PS4 vs Xbox One: which is better?

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'Xbox One or PS4?' It was a question we heard all the time back in November 2013 when the consoles first arrived on our doorsteps and has lingered on the tongues of gamers for the last five years - and who can blame them?

Deciding between the PS4 and Xbox One is like trying to decide which flavor of ice cream is your favorite. Sure, you might have a preference you like to stick with but there are tons of awesome flavors of ice cream and each are great in their own way.

But, if you had to choose just one, which one should you pick? The answer, it turns out, is more complicated than you might think.

Before we dive too deep into the debate, let's set the stage here. Right now, there are two separate versions of the PS4, the standard slim version that's capable of HDR playback and is slightly cheaper and the more expensive 4K-capable PS4 Pro. On the other side of the fence is the Xbox One, now available in the 4K HDR-ready Xbox One S and the ultra-powerful Xbox One X that not only does 4K HDR native gameplay but, in some cases, plays games at 60 frames-per-second.

What that means is if you already own a 4K HDR TV, you should probably opt for a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X to really get the highest visual fidelity from your console but, if you're gaming on a 1080p TV, an Xbox One S or PS4 Slim make more sense.

Great. That settles the resolution debate! But what about games themselves? And entertainment options? Online reliability and marketplaces? Which platform is easier to navigate? Which has better first-party applications?

You have a million questions and, thankfully, we have a million answers. If you can't decide which console is right for you, read on for our in-depth comparison.

PS4 vs Xbox One price comparison

The PS4 and Xbox One prices seem to change by the week, with price drops and bundle deals coming and going faster than handheld PlayStation systems.

While all these bundles are great for consumers, it can be hard to keep up with the latest pricing info. So, in an effort to cut through the noise, here are the latest prices and bundles for each console.

The Xbox One X is clearly the newest console with few discount available, while the PS4 Pro is now a year old, as of this month. It's seeing more discounts and gives you a bit more power than the PS4 Slim while still staying at a reasonable price.

If you want to dial back the cost of either console, check out the latest prices for the Xbox One S and PS4 Slim.

Additional reading

Want to compare the slim consoles? Check out our guide to the PS4 Slim vs the Xbox One S.

Want to compare the 4K HDR consoles? Our PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X guide does just that. 

Look, we can sit here and mete out the differences between each iteration of the consoles, but we really don’t want to be here all day – so, instead we’re going to compare the entire ecosystem of each platform. If you want to really look into the fine details, we have you covered below. Don’t worry. 

Hardware Versions and Design

  • Both consoles are available in two different versions
  • The PS4 has a slim version and a 4K PS4 Pro
  • The Xbox has the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

Both the Xbox One and the PS4 have two separate hardware versions that you can buy right now. This is different than in the past, when each console existed on its own, and lasted an entire generation. 

The Xbox One S improved on the design of the original Xbox One by cutting down a lot of the heft, and removing the gigantic power brick – instead opting for an internal power supply. It measures at just 11.6 x 8.9 x 2.5 inches and unlike the previous version includes a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray player and can even upscale 1080p games to 4K, as long as you have a TV that can support it.

The Xbox One X might be heftier than the Xbox One S, but it’s still considerably smaller than the original Xbox One, measuring in at 11.81 x 9.44 x 2.36 inches and weighing around 8.4 lbs and also opted for an internal power supply. This is the high-powered version of the Xbox One, that allows for native 4K gaming and, much like the Xbox One S, includes a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray player, something that not even the PS4 Pro can boast.

Then starting out the PS4 side of the equation, the PS4 Slim is straight up the smallest of the major consoles available right now, measuring in at 10.4 x 11.3 x 1.5 inches and serving as the baseline PS4 for most consumers, serving as a complete replacement for the original PS4. It doesn’t allow for even 4K video playback, but it can still play the entire killer PS4 game library.

The PS4 was the original 4K console, coming out an entire year before the Xbox One X – even if the ‘X’ eventually outpowered it. It measures in at 12.8 x 11.6 x 2.1 inches. While the PS4 Pro does to at least some extent support native 4K gaming, it doesn’t include a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-Ray Player, an omission that has caught Sony some flak over the last year or so.

  • Our guide to the PS4 Slim vs PS4 Pro outlines the differences between the consoles in more detail. 

Xbox One dimensions

Xbox One is a monster console with lots of vents, but at least it won't overheat

Xbox One vs PS4 connectivity

  • You can't upgrade Xbox One's internal hard drive, but you can on the PS4.
  • Both consoles support the use of external hard drives.
  • The Xbox One has more ports on its rear.

Depending on how your gaming setup is organised, the connectivity of your console could be an extremely important detail.

Both the Xbox One S and X have identical ports, each including two HDMI ports, one for receiving an input from a cable or satellite box, and one that inputs to your TV. On top of those, they’ve each got two USB 3 ports, IR outputs, optical audio out, Ethernet ports and, of course, the power cable – which is compatible with both versions of the Xbox. However, due to the quick and tragic downfall of Kinect, if you want to use a Kinect with either version of the Xbox One you’ll have to go out and get an adapter. 

The PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim have similar inputs, although they are slightly different. Each has a single HDMI out, a single USB port in the back (two in the front), an Ethernet port, and power. The only difference between the Pro and the Slim is that the Pro has an Optical Audio out, while the Slim drops it. One of the most compelling things about the connectivity of the PS4, however, is that both versions allow users to swap out the internal hard drive with one of their choice.

All versions of both the Xbox One and PS4 support 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and gigabit Ethernet. So no matter which console you decide on, you won’t have to worry about network compatibility.

PS4 vs Xbox One rear ports

PS4 vs Xbox One rear ports

PS4 and Xbox One are void of remarkable characteristics on the front. There's a Blu-ray/DVD combo drive to the left (which can play Ultra HD Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X) and their respective, muted-color logos to the right. PS4 has a pair of USB ports tucked between its sandwich-like halves next to where the disc drive is located.