PS4 vs Xbox One: graphics comparison
In this section we'll be comparing the graphical performance of the Xbox One S with the base PS4, as well as comparing the more powerful Xbox One X and PS4 Pro consoles.
Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro: graphics comparison
- The Xbox One X has the edge in terms of both resolution and texture detail.
- However, developers haven't made the most out of the Xbox One X, and many games present minimal differences.
FIFA 18 does very well on the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, with native 4K video output available on both. Despite the differences in the specs of the two machines, there isn't too much to separate the two versions of the game.
Digital Foundry's analysis of the two versions suggests that the only real difference is a slightly better draw distance for the grass on the Xbox One X version of the game.
We'd be wary about drawing too many conclusions about what this says about the relative capabilities of the two consoles. We'd say this is probably a matter of EA having not quite pushed the Xbox One X to the limits of what it's capable of.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
It's a completely different story when it comes to Middle Earth: Shadow of War.
Although the game doesn't run at native 4K on either console, it runs at a slightly higher resolution of 1980p on the Xbox One X compared to the PS4 Pro's 1620p.
Beyond resolution Digital Foundry notes that there are a number of other improvements present on the Xbox One X version of the game. This version has much better textures thanks to the improved memory bandwidth the hardware offers.
The overall result is an image that's much clearer overall on Microsoft's console.
The Xbox One X version is also more configurable, with the option to turn its Dynamic Resolution mode on and off. We're not sure why you would, since this negatively impacts frame rate in favor of resolution, but it's nice to have the option.
Diablo 3 is another game where Digital Foundry has noted the Xbox One X scores another performance win over the PS4 Pro. Both versions are capable of 4K, but the PS4 Pro dynamically scales down significantly more in outdoor areas.
Dynamic scaling is something both consoles do, but it's more of a issue on the PS4 Pro. That said, beyond resolution both games come packing exactly the same textures.
Overall, the Xbox One X is certainly capable of much better graphics and much greater visual customization than the PS4 Pro thanks to its greater power. Looking at FIFA 18 and Shadow of War together, however, shows that better graphics won’t necessarily be the case across every single game – it's really down to the individual developers. That said, the Xbox One X is certainly the more future-proofed option for those interested in getting the best 4K assets.
PS4 vs Xbox One S: graphics comparison
- Games on the original PS4 tend to run at higher resolutions than their Xbox One S counterparts.
While the Xbox One X appears to have the edge over the PS4 Pro, it's a different story when it comes to the Xbox One S and PS4.
A gameplay video on YouTube of GTA 5 pans between the two next-gen versions of the game with a definitive answer. The base PS4 GPU is able to handle more foliage in environments than the base Xbox One.
Yes, you literally have to get into the weeds to see the differences, though both the PS4 and Xbox editions of GTA 5 look stellar compared to their last-gen counterparts.
In the Metal Gear Solid 5 comparison, there's slightly more clarity to the PS4 version. Specifically, distant textures and moving objects appear softer among the otherwise identical Xbox One visuals.
It's a trend we're seeing from PS4 games that achieve a 1080p resolution at 30 or 60 frames per second, when their Xbox One counterparts run at 720p or 900p at 30 or 60 fps.
This is a trend that's continuing today, with video analysis, such as the one below, indicating that Battlefield 1 runs at a consistently higher resolution on the PS4 than the Xbox One, with both consoles hitting the same variable 60 fps frame rate.
It's a similar story when it comes to Titanfall 2, which likewise runs at a lower resolution on the Xbox One.
Overall, the PS4 appears to have the edge on the Xbox One, but both are left in the dust by their more powerful younger siblings.
Xbox One vs PS4 price difference
- PS4 was initially much cheaper than Xbox One
- But price drops have since leveled the playing field
On release, the PS4 price was the more tempting deal: $399 (£349.99 / AU$549) for the console and DualShock 4 controller. The Xbox One was relatively expensive, at $499 (£429 / AU$499) for the system, Xbox One controller and Kinect.
But now, after several price drops from both consoles (not to mention now that the Xbox One has dropped its compulsory Kinect peripheral), the two consoles are much more evenly matched.
Typically we'll see the PS4 priced at around $299/£249 and the Xbox One S at around £149/£199.
In the most recent Black Friday sales, we seen the Xbox One S All-Digital hovering around the $100/£100 mark while the PS4 remained around $100 more expensive at $199. However, these prices are often in flux and, with the next-gen consoles releasing in late 2020, we expect to see Xbox One bundles and PS4 bundles dropping considerably over the next year.
In terms of the more powerful PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, the Xbox One X is more expensive, with an RRP of $499 rather than the PS4 Pro's $399.
What's in the box?
- Both systems come with a controller, trial offers and an HDMI cable
- However, only the PS4 comes with a headset
At launch, Xbox One came with the console, a controller and the Kinect camera – which bumped up the price while annoying many who weren't impressed by the motion capture tech. Subsequent Xbox One bundles included Forza Horizon 3 or FIFA 17 for the same price, while newer, cheaper systems have eliminating Kinect completely while promoting the latest Xbox games – such as Forza Horizon 4.
Both the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boxes contains an HDMI cable and 14-day free trial for Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold online service. There's no USB charging cable, as the Xbox One controller uses batteries out of the box.
However, while the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition box comes with all this, it also includes three digital game downloads and a free trial of Xbox Game Pass - Microsoft's game subscription service.
Inside both the PS4 and PS4 Pro boxes are the consoles and a single DualShock 4 controller. Wires include an HDMI cable (Sony learned its lesson after backlash for not including one with the PS3) and a micro-USB cable for the controller.
Don't throw out the box right away. Tucked inside is a 30-day subscription to PlayStation Plus and a wired mono earbud. You'll get much better sound out of a full-size gaming headset, but it's nice to have a basic one included.