PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X vs Nintendo Switch: What’s The Best Console This Holiday Season?

The current generation of consoles has been defined by more frequent, iterative upgrades than past generations.

The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are both mid-cycle refreshes for hardware that’s relatively young, but they boast major performance improvements over their predecessors. The Nintendo Switch isn’t a mid-cycle upgrade to the Wii U but boasts somewhat similar hardware power to its predecessor, except now crammed into a portable tablet/gaming console.

With all of these new consoles on the market, choosing one can be tough, so we’re going to help you do that.

Winner: Xbox One X

The Xbox One X clears this category easily. It is advertised as the most powerful console of all time, and this is fairly accurate – the Xbox One X is shown to be equivalent to a mid through high-end gaming PC, making it capable of native 4K gaming even before console-specific optimizations. While the PS4 Pro is also capable of 4K, this is only while using an upscaling method called checkerboard rendering, which is roughly equivalent to 1440p native rendering – in other words, half 4K.

2nd Place: PS4 Pro

The PS4 Pro is capable of much more than the Switch, the original Xbox One or the PS4. This allows for games that previously struggled for 720p/60 and 1080p/30 on last-gen hardware to accomplish higher resolutions and framerates on the PS4 Pro. However, the PS4 Pro was developed for the original $400 price range of its predecessor, and because of this was somewhat handicapped in how far it could advance in hardware power.

Last Place: Nintendo Switch

The Switch comes in last place with hardware power, even falling behind the normal PS4 and Xbox One. However, it’s worth noting that Nintendo wasn’t aiming to be a hardware powerhouse in the first place. It’s also worth noting that the Switch’s capabilities are especially impressive for a portable console, enough that titles like DOOM are being ported over to it.

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In this context, Special Features refers to features of a console that aren’t explicitly playing games.

Winner: Xbox One X

The Xbox One X wins on this front thanks to full 4K Blu-ray and streaming support, alongside HDR content and fully-featured TV tuning and home theater capabilities.

2nd Place (Barely): PS4 Pro

The PS4 Pro comes in just behind the Xbox One X, but unfortunately loses out because of a baffling absence of 4K Blu-ray support. This is a huge downside for people with metered Internet connections who can’t afford to stream 4K content and must instead use physical media to do so. While you can also play 4K MP4 files on the PS4 Pro, 4K Blu-rays and rentals are still important for those who want to watch 4K content.

Last Place: Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is the most lacking of the three. It has no HDR support, no 4K media support, no Blu-ray or DVD support, and it lacks media applications in comparison to the other consoles. What it does have is its unique form factor and docking system that allows you to take your games on the go and even host multiplayer parties with the Joy-cons. If you’re primarily looking at these consoles from a gaming standpoint, the Switch is a great option.

This section refers to both quality and quantity of console exclusives. Your mileage may vary.

Winner: Nintendo Switch

In my eyes the Nintendo Switch is the obvious choice for console exclusives. This is for many reasons, but games like Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey are so critically-acclaimed and unique to Nintendo consoles that it’s hard to ignore them. While technically BotW and MK8 are also on the Wii U, the Wii U had very poor sales figures in comparison to the Switch, and these games still can’t be accessed on competing consoles.

2nd Place: PS4 Pro

The PS4 Pro enjoys the PS4’s great library of first party exclusives, like the Uncharted series and Bloodborne. Many of these games also support performance and graphical enhancements when played on a PS4 Pro, making them better than their PS4 versions by a significant margin. Sony’s diverse first-party lineup makes it a great choice for console exclusives.

Last Place: Xbox One X

Let’s face it: the Xbox really only has one exclusive worth noting, and that’s the Halo series. Pretty much everything you play on the Xbox is also available on the PS4, and the cases where it’s not are usually timed exclusivity deals that still allow PC ports. If you’re looking into consoles solely as a way to play games you can’t get anywhere else, Xboxes aren’t a great option.

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Winner: Nintendo Switch

The Switch is priced at $300. A bundled game can raise this as high as $360.

2nd Place: PS4 Pro

The PS4 Pro is priced at $400. A bundled game can raise this as high as $460.

Last Place: Xbox One X

The Xbox One X starts at $499 (so $500), and with a bundled game can cost as much as $560. This is the most expensive console on the market by a decent margin.

If you have a PS4 already, I recommend the Switch, as it will provide access to a wider library of games that you don’t already have. If 4K media is a must, then grab the Xbox One X for access to those elusive Xbox/PC exclusives.

If you have an Xbox One already, I recommend either the Switch or the PS4 Pro for access to a much wider exclusive game library. A trade-up to an Xbox One S (instead of an X) can also give you HDR and 4K media support without breaking the bank.

Choose Nintendo Switch if …

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You don’t care about media center features or hardware power and just want to play great games – even on the go.

Choose Xbox One X if …

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You’re more than just a gamer – you’re a watcher, too – and you need a system that will enable a fully-fledged media experience for you, your friends and your family to enjoy.

Choose PS4 Pro if …

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You want to balance hardware power and media center features with plenty of exclusive games to play.

Ultimately, though …

What really matters is the games. Identify the games that you most want to play, and if you’re primarily a gamer, just go for the console that has the most games for you. I already have a high-end gaming PC, so the Switch is a perfect addition to my gaming experience. What about you?

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