What is the best game console? Should you go for the PS4 or Xbox One? Or maybe go for a handheld hybrid like the Nintendo Switch? What about portable consoles, or a gaming-focused streamer like the Nvidia Shield?
Game consoles are must-haves for many of us, but they're expensive. Keep in mind that you can still pick up old consoles and games at much cheaper prices, and you can also check out our best games deals to make sure you're getting the best price.
But, for those on the hunt for the ultimate game console, carry on reading.
Xbox One X
The Xbox One X is massively powerful and comes at a steep price - it's the most expensive console on the market right now. But compared to the equivalent gaming PC, it’s exceptionally good value for money. It offers true [email protected] gameplay across a range of games, and even if you don't have a 4K TV, you will see a significant boost in graphical performance.
Ultimately, the One X isn’t for everyone, but if you have a 4K TV that can take advantage of that extra graphical power, you’re in for a real treat.
The latest console from Sony is the PS4 Pro and it will be a must-have for those loyal to the brand, although the PS4 Slim is also an option.
The PS4 Pro can output not only dynamic 4K, but also HDR video, both possible thanks to the upgraded GPU featured in the high-end console. And the 4K resolution isn't limited to video playback like the Xbox One S, although Sony admits many games are upscaled and not native 4K.
The lack of a 4K Blu-ray drive is a little strange, but the PS4 Pro does feature a larger 1TB hard drive. It's the most powerful Sony-branded console on the market, but its specs don't quite match up to the Xbox One X.
Nintendo's latest console is predictably unusual. The Switch is a sort of handheld/home console hybrid - you can connect it to your TV to play on the big screen, or take it with you on the go as a high-powered handheld, with various different control configurations for each setup.
As the most recent major console release, the Switch understandably has the slimmest game lineup of the bunch, so it's not the best bet if you want immediate access to a huge array of titles, but the list is growing every day.
Still, it's the only console where you can play the latest Zelda and Mario titles, and the best bet if you want versions of huge games like Skyrim that you can take with you on the go.
Xbox One S
It's not the high-end variant, but the Xbox One S is a great console for the majority of gamers.
It's smaller and lighter than the Xbox One and the power unit is built-in which is also a nice touch. The launch edition has a whopping 2TB of storage, too. Although the Xbox One S supports 4K resolution, it's limited to video playback so you'll have to hold out for the Xbox One X for 4K gaming (or get the PS4 Pro).
Read more about the Xbox One S.
The new PS4 Slim is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, a smaller version of the original PS4 in a smaller (more rounded) design.
Exisiting PS4 owners won't need to upgrade as the internals are almost identical. Although the new slim PS4 has HDR support, that isn’t a exclusive as it’s also been introduced to the launch PS4 with a software update.
New Nintendo 2DS XL
Nintendo's best 3DS yet doesn't even support 3D, which says a lot about how well fans have taken to the stereoscopic 3D effect.
The New 2DS XL takes the clamshell design of the New 3DS XL and takes away the stereoscopic screens to bring the price point a bit closer to the budget-friendly 2DS, while adding a few tweaks and refinements along the way.
At £129.99/$149.99 this is a very affordable entry point into the 3DS family, and gives you access to the entire DS and 3DS game library - check out some of our favourites to see what you can expect.
Read our New Nintendo 2DS XL review.
Nvidia Shield TV
The Nvidia Shield TV costs £189.99 for the 16GB variation, which may seem expensive for a media streamer, but the games on the system are fairly cheap and storage can be expanded via USB. Android games available on the device start at £0.79, while the more advanced games may set you back up to £10.
While the Shield offers all the same features that a standard media streamer would (on-demand TV, etc) it also offers a number of Shield-exclusive games that are pretty power-intensive.
It also has a game streaming service that costs £7.49 a month, but provides you with a vast library of games to play, which is good value for money. You also have the option to buy the latest console games to play directly on the Shield too.
Read our Nvidia Shield TV review.
New Nintendo 3DS XL
If you like the look of the 2DS XL but you're a sucker for that 3D effect, you'll want to look at the New Nintendo 3DS XL.
Don't worry about the 'New' and 'XL' bits - this is actually the only 3DS on the market right now, though you can of course find older models second-hand.
You'll be paying a bit of a premium for the 3D, but that'll definitely be worth it for some, and Nintendo continues to release top games for the platform on a regular basis which makes it a continued attraction in the console market.
Read our New Nintendo 3DS XL review.
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