Next-Gen

What you need to know to choose the PS5 or Xbox console that's right for you

Or you could just get a Switch.

After months of speculation, Sony and Microsoft have finally revealed pricing details for their next-gen consoles, the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X and Series S. But with two versions of each console, it's easy to get confused about which one of the four is the best choice.

Perhaps you're not looking to buy a console for yourself, but you're looking for a gift for a friend, significant other, or family member. In that case, we've added a few handy bullet points to each section with our opinions about which console is best suited to each type of gamer.

Here's what you need to know about all four new consoles to make the best choice for your priorities and budget.

More stories from Sony’s September 16 PlayStation 5 Showcase:

The PS5 Standard Edition, with optical disc drive.Sony

PS5 Standard Edition price breakdown

The PS5 Standard Edition costs $499. Inside the box, you'll get the console, power cable, and DualSense controller.

Both versions of PS5 are also bundled with Astro's Playroom, a 3D platformer designed to show off some of the haptic feedback trickery of the DualSense controller.

Here's a rundown of the specs.

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
  • GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs @ 2.23 GHz (variable frequency) Custom RDNA 2
  • RAM: 16 GB GDDR6 / 256-bit
  • Frame rate up to 120 fps
  • Resolution up to 8K
  • 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive
  • Storage: 825GB SSD

Here's who should get a PS5 Standard Edition:

  • You're a big fan of Spider-Man, God of War, Last of Us and other Sony-exclusive IP
  • You like having physical copies of games
  • Players with a spotty internet connection
  • You don't want to buy expandable storage later
  • You don't care about backward compatibility for older games, or are content to play them on other platforms
The PS5 family of products, with the Digital Edition shown third from left.Sony

PS5 Digital edition price breakdown

The PS5 Digital Edition costs $399. Inside the box, you'll get the console (no disc drive!), power cable, and DualSense controller.

Both versions of PS5 are also bundled with Astro's Playroom, a 3D platformer designed to show off some of the haptic feedback trickery of the DualSense controller.

Here's a rundown of the specs:

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
  • GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs @ 2.23 GHz (variable frequency) Custom RDNA 2
  • RAM: 16 GB GDDR6 / 256-bit
  • Frame rate up to 120 fps
  • Resolution up to 8K
  • Storage: 825GB SSD

Here's who should get a PS5 Digital Edition:

  • Fans of Sony-exclusive IP
  • Folks with robust internet connections
  • You don't mind buying expandable storage or deleting games as your library grows
  • Price is an issue and you'd like to get a Series S or X at some point too
  • You don't care about backward compatibility for older games, or are content to play them on other platforms

One big distinction between the PS5 and Xbox Series X models that's worth underscoring here: the hardware in the two PS5 models is exactly the same — all that's missing is the disc drive. This is not the case with the two Xbox models. If you get a Series S, you will compromise on processing power and graphics. That said, there's still a lot that's attractive about the Series S coming in under $300. Read on for more details.

The all-black Xbox Series X.Microsoft

Xbox Series X price breakdown

The Xbox Series X costs $499. Inside the box, you'll get the black Series X console, power cable, an HDMI cable, and one black wireless controller.

Here's a rundown of the specs.

  • CPU: Eight-core 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT) custom AMD 7nm
  • GPU: 12 teraflops 1.825GHz (locked)
  • RAM: 16GB GDDR6
  • Frame rate up to 120 fps
  • Resolution up to 8K
  • HD Blu-Ray disk drive
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD

The Xbox Series X is technically a more powerful machine than the PS5. It will support up to 8K resolution and 120 FPS when it comes to the frame rate. It also packs more onboard storage than any PS5 model, with a 1TB SSD drive.

Here's who should get an Xbox Series X:

  • Existing Xbox diehards and Halo fans
  • You want to use previous-generation Xbox peripherals
  • Fans of fast-paced shooting, racing, or sports games
  • Folks with slow internet connections; you'll need that disc drive
  • You like collecting or displaying physical copies
  • Gamers who don't care about Sony exclusives, but do care about specs
  • You plan to use this as your primary console for third-party games
A side-by-side comparison of the Xbox Series X and Series S.Microsoft

Xbox Series S price breakdown

The Xbox Series X costs $299. Inside the box, you'll get the white Series S console, power cable, an HDMI cable, and one white wireless controller.

Here's a rundown of the specs:

  • CPU: 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT enabled)
  • GPU: 4 teraflops @ 1.565GHz
  • RAM: 10GB GDDR6 (8GB @ 224GB/s, 2GB @ 56GB/s)
  • Frame rate up to 120fps
  • Resolution up to 1440p
  • HD Blu-Ray disk drive
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVME SSD (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/s compressed)

For the same price as a Nintendo Switch, the Series S will run games at 1080p, 120 FPS. It also supports ray-tracing. It's less powerful than the Xbox Series X, but still compatible with Game Pass and all the exclusives that will come to Microsoft's next-generation system.

Here's who should get an Xbox Series S:

  • Xbox won't be your primary console
  • You play a lot of retro or indie games
  • You want to use previous-generation Xbox peripherals
  • You don't care about physical copies of your game collection
  • You have a reliable internet connection so downloading games isn't an issue
  • You aren't as fussed about teraflops and specs
  • You don't have a 4K or 8K TV
  • You've never had an Xbox before, but want a Game Pass machine
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