Nintendo Switch vs Xbox One review

The Nintendo Switch is finally available to buy in the UK, but it’s coming out into a games market with stiff competition from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Things could get even more complex later this year when the Xbox One Scorpio comes out, so what should you do if you can’t decide between the Xbox One and the Switch? Hopefully our Xbox vs Switch comparison review should help. Read next: Nintendo Switch review

Xbox One vs Switch review: Price

Games consoles are rarely cheap, so price is always a major factor when considering a purchase. Right now you can buy the Switch for £279.99 in either grey or red/blue, and is available to buy in the UK from retailers including Amazon UK and GAME, although shortly after launch stock is still limited. Read next: Nintendo Switch news and deals

Regardless, we expect the price of the Switch to stay steady for a while, and don’t expect any major price drops until at least Christmas 2017. You should expect to pay around £280 whether you buy the console at launch or over the next few months, though we may see some better bundles with games appear later in the year.

As for the Xbox One, things are slightly more complicated thanks to the different versions of the console available. If you want to buy it new, you’ll have to go with the updated Xbox One S. You can buy it on its own from £218.99 for the 500GB model, and £233.95 for the 1TB model, though you’ll probably want to grab a bundle with a game, which usually gets you a better deal. Read next: Best games deals

You can grab the 500GB Xbox One S with Minecraft bundled in for just £229.99, or with FIFA 17 instead for £239.90. You can even get the 500GB console together with two months of Now TV’s movies plan and either FIFA 17 or Battlefield 1 for £249.99.

Looking at the 1TB model, the best bundle right now includes Gears of War 4 for £275, but you could also order it with new strategy game Halo Wars 2 for £299.99 (and check out our review of that here).

There’s also the Xbox One Elite, which comes with a 1TB solid state hybrid drive (SSHD) for faster game loading and performance, along with Microsoft’s premium Elite controller (shown above). That will set you back £297 on Amazon, but given the controller alone costs £109.99, that’s not such a bad deal.

Ultimately, the Xbox One S is definitely cheaper than the Switch, and you could buy it with a game included for less than the price of the Switch alone. Still, it’s a three-year-old console, while the Switch is brand new, so that’s to be expected. Rumour has it that Nintendo will make a Switch Mini.

Xbox One vs Switch review: Specs and features

Here’s where the comparison between the Switch and the Xbox One gets a bit trickier, because they’re very different consoles. In terms of raw power, the Xbox One definitely comes out on top. Its 1.75GHz 8-core AMD CPU with integrated graphics is comfortably faster than the Switch’s Nvidia Tegra chip, and it has 8GB of RAM to the Switch’s rumoured 4GB. The Xbox wins on storage too: it comes with either 500GB or 1TB, compared to just 32GB (expandable by Micro SD card) in the Switch.

That’s hardly a fair comparison though, because for what the Switch lacks in horsepower, it more than makes up for in added features. That’s because while the Xbox One is a pretty traditional home console, the Switch is more of a hybrid, letting you play games on the big screen or take them on the go, while also packing some novel features into its controllers.

Read next: Switch vs Wii U comparison review

The Switch itself is actually essentially a touchscreen tablet with controllers that slot into the sides, and you can use it in a few ways. You can play with the controllers attached, so that it looks a bit like a Wii U gamepad, you can play with the controllers separated from the screen on the go (with a handy kickstand to prop the main tablet up), or you can dock the tablet and output it to your TV for a more traditional home console set-up.

The Switch controllers pack even more features. The Joy-Con can be used separately, a bit like smaller Wii remotes, or can be attached to an included grip to form a more traditional controller shape. They each include HD rumble, which allows for more detailed vibration feedback, and also include gyroscopes and an IR motion camera in the right one, which allows the controller to detect objects in front of it, including how far away they are.

The Xbox One and the Switch offer potentially very different gaming experiences. The Xbox is a pretty standard games console (which is no bad thing!), but the Switch offers not only the ability to play games on the go, but also some new potential gameplay mechanics thanks to the HD rumble and other Joy-Con innovations - at the cost of some horsepower and storage.

Xbox One vs Switch review: Accessories

It’s also worth bearing in mind both consoles’ accessories, as most owners will look to pick up a few. If you get the Xbox One, you’re probably mostly looking at additional controllers, which start at £42.99 and range up to the likes of the £109.99 Elite. You might also be interested in grabbing a headset for online chat, or more specialised controllers like a driving wheel or arcade stick, but that’s about it.

With the Switch, you’re likely looking at spending more for accessories. For starters, if you want to use it as a portable device, you’ll almost certainly want a carry case to protect it - Nintendo’s official one is £19.99. If you want to do any serious couch gaming, you’ll likely want the Pro controller for £64.99, and if you want to have a few friends round for multiplayer you’ll want extra Joy-Con - a pair will cost you £74.99. Then there’s a Micro SD card for storage - this SanDisk 128GB card will cost you another £44.99.

The steep accessory pricing means they’re a serious hidden cost for most owners, and you should factor them in when deciding which console to pick up.

Xbox One vs Switch review: Games

At the end of the day, most of us buy a games console for one thing only: playing games. So how do the Xbox One and the Switch compare? With the Xbox One, you’re getting access to an array of major titles released over the last few years, and plenty more on the way. Exclusives include the likes of Halo 5, Gears of War 4, and Quantum Break, along with all the major multi-platform games like FIFA 17, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Battlefield 1. While Microsoft’s lineup of upcoming exclusives is slightly slim, you can be confident that the Xbox One will continue to get a steady stream of big multi-platform games to play.

Read next: Best Xbox One games

With the Switch, you’re more reliant on Nintendo’s first-party games - while some third-party games are on the way, these are mostly indies, old (such as a Skyrim port) or uncertain (such as a promised FIFA game, with no more details than that). As for Nintendo’s own output, most of the promised games look great - there just aren’t all that many of them yet.

Read next: Best games coming to the Switch

At launch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the flagship title, joined by mini-game collection 1-2-Switch. Later in the year we have a port of Mario Kart 8 from the Wii U, ink shooter Splatoon 2, new boxing game Arms, and platformer Super Mario Odyssey in time for Christmas. If you’re a huge Nintendo fan, those titles alone might be enough to entice you into buying the Switch - but if not, you might want to wait until more games are announced to make sure you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

Xbox One vs Switch review: Xbox Scorpio

Finally, there’s one spanner in the works: Xbox One Scorpio. We know that Microsoft is planning to release a super-powered version of the Xbox One some time later this year, but we don’t know much more about what to expect. Microsoft has promised that it will be the more powerful games console in the world when it comes out, but hasn’t revealed any specs, price, or even the official name. In any case though, it will offer a similar experience to the base Xbox One (though no doubt with substantially more horsepower), so the main question remains the same: do you want a traditional home games console like the Xbox, or a handheld home console hybrid like the Switch?

Nintendo Switch: Specs

  • Nvidia custom Tegra processor
  • Nvidia GPU
  • 32GB storage
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • 6.2in 720 touchscreen
  • USB-C port
  • HDMI 1080p output
  • Wi-Fi
  • Around 6 hour battery life
  • Nvidia custom Tegra processor
  • Nvidia GPU
  • 32GB storage
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • 6.2in 720 touchscreen
  • USB-C port
  • HDMI 1080p output
  • Wi-Fi
  • Around 6 hour battery life

OUR VERDICT

The Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch are both very different devices in many respects, so they’re hard to easily compare. The Xbox is slightly cheaper, and offers most of the standard big budget videogames on some pretty powerful hardware, while the Switch gives some handy portable power, and the only surefire way to play Nintendo’s latest and greatest. If you already own a PS4, you might be better off grabbing the Switch for variety, but if you don’t own any console yet, the Xbox might be a safer start.