The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are no longer individual consoles, but platforms that span several hardware iterations and thousands of games. That makes choosing between them harder than ever before — but we do think there’s a clear favorite in this battle.
Performance, Design, Controllers, Ports & Storage
Both systems can play many of the same games. Performance, though, is dependent on the console you’re using. The Slim PS4 is the more powerful machine, albeit slightly, over the Xbox One S with the ability to typically display games at a higher resolution. The difference isn’t always drastic, but on most TVs, PS4 titles will simply look better. There are some claims of the PS4 dropping frames on some games, and while it hasn’t been reported as a widespread issue — many games run at smooth 30 or 60 frames per second without issue — it’s still worth keeping in mind.
The best course of action is to see how your favorite games perform on each before making your decision. Many gaming websites upload side-by-side graphics comparisons for big releases, which can give you an idea of what to expect.
If you’re investing in the more expensive PlayStation 4 Pro on Xbox One X consoles, however, Microsoft gains the edge. The Xbox One X is capable of running many games at a native 4K resolution and 60 frames per second, consistently outperforming Sony’s premium console.
In any case, these differences only apply to third-party games where the two versions can be compared side-by-side. First-party titles tend to take better advantage of the system they’re developed for, and therefore will look great regardless of which console they appear on.
The standard Xbox One controller retains many of the core elements of the 360 controller, plus it adds two more rumble motors and loses the bulky battery pack on the back. It also has smaller thumbpads on the analog sticks, which some will find refreshing, others frustrating. Microsoft also released an “Elite” version of its controller, one that allows for numerous customization options and multiple triggers for different input variations. While the Elite controller is certainly exciting, it also costs a whopping $150. Unless you’re the hardest of the the hardcore, it’s likely not something you’ll need.
The DualShock 4, on the other hand, showcases vast improvements across the board when compared to the previous DualShock controllers. It’s bigger and comes outfitted with outward-curving triggers, along with a clickable touchpad on the front and a multi-function lightbar. There’s even a little speaker in the controller that some games make effective use of. The embedded thumbpads are larger than the Xbox controller’s, though that’s simply in line with the controller itself. Overall, the PS4 controller feels a bit more hardy, and will fit most gamers’ hands better. It’s a slim margin of victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Ports and Storage
Ports are a telling distinction between the Xbox One and PS4. Microsoft packed an IR Blaster and two HDMI inputs into the One, thus allowing you to connect the console to satellite boxes and cable TV. Considering Sony omitted these ports, it’s clear that Microsoft wants to win over a wider demographic of consumers. Both consoles do tout an Ethernet port, as well as two USB inputs, but only the PS4 comes with a camera port at this point. If you want to use Kinect on your Xbox One S or X, you’ll need an adapter that is now out of production.
Both consoles are available with 500GB or 1TB of storage space, which is enough to house a decent collection of games and other media. Still, 1TB of storage is the bare minimum for most desktop PCs, and nearly four years into the life cycle of these consoles, space can be at a premium if you’re downloading new games regularly. Luckily, both systems’ storage can easily be expanded via external hard drives.
Altogether, there’s little separating the Xbox One and PS4 in terms of connectivity and storage. The Xbox gets the win due to its wider selection of ports.
Winner: Xbox One