- The Nintendo Switch is less powerful than the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but its portability and exclusive games make it a great choice for family gaming.
- The PS5 offers solid performance and exclusive games like Demon’s Souls, while the Xbox Series X is the most powerful console and features Xbox Game Pass for affordable gaming.
- The Switch is more affordable, while the price difference between the PS5 and Xbox Series X is slim, but availability of the PS5 may be a challenge. Ultimately, all three consoles are in a good spot and offer a satisfying gaming experience.
We love a good old-fashioned console war, which is great because it seems as though we’re permanently in the middle of one, with Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo all constantly locking horns in the market.
The Nintendo Switch has been out for a long while now, although its OLED model is newer, and the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have also now been heading up their respective console lineups for a couple of years, so if you’re in the market for some new hardware you might be wondering which one’s best for you. Here are all the details and comparisons you need to know about.
How does each console stack up against the others in terms of performance?
There’s an elephant in the room when you compare these three consoles that we’ll address head-on – the Nintendo Switch is far less powerful than the PS5 or Xbox Series X.
With a maximum resolution of 720p while handheld and 1080p while docked, something that many big games don’t even manage on Switch, you won’t be gaming in crisp 4K on Nintendo’s hardware.
However, it also has the major upside of being portable, which neither of the other two can manage, especially if you don’t want to try remote play on your phone with either.
The Switch OLED version has a 7-inch screen to play on when handheld, though, and games do look absolutely gorgeous on it, and while its modified Nvidia Tegra X1 platform might be showing its age, Nintendo’s first-party games keep looking great on it nonetheless.
Plenty of its top games run at 60FPS thanks to Nintendo’s rigorous quality control, but even if they’re at 30FPS you can generally rely on solid performance from Nintendo’s own games. Ports of games from other consoles tend to be more variable.
Sony’s PS5 translates its huge size into great performance, with 4K gaming now pretty regularly available.
That said, you will find that most big PS5 games have graphical options to let you get your chosen frame rate since 4K gaming tends to render 60FPS difficult for graphically-intensive titles.
This means you might find yourself gaming in 1440p or even 1080p a lot of the time, but with variable refresh rate now added and native 1440p rendering available, this can actually be really great on a good display.
The PS5 is capable of incredibly solid performance, then, and it also stays whisper-quiet without getting too warm in operation, both of which we appreciate.
Xbox Series X
Things are similar for the Xbox Series X, just with a little added beef – this is the most powerful console available in raw terms, although in practice cross-platform titles tend to perform very similarly compared to the PS5.
That means you can again expect rock-solid performance in challenging games, and 4K resolution is often there as an option if you want it.
Like the PS5, we more commonly prioritise a higher frame rate over this raw resolution, but right now the Series X is still feeling like a console with power to spare.
A huge part of any console’s prowess comes down to the exclusive games it boasts over its rivals.
Nintendo continues to have a totally enviable roster of first-party games that can’t be played anywhere but the Switch, making it an amazing choice for anyone looking for a family console in particular.
The likes of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Super Mario Odyssey are instant classics, some of the best games ever released, but there are constant additions to augment this further.
The Fire Emblem series, multiple Pokemon titles, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the titan that is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – the list can go on, and on.
The Switch earns the very highest marks for its exclusive titles, not least because there are just so many that you can’t play anywhere else, including on PC.
Check out our list of the very best Switch games here for more detail.
The PS5 had a strong launch and its exclusive lineup continues to thrill, with games like Demon’s Souls and Returnal really feeling like they showcase what makes the console unique thanks to new haptic controller feedback and unbelievable visuals.
A lot of its best games can be played on the PS4 as well, in fairness, but they’re always at their best on the newer hardware, as showcased by Horizon: Forbidden West, which is a new beast on the PS5.
If you open the field up to include multi-platform games, there are hordes of magical titles to enjoy, from Elden Ring to Dying Light 2, all of them looking as good as they can on the new hardware.
The PS5 might not have as many exclusives as the Switch, but it’s also a few years behind, so we’ll give it time.
We’ve got a list of the best PS5 games you can peruse here, too.
Xbox Series X
Xbox is probably in third place on exclusives thanks to a slightly sluggish release scheduled since the Xbox Series X and S debuted, but it’s still had some great moments.
Starfield has been a huge hit, while Forza Horizon 5 is a stunning open-world driving game, to name two.
The real feather in this console’s cap comes in the form of Xbox Game Pass, which lets you sample a wide range of interesting and sometimes unknown games at a low monthly cost, making it way more potentially affordable to game regularly.
It’s a genius system that means you can explore the Xbox ecosystem with significantly more ease, and it makes the Series X feel like a potentially smart investment.
Browse our list of the best Xbox Series X titles for more information.
This is an area where Nintendo takes a bit of a beating – its Switch consoles do have YouTube, that much we can say. Basically every other major streaming platform is missing, though, so they’re really not media hubs in any meaningful sense.
By contrast, the PS5 and Xbox Series X both have access to a wealth of slick and generally responsive apps from the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and the BBC, getting you access to both live and on-demand services at will. These services are largely available in 4K and with HDR, making for a great experience in general.
Provided you don’t pick up a Digital Edition of the PS5, both consoles also have a disc drive that can play 4K Blu-Rays, so if you’ve got a collection of DVDs or Blu-Rays you’ll be able to watch both on your console, saving you another bit of hardware.
Another major variable when you think about buying a console is obviously how expensive (and readily available) it is.
The Switch exists in three versions but to take its top-range option as the main choice, the Switch OLED can be had for £309.99 or $349.99.
By comparison, the Xbox Series X retails at £449.99 or $499.99,
Finally, the PlayStation 5 comes in at £479.99 or $499.99.
That makes calling which one is the best value a little complex, but the Switch OLED is clearly more affordable (and the standard Switch or Switch Lite even more so), which should be remembered.
However, the price difference between the PS5 and Xbox Series X is either pretty slim or nonexistent depending on where you are. The bigger difference is that while the Series X is now fairly easy to find, it can still be a challenge finding the PS5 in stock, something that could hold you up a bit.
The judgement between these three consoles is actually very similar to the one you would have made five years ago, swapping in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One instead of their successors, meaning it’s still a hard call.
If you want family-friendly games and a huge roster of amazing first-party titles you can’t play anywhere else, we think the Switch OLED is a superb choice that can’t be topped, with couch co-op also a strength. However, if you’re keen to also watch movies or want modern and impressive graphics, this isn’t the one for you.
If that’s your priority, and you don’t mind spending some more money, we lean decidedly toward the PlayStation 5 for its stronger lineup of exclusive games, given that most multi-platform titles perform very similarly on both its hardware and the Xbox Series X. The latter has a strong argument in the form of Xbox Game Pass, but we still think Sony’s games trump it, with more to come.
The good news is that there’s no clear wrong answer here – all three consoles are in a really good spot, so you’re likely to end up happy whichever you pick.