PS4 or Xbox One, Xbox One or PS4: what's really the difference?
Each generation sees Sony and Microsoft go head-to-head for dominance in the home console market, with sometimes the slightest improvement in graphics or functionality proving the difference between first place and lagging behind in second.
Both consoles launched back in 2013, and the question of who trumps who has lingered in the minds of gamers ever since. While the PS4 certainly took the lead in sales, both offer something different, and picking your favorite of the two can be fiendishly difficult.
It's also worth noting that the next generation of consoles – the Xbox Scarlett and PS5 – could be with us as early as 2020. If you can't wait until then, or want to get the most out of a current-gen console before it starts being phased out of production, we have everything you need right here.
- What's coming next? Our predictions for Xbox Two vs PS5
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.
But what about games themselves? And entertainment options? Online reliability and marketplaces? Which platform is easier to navigate? Which has better first-party applications? Can we answer all your questions?
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.
While the original iterations of the Xbox One and PS4 launches in the same month, the console upgrades have been a bit more staggered.
The Xbox One X is clearly the newest console with few discounts available. The PS4 Pro, however, is now two years old, and is easier to pick up at a reduced 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.
Look, we want to save you time here. So the box on the right will take you through some of the finer details of each console with their upgraded models, if that's what you're after. Otherwise, we'll be comparing the ecosystems of each platform in the rest of the article below.
- Check out our Xbox One X bundles, US Xbox One bundles, UK Xbox One deals and Australian Xbox One deals pages.
Xbox One vs PS4 hardware 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.
- Our guide to the Xbox One X vs Xbox One S vs Xbox One will clue you in as to the differences in the Xbox family.
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 Pro 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 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 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.
One thing the Xbox One pulls ahead with is smart home integration. 2018 saw Microsoft announce support for Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, meaning your Xbox One can communicate with Amazon's line of Echo smart speakers or other Alexa-enabled devices – and might be a practical alternative to using voice commands through the Kinect. In the US, Microsoft is even giving away free Echo Dots in Xbox One bundles.