A new game console can be the ultimate holiday gift: They’re new, they’re flashy, and they’re extremely hard for other gift-givers to top. With so many gaming options, however, making the right call can be confusing—especially if you’re not familiar with the landscape. What is an Xbox One X console? Is the Nintendo Switch a console or a handheld? And what’s the difference between a PS4 and a PS4 Pro?
With that in mind, let’s break down the hottest consoles and talk about what makes them excellent gifts:
Xbox One X Price and Features
The Xbox One X console isn’t the original Xbox One. Instead, the One X takes the original Xbox One experience and crams it into the world’s most powerful console: a sleek box full of sharp graphics and next-generation features.
So, what does that mean in practical terms? Its six-teraflop graphics processing unit gives it unbelievable rendering capability that truly shines on 4K televisions. The processing power also gives the system the ability to support virtual reality (VR); while this feature hasn’t been released, having a “VR-ready” console when the appropriate accessory does hit will be a huge perk.
Over 100 current titles have been enhanced to take advantage of the Xbox One X console’s processing power, with more on the way. If your giftee already has a large collection, many of them can be played in graphics-enhanced glory. Throw in other features like high-definition range support and you have a console any Xbox One owner would love.
Nintendo Switch Portable Home Console
Nintendo is no stranger to innovation. This time around, all of the groundbreaking fun comes via the Switch—a portable, tablet-sized console that can be plugged into a dock and played on a television in a matter of seconds.
Much of the Switch’s charm comes from its controllers, dubbed Joy-Cons. They can be snapped into the system for portable play, held independently as a set of “nunchuck”-style controllers, or plugged into a frame for a traditional control experience. They also offer a vibration feature called HD Rumble, which must be felt to be believed—it’s so accurate that it can replicate the sensation of ice clinking in a glass.
The Switch’s game support is also noteworthy. Two titles released for the console this year, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, have been hailed as all-time greats. The system also boasts greater support from third-party (read: non-Nintendo) game developers, giving gamers even more reason to opt for Nintendo.
PlayStation 4 Pro: The PS4, Improved
Like the Xbox One X, the PlayStation 4 Pro (also called the PS4 Pro) takes the PS4 experience and puts it in a more powerful system, complete with support for 4K televisions. As with the One X’s library, this means several PS4 games look a lot better on the Pro. If your giftee has a 4K TV, an upgrade gives them a chance to play their favorites and all the new must-haves in greater visual fidelity.
Unlike the One X, however, the Pro has been on the market for a while. Besides a larger list of supported games, the system has had more time to expand its list of accessories. For instance, it supports virtual reality through its PSVR addition and offers a huge library of VR-capable games.
Finally, the Pro’s list of exclusive games is unquestionably impressive. Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, and Persona 5 are just three titles receiving rave reviews; if your giftee hasn’t had a chance to experience them yet, make this year something special for them.
Now that you’re armed with the information in this gift guide, you’ll be able to choose the perfect console for the gamer in your life.