Three best video game consoles

Peter McPherson

Make sure the fans of your console aren’ t covered up to prevent overheating or sluggishness.

If you want to play video games on your couch, you're probably thinking about buying a video game console. Far easier to set up (and usually far less expensive) than a gaming PC, a game console plugs into your TV and can often double as a media streaming device.

Consoles play either Blu-ray discs or specialized cartridges in addition to downloading games directly to their hard drive. If you have a favorite video game franchise, this can be a major deciding factor, but today there's more game overlap between consoles than ever. As a result, your decision will mostly come down to specifications and capability.

A video game console is an investment, so it's important to find one that has the games and features you want. This brief shopping guide will help you in your search.

Considerations when choosing video game consoles


There are three primary manufacturers of video game consoles today: Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. The current (eighth) generation of consoles includes the Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4.

Regarding the Nintendo Switch, if graphics are an important factor for you, the Switch may not meet your expectations. If you're looking for a console that you can take on the go and use anywhere, however, the Switch might be perfect for you.

In the case of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, there are two types of console: standard and upgraded.

Standard consoles can play the same games as the upgraded versions but often at a lower resolution and sometimes poorer performance.

Upgraded consoles offer 4K resolution, allowing you to get the most out of your 4K TV, if you have one. If you don't have a 4K TV, a standard console will probably meet your needs since you won't be able to utilize the full resolution.


The game library of a console should be a major consideration, particularly if there are specific franchises or series you enjoy. The Playstation 4 and Xbox One both have a number of exclusive games, while the Nintendo Switch has a smaller selection of exclusives due to its comparatively recent release.

Video game console features

Resolution: This is a big consideration, with most consoles capable of 1080p resolution, though this is rarer with the Switch and its games. Some of the upgraded consoles can handle 4K resolution, but you'll need a 4K TV as well. If you're hoping to use your game console as an entertainment center, you should take note of which streaming services are offered and whether it can play DVDs or Blu-rays.

Lifespan: While video game consoles are built to last and updated regularly, they will eventually become outdated. A typical console generation lasts about six or seven years.

Video game console prices: Most new consoles cost around $300, with upgraded versions available for around $400.


Q. Why should I get a video game console instead of a gaming PC?

A. Consoles are an easier way to start playing quickly, and they cost less than gaming PCs. However, gaming PCs can be upgraded and will last much longer than a console as a result. If you have the know-how and are okay with the extra initial cost, a PC might be a better route for you.

Q. What type of input is needed for a console?

A. HDMI is the only way to connect the current generation of consoles to your TV, or HDMI 2.0 for 4K resolution.

Video game consoles we recommend

Best of the best: Xbox One X

Our take: Powerful console that includes plenty of storage and excels in its 4K experience.

What we like: The souped-up CPU and GPU mean that this console offers better graphics and performance than not only the standard Xbox One but also the competition. Includes a 4K Blu-ray player

What we dislike: You'll need a 4K TV to get the best performance out of this console.

Best bang for your buck: PlayStation 4 Slim

Our take: This compact version of the PS4 doesn't offer 4K, but it does offer a great library of games at a low price.

What we like: The 1TB storage means you can download several games before running out of space. VR-ready with the purchase of PSVR. Excellent performance and graphics.

What we dislike: If you want a PlayStation console to pair with your 4K TV, you'll have to go with the PlayStation 4 Pro.

Choice 3: Nintendo Switch

Our take: For a console that works as well with your TV as it does on the go, this is your best bet.

What we like: Seamless transition from TV to handheld makes this console stand out. The controllers can be used in a variety of ways for inventive gameplay.

What we dislike: Can't match the performance of the PS4 or Xbox One. Its exclusive game library is small.

Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.