplayer
  • Low cost

What we don’t like

  • Graphics aren’t as great as on other consoles

  • Lackluster online service

  • There is no Ethernet port. Wi-Fi is the only option.

Nintendo Switch Review

The Nintendo Switch was first revealed as a mobile gaming device that could be used at home on your TV, but can also be carried with you wherever you go. Nintendo’s new console allows you to play on the move with ease. It comes with a split-screen controller that can be disassembled so you can play with your friends.

50 third-party publishers are working with Nintendo Switch to develop future Nintendo Switch games. It has a strong roster thanks to hits like Mario Kart 8 The Legend of Zelda and Mario Odyssey. With its snap-off joy-con controllers, the Switch is great for parties. Once it’s out of its docking station it can act as a tablet and share its screen with other players through split-screen multiplayer games.

CPU: Nvidia Custom Tegra Processor

The Switch’s $300 price tag is affordable and competitive considering that many of the consoles in the current lineup cost between $200 and $500, depending on the version you choose. — Zach Sweat, Product Tester

Jordan Provost / Lifewire

Microsoft Xbox Series X: Best Graphics

4

Walmart

View on YouTube View On Walmart What We Like

  • Amazing 4K graphics

  • Menus and loading speeds are fast

  • The most powerful console

  • A wide range of backward compatibility

  • Cool and quiet

What we don’t like

  • Lacks big exclusives

  • No rechargeable battery for controller batteries

  • Storage is more expensive.

Xbox Series X Review

The Xbox Series X console is the most powerful ever made. It can run 12 teraflops in graphics performance, allowing you to play hyper-detailed native games at 120 frames per second on supported displays. The custom SSD is also extremely fast and allows for quick loading. You can also switch between open games within seconds with the Quick Resume feature.

Microsoft’s console can be used with an extensive range of Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. However, it is lacking big exclusives that would justify the $499 price tag. This is a powerful hardware that has a lot to offer. However, it may be well into 2021 before games can make full use of the new Xbox.

“In terms raw hardware grunt it is the strongest home console currently, surpassing the new PlayStation 5 in that regard, plus it has a variety of user-friendly features which really stand out when used.” — Andrew Hayward, Product Tester

Andrew Hayward / Lifewire

Best Affordable Gaming: Microsoft Series S

4

Courtesy Xbox

View on YouTube View On Walmart What We Like

  • 1440p next-gen gaming

  • All Xbox Series S/X Games Played

  • Backwards compatible

  • Very small form factor

  • Amazing price

What we don’t like

  • No 4K graphics

  • For next-gen consoles, you will need to be underpowered

  • No disc drive

  • Storage restrictions

  • Physical discs from the previous generation can’t be played

Xbox Series S Review

The Xbox Series S is the most popular option if you only have one choice. The Series S is a great low-cost option to the Series X. It offers the same experience, but with some limitations. It can handle 1440p gaming at 60fps and 120fps, but it cannot play 4K. Although the storage is limited to 512GB, you can expand it using an expansion card.

It can play the same games as the Xbox Series X. This is the real value of this console. It is also backwards-compatible, which gives you a wider range of games to choose from.

CPU: AMD Custom Ryzen Zen 2

“Load times in all the games I played were negligible, which is to be expected with a system that has super-fast SSD storage NVME SSD.” — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen.

Best Handheld: Switch Lite

4

Walmart

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  • Amazing price

  • Ultraportable size

  • Instead of buttons, a true D-pad

What we don’t like

  • Only 720p

  • Motion controls are not available

  • There is no TV hookup option

Nintendo Switch Lite Review

For gamers on a tight budget, the Nintendo Switch Lite offers a more affordable and portable alternative. The Nintendo Switch Lite eliminates the Joy-Con and dock from the original Switch and makes it a handheld-only device. It also comes in bright colors like banana yellow or bright turquoise.

The price is two-thirds that of the standard Nintendo Switch, so it has a lower barrier to entry. However, there are some sacrifices. The Switch Lite does not dock to a TV, so you can only play handheld games. The Lite Switch lacks a kickstand and severely limits local multiplayer. However, there are a few improvements to the OG Switch.

It feels more comfortable in your hands and is easier to carry around with you when on the move. The OG Switch’s directional buttons are better than this pad, especially when it comes to fighting and platform games. The Switch Lite’s upgrades make it ideal for those who play exclusively in handheld mode and want a more portable option.

CPU: NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor

“The Switch Lite, despite being stripped of some of its unique strengths and features, is a great console for gamers who are on the move or prefer a handheld gaming experience.” — Zach Sweat, Product Tester

Lifewire / Zach Sweat

 

Google Stadia is the best streaming platform

3

 

Google

Check out the Best Buys View on EBay Google.com View What We Like

  • Comparable to PCs, low cost

  • Multiplatform compatibility

  • Decent performance

What we don’t like

  • It is a frustrating setup

  • A small selection of games

  • Pixel phones support mobile-only

Google Stadia Review

Google’s gaming experiment is technically not a console. It’s an online streaming service that allows you to play any game on any device. You can stream Destiny 2 to your smartphone, tablet, smart TV or Chromecast if you have an internet connection. You can adjust the graphic fidelity to improve performance for players who have weaker internet. Google Stadia has its own development studio, which creates exclusive games for multiplatform third-party developers. Stadia’s concept is a great idea for gamers who are curious about the future of gaming.

Google has created a Stadia-specific controller which can connect directly with WiFi to reduce latency. You don’t have to purchase the official Stadia controller from Google. Instead, you can grab a third-party controller such as the Xbox One Elite and Dualshock 4.

You’ll be able to access the many social features that Stadia is testing if you use Google’s controller. Stadia will build upon the foundations laid by Twitch and bring together streaming, gameplay, and social media. Google still has much work to do in order to make Stadia a major player in the videogame landscape. However, its premise is intriguing.

CPU: Custom Intel CPU

“Despite a rough start, the tech giant could be on to something if they can get the kinks worked out. — Zach Sweat, Product Tester

Lifewire / Zach Sweat

 

Best Re-Release: Nintedo Super NES Classic

 

View On Walmart View on EBay What We Like

  • Reminiscent games

  • Supports HDMI Out and powered by USB

  • Includes two controllers

What we don’t like

  • Stock is difficult to find

Gamers rejoiced when news broke that Nintendo would be releasing old consoles, such as the NES and Super NES Classic. With 21 games including Starfox 2, the Super NES Classic resurrects a glorious gaming era from the 1990s.

The original design and feel of the 16 bit home console (16-bit) is preserved in the Super NES Classic. This classic serves as a timepiece to the era when gaming was at its peak. You can play some of the most popular two-player games from that era, including Street Fighter II Turbo and Super Mario Kart. Megaman X and Earthbound are also included.

The Super NES Classic is a great way to relive your youth and introduce new gamers to the simpler times when the Internet first started. Two wired Super NES Classic controllers are included for multiplayer action.

CPU: ARM Cortex-A7

Best Versatility: Amazon Luna

4

SlashGear

View on YouTube What We Like

  • Affordable

  • A decent number of games

  • Performance excellence

  • It works well with Fire TV and browsers

  • The controller is well built.

  • Controller connects via Wi-Fi

What we don’t like

  • Android support is poor

  • No 4K graphics

  • Intermittent network issues

Amazon Luna Review

Amazon Luna is a game streaming service, and not a traditional console. However, it serves the same purpose as a console. The streaming service acts as Netflix for video games. It gives you access to a large library of games that can be played whenever you like, without additional charges.

Luna isn’t like consoles with a high initial cost. There’s no physical hardware you can purchase. It works like this: You pay a low monthly charge and get access to a large library of games. You can stream the games over the internet and they run on Amazon’s hardware. It’s similar to Microsoft Game Pass Ultimate or Google Stadia. However, you don’t need to purchase games with Stadia and it’s cheaper than Game Pass Ultimate.

Luna is the cheapest streaming service or game console. The monthly fee is very low and you don’t have to purchase any hardware. Amazon sells a Wi Fi Luna controller that works well. However, you can still use any USB or Bluetooth controllers with the service.

Luna is an affordable alternative to modern consoles, but there are some drawbacks. You may not be capable of running it on your Android smartphone due to its poor Android support. However, it works well on Windows PC and macOS. It also works well with iOS devices and some TVs that have Fire TV built in.

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

“Luna provides a remarkable streaming experience, comparable to what I’ve seen at Google and Microsoft.” — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tes

These are the 9 Best Android Phones in 2022

 

Final Verdict

The Nintendo Switch is the best handheld gaming console. This versatile console is as good in handheld mode as it is in docked mode. It also has a lot of AAA games. We like the Xbox Series X’s graphics power, but the PS5 has better exclusives and the DualSense controller. Both will look fantastic, however.

About our Trusted Experts

Zach Sweat is a Lifewire writer since 2019. He is a gamer and a reviewer. He has previously been published by Void Media, Whalebone Magazine, and IGn. He has reviewed a variety of consoles and praised the Switch Lite and Nintendo Switch for their handheld gaming capabilities.

Andrew Hayward is a Lifewire writer since 2019. He has been writing about gaming since 2006, with publications in TechRadar and Polygon. He was impressed with the Xbox Series X’s power.

Jeremy Laukkonen, a tech-generalist, has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. He has written extensively about games and enjoyed the Xbox Series S, which he found to be a great value.

FAQ

  • Are you able to access these consoles from a reliable internet connection?

    Gaming consoles rely on the internet for most of their functionality. However, a stable internet connection is not essential. Your console’s features and enjoyment will be severely affected if you don’t connect it. You won’t not only be unable to play online with your friends, but you will also not be able get updates for your console, games, or to purchase or download digital games.

  • Are you able to upgrade your consoles

    Modern consoles have limited upgrade options, but these are usually limited to aesthetics and storage. It is not possible to make granular changes like you would with a gaming computer. However, you can increase storage or change the color to make it more appealing.

  • You can’t find a Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X anywhere.

    Both consoles have been a hot commodity since their release. Scalpers buying up stock and then reselling it at a horrendous markup can be blamed. The bigger problem with these consoles is a shortage of chips used in their manufacturing. These parts were in high demand in 2020 and will continue to be so throughout the year, as long as supply keeps up with demand.

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