If you’re a gamer who constantly strives to experience only the best of the best, you’ll no doubt be wondering what is the best games console. Of course, the answer to this pretty trivial question is entirely subjective, with everyone’s factors for what would warrant such an extravagant title sure to be different. We at Console Deals know this, and so have put together this advice guide for you to determine what is the best games console for you, based on various aspects.
We’ve tried to account for almost every avenue that someone could use to deem one console better than the other. It’s not averse to say that Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One each have their own strengths that let them excel in wild specifically areas, but if there’s one in particular that could make or break your purchase decision, the likelihood is it’s listed below. Without further ado, let’s find out (unofficially) what is the best games console…
Best-selling games console
When it comes to what is the best-selling games console, it’s worth specifying under what terms we mean. If we’re talking quantifiable all-time numbers, for instance, then with a total of 155 million units sold the PS2 would be the out and out winner. Similarly, though, if you’re referring to which console out of the major three currently on the market is the best selling, then Sony’s PlayStation is still leading the pack – PS4 has sold 96.8 million units compared to 41 million Xbox One consoles, and 34.74 million Nintendo Switch consoles at the time of writing.
Best handheld games console
With Nintendo Switch presently making every gamer’s dreams come true by allowing every game playable in handheld, we thought it unfair to award the title of “best handheld console” to Nintendo’s hybrid console. Instead, we’ll take a slightly less conventional route and give it to its predecessor, the Nintendo 3DS, which is a joyous example of a handheld games console that can not only play 3DS games, but original Nintendo DS games too. The result is a vast library of games capable of providing you with hundreds of hours of gameplay.
What about the best games console for gaming at home, and on the go?
Let’s not beat around the bush here, the Nintendo Switch’s ability to be treated as both a handheld and home console makes it no less than a modern marvel. It’s what makes Nintendo’s hybrid platform the best games console for gaming on the go, treating players to such triple-A releases like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Skyrim and Super Mario Odyssey wherever they happen to be. It’s the newest platform on the market so still has plenty of life left in it, too.
Best retro looking games console
Retro games consoles have been big business lately, with players keen to take a nostalgia-fuelled trip and relive the heights of old-school gaming via miniaturised forms of classic consoles. The NES Mini kicked off this recent trend back in 2017, but its Nintendo’s follow up retro games console we think is the best: The Super NES Classic Edition. It’s no secret that 16-bit games hold up a lot better than say, those developed for Nintendo 64 or PlayStation One, and the Super NES Classic Edition comes pre-packed with 21 great games, including the previously unreleased Star Fox 2.
What about the best games console for retro gamers?
Let’s say you enjoy playing retro games from the 8- and 16-bit eras but purchasing for a miniaturised throwback console simply won’t cut it. The good news is that PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch each repackage old games, update them and release them digitally, giving you access to a little bit of history on a modern platform. Xbox One is perhaps the best console for retro gamers as its impressive backwards compatibility capabilities offer instant access to original Xbox and Xbox 360 games. If you want to go further back, though, the Nintendo Switch reaches all the way back to the NES era.
Best games console if you're on a tight budget
Of course, for as fun as it can be, gaming is sometimes also a costly endeavour. After all, if you want to stay on top of all the major game releases that cost £40 a time the price soon adds up. If you’re wondering what the best games console is if you’re on a tight budget, the Xbox One is a safe bet. Not just because it’s currently priced the lowest compared to the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, but because by signing up for its Xbox Game Pass service, you instantly gain access to over 100 top-tier games for just £7.99 a month. It’s great value and will see you through fine after the initial Xbox One console purchase.
You may also wish to consider buying a cheap pre-owned Xbox One console, and we've found today's cheapest deals from the UK's leading retailers, including Ebay, GAME and Music Magpie.
Best games console for VR
VR (virtual reality) is still a relatively new and young interactive medium that allows you to stay immersed in games for longer by placing you right at the centre of them. Most games consoles have only ever dabbled in this tech, but PlayStation 4 is by far the best games console for VR by default as it’s the only platform taking it seriously. The PlayStation VR headset might not be the most technically advanced, but it’s the most affordable compared to those you’ll find on PC and is home to great VR exclusives like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission and Blood & Truth.
Best games console for pro gamers
A pro gamer can mean different things to different people, but in this context we’ll treat it as if it sin reference to those that play competitively online against others. That being the case both the Xbox One and PS4 easily accommodate pro gamers, featuring online infrastructures where you can subscribe and compete in shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield or sports titles such as FIFA or Madden. Hone your skills online against other pro gamers and see how decently you fare. To find out more about how the specs differ between these two pro games consoles, check out our PS4 vs Xbox One guide.
Best games console for kids
Each of the three popular consoles right now do their bit to cater to all types of gamer. There’s Call of Duty and Gears of War for mature players who enjoy military shooters, but there’s also the likes of Puyo Puyo Tetris and The Witness for puzzle game enthusiasts. There’s also a swathe of great family-focussed games, but what is the best console for kids? Without doubt for us it would be the Nintendo Switch. Not only does it let them play great Triple-A games like Super Mario Party and Arms on the go, but the Joy-Con motion controllers help keep them engaged in fun ways using motion.
Best games console for 4K TVs
After standard definition there was high definition, but now another type of visual fidelity has entered the resolution race that’s referred to as 4K. The name essential refers to horizontal display resolutions of roughly 4,000 pixels – almost four times that of 1080p. Both Sony and Microsoft’s mid-generation console SKUs, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, take advantage of setups with a 4K display, rendering the latest games in eye-widening detail. The Xbox One X can run them at 4K natively, however, instead of upscaling, making it the best games console for 4K gaming.
So which is the absolute best games console in 2019?
As already mentioned at the top of this guide, the best games console overall is entirely dependent on whatever you want to get out of it. If you were going by sales and console exclusives alone, for example, the PS4 is the frontrunner by far. Those looking to play games in the very best visual quality should opt for the Xbox One, and the Xbox One X specifically, while anyone who likes the idea of playing console-quality games on the go should punt for the Nintendo Switch. The best games console overall, is whatever you want it to be.