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The best games console in 2024: does Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X win?

Are you team Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo or something else entirely...

The best games console in 2024: does Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X win?
25 April 2024


The expert's view

13
Consoles considered
400
Hours of testing
3
Best buys
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Experts consulted

Choosing a games console sounds simple on paper. The home console business has pretty much remained a three-way fight since SEGA bowed out at the turn of the century.

You’re most likely handing over your cash to Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo. Easy, right? Not as easy as you might think.

While it’s true there isn’t much to separate the PS5 and the Xbox Series X in terms of raw power, Sony and Microsoft have quite different approaches to games.

Then you have the cheaper Xbox Series S to consider. And as for Nintendo, well, it’s been doing very much its own thing with the hybrid marvel Nintendo Switch - you can plug it into a TV, prop it up on a table or use it as a handheld. There are three versions of that machine now, and they all bring something different to the table.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

There was a wave of miniature “retro” consoles in the last half-decade or so that are worth seeking out for gamers of a certain vintage, seeking old-school thrills. And a renaissance in handheld gaming (which owes a lot to the incredible success of the Switch) has seen a number of PC gaming players enter that market. The best of that particular bunch so far is Valve’s Steam Deck.

Want total escapism? VR might still be a niche pursuit, but Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta has made four headsets and currently leads the way with its relatively affordable, all-in-one Meta Quest 3. Sony, meanwhile, refuses to abandon its own VR mission, launching the PS VR 2 at the beginning of last year, but it’s yet to really take off.

Suddenly a lot more to ponder isn’t there? Luckily for you, we’re here to help. To get straight to the point, if you’re all about the best possible graphics and cinematic AAA games, we think the all-round best console to buy right now is the PlayStation 5.

Sony’s first-party games (though they come around less frequently than they did on PS4) are always huge events worthy of a billboard, while the PS5’s innovative DualSense controller makes games feel good in your hands, too. The Xbox Series X lacks the exclusive blockbusters at the moment, but for value it’s probably king thanks to Microsoft's peerless Game Pass subscription service.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

But we also adore the Nintendo Switch, and the OLED model takes our top pick thanks to its fantastic screen. As it’s been out for longer than the PS5 of Xbox Series X it has a bigger library of exclusive games. More than a handful of those are among the very best games ever made.

Nintendo’s games are great fun for all ages, and the Switch’s versatility is hard to beat. The only thing keeping Switch off top spot is the fact that the hardware is really starting to show its age now, and it’s looking increasingly like a successor will arrive early next year.

With all that in mind, let’s get listing shall we?


Best for families
Best for families
Nintendo Switch OLED
It's a home console and handheld in one, and the easiest to make time to play.
View now at Amazon

The Nintendo Switch has become more popular than we could have imagined. And it's not just thanks to the enduring appeal of Nintendo's games. The Switch is the only console we regularly find time to play when busy. It has one of the best libraries of all time, from the obvious Mario and Zelda picks to endless excellent indie games, while its hybrid and genuinely innovative form has revolutionised gaming and made it possible to play wherever you are.

Best for value
Best for value
Microsoft Xbox Series S
Microsoft's budget console lets you play the latest AAA games without spending a fortune.
View now at Amazon

The Xbox Series S isn’t as powerful as its bigger brother or the PS5, but it’s a lot more affordable, and when paired with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription - which gives you day one access to all Microsoft-published games, as well as a host of EA titles and amazing indie game at no extra cost - it’s simply the best deal in gaming.

Best all-rounder
Best all-rounder
Sony PlayStation 5
The lead traditional console of the generation has some of the best exclusives, and has easily bested the Xbox series on sales.
View now at Amazon

For the first few years it was near impossible to get hold of the PS5, but thankfully Sony’s beast of a console is now readily available, and with a library of games that boasts the likes of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and God of War Ragnarok among its showpiece titles, this is the console to get if you really want to give your 4K telly a workout


The shortlist: best games console

The shortlist: best games console

1. Sony PlayStation 5 (slim model) 

With its growing library of usually incredible exclusive games, seriously powerful hardware and an amazing controller, the PS5 is the console to beat if you want to see what modern gaming is capable of when firing on all cylinders. The 2020 launch machine was redesigned last year to take up slightly less room under your TV, but this is still a big console.

If you’re interested in virtual reality, you can also add PS VR 2, Sony’s second VR headset which connects to the PS5 using a single cable. There aren’t many must-have games for the system yet, but the headset itself is probably the best we’ve tested. You get 1TB of storage, which might sound a lot, but the size of modern games means you’ll probably need to upgrade it at some point.

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The shortlist: best games console

2. Nintendo Switch OLED


It’s a handheld. It’s a home console. It has all of Nintendo’s most loved franchises on board. This is the obvious choice for 90s kids and those with families alike. And we actually like it more as a portable than a home unit, especially since the OLED model (technically the fourth Switch revision since the original model launched in 2017) has an incredibly vibrant and colorful OLED display that really makes Mario pop.

It’s the most expensive Switch you can buy, but it’s still considerably cheaper than the PS5 and Xbox Series X and worth the extra cash if you think you’ll appreciate the bigger, better screen. If there’s a big reason not to buy one now, it’s that a successor is rumoured to be arriving early next year, but if you can’t wait, we’d recommend Nintendo’s current console without hesitation.

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The shortlist: best games console

3. Xbox Series X 

The most powerful Xbox on the market is the Series X, a hulking fridge-like machine that is the obvious choice if you’re invested in the Xbox ecosystem and gravitate towards the likes of Halo and Forza. Internally the Series X is very similar to the PS5 (but ever-so slightly more powerful if we're getting nerdy), capable of running games at 4K/60fps (though not always). While its controller isn’t as innovative as the DualSense, it’s a winning design that Microsoft saw no need to mess with after the Xbox One generation.

Game Pass is where the Xbox Series X really comes into its own. Costing £12.99 per month, it gives you access to hundreds of games that you can either download or stream on another device until the day that title leaves the service. Microsoft’s own first-party software usually joins Game Pass on the day of launch and stays there for good, so it’s incredibly good value if you play your Xbox a lot.

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The shortlist: best games console

4. PS5 Digital Edition 

Have you just about surrendered to an all-digital future when it comes to media? In that case why not save some cash on the disc-less PS5. Other than having no disc drive it’s identical to the slightly chunkier standard model, so you get the same 1TB of storage, super fast SSD and fancy 3D audio tech and controller, for less money.

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The shortlist: best games console

5. Xbox Series S

Maxing out at 1440p resolution and definitely lacking some of its (much) bigger brother’s graphical oomph, as well as a disc drive, the Xbox Series S is the lesser of Microsoft’s two consoles - but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. For what it’s worth we happen to think that the Series S is the best looking console out there, and while it can’t output at 4K, most games still look pretty great on Microsoft's diminutive box.

Most importantly of all, the Series S is far cheaper than the X, and you’ll often see it heavily discounted during sales. Add a Game Pass subscription and it’s unbeatable for value.

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The shortlist: best games console

6. Steam Deck OLED

It’s not a home console, and it’s technically a PC, so what business has the Steam Deck OLED got being in this list? Well, despite being a handheld gaming PC, the Steam Deck actually offers a shockingly console-like experience thanks to the clean and user-friendly operating system that makers Valve designed for it, and the fact that developers invest a lot of energy into optimising their games so you can sure that *most* of your Steam library will just work with no serious tinkering needed.

The Steam Deck feels very similar to the Switch, and can even be docked to a TV in much the same way, but it’s a lot more powerful than Nintendo’s console, so if you want to play Elden Ringand other more demanding titles on the bus you’ll need one of these.

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The shortlist: best games console

7. PS4

You can still get hold of a PS4 for what is now a bargain price pretty easily, and while at this point we’d definitely recommend future-proofing yourself by buying Sony’s current console instead, the PS4 library is so good that lapsed gamers playing catch-up will have enough to keep them occupied until the PS6 comes out.

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The shortlist: best games console

8. Nintendo Switch 

As we explain above, the Switch OLED is our Switch of choice thanks to its display, while the Lite model is the one we recommend to handheld gamers. But what if you don't plan to use the handheld functionality at all? In that case we say buy the standard Nintendo Switch. That beautiful OLED display is wasted if it’s permanently hidden in a plastic dock, and in terms of TV performance, the Switch is identical to its OLED counterpart.

You can’t go wrong with any Nintendo Switch, but as the OLED is the all-round champ and the Lite offers something different, the bog-standard Switch gets pushed down the list.

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The shortlist: best games console

9. Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch Lite is the Switch to go for if you don’t plan to play games on the TV. Unlike its bigger brother, this is a handheld-only console, but by giving up the ability to dock it you save a fair bit of money. Nintendo’s peerless library of exclusive games play just as well on the Lite as they do the regular Switch, and as the display is smaller with the same resolution, they actually look a bit sharper to boot.

The Switch Lite is also by far the most comfortable Switch to hold, weighing less and fitting snugly into your hands, and comes in a variety of fun colours.

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Best games console: how we selected

We test all sorts at Shortlist, from tents to the best food processors. Choosing game consoles to test is pretty easy, as there aren’t as many of them.

There are two versions of Microsoft’s Xbox, and one main PS5, whether you go discless or not. And Nintendo has the Switch. There are three of those to choose from, but the bulk of what they do is exactly the same. And we’ve used all of the above extensively.

Should the Steam Deck, a PC at its heart, really be in there? Depends who you talk to, but we think it’s worthy of a spot as the hardware is so good and functionally it’s very similar to the Switch. Steam sales are also famously good for a bargain, so there’s no reason you can’t make the Deck the only place you play games. It’s that good.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

We haven’t included the PlayStation Portal as it isn’t a console in its own right. Released in 2023, the Portal is a handheld remote playing accessory for the PS5 that allows you to stream games from your console over Wi-Fi. It’s very handy when someone else is using the TV, or for playing in bed, but without a Wi-Fi connection it’s useless.

We also haven’t included any mini retro consoles or VR headsets in the main list, with the latter being very much their own thing, but you will find a few retro consoles in the alternatives section a bit further down.


Best games console: how we tested

We’re big gaming fans at Shortlist. We’ve used the PS5 and Xbox Series X since they launched in late 2020, and likewise the Switch since its initial release in 2017, as well as its subsequent hardware revisions since. We’ve used both models of the Steam Deck extensively too, and dabbled in VR. If there’s a new retro console on the market, we’ll have tried it.

We can tell you what it’s like to live with these consoles, and what tastes they suit. We’re also interested in the real cost of a games console when you factor in any accessories and games you’ll need to buy as well.

Media is one of the biggest concerns too, as these days some people use games consoles to stream video as often as they play games. The Switch isn’t much use for that stuff, but the Xbox Series X and PS5 are both seriously good homes for Netflix, and your other streaming apps.

This is particularly important if the smart features on your TV aren’t all that up-to-date, or feel a bit slow in use. Really lean on your game console for media and you may end up using your TV as a dumb screen and nothing more.



Best games console reviews: games and exclusives


The Xbox Series X and PS5 both came out in November of 2020, and the Switch in March 2017. Nintendo’s console, then, had a three-year head start on the other two of the big three, so its library is pretty enormous at this point, and absolutely rammed with excellent first-party games you can’t play anywhere else.

We’re talking Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its 2023 sequel, Tears of the Kingdom. You can only play these games on Nintendo hardware, and many more with cross-generational appeal the Xbox and PS5 rarely match.

They are suitable for fairly young children. Adults love them too, and not just those who grew up with the characters in decades past.

That said, Sony’s own stable of exclusive games is also famously strong, and because the PS5 is far more powerful than the modest Switch, you’ll want this console if you want really cutting edge gaming. God of War Ragnarok, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and the 2020 remake of Demon’s Souls are all standout titles that you can only play on PS5, while the more recent Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is also a PS5 exclusive. The PS5’s library can’t yet stand up to that of its predecessor and we’ve definitely had fewer first-party games from Sony this generation, but when one does arrive it’s nearly always fantastic.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

The Xbox Series X and S have even fewer exclusives, but Microsoft has spent the last few years acquiring lots of development studios, which is starting to bear fruit, and a large chunk of games made by those studios will end up on Game Pass.

Take 2023’s Starfield for example. While not the critical smash we hoped it would be, Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media in 2021 meant that the intergalactic RPG was a day one Game Pass launch. If you’re into series like Forza, Halo and Gears of War, Xbox is likely the platform for you.

The Xbox Series X, Series S and PS5 also have huge third-party support. While the Switch is Nintendo’s best supported console since the Wii with other publishers, it often gets saddled with mediocre ports of games that are better played on Microsoft or Sony’s consoles. If you like indie games, though, the Switch is a superb place to play them, and the Japanese giant has really invested in making Nintendo the place for indies to thrive.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

So who wins? It depends on what you want. Nintendo’s own games are usually incredible, and the ability to play them on the go is great for those without much spare time. It should be noted, though, that Nintendo’s own games rarely come down significantly in price, so it isn’t the console for bargain-hunters.

No time for Mario or Zelda? Your choice is between the other two, and what you go for depends on your preferences. If you want big-budget blockbusters, Microsoft simply can’t compete with Sony’s games, at least not yet. But Game Pass is Microsoft's ace card, offering incredible value for money and a great mix of first-party, third-party and indie games. This is where the strength of the Xbox library lies.


Games console reviews: Game subscription services


Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S offer a Netflix-like service for games. Sony’s is called PlayStation Plus, which is available in three tiers. The entry-level tier is more of standard online membership that entitles you to things like cloud storage, online multiplayer and a handful of free games each month. You’ll need an Extra or Premium plan to get into the Netflix of it all. Both of these grant access to what Sony calls the Game Catalogue, a library of hundreds of games that are updated regularly, all of which you can download and play for as long as you’re a PS Plus member.

If you go Premium, you also get the Classics Catalogue, which draws on Sony’s rich console retro all the way back to the original PlayStation. Don’t think you’ll be able to revisit any PS1 or PS2 game you like, though. The selection is disappointingly thin, and the PS3 games on the service can’t even be downloaded. Those you have to stream over the cloud.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

PS Plus is a solid offering, especially if you missed out on the PS4 generation, as it’s packed with games from that era. But it can’t hold a candle to Game Pass Ultimate, the top-tier Xbox service, which receives the vast majority of first-party Microsoft games from the day they launch, something that Sony is yet to do on its own service. Microsoft also scores a lot of deals with third-party publishers in both the AAA and indie space, meaning there’s nearly always something new and interesting to play on there, plus its partnership with EA means you can access a vault of games that includes the FIFA and Battlefield series. In short, Game Pass is superb.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

Nintendo’s online offering is a bit different. It’s called Nintendo Switch Online and enables online play and cloud storage, as well as access to a selection of retro titles from the NES, SNES and Game Boy era. Given Nintendo’s unrivalled back catalogue, this is pretty great, and if you upgrade to the Expansion Pack tier you also get Nintendo 64 and more recently Game Boy Advance games. We wish there more games on the service, as Nintendo does like to drip feeds new additions, but if you’re fully paid up you can play the likes of Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Metroid and Super Mario World, all four all-time classics, on your Switch. Nintendo Switch Online also includes a number of downloadable expansions to more modern titles, such as the 48 additional courses that were added to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as part of the Booster Pack expansion.


Games console reviews: movies and TV

Games consoles are obviously primarily for playing games, but they can do other things too. Both the Xbox Series X and PS5 (disc version) double as 4K Blu-ray players, although neither is a match for a dedicated player given that they still don’t support Dolby Vision for HDR, which is pretty frustrating years from launch. Both consoles do, however, support Dolby Atmos decoding for the most immersive surround sound. Flaws aside, given that most people don’t own a dedicated 4K Blu-ray player, having one in your console is a pretty big bonus. The Xbox Series S is a discless system so no Blu-ray fun here.

Both Xbox consoles and the PS5 also make for pretty excellent streaming boxes, with native apps for most of the big streamers including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now and Disney+. Naturally you can stream up to 4K HDR if the content you’re streaming offers it and your TV is up to the job. You get most of the UK catch-up services for terrestrial TV too, although ITVX is still absent from Sony’s console.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

Last year Sony launched a new app called Sony Pictures Core for PS4 and PS5 users. Previously branded Sony Bravia Core, it allows you to rent or buy up to 2,000 movies from your console, with early access to upcoming releases from Sony Pictures. PlayStation Plus Premium members also get access to a catalogue of up to 100 movies to watch on demand included in their membership.

The Nintendo Switch is far less useful as a media player, with very little support for streaming apps, no non-game physical media support. You can watch YouTube via a downloadable app, while anime fans are well served by apps like Crunchyroll and Funimation for those in the US. Hulu is also available across the pond, but forget about watching Netflix or Disney+ on the Switch. Nintendo’s console is for games and little else.



Best games console: game accessories

The most notable PS5 accessory is PlayStation VR 2, which is really a system in its own right. We’ll call it an accessory here as you need a PS5 to use it. Launched at the beginning of 2023, it’s technologically a big step up from the original PS VR, with a pin-sharp 4K HDR OLED display and next-gen VR features like eye tracing. Unfortunately, the impressive hardware has not been backed up by many games to date, and you can’t play any of your original PS VR games on it. Right now we’d say this is one for hardcore VR fans only, but it’s definitely not something for which Microsoft has a competitor.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

Nintendo would probably argue that the Switch did have a VR offering of its own, but before you get excited about visiting Hyrule, we should make it clear that this was a very casual experience via Nintendo Labo, the since abandoned line of cardboard accessories that were aimed at families. As well as a very rudimentary VR headset, you could build a fishing rod, piano, handlebars and more, each getting it own unique minigame. It was Nintendo retuning to its root as a toy company and great fun at the time, but Labo didn’t last long.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

The Switch has had plenty of other accessories over the years, including the “Ring-Con” used for the motion-controlled (and surprisingly excellent) exercise game, Ring Fit Adventure, and AR Mario Kart complete with buildable courses and a remote-controlled kart.

Microsoft was widely praised when it launched the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and Sony has since followed up with its own accessibility controller for the PS5. Both are designed to help players with limited mobility play games.

Nintendo has released various alternative colourways for its Joy-Con controllers over the years, and has sold the Pro Controller since launch for TV play. In 2023 Sony released the DualSense Edge, its first premium controller, which offers programmable back buttons, custom control schemes and swappable thumbsticks, features that competitive gamers especially value. This is Sony’s answer to the Xbox Elite controller, which Microsoft hasn’t updated since the Xbox One generation, though it’s still fully compatible with the current-gen Xbox consoles.




Best games console for families

Nintendo Switch OLED review

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

This one is very easy. Not only are Nintendo’s own games very often brilliant, but the vast majority of them are also suitable for all ages. If you’re introducing a young child to video games, you can’t do better than handing them a copy of Super Mario Odyssey, but Mario’s universal appeal means that they might have to first wrestle the controller away from mum or dad. That right there is the magic of Nintendo.

The Switch is also a multiplayer console by default as it comes with two detachable controllers, so it’s very easy to get the family involved. Games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Nintendo Switch Sports are very accessible and ideal for family gatherings, and if they’re playing online, Nintendo’s reluctance to enable voice chat without using a separate app means you can rest assured they they won’t be hearing foul language and racial slurs within seconds of starting a game with a stranger.

There are other benefits to the Switch that make it the ideal family pick. It being a hybrid console means less fighting over who gets the TV. If mum and dad want to sit down and watch something in the evening, the Switch can be removed from the dock and played in handheld mode in another room. Everyone wins. And if your life is 95% packed with work, family duties and general admin, the Nintendo Switch is likely the only console you’ll find time to play as a parent. It's the best console for busy, time-starved people, full-stop.
You can sneak in a quick 15 minutes while cooking dinner. Five minutes on the toilet? Why not? The Nintendo Switch is also a dream for the work commute. And this doubles as a way to keep the console out of your kids' hands after school if you want to keep their gaming to weekends only.

The PS5 and Xbox Series X|S have their fair share of family-friendly games too, but if you’re OK with the games tending to stay the same price and don’t mind the graphical drop-off, the Switch is the undisputed champ.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?Nintendo Switch OLED

£349.99
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Best games console for performance

Xbox Series X


The PS5 has the edge when it comes to games, with Microsoft getting off to a particularly slow start with first-party titles this generation and big hitters like last year’s Starfield not making the impact their parent company would have hoped. But where raw power is concerned, the Xbox is the most powerful console in the world, and when it gets to really flex its muscles games on this thing can really sing. Spend an hour flying to your home town in Microsoft Flight Simulator and we reckon you’ll agree.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

The Xbox Series X is also the only next-gen console that currently supports Dolby Vision for games, and when well implemented this is clearly the superior option for HDR. The PS5 is capable of Dolby Atmos decoding, but it took a long time for Sony to roll it out, while the Series X has been Atmos-ready since launch.

Aside from visuals, the other big performance-related boon on the Xbox Series X is Quick Resume, which can store save states for up to three full-memory current-gen games (or more in the case of Xbox 360 and older games) so you can leap back in at exactly where you left off when you launch a game. The PS5 can return you to where you were when you last played a game, but if you launch a new one it’ll close whatever you have running. Quick Resume, then, is the more impressive feature.

Best games console for value

Xbox Series S

The Xbox Series S is less powerful than the Series X and doesn’t have a disc drive, but when it comes to value for money you can’t do better. Its usual price of £249.99 makes it a far more affordable proposition than the PS5 or Xbox Series S already, but the smaller Xbox is often heavily discounted during sales too. We’ve seen it sold by various retailers for as little as £185, which is a frankly ridiculous price for such a capable console.

The best games console 2024: Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X?

And then you factor in Game Pass. With Game Pass Ultimate you have access to a regularly updated library of hundreds of games at no extra cost, including most of Microsoft's first-party games from the day they are released. If you’re more of a casual gamer who tends to play a few games every month, from AAA blockbusters to indie gems, then Game Pass will always have something new and interesting to grab your attention. EA’s flagship games are often added to the service a year or so after launch too, so if you’re happy to wait, you can save a lot of money.

The Series S won’t give you the full current-gen experience. If you need 4K HDR visuals, get its bigger brother or a PS5. But most people will be more than happy with the way games perform on this machine, and you get most of the same features of the Series X, such as Quick Resume and that super speedy SSD.

The handheld-only Nintendo Switch Lite is also great value at £199.99 (also regularly discounted), but you give up the hybrid functionality that makes the Switch what it is, so give that some thought before making a purchase.

Xbox Series S
£229.75
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Best games console overall

The PS4 comfortably won the previous generation, and while this one has so far hasn’t been quite as much of a slam dunk for Sony, there’s no doubt that the PS5 is the most exciting console on the market. The Xbox Series X is technically slightly more powerful on paper, but there isn’t a lot in it, and Sony’s first-party games are better at taking full advantage of the hardware.

Using the PS5 is a joy. Games load incredibly quickly, the user interface is clean and easy to navigate, and most of your PS4 games are backwards compatible.

We’re also big fans of the DualSense controller and find games genuinely more immersive when features like the adaptive triggers and haptics are utilised well. It also has motion sensors that allow you to use gryo aiming in supported games, which you can’t do on Xbox.

The PS5 is far from a perfect console. It’s very big and not particularly attractive, PS VR 2 really hasn’t taken off yet, and there are fewer Sony exclusives coming out than we were used to on the PS4, with no new instalments in major first-party franchises expected to come out for the rest of 2024. Game Pass is simply a superior subscription offering too, and we continue to be underwhelmed by the classics library on PlayStation Plus Premium, which should be a retro treasure trove at this point.

But despite all of the above issues, the PS5 is the console we’d recommend to the hardcore who wants to play the latest cutting edge modern games.


Best games console reviews: Alternatives

As we said at the top, the Steam Deck technically isn’t a console at all - it’s a handheld gaming PC. But it’s so easy to use that it feels like both a console and a genuine rival to the Switch’s crown as the best handheld gaming device you can buy. Nothing can compete with the Steam store for the sheer volume of games you can buy and download, from most modern titles right back to PC gaming’s 90s heyday. Steam also hosts regular sales throughout the year that are famous for their shockingly huge discounts.

All that said, those willing to tinker will get the most out of the Steam Deck and you often have to be patient, as the chances are some games in your library either need adjusting in the settings to work well, or sometimes just won’t work no matter what you do. The Steam Deck is also larger and heavier than the Switch, so bear that in mind if your hands are on the smaller side.

Aside from that, there has been a wave of miniature consoles released in the last five or six years, some of which can still be picked up pretty easily. Sony’s PlayStation Classic is still widely available, and comes pre-loaded with 20 classic PlayStation games and a pair of wired controllers modelled on the original PS1 pad. There are easier ways to play a lot of these games now, but if you want to roll back the years and would rather not have to figure out how to connect your original console to a modern TV (the PlayStation Classic connects via HDMI), then it’s worth considering.

Less easy to get hold of are the SNES Classic Mini and SEGA Mega Drive Mini, both of which arguably boast better game selections, but are no longer in production. For those, you’ll probably need to know your way around eBay.