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These are the greatest consoles around… but you wouldn’t have heard of two of them

With so much choice to choose from, what one is best for you?

There’s never been a better time to be a gamer.

Whether you want gaming on the go, supercharged TV streamers or cutting-edge 4K UHD graphics, there is something for everyone.


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But what gaming gadget is right for you?

We go through best gaming options around – including the Xbox One X – to help you decide. Let’s kick off.

Xbox One X

Overview 

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The Xbox One X is going to be the most powerful console ever made.

The X, previously called Project Scorpio, will launch on November 7 with an eye-watering £449 price tag.

Under the bonnet is a six teraflop graphics processor running at 1172 Mhz, 12GB of GDDR5 memory and a 2.3 Ghz custom central processing unit.

It’s significantly more powerful than the Xbox One S and, crucially, trumps Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro in terms of raw power, which boasts a 4.2 teraflop graphics processing unit and a 911 Mhz CPU.

There’s also a UHD Blu-ray player, a component missing from the PlayStation 4 Pro.

Games 

This is where the X really falls down. There are no exclusive games on launch.

What Microsoft does promise, though, is that any game played on the X will have shorter load times and more crisp visuals.

Thankfully, with the likes of Assassin’s Creed Origins, Anthem and Metro Exodus on the horizon, there’s still plenty of games for it to show off its muscle.

The X is also backwards compatible with Xbox 360 and some Xbox games.

Forza Motorsport 7 will be one of the first games to arrive for X

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Forza Motorsport 7 will be one of the first games to arrive for X

Price

The X’s hefty £449 tag will put some people off – especially considering there are no exclusive games for it.

Still, enthusiasts won’t be fazed.

Verdict

If you’re after a raw power and want the most powerful console in the world, then X marks the spot.

But Sony’s PS4 Pro, which will likely see price cuts around Christmas, is still an incredible machine – and with brilliant exclusives, it still has the edge.

For now.

Xbox One S

Overview 

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It may look the part, but the Xbox One S is essentially the same machine as the original Xbox One. Bar a couple of minor improvements.

It now has a 4K Blu-Ray player, supports 4K video steaming and high dynamic range (HDR). The latter will result in more vibrant, life-like colour when you play games.

However, it’s still upscaled from a 1080p image if played at 4K.

Games 

All Xbox One games can be played on the S.

However, as time goes on, more and more games will support HDR, to make the most of the Xbox One S’s tweaked hardware.

Thankfully, all games can still be enjoyed with some form of HDR, even if they’re not officially supported.

Forza Horizon 3 is one of the best Xbox exclusives around right now and looks much sharper on the Xbox One S

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Forza Horizon 3 is one of the best Xbox exclusives around right now and looks much sharper on the Xbox One S

If you have a Gold membership, you’ll also get free games to download via Games with Gold.

These can be a bit of a mixed bag, but are usually very good.

GTA-style gangster epic Sleeping Dogs and fun multiplayer monster hunt Evolve are just a couple of decent games to be included in the offer in the past.

Price

The average Xbox One S will cost you around £250 – but will likely be bundled with a game to sweeten the deal.

Verdict

If you’re after a good all-rounder, the Xbox One S is the way to go. It’ll give you decent performance and the 4K Blu-Ray player is a masterstroke.

Sadly, if you’ve got a 4K TV, games won’t look much better – even with HDR switched on.

If 1080p is your thing, it may be best to pick up a deal on the older Xbox One – which are still being flogged at a huge discount as Microsoft tries to clear old stock.

PS4 Pro

Overview 

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If you want more power right now, then the Ps4 Pro is the way to go.

Think of the Pro as the ‘sports car’ version of the PS4 – tweaked, refined and built for performance.

In fact, it’s twice as powerful as the PS4 in some tasks.

The PS4 Pro’s graphics chip is rated at 4 TFLOPS (trillion floating point operations per second), where the Xbox One is at 1.4TFLOPS.

Unlike the Xbox One S, it doesn’t have a 4K Blu-Ray player. These can cost around £400 if bought separately.

Elsewhere, you can opt for PSVR, which works a treat for games such as Resident Evil 7.

PSVR is still too expensive to recommend a purchase, though – with units retailing for around £350.

Games 

Huge win here for Sony’s console, with certain games getting a ‘Pro’ upgrade to capitalise on the power boost.

This means the Pro can deliver games at higher resolutions, whilst maintaining a stable frame rate.

We’ve already started seeing some games taking advantage of the new hardware.

Horizon Zero Dawn is arguably the best-looking game ever made – including titles on PC

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Horizon Zero Dawn is arguably the best-looking game ever made – including titles on PC

Battlefield 1 on Pro, for example, has seen a 40 per cent increase in frame rate in some areas over the traditional PS4.

Sony’s best exclusive is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End … definitely worth checking out. There’s also the brilliant Horizo Zero Dawn.

Pro will also arguably make cross platform games look their best (bar if they’re running super-expensive high-end PCs).

The upcoming Agents of Mayhem for example, should see more stable framerates and crisper presentation than its Xbox One S counterpart.

Agents of Mayhem, arriving next month, will likely make the most of the PS4 Pro’s power

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Agents of Mayhem, arriving next month, will likely make the most of the PS4 Pro’s power

Through PlayStation Plus, you get a couple of games for free every month – although they’re usually not as good as Games with Gold.

Saying that, this month the brilliant Just Cause 3 is available. Get in.

Price

The Ps4 Pro usually comes in at around £349 – but without a game.

Expect this to come down at the tail-end of the year when the X launches.

Verdict

If you have a 4K TV and want to see a noticeable step up in visuals and performance, PS4 Pro is definitely for you.

While it’s not quite up there with top PCs, Pro is massively more cost effective – and will serve you well for years to come.

The standard PS4 Slim is no slouch either, though – and at about £150 cheaper, is remarkable value for those gaming at 1080p resolution.

It even has HDR, too.

Nintendo Switch

Overview 

The Switch is a remarkable piece of kit but needs more games if it’s become truly special

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The Switch is a remarkable piece of kit but needs more games if it’s become truly special

The Switch is the latest addition to the console market – and arguably the most exciting.

It’s comprised of a portable tablet-like device and a docking station for home play.

The hybrid machine boasts a decent 6.2-inch HD touch screen and clip-on ‘Joy-Con’ controllers that can also be used independently as mini gamepads.

When in ‘handheld mode’ the Switch can be used on the go – which is where it really comes into its own.

If playing on the TV is your thing, you simply connect the screen into a dock. This ups the graphical resolution from 720p to full 1080p.

The Joy-Cons can be clipped to a ‘Grip’ to make a normal-style game controller.

Under the hood there’s a Nvidia ‘customised’ Tegra processor – essentially the same architecture as the cheaper Nvidia SHIELD TV.

Games 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are the only ones worth buying right now.

The Nintendo store, which offers some smaller indie and retro titles, is relatively sparse but will become more populated in time.

Another exclusive, Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle is superb, too – and will be another massive title to add to the Switch’s impressive five million units sold.

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which arrives in August, is another huge exclusive for the Switch

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Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which arrives in August, is another huge exclusive for the Switch

Price

The Switch can be picked up for around the £280 mark, with games costing between £40-60.

The Pro controller, which resembles a traditional game pad, costs just shy of £70 – but is not recommended.

Verdict

When used as a handheld, nothing comes close to the Switch. It’s ever so slightly too big for commutes but this won’t put people off.

Connect it to a TV and it’s not as spectacular – with its visuals not able to keep up with the PS4, Xbox One or SHIELD.

Games are extremely limited, with Zelda and Mario Kart the only games to really warrant a purchase. They are great, though.

If you’re on the fence, wait for Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle – something tells us it’ll be incredible.

Nvidia Shield TV

Overview 

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The Nvidia SHIELD is a small but mighty Android TV streaming service that doubles up as insanely powerful gaming rig.

Rather than the old school way of having a dedicated graphics card, SHIELD TV taps into super computer farms placed strategically around the world.

These “play” the games  – streaming them back to you at 1080p / 60FPS – providing your internet connection is fast enough.

It’s all thanks to the Nvidia TEGRA chip – yep, the same processor found in the Switch. It’s also capable of streaming on-demand TV and movies from sites such as Amazon Prime in UHD (4K) – making it an excellent all-rounder.

For PC gamers, the SHIELD can team up with your rig and stream games from your PC.

This means you can have your PC in the office, and be playing the games on the main TV in the living room.

Thankfully, it looks the part – with clean, crisp lines and an attractive, well-built remote and game pad.

Games

NVIDIA offers a service called GeForce Now, which offers hundreds of titles – which, admittedly vary in terms of quality – for a £7.49 monthly fee.

Think Netflix for games.

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The Witcher 3 runs incredibly well on the Shield – as long as you have a fast enough internet

Don’t expect FIFA 18 on there, though. While the selection is impressive, including Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3 and a load of Batman games, some of the most popular titles won’t be appearing on the platform any time soon.

Thankfully, there are a host of games playable via the Android Store – which all run perfectly. There’s an impressive selection of Indie games on there, too.

Price

Here’s the best bit – the SHIELD comes in at £189.99 – which, for this amount of hardware is an absolute steal.

Verdict

Brilliant all-rounder that excels at streaming UHD TV and delivering breathtaking performance in games.

A word of warning, though. Nvidia recommends a 5-10 Mbps internet download speed to use GeForce Now… that’s super quick.

Oh, and best invest 5GHZ router, too. By far the best one out there at the moment is the insanely powerful NETGEAR Nighthawk.

This state-of-the-art dual-band router allows you to tailor exactly how much bandwidth you want to use for gaming.

The S8000 Switch makes the Nighthawk ideal for gaming

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The S8000 Switch makes the Nighthawk ideal for gaming

It even features both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels.
Add to the mix 1GHz dual core processor, for insanely fast internet speeds, not to mention high powered amplifiers and external antennas, and you’ve got a serious piece of gaming kit.

The NETGEAR Nighthawk is a serious piece of kit

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The NETGEAR Nighthawk is a serious piece of kit

If your speed isn’t up to the mark, you’ll still be able to play games – but expect some lag and the resolution to drop.

However, if it’s fast enough, the SHIELD is a viable, attractive alternative to the mainstream consoles.

PC

Overview 

OK, OK – not a console – far from one, in fact, but bear with us.

A few years ago, PC gaming was thought to be on the way out. How wrong we were.

In fact, it’s never been more popular – and building a powerful PC has never been easier or more cost effective.

We’ve broken it down by resolution and included the costs below.

1080p gaming – equivalent to the Xbox One S /  PS4 Slim 

witch

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1080p gaming is still the most popular way to play and will remain so for some time

If you’re looking for something with similar performance to the Xbox One or PS4 at 1080, opt for the GTX 1050Ti.

It’ll offer great performance at 1080p resolution and, at around the £130 mark, is much cheaper than a new Xbox One S or standard PS4.

The AMD equivalent, called the RX 460, isn’t quite as refined, but for the same price will offer solid 1080p performance.

Games such as The Witcher 3 still look stunning at 1080p on PC – easily trumping the console versions.

Ultra graphics at 1080p and beyond – (PS4 Pro-level of performance)

cry

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Crysis 3 may be a few years old but is still the benchmark for many PC gamers when it comes to visuals

For around the £200 mark, you can end up with an AMD RX 480 – which runs at around 5.2 TFLOPS… more than the PS4 Pro.

Even better, consider Nvidia’s brilliant GTX 1060 card, which offers console-beating 1080p performance and solid frame rates at 1440p.

With all this extra horsepower comes a host of cool features that are often parred down on console.

For one, thanks to greater GPU memory, you’ll be able to activate advanced anti-aliasing techniques, which smooth out the overall image.

Textures, frame-rates, draw distance – all of this will be massively improved, too.

To test it out, try Crysis 3 (above) on Ultra settings.

For a game that’s more than three years old, its visuals will still blow you away.

4K Ultra-level graphics gaming at 60FPS (Beyond PS4 Pro and Xbox One X)

This is where PCs really start to pull ahead from consoles.

Nvidia’s older Geforce GTX 980Ti is currently the best budget option – but even that will struggle a bit at 4K.

Metro Exodus, out later this year, will arguably look its best on the PC – if the previous games in the series are anything to go by

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Metro Exodus, out later this year, will arguably look its best on the PC – if the previous games in the series are anything to go by

For a little over £600, Nvidia’s GTX 1080 offers superb performance at Ultra settings at 4K.

Expect silky smooth framerates even with graphics options turned up to Ultra. Battlefield 1 looks absolutely stunning at 4K using this card, especially.

Verdict

PC gaming is the only way to go if you’re after the very best in graphics and performance.

Don’t get put off by new waves of graphics cards coming out either.

Opt for a card that has at least 4-6GB of graphics memory and you’ll be fine for at least the next two years.

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The GTX 1080 may be pricey, but with an enormous 8GB of power, will last you years

However, read the graphics card specifications carefully.

Putting a huge 4K-capable beast into a massively-ageing PC won’t work due to power supply and cooling issues. Always make sure to check your power supply (PSU) is up to the task.

Retro Freak

The Retro Freak is one ugly mofo… but does its job very, very well

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The Retro Freak is one ugly mofo… but does its job very, very well

Overview

A true blast from the past, the Retro Freak is actually 11 consoles in one.

It supports NES, Famicom, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, TurboGrafx-16, PC Engine and PC Engine Super Grafx.

There are ports for each of them, – just plug in the cartridge and you’re off.

Now for its greatest trick.  You can save your games to a SD card or the system’s internal storage – so you can create a library of your favourite retro games.

Games

Need we say more. Any game released on the compatible consoles can be played. There are even high-quality filters you can put on them, but they don’t work too well.

The standard controller is a bit lame, too.

If you want to play with friends, you can plug in a PS4 controller – but you’ll need to keep it connected via USB.

Price

The Retro Freak comes in at around £170 – pretty heft for an emulator. Plus, it looks horrendous – so you’ll want to keep it hidden in a cupboard.

Verdict

Nice piece of kit and games all work well on it. But it’s ugly, so very ugly.


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