Looking for the best gaming console you can buy in 2023? There's a healthy and robust amount of options in the current year, especially if you're after a handheld. Across Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and beyond, we've rounded up the best of the bunch for your consideration.
The best gaming consoles should be available to everyone. There's good news in 2023, then, as we're seeing far healthier Xbox Series X stock and PS5 stock in-store and online in all major regions. The same can be said of Valve's Steam Deck which is now available to order without reservation.
A fully equipped gaming setup is a joy to own and improve. So we've also gone ahead to bring you everything you need to know from the best Xbox Series X accessories to the best PS5 accessories as well. We've also got you covered on the handheld side of things with the best Nintendo Switch accessories to make the most out of the hybrid system, too.
Best gaming consoles in 2023
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Now well into its second year on the market, the PS5 is easily the best Sony console you can buy right now for its suite of incredible exclusive titles and powerful performance. We've been consistently impressed by just how capable this machine is, and the prowess of stellar software has been backed up by some excellent hardware, too. In particular, the DualSense controller is easily in a class of its own and truly delivers that real, immersive cutting-edge feel.
Some of the best PS5 games are those which push the expectations of modern titles. This is achieved not just through the likes of ray tracing, but also with the elimination of the long loading times of yesteryear. Although the console comes packed in with a relatively limited 667.2GB of usable space out of the box (from the quoted 825GB), an SSD for PS5 can go a long way to alleviating this issue and get you enjoying some top-tier titles in the full splendor of native and dynamic 4K.
Priced at $499.99 / $479.99, the PS5 really sets itself apart as a true value proposition given the power it possesses. You can maximize your gaming experience in more ways than relying on buying discs or digital copies of new titles, too. That's because the revised PlayStation Plus features the Game Catalogue, which gives you access to over 400 games spanning the wider PS brand over the decades. What's more, essentially all PS4 games work on the system as well, whether you've downloaded them through the PS Store in the past or have kept the cases around.
We're very much just scratching the surface of what's possible with PS5, though. PSVR 2 is scheduled to launch in February, so couple this emerging virtual reality tech with the ability to play in up to 4K120 / 8K60, and you've got the makings of a system that's only just begun to flex. If you want stellar visuals, incredible performance, and games you won't find anywhere else then Sony's latest is the system to keep in mind.
- Read more: PS5 review
From a raw technical perspective, the Xbox Series X is the most powerful gaming console currently available, and it is enhanced by the stellar implementation of both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision which makes Xbox Series X games look and sound phenomenal. Now, over two years since the release of Microsoft's tower of power, we're starting to see what the machine is really capable of; pumping out incredible visuals and offering excelling performance across the board.
Priced at $499 / £449, the Xbox Series X is easily able to stack up to what the gaming PC scene is currently offering. That's thanks to its HDMI 2.1 compatibility, meaning up to 4K120 or 8K60 support, and means you also aren't missing out on features such as ray tracing, too. You just won't the performance on display at this price point, which makes Microsoft's latest a real juggernaut that's sure to stand the test of time. What's more, as the system utilizes Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD tech, it isn't slowing down any time soon.
While the Xbox Series X may, arguably, not quite compare in the exclusives department to Sony's frontrunner, we think it's fair to say that team green pulls ahead with its ace in the hole - Game Pass Ultimate. Some gamers may never put a physical disc into their machine with the arrival of what can easily be considered one of the best investments in gaming right now. Through this service, you've got access to not only new Xbox Series X titles, but those all generations of Xbox available in its over 20-year history.
That's not to say that the Xbox Series X lacks compelling software of its own, of course. You've got the great heights of Halo Infinite as well as the blistering trails blazed by Forza Horizon 5 as well. Alternatively, you can take to the skies in the hardware-intensive and stunningly beautiful Microsoft Flight Simulator, too. Of course, multi-plats are going to look and run great on this machine as well, but these are some of the experiences that you're just not going to find from Sony - especially if you're not into PC gaming.
Planning on picking up an Xbox Series X? Consider checking out our best Xbox controllers guide to learn which pads are the cream of the crop.
- Read more: Xbox Series X review
Now that the Xbox Series S has been available for well over two years, availability has stabilized to the point where we're even seeing further discounts on the budget-minded games console, too. With its competitive price point of $299.99 / £249.99, the system has frequently been discounted to as low as $249.99 / £199.99 making for a value package that's hard to argue against.
Keep in mind that you are making a number of concessions in the aggressive price point with the Xbox Series S as it falls behind its larger sibling in a number of ways. For a start, the machine lacks a physical disc drive and is limited to 1440p instead of the 4K of the Xbox Series X.
The 512GB SSD here also may begin to fill out quicker than expected if you're downloading beefier titles that are available on Xbox Game Pass, too. Still, that's nothing that the likes of a Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion card can't solve. That's still enough room for some of the service's better titles all in one place.
The bottom line here is that you're paying roughly 2/3 the price for the Xbox Series S and still getting to enjoy all the great current-generation Xbox games. This means that whether you're after a media streaming center for the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus, the target resolution of this console will make images look far crisper than the standard 1080p picture.
- Read more: Xbox Series S review
The Nintendo Switch OLED is easily the definitive model out of the company's current console lineup. While it boasts the same internals as the stock model, the biggest upgrade with this revision is the screen itself. That's because the larger 7-inch OLED display really makes the most of the admittedly limited processing power which has remained the same for over five years now. Still, as far as handheld and home console hybrids go, you won't find better than this one for the money.
With its $349.99 / £299.99 asking price, the Nintendo Switch OLED positions itself as significantly cheaper than the current leading models from Sony and Microsoft, the PS5 and Xbox Series X respectively. That rate is at the cost of performance, though, as is to be expected from a system that can do both, paying the premium on portability here. If you're someone who primarily plays on the TV in docked mode, you're going to want to stick with the standard Switch, as there are no hardware improvements here to be clear.
With this variant, you're also getting a greatly improved kickstand and significantly better speakers as well, so playing handheld or tabletop will be the way to go here. Simply put, the best Nintendo Switch games are going to look as good as they possibly can with the Nintendo Switch OLED model. It's not quite the Nintendo Switch Pro people continue to ask for, but for what it is, there's no better Nintendo console to rival it right now.
No matter which Nintendo Switch model you're planning on buying, if any, you may be interested in what the handheld hybrid's controller options are. Be sure to give our best Nintendo Switch controllers guide a browse if you're curious about taking your Switch games to the next level.
- Read more: Nintendo Switch OLED review
Even more than five years after its initial launch period, the Nintendo Switch continues to win over the hearts and minds of gamers from all generations. With that at first could be arguably deemed a gimmick, the ability to play Nintendo Switch games not only on the TV but also on the go, was a big deal. Well, it may lack that star power it once did way back when, but there are still a ton of Nintendo Switch games to indulge in, with excellent first-party exclusives and tremendous third-party support that cannot be denied.
While the OLED version has the best features for upgraded handheld play, the original 2017 model certainly doesn't disappoint in the visual department either. More than half a decade on, it's impressive to see what developers have been able to pump out of the small handheld as it goes into its sixth year of market availability. Some recent standouts include the stellar Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and the awesome Bayonetta 3 just to name a few.
The truth of the matter is that the Nintendo Switch hardware is starting to show its age nowadays, though. However, you're not buying the handheld-home console hybrid for its visual prowess of blisteringly quick performance, but for the wealth of exclusive games that you cannot find anywhere else. If you're okay with 1080p resolution when docked and 720p on the go, preferring gameplay to fidelity, then there's a lot to admire about this machine.
- Read more: Nintendo Switch review
The biggest strength that the Nintendo Switch Lite has over the other models in the lineup is the price point and the form factor. While this model doesn't 'Switch' as it were, you're limited to purely handheld play, this model is a little smaller and sleeker than the original and OLED SKUs, so it's more backpack ready.
With its relatively affordable asking price of $199.99 / £200 depending on the colorway, the Nintendo Switch Lite is considerably cheaper than its siblings. You're saving roughly $100 / £60 by forgoing the ability to dock to the TV. Because this a dedicated handheld, that means that you aren't as restricted to the different variants and designs either, as there's a full range of bright and expressive options to choose from including blue, pink, purple, grey, and yellow just to list a few.
There's also the ergonomics of the Nintendo Switch Lite to factor into why it's ideal for younger kids as well. There are no Joy-Cons to lose as with both the standard and OLED models. Instead, the controls are built right into the side. We found in our testing that this version was actually better for those with smaller hands and was more comfortable for longer periods of time. You're getting a slightly smaller screen here, sure, but the same sharp 720p resolution, so there's no performance or visual downgrade here.
- Read more: Nintendo Switch Lite review
Have you ever wanted to get into PC gaming but you were put off by the price point or form factor? Well, that's where the Steam Deck comes in to change up the game forever. It's been available for just shy of a year now, and in that short span of time, the handheld console / PC has won over many who would otherwise be confined to a gaming desk and gaming chair.
With its surprisingly humble starting asking price of $399 / £349 for the most basic model and up to $649 / £569 for the suited-up variant, the Steam Deck packs in a hell of a lot of high-end hardware for those rates. It's available only directly through Valve's Steam client (opens in new tab) at the time of writing. Regardless of the version you opt for, you'll be able to experience many officially Verified (opens in new tab) titles including Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Days Gone, and Stray just at the tip of the iceberg. The list is growing all the time, too, so there's still plenty more to come yet.
That's what's so continually impressive about the Steam Deck as it harkens back to the wow factor we first saw with the Nintendo Switch over half a decade ago; true console-quality gaming on the go. Valve's first foray into the handheld hardware market isn't entirely perfect, as the battery life isn't amazing, but given just how good so many demanding titles look and run on this device, it's a trade-off we'll gladly accept.
Not every game from your Steam library will run flawlessly on this device, but there's a good chance that a sizeable chunk of titles you already own will be compatible straight out of the box. What does that mean for you? Well, if you're someone who has been gaming on PC for a decent length of time, there will be many of the best PC games to play in either handheld or docked modes. That's right, you can connect the Steam Deck up to its own dock and use it as a full-fledged PC as well.
- Read more: Steam Deck review
Best Gaming Console - Frequently Asked Questions
Which is cheaper - PS5 or Xbox Series X?
The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X have an average selling price of $499 to $500, so there’s hardly anything between their average cost. However, the short supply of the PlayStation 5 meant that prices fluctuated between retailers, and since the Series X was infinitely easier to come by, its price remained around the $450-$500 mark. Since both consoles are more accessible at the time of writing, the price point between both is minimal, depending on where you purchase them from, but generally speaking, the Xbox Series X comes in slightly cheaper on average.
Is Xbox Series X better than PS5?
When it comes to deciding on which platform is best, it’s entirely down to user experience. We rated the PlayStation 5 4.5/5, while the Xbox Series X received a 4, but the two sit very closely in terms of performance and power. The Xbox Series X is technically more powerful with its GPU having 12 Teraflops rather than the PlayStation 5, which hosts a hearty 10.3. However, regarding graphical fidelity, both consoles appear pretty identical.
Which Nintendo Switch console is best?
Although the Nintendo Switch OLED is the newest model and boasts a high-fidelity and larger screen compared to the standard Nintendo Switch, there isn’t much to separate the two regarding performance. Of course, the OLED has 64GB of internal storage compared to the standard Nintendo Switch, which has 32GB. But both models have the ability to be played docked or handheld, and there’s no difference in hardware to enhance performance. Since the price point for the OLED is slightly steeper, if you’re not fussed about a smaller display, then the standard Nintendo Switch console takes the lead.