Top 5 Gaming Consoles - Buying Guide 2016


11/18/2016 11:06:54 AM

Randy Ho

Top 5 Gaming Consoles - Buying Guide 2016

Video games have been a worldwide phenomenon for the last few decades. From 8bit pixels to almost 4K HD gaming, video games have been the source of technological advances toward media and entertainment mediums. The feeling of getting lost in new world with puzzles and adventure is the utmost greatest feeling of escaping reality. But, there are much more than just games. The console have much more to contribute to the feeling of the games and the demographic they hold. This simple to understand guide will help you choose the gaming console you will enjoy the most! We researched, tried, enjoyed, cried and gamed on all these consoles for you, the reader, to get a grasp of the new age of video game consoles!





Gaming Consoles - Buying Guide


The GPU is one of the biggest factors in determining a console. Essentially, GPUs, graphics processing units, handle all the video/graphic outputs. The better the GPU, the better the display resolution, processing of intense graphics, and clocking speeds to maintain FPS. Good GPU = Good FPS = Good experience in game.


Processors are the foundation of the consoles. Processors, or CPUs, are basically the brain of the whole network. The central processing unit (CPU) handles all the information and processes that information to make sense of the commands of the games. The stronger the CPU, the faster it processes each little bit of information needed to perform.


Video outputs are important relative to what television or eyesight you have. Consoles typically have higher video resolutions and are able to display those resolutions with amazing colors but not all the consoles have the same power to display these pixels. Not all televisions have the power to display these consoles to its potential. Some of these consoles have blu ray compatibility and some don’t.  This information is to help the buyer to understand what is the best option for their current situation.


Game libraries differ between these game consoles. Some of the Sony consoles have exclusive games that are only with the Playstation series. Some of the Microsoft consoles have exclusive games that are only with the Xbox series. Most of the Nintendo consoles have exclusive games that are only with Nintendo consoles. This category will help determine which gaming library is a perfect fit for you, the buyer.


Gaming consoles are more than just for gaming! Each console have their own apps and media programs to enjoy yourself off the controller. Some of these apps are unique to their own systems!


The designs of the console is also one of the biggest factors when wanting to know which one is right for you. This list of consoles include 2 portable handheld consoles and 3 gaming boxes! The specs and weight of the console may contribute to the consideration of your purchase. All these consoles are fairly portable, but is it worth it? Let’s find out.


Extras: Some consoles may have some features that may impact your purchase too! Whether backwards compatibility or virtual reality is up your alley, we’ll let you know.



Sony Playstation 4 Pro


The Playstation 4 Pro (Neo) is regarded as the strongest gaming console on the market as of 2016. With it’s Integrated AMD Polaris graphics with 4.2 teraflops of performance, the PS4 Pro is about 2.3x stronger than its previous iteration, the PS4 Slim, with 1.84 teraflops of performance. The PS4 Pro with a much more vigorous GPU would mean that the clarity and smoothness of the 1080p (or even 4K) gameplay will be stable. I believe this would cater to the hardcore gamers of the Playstation 4 world as opposed to the all-in-one system the previous Playstations 4 provided.

Although the PS4 Pro had a GPU upgrade, the CPU remains the same. The PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro rock the AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64). This CPU was custom built from the AMD lab just for the Playstation 4. An 8 core CPU just means that the CPU chip is built with 8 individual mini CPU’s that work together to run in a more responsive way. There is no CPU upgrade but we have to keep in mind of the next generation consoles that are in production.


The video output of the PS4 Pro is expected to be able to hit up to 4K! With this said, it is uncertain if the games that are available will have a 4K native gameplay or will be upscaled. Sony has claimed that the developers have a lot of power to do their own enhancement on their games. The PS4 Pro with the CPU and upgraded GPU will be able to run 4K games and 4K video content. The only catch is that the PS4 Pro is bare bones in a sense that it is a gaming console. The PS4 Pro does NOT have a blu ray player built into the console. Sony has stated that the PS4 Pro will not have a blu ray player but will be able to play 4K videos and films from their media library. No blu ray player but a stronger system? Sign me up.


The Playstation Network has been upgrading their game library as of late. From the previous Playstation games remakes to a hefty amount of exclusives, the PS4 game library extends to 1,200 games and it’s still growing! As of October 2016, the PS4 library consists of 360 console exclusives including big names like the God of War series, Uncharted, Bloodborne, The Last of Us, and many more! The appeal to a lot of PS4 exclusive games are the action-adventure story based games. So if you love getting immersed into an abyss of action packed narratives, the PS4 game library will draw you in. There are even a huge base of indie games and previous iterations of Playstation games.


The Playstation Network currently has about 50 apps that are available to download onto the PS4. The PS4 apps specialize in HD to 4K streaming as its foundation for apps with it’s library ranging from sports channels to streaming platforms like Netflix and twitch.tv. For other types of media, there is a gigantic collection of themes for the interface and home screen; music, sponsored by Spotify; video editors, The Share Factory, to record and clip your game clips to share with the world! Most of these apps are essentially free or come with the Playstation Now subscription.


The dimensions of the PS4 Pro are 12.8x11.6x2.1 inches, which is slightly larger than the original Playstation 4 at 12.01x10.8x2.0 inches. The PS4 Slim is 11x10x1.5 inches, which is significantly smaller than both of them by a few margins. If space is integral to you, a PS4 Slim is a great choice as it is smaller than the PS4 Pro and the original PS4 but is essentially the same as the OG PS4’s processing power. With that said, the OG PS4, PS4 Slim, and the PS4 Pro are relatively close in weight at 6.2lb, 4.6lb, and 7.2lb respectively. The biggest factor in the PS4 Pro’s weight and size attributes from the lack of Blu-Ray and increase of processing power.


There are several things you can do with the PS4 that require accessories. The usual one that comes to mind is the Playstation Camera. The camera includes a camera, mic, and a motion sensor within the cam. This accessory allows for hands-off entertainment such as voice commands, games, streaming gameplay, and plenty of other new things as it is updated. Another extra for the PS4 is the upcoming virtual reality headset. In the upcoming months, Playstation plans to revolutionize the mix of virtual reality and gaming into the homes of many. The VR aspect of the PS4 include the 2 move controllers and the above, Playstation Camera. It may not be as amazing as the high-end tech of the other VR, but it sure as hell is more affordable!




XBox One S


The XBox One S runs on a custom made Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 914MHz at 1.4 teraflops of performance. The original Xbox One had a Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 853MHz with 1.31 teraflops of performance. Comparing from the OG Xbox One, the Xbox One S has about a 7.1% increase in performance. Although negligible, the Xbox one S provides a little more stability in games, apps, and supporting 4K/ HDR. The Xbox One S’ GPU is better suited for the upcoming releases of HDR and 4K releases and rereleases of games compared to the original Xbox One that can only run up to 1080p and does not support HDR.

The CPU of both the Xbox One S and the OG Xbox One are the same: 1.75GHz 8-core AMD custom CPU. A slight increase compared to the PS4 series at 1.6GHz. As stated above, an 8 core CPU just means that the CPU chip is built with 8 individual mini CPU’s that work together to run in a more responsive way. The Xbox One S takes almost half of the energy of the original Xbox One to power but is slightly louder with the cooler fan. The Xbox One S is honestly a buffer for the next console in line: the Project Scorpio.


Video output in the Xbox One and the Xbox One S are night and day. The original Xbox One does not support 4K and HDR, while the newer model does. The Xbox One S supports 4K and 4K upscaling for 4K TV’s. If games suggest that the gameplay should be in 4K, your previous settings of 1080p scaling gets overridden and the game is automatically in 4K. In a sense, it’s a win-win because if games do not have 4K, 1080p will suffice.


The Xbox One S have compatibility for both the BluRay and HDR. With this in mind, the Xbox One S is able to stream and play up to 4K videos! Although it is designed to play these high quality content, the gaming aspect only goes up to 1080p. This should not impact gaming as much because there are a low amount of games with actual 4K gameplay.


The game library of the Xbox One S quite the handful. Ever since November 2015, the Xbox One had an update with backwards compatibility. There are a ton of featured games from the Xbox 360 that require the disc and a download. With that, the Xbox One game library is no joke either. The library includes a variety of exclusives like the Halo series, Gears of War, Forza, Titanfall, and many more. There are about 900 games including the 30 exclusive games on the Xbox One systems. Here is the list of backward compatible games that can be saved and played on the Xbox One: https://majornelson.com/blog/xbox-one-backward-compatibility/ And to add to the big collection of Xbox One and the 360, the Marketplace also includes Indie games that consist of 3,400 games. Whether they are fully developed or not, the Xbox One list of games are ongoing. The playlist goes on and on.


The media department is what the Xbox One ecosystem thrives on. With about 50 apps and other medias, the Xbox One is the console for you are looking for a multimedia machine! Through these apps, the Xbox One is able to stream movies, watch television shows, stream games, play music, relax with small interactive games, and plenty more. Likewise, the Xbox One is able to play DVDs, BluRays, USBs, and CDs of most content that you already have!


The Xbox One S goes for 11.6x8.9x2.5 inches and is 6.4 pounds, which is significantly smaller than the original big brother of Xbox One at 17 x 14 x 5 inches 7.8 pounds. The biggest difference between the two is that the Xbox One S could stand upright with its smaller frame and aesthetic exterior. The interior isn’t bad, too! The Xbox One S has a more compact design where the components of the previous system are closer and layered perfectly to fit into the small frame that is the Xbox One S. The whole Xbox One S is slightly bigger than the previous Xbox’s power supply.


With the Xbox One S, gamers are able to use the kinect motion sensor system! The kinect system has a motion sensor, a microphone for remote voice command, automatic recognition, a 1080p camera like webcam, and using kinect as a controller. There are even remote controls for the Xbox One systems if you like using it as a television set! The media remote controls all the things your normal controller can do but with shortcuts and a smaller frame. The Xbox One systems also interact with the DISNEY INFINITY series for interactive figures and video games.





Wii U

Although not the strongest GPU of the big 3, the Wii U’s AMD "Latte" 550 MHz GPU w/ 320 shaders is strong enough for the games that Nintendo run on. The GPU goes for 550Mhz compared to the 914Mhz Xbox One and PS4 Pro. Compared to the original Wii, the Wii U has a significant advantage over the O.G. and is up to par against the PS3 and Xbox 360. To these extents, the Wii U can run games on 1080p with decent frame rates!

The Wii U has the Tri-Core PowerPC “Espresso” CPU! The strength of this processor comes from the 1.24 Ghz speed it clocks at. It is comparable to the intel CPU of i5 480M or the Pentium 5800! The Espresso CPU is greater than the Wii’s Broadway CPU in terms of GFLOPS, with Espresso coming in at 14.8 GFLOPS and the Broadway with 2.9 GFLOPS.


Wii U’s video output is the greatest Nintendo products has seen! The video outputs go up to 1080p with 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i resolutions supported! The previous iteration, the Wii, can only go up to the low resolution of 480p. Wii U’s finally have that HDMI input cord that has been missing forever in its consoles.


The Wii U do not have capabilities for HDR and BluRay. Unfortunately, the Wii U can only manage a 1080p resolution and that only. The videos, games, and movies only run up to 1080p.


Nintendo’s library of games for the Wii U is massive! From the evergoing exclusives to downloadable HD remakes of games, Nintendo’s support for the Wii U gaming library exceeds the likes of the 2 other big 3 consoles with 716 games to date. With the likes of the Super Mario series, Super Smash Brothers, The Legend of Zelda, Splatoon, and Bayonetta 2 to say the least, the Wii U does not lack any comprehensive depth to their game library. It has action-adventure, family party games, dancing games, gore, creative use games, and plenty, plenty more genres. Free demos, mini game downloads, DLC, and more are also available to the users with typical small to moderate costs! If you like playing new games, you will never be bored! The Wii U even has backwards compatibility for Wii games!


The typical media apps used on the Wii U are Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon! With just the Gamepad, users are able to watch without the presence of a TV. Wii U’s typically have the social media apps like Facebook and Twitter but also the creative apps like a drawing app, writing, and miiverse!


The Wii U is approximately 1.8 inches high, 10.6 inches deep and 6.75 inches long and 3.5 pounds heavy. Compared to the Wii’s 1.75 inches high, 6 inches wide and 8.5 inches long and 2.65 pounds, the Wii U is significantly bigger and weighs almost a pound more! That much space and weight is contributed by the processing power and capabilities the Wii U has over the original. The Wii U seems much more clean in terms of design where it’s supposed to be put laid down and with the gamepad, which doubles as another screen!


The Wii U package contains a sensor, video chat, gamepad, and styluses as extras. The gamepad alone doubles as a screen, tablet, and a controller! Nintendo intended the Wii U to have community based fun with Miiverses and online matchmaking in most games to play with friends or opponents around the area!




Nintendo 3DSXL


The Nintendo 3DSXL runs on a 268 MHz DMP PICA200 GPU. PICA200’s are designed by DMP, a Japanese GPU company. The PICA GPUs are supposed to be for small, handheld systems to be decent arcade machines! The GPU is comparable to mobile phones as it is stronger and more stable than phones.

The 3DSXL has the 804 MHz ARM11 MPCore quad-core CPU. The CPU itself is a boost in performance over the previous iterations of the 3DSXLs and will probably be the go-to for newer titles on this handheld console. The sheer increase in performance may be needed to play higher quality and demanding games at a consistent framerate. This newer CPU correlates to the performance of the menus, booting speeds, downloading speeds, and the overall framerate of games.


For a handheld console, the 3DSXL is full of surprises on a small screen. The duo screen design of the 3DSXL brings the whole experience of touch screen play mixed in with 3D  to bring the culmination of innovative gameplay on the go! The screens are 4.88 inch display @ 800x240 display! The resolutions seem remarkably small compared to the previous consoles but it makes sense as this is made JUST for handhelds. It’s meant to fit in your pocket, your bag, your mom’s purse, and backpack pockets! Although a small resolution, the colors and textures of the games in 2D and 3D look marvelous and high quality!


There are no BluRay or HDR compatibility with the Nintendo 3DSXL. It may be a controller or connect to a Wii U that have 1080p quality but no such for HDR/BluRay.


Nintendo’s gaming library overlaps with much of the Wii U library as the 3DSXL is able to connect and play Wii U games. With the high point of 975 titles as of late 2016, the 3DSXL are full of exclusive titles such as Animal Crossing, Phoenix Wright, Mario Kart, and the world known, Pokemon! The 3DS games from previous generations are backwards compatible to the 3DSXL! The newer 3DSXL does have its advantages for certain games with the extra controls, although not really that much of a difference. The most common games for the 3DSXL are action-adventure, puzzle games, and interactive multiplayer games like Mario Kart, Pokemon, or Super Smash Brothers. If you like playing games that have a lot of replay value, look no further, the 3DS might be the handheld console you need!


One of the best features of the 3DSXL is the 3D aspect of the games! You could immerse yourself into the overlapping pictures, the touchscreen gameplay, video apps like Netflix, swapnote (like a texting app), and Club Nintendo, an app that collects information and rewards the user for helping!


The 3DSXL is sized to be 93.5 mm high x 160 mm wide x 21.5 mm thick (closed) with 2 x 4.88 inch screens on the top and bottom halves. The 3DSXL is much larger than typical mobile consoles and slightly larger than mobile phones but it is easy to access when storing in a pocket or a bag. The 3DSXL has built in speakers, a microphone, a touchscreen, d-pads, action buttons, trigger buttons on the sides, and a stylus port! With its compact design, the 3DSXL has the tools to play games to the creative minds of the users.


The 3DSXL contains a small infrared LED sensor and a camera in the front with 3D motion tracking and capabilities for 3D photos and 3D videos! On the back, there are 2 outer cameras that do not have the infrared LED sensor but they do have ok quality pictures at a 640 x 480p pixel range or 0.3 megapixels. The 3DSXL also include an internet browser, a friends list, and a screenshotter!




PS Vita

The PS Vita is one of the stronger handheld consoles of its time. It runs on PowerVR SGX543MP4+ Quad-Core 200Mhz to 600Mhz, which is comparable to the mobile phone Samsung Galaxy S3(which is inferior to the Vita). Although not quite the comparison from a mobile phone and a gaming handheld, the PS Vita is primarily on gaming and some other medias. On a head to head battle, the PSP did have a strong GPU for its time, but now, the PS Vita outperforms it on all different scales. Comparing to the PS2 and PS3, the PSP played PS2 decently… not that greatly but the Vita plays the PS3 games quite remarkably for its size!

For the PS Vita’s CPU, it runs on a custom ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore Quad Core at 800Mhz to 1.2Ghz. Compared to the PSP at  333Mhz processor, the PS VIta is almost 3-4 time stronger in terms of just processing speeds. In return, this means faster menu, faster booting, faster game reading, and faster overall experience with the PS Vita.


The video output of the PS Vita goes for 960 x 544 resolution in qHD. In simple terms, qHD is quarter high definition which is a high definition resolution resized down 4 times for a smaller screen. For its time, the qHD PS Vita screen were top notch as most mobile phones did not come close to exceeding the 720p HD mark.


There is no BluRay or HDR compatibility. Though the PS Vita can play with and act as a controller for the PS4 systems, which is pretty sweet.


The game library is as extensive as the Nintendo “counterpart” closing in on 1355 PS Vita games. The PS Vita games typically have a fan base of JRPG, action-adventure, strategy, and many more. The bulk of the games range from JRPG, Vita ports of previous PlayStation games, and many exclusive titles that include Persona 4 Golden, Final Fantasy and Tearaway! The PS Vita has the capability to download and run PS1, PS2, and some PS3 titles! Shhhh! You didn’t hear this from me but the PS Vita is also able to use a remote desktop program to play PC games at a decent rate. Go search it up…… Didn’t hear this from me, alright? And YEAAAAH, PS Vita games are compact and easy to store!


For media and apps, the PS Vita functions as a multimedia BEAST. You’re able to store videos, music, games, stream live content, movies, and everything else on the go! From social media to creative apps like Paint Park, the PS Vita app store contains media apps, third party game apps, and *AGAIN, DIDN’t HEAR THIS FROM ME* a homebrew system full of apps and new content that is originally not from Sony themselves.


The design of the PS Vita fits perfectly in your pocket! Rocking at a 183.6 x 85.1 x 15.00 mm build, the PS Vita has a dpad,iconic shaped buttons, touchscreen back, left and right trigger buttons, motion sensors and analog sticks to compliment gameplay as well as other apps. The console itself weighs about 7.7 oz which is a little bit more than an iPhone 7! Now, that’s bang for your buck for a gaming system.


The extras on the PS Vita include the capability for remote play on the PS4! The PS Vita doubles as a screen and a controller when using remote play and tends to be quite awesome when you can go to the toilet and beat the final boss on a stage. That’s badass to the fullest.



Honorable Mentions:


Nintendo Switch


The Nintendo Switch, previously known as the Nintendo NX, is a portable-stay-at-home console hybrid! The Nintendo Switch made its debut in October, 2016 with its trailer showcasing a tablet-console mix. The console is able to switch up from being a handheld tablet with detachable controllers to a stand-up console being displayed on a television. Nintendo is putting their foot down in the console war and showing the world their new innovative technology that will push immersive gameplay to anybody in reach. The Nintendo Switch also wants to make their mark on the gaming world by suggesting support for eSports with their upcoming titles. To be honest, this may flop or be the greatest console for the years to come.



Project Scorpio

The Project Scorpio is a new system Microsoft is coming up with to compete with Sony’s PS4 Pro. Project Scorpio is trying to break into the console market as a top notch multimedia, strong gaming platform that will immerse players into the world of high definition, and hyper realistic gaming with virtual reality and 4K games. No more news has come out on the design, price, compatibility, and goals except the 4K capability.  



That’s it! If you survived, let us know what you picked! Did you get some influence from us? Tell us your gamer tag, we might even add you!

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