Update: We retooled our PS4 vs Xbox One comparison with a focus on specs, graphics performance, new games and firmware updates.
Both Sony and Microsoft claim to have the advantage in powering gamers through the next decade. To see if that's true, our Xbox One vs PS4 comparison requires an update.
Xbox One gamers finally received Titanfall, a next-gen exclusive courtesy of ex-Call of Duty developers. It came out in late March and Xbox Live subscribers haven't stopped playing since.
We're not at a point where Xbox One and PS4 price drops mean that the average gamer can afford both, so it's important to go feature by feature and pick the best one.
- Order Xbox One now from: Amazon | Zavvi | Tesco | GAME
- Order PS4 now from: Amazon | Zavvi | Tesco | GAME
Xbox One vs PS4 design
Deciding between PS4 and Xbox One is like peeling back an onion, and it starts with the outermost layer, the design.
Xbox One's dimensions make it a menacing gaming beast that measures 13.5 in x 10.4 in x 3.2 in. It's also riddled with vents as to not overheat for another Red Ring of Death scenario.
It towers over every other device (though Microsoft advises not to stand it up vertically), and completely dwarfs our smallest home theater gadget, the app-filled Chromecast.
PS4 has a more distinctive angular shape with an overall stylish design. This half-matte half-gloss console measures a slimmer 10.8 in x 12 in x 2 in at its widest regions.
These dimensions make Sony's machine more media cabinet-friendly, at least next to Xbox One. The new Xbox also weighs a heftier 3.56 kg to PS4's 2.75 kg.
PS4 has the advantage of hiding ports too, though as we illustrated in our video comparison, this can actually make it harder to plug cables into the back of the system.
In this way, Xbox One represents functionality over form. A lot of the specs are comparable, but Microsoft and Sony really diverged when it came to the designs of Xbox One and PS4.
That may matter since you're buying into an expensive console that's going to sit front and center in your living room entertainment system for the next ten years.
Xbox One vs PS4 front and rear ports
PlayStation 4 review
We've fondled the hardware and we've played the games. Check out what we think of the PS4.
More clear cut is the wireless connectivity situation. PS4 makes room for gigabit ethernet and 802.11 WiFi bands b/g/n, while Xbox One includes all of that plus the older 802.11a band.
Xbox One also supports both the 2.4GHz and newer 5GHz channels that are compatible with dual band routers. PS4 limits connections to 2.4GHz, which is likely to have more interference.
Both systems have 500GB hard drives, but only PS4 allows user-replaceable internal drives. An Xbox One teardown found a standard-looking drive inside, but replacing it voids the warranty.
Instead, Xbox One owners will eventually be able to add external storage to their monster-sized system. That's not an option that Sony supports in its "go big or go home" internal approach.
PS4 and Xbox One are void of remarkable characteristics on the front. There's a Blu-ray/DVD combo drive to the left and their respective, muted-color logos to the right. PS3 has a pair of USB ports tucked between its sandwich-like halves next to where the disc drive is located.
Next gen reviews
Xbox One review
Our first impressions of Microsoft's new Kinect-powered games machine.
It's all around back for Xbox One. That's where it has two USB ports (a third port is on the side), HDMI in, HDMI out, S/PDIF for digital audio, a proprietary Xbox One Kinect port, an IR blaster connection and an Ethernet port. To the far right is a K-lock in case you want to lug this system around to LAN parties.
Sony went with a minimalist approach when it came to PS4's rear ports. You'll only find an HDMI out, S/PDIF, Ethernet and PS4 camera port (marked "AUX") around back.
Xbox One is more feature-packed in this area thanks to its HDMI in and IR blaster connections used for its TV cable or satellite box functionality. PS4 lacks this passthrough technology, opting to stick with gaming as its top priority.
Is PS4 or Xbox more powerful?
PS4 and Xbox One multiply the power of Xbox 360 and PS3. More importantly, they were built with smarter internal designs, drawing from mistakes of last-generation consoles.
Chip manufacturer AMD benefitted the most from these upgrades. Xbox One has a custom 1.75GHz AMD 8-core CPU, a last-minute upgrade over its original 1.6GHz processor.
The PS4 CPU remained clocked at 1.6GHz and contains a similar custom AMD 8-core CPU with x86 based architecture.
This represents a roughly 10% increase in processing power for Xbox One, but the opposite is true when it comes to the all-important graphics processor.
PS4 boasts a 1.84 teraflop GPU that's based on AMD's Radeon technology. The Xbox One graphics chip, also with an AMD Radeon GPU, has a pipeline for 1.31 teraflops.
To that point, the PS4 specs make room for much faster graphics rendering than Xbox One, especially when combined with Sony's choice in superior system memory.
Best PS4 vs Xbox One specs for RAM
Even more controversial is the memory under the consoles' matte black hoods. It's not the amount of memory at issue - both are future-proofed with 8GB of RAM - it's the type used.
PS4 has a distinct advantage with faster 8GB GDDR5 memory, while Xbox One went with the slower bandwidth of the 8GB DDR3 variety. But, wait, there's more to it.
Neither system allocates all of that RAM to game developers - some is reserved to run their operating systems.
PS4 reserves up to 3.5GB for its operating system, leaving developers with 4.5GB, according to documentation. They can sometimes access an extra 1GB of "flexible" memory when it's available, but that's not guaranteed.
Xbox One's "guaranteed memory" amounts to a slightly higher 5GB for developers, as Microsoft's multi-layered operating system takes up a steady 3GB. It eeks out a 0.5GB win with more developer-accessible memory than PS4, unless you factor in Sony's 1GB of "flexible" memory at times. Then it's 0.5GB less.
The PS4 and Xbox One specs have similar AMD architecture at their core, but contrast like apples and oranges when it comes to memory. Only developers can determine how this battle is won.