The Great Debate Between Xbox One vs PS4: Which is Better?
Ever since the PS4 and Xbox One released a mere week apart from one another back in November of 2013, the new generation of console war has raged on.
Saying which is better is admittedly subjective, but each are unique in their own ways, which means there are feasible reasons to choose one over the other.
So if you’re here to find out which between them is the best, you’re in for a treat since we have every comparison possible covered below.
PS4 vs Xbox One: Versions and Resolutions
The PS4 has two versions: there is the standard PS4/PS4 Slim (the slim is basically just thinner), that’s only capable of displaying HDR or high-dynamic range (this improves the quality of dark, shaded areas in the games) and the PS4 Pro that’s capable of displaying 4K resolution.
On the other hand, there’s three Xbox One variations. The base Xbox One, which is comparable to the base PS4. Then there is the Xbox One S, which isn’t just HDR compatible but also 4K-ready; this is comparable to the PS4 Pro. But then there is the more powerful Xbox One X that displays 4K resolution and HDR natively at 60 frames per second. Sony has no comparable console on the market.
Xbox wins this category. But then again, we have to ask ourselves: do any of us win when there are 3 console iterations in less than 5 years?
PS4 vs Xbox One: Size and Dimensions
The PS4 Slim did live up to its name because it’s the smallest among all the major consoles to date. Its dimensions are 10.4 x 11.3 x 1.5 inches while the PS4 Pro is measured in at 12.8 x 11.6 x 2.1 inches.
The Xbox One S has a more compact design than the original Xbox One. The power brick was removed and was replaced by an internal power supply. The Xbox One S measures in at 11.6 x 8.9 x 2.5 inches while the Xbox One X measures in at 11.81 x 9.44 x 2.36 inches.
Playstation wins this category, the least important category, by being small.
PS4 vs Xbox One: Price
Though prices may change from time to time, the constant drop in price is inevitable, especially with the consoles getting older.
But as of September 5, 2018, here are the price range of these consoles, depending on the storage capacity:
- PS4 Slim cost around $300 - $350
- PS4 Pro cost around $450 - $550
- Xbox One S cost around $220 - $250
- Xbox One X cost around $480 - $525
Speaking of storage capacity, we’ll cover more about this on the next section.
According to our research, the Xbox is slightly cheaper on average, but prices can vary depending on season or location.
PS4 vs Xbox One: Storage Capacity
From the official PlayStation website, the Slim offers a 500GB and 1TB versions while the Pro offers only the 1TB versions. However, there are 2GB bundles you could find on Amazon Newegg, or Best Buy.
You can also upgrade the internal hard drive up to 8TB on the PS4. Alternatively, you can also add yet another 8TB of external storage for a whopping 16TB of total storage!
While it’s possible for you to download and install games on the external storage, the console will still save the game data as default on the internal hard drive.
Both the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X only offers 1TB versions from the Xbox official website. While it’s true that you can find 2TB bundled versions over at Amazon Newegg, or Best Buy, the fact still remains that you can’t upgrade the internal storage.
You can, however, add 2x 8GB external storage hard drives for a total of 16TB since you can only plug 2 USB 3.0’s at once.
It’s a tie, really. Because all of the consoles can only support a maximum of 16TB-- that’s it.
PS4 vs Xbox One: Specs (CPU)
Here’s where you’ll see one of the obvious differences between the two console platforms.
The original Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X are all powered by a custom x86 based architecture AMD 8-core processor. As far as clock speeds are concerned, the Xbox One X clocks in at a whopping 2.3GHz while both the Xbox One and Xbox One S is clocked in at 1.75GHz.
Looking at the PS4 side, the original PS4, the Slim, and the PS4 Pro are also powered by a custom x86 based architecture 8-core AMD CPU. The only difference is that the PS4 Slim is clocked at 1.6GHz while the Pro is clocked at 2.13GHz.
Xbox wins by a hair. But remember, GPUs are more important...
To understand the measure of the console’s graphics card, we’ll be using the technical term teraflop, which means a trillion floating-point operations per second. It’s also based on AMD’s Radeon graphics technology.
Now, to visualize the difference in power, the original PS4 had 1.84 teraflops, which won out the comparison vs the original Xbox One’s 1.31 teraflops and even beat the Xbox One S’ 1.4 teraflops.
But although the PS4 Pro has an astonishing 4.2 teraflops, it still is far behind the Xbox One X’s 6.0 teraflops. No wonder Microsoft’s Xbox One X is dubbed as “the most powerful console”.
Sort of a tie? The fact of the matter is you are either looking for the console upgrades because you have a 4K TV, in which case Xbox One X wins. Or you are looking for the base console, in which case Playstation 4 wins.
PS4 vs Xbox One: Connectivity
Connectivity shouldn’t be an issue on consoles because all you need to do is plug everything to the right ports and you’re good to go.
However, if you’re going to run a very specific gaming setup, then it might become a concern.
The PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro have very similar inputs and outputs. Aside from the power input, these are the ports you would find on the PS4 consoles:
|PS4 Slim||1x Out on the back (supports HDR)||1x on the back||2x USB 3.1 on the front||1x on the back||No Digital Out|
|PS4 Pro||1x Out on the back (supports 4K/HDR)||1x on the back||3x USB 3.1 (2 on the front, 1 on the back)||1x on the back||1x on the back (Optical)|
|HDMI||AUX||IR Out||USB||Ethernet||Digital Out|
|Xbox One||1x in, 1x out (both on the back)||1x on the back||1x on the back||2x USB 3.0 (1 on the side, 1 on the back)||1x on the back||1x on the back|
|Xbox One S||1x in, 1x out (both on the back)||1x on the back||1x on the back||3x USB 3.0 (1 on the front, 2 on the back)||1x on the back||1x on the back|
|Xbox One X||1x in, 1x out (both on the back)||1x on the back||1x on the back||3x USB 3.0 (1 on the front, 2 on the back)||1x on the back||1x on the back|
It’s worth noting that you’ll need to get an adapter if you wish to use the Kinect on either the S or X version of the Xbox One because Microsoft has largely dropped support for Kinect in recent years. But, we’ll talk more about the cameras in the next section.
We could give Playstation a win for an upgradeable internal hard drive, or Xbox for 2 HDMI ports, but neither are a big deal. Tie!
PS4 vs Xbox One: Camera and Controllers
When first released, the cameras were an essential part of both of these consoles. In fact, Microsoft went so far as forcing you to have the Kinect bundled with your original Xbox One. However, after the motion gaming craze whimpered away with the Wii, the market all but dried up until the recent popularity of the PlayStation VR.
To be fair, Microsoft’s Kinect 2.0 was promising. With the ability to track and display up to 6 skeletons at once; pick up 25 joints, thumbs, facial expressions, and heart rates with fair accuracy; and all with a 57° horizontal and 43° vertical field of view. But, even with all these great features, there just weren’t any games.
Sony didn’t push the PS4’s camera nearly as hard, but that is probably because it was inferior, although the PlayStation Eye camera does have two 1280x800 pixel cameras with an 85° field of view. Similarly, the camera saw little success.
However, with the release of Playstation VR, the Playstation Eye received a second lease on life. While there aren’t a ton of VR games, this is a worthwhile pursuit if you’re interested in the promise of VR technology. Oh, and you can play Just Dance on it.
Playstation wins here. Sure, their camera sucks, but at least you can play VR games with it.
As far as ergonomics and comfort are concerned, both the Xbox Elite Wireless controller and the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller fit snugly in your hands. Both received nice upgrades over their previous generation’s counterparts, but it is especially noteworthy that Sony finally gave their Dualshock an upgrade. Pair this with a comfortable console gaming chair and you can play games for hours on end.
The DualShock 4 is inspired by the flaws of its ancestors. The grips are textured, and now have a more natural fit in your hand. The top of the analog sticks are also now concave in the middle so that your fingers don’t slip off. Amongst other small changes, this makes the controller more… usable for lack of a better word.
Moreover, it also has a new wired connectivity mode that eliminates input lag commonly associated with wireless Bluetooth connections. It also has a mono speaker that will sometimes play in-game sound effects and a touchpad. However, both of these are under utilized gimmicks, except in rare instances, like Tearaway.
However, it is worth noting that a lot of people have complained about their DualShock 4’s falling apart. This seems to have been worse around release, so it is possible Sony started making better controllers, but it is worth noting, especially if you are rough on your controllers.
The default Xbox Wireless controller doesn’t really have features that make it stand out beside it being heavier and bigger than the DualShock 4. You have a, offset analog stick that may work for you but not for others, a matte black plastic that feels lightly textured but feels nice nonetheless.
Knowing that there are over 1 billion gamers with disabilities, Microsoft also took the initiative to design the Xbox Adaptive Controller. It’s primarily intended to aid people with limited mobility capabilities.
This controller has a very unique design that’s very similar to a double induction cooktop. But don’t let the looks fool you because it also comes with 19 3.5mm ports that you would find on a regular Xbox controller. This allows people with limited mobility to map keys according to their preferred setup. It also has 2 USB ports on either side and bluetooth functionalities. On top of that, this has a battery that’s chargeable up to 25 hours.
Looking at the Xbox Elite Wireless controller, this has features that are designed for pro competitive gamers such as the included four backpedals, the analog sticks that you can swap, the left and right shoulder buttons, as well as the improved D-pads.
One thing that sets them apart is their batteries.
The Xbox Elite Wireless controller still relies on AA batteries while the DualShock 4 has a rechargeable battery. Oh and Microsoft doesn’t recommend rechargeable batteries (although they work fine… most of the time). But since the DualShock 4 has vibration motors on top of having audio speakers and lights-- which Sony stubbornly refuses to let players turn off even after 5 years of complaining-- it can die relatively fast.
Consumers can also immerse deeper in the game just by wearing a quality gaming headset for Xbox and PS4, especially now that you can find reliable headsets under $50.
While it’s possible to add a third party battery, this would void the warranty. Another option is buying a long Micro USB cable.
This is a really hard one. Microsoft obviously supports more diverse options with their Elite and Adaptive controllers. But you can get better, custom controllers for less than the Elite’s $150 price tag. And opening up the 3rd party market puts Playstation on equal footing.
The Adaptive controller is a long-needed solution to a wide range of disabilities and if you or a loved one suffer from a disability, then it will be hard to beat this. This could make up your mind before you even start. But for everyone else, not needing to spend potentially hundreds of extra dollars on batteries per year is nice too.
PS4 vs Xbox One: Exclusives
I know. We are only just now getting to the meat of the issue: the games. But we’re a tech website, so you had to expect us to geek out over the specs before anything else.
To date, there are over 1,800 titles on PS4 with over 500 console-exclusive games while the Xbox One has around 1,600 games with only around 250 console-exclusive. It is in this regard that it is worth noting that Microsoft has faced some scrutiny about the number of exclusives they’ve had over this console generation.
Moreover, as you can see below, many of their most popular exclusive titles are also cross-published onto PC (remember, it’s Microsoft and they kind of have that whole Windows thing). So if you already have a gaming PC, Halo is one of the few franchises you’ll be missing out on.
At that point you might as well invest in an affordable $300 or $400 gaming PC and then buy a PS4 or Switch since Sony and Nintendo seem to actually care about making exclusive games. (To be fair, I actually think it is good that Microsoft ports many of their games to PC. It’s just not good in the context of a console war.)
Here are some of PS4’s best exclusive games:
- Uncharted 4
- Persona 5 (also one PS3)
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Shadow of the Colossus Remastered
- Street Fighter V: Arcade
- Until Dawn
- God of War
- Nioh (also on PC)
- Dragon Quest XI (also on PC)
And here are some of Xbox One’s best exclusives:
- Halo 5: Guardians
- PUBG (Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds) (also on PC)
- Sea of Thieves (also on PC)
- Forza Motorsport 7 (also on PC)
- Gears of War 4 (also on PC)
- Forza Horizon 3 (also on PC)
- Cuphead (also on PC)
- Ori and the Blind Forest (also on PC)
As long as 4K gaming is concerned, there aren’t much to date but here is a list of some of the very popular games that support 4K resolution:
- Assassin’s Creed Origins
- Assassin’s Creed Rogue: Remastered
- Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
- Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection
- Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition
- Burnout Paradise Remastered
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
- Days Gone
- Death Stranding
- Destiny 2
- Detroit: Become Human
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition
- Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
- Far Cry 5
- God of War
- Rocket League
- The Last of Us: Remastered
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Assassin’s Creed
- Assassin’s Creed Origins
- Assassin’s Creed Rogue: Remastered
- Attack on Titan 2
- Battlefield 5
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
- Call of Duty: WW2
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
- Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy
- Dead Rising 4
- Destiny 2
- Devil May Cry 5
- Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition
- Fallout 4
- Fallout 76
- Far Cry 5
- Final Fantasy 15
- Forza Horizon 3
Playstation clearly wins this. Then the Switch comes in second place despite not even being in the competition. Then PC, because all of the Xbox One’s exclusives are basically on PC. Then Xbox One.
PS4 vs Xbox One: 4K Content
One of the greatest features that the Xbox One S, Xbox One X, and the PS4 Pro have in common is displaying 4K quality videos, though they do so in a different manner. All you need is to set your console resolution to 4K UHD and all the output from movies to games will be displayed in 4K resolution.
The Xbox One S and the Xbox One X are the very first consoles equipped with an Ultra-HD Blu-ray player. So if you want 4K DVD movies to watch at home, you know which consoles to get. Just keep in mind that you need a 4K TV or one of the best console gaming monitors to experience quality 4K resolution.
Moreover, if you have one of the best gaming monitors for PC, chances are you can also use this to play on either of these consoles as long as the input and output ports are compatible.
The PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, and Xbox One S all supports 4K resolution but the PS4 Pro has to rely on streaming since this doesn’t have a UHD Blu-ray player like the Xbox One X and Xbox One S. Netflix and Amazon Prime are among the popular places you could go to find 4K quality movies these days.
If you only stream your content, then I guess there is no winner? But it’s just nice to have the option, honestly. Point for Xbox!
PS4 vs Xbox One: Backwards Compatibility
To date, the list of Xbox One backward compatibility games is growing. There are now over 400 discs and Xbox 360 games you can download online. Moreover, consumers can also stream and capture screenshots in older Xbox title games on the new Xbox One consoles.
The PS4 also offers pseudo-backwards compatibility through the PlayStation Now streaming service-- but you’ll have to pay to rent it. If you already own some of the popular games for PS3 like God of War 3 or The Last of Us, then you’ll likely have to spend money to play them on your PS4.
Xbox doesn’t just win, Sony loses. You can’t march out a sub-par game streaming service that supports some titles and then ask people to pay for it and say,”You have access to our old games!” Microsoft has given gamers access to old games that they loved on Xbox 360 without trying to nickel and dime you.
PS4 vs Xbox One: Online Services
Whether you own a PS4 or an Xbox console, there are subscription services that you need to pay for so you can play multiplayer with friends. Here is a table showing a simple comparison between the two consoles.
I’d also like to point out that Sony has been reluctant to support cross platform while Microsoft and Nintendo have embraced it. This led to the locked accounts debacle with Fortnite and has even Bethesda blame Sony for a lack of cross-platform play in Fallout 76.
|Xbox Live Gold||PlayStation Plus|
|3 Months Subscription||$24.99||$24.99|
|12 Months Subscription||$59.99||$59.99|
|Game Discounts||Up to 75% discount on select games||Up to 75% discount on select games|
|Monthly Free Games||2 free games for Xbox One, 2 free games for Xbox 360 a month||2 games for PS4, 2 games for PS3 and Vita a month|
It’s a tie if you’re going to base it on the table but what really makes one better are the monthly free games. We can’t really say whose are better-- PS4 or Xbox One-- since it’s subjective, but Sony has the better games overall, so they have a better pool to pull from.
Moreover, while Sony is being a jerk about cross-platform play, they do have the largest install base meaning that you’re missing out on more if you’re playing on a different network. This upper hand is why Sony holds firm; Microsoft did the same thing last gen when they were in power.
Depending on what you want, a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X may be ideal. Some might even prefer a prebuilt gaming desktops or build a gaming PC especially if you already use your machine for content creation.
Both companies-- and their consoles-- definitely have their strengths and weaknesses. If you are talking about wanting the best tech around, then the Xbox One X is technically the best console both for cutting edge gaming and watching Blu-Rays. However, Sony has marched out a more compelling roster of games, whether it be open world, traditional JRPGs, or cutting edge VR experiences. And you can’t really beat that.
However, Microsoft has also been more friendly… as the generation has gone on. While they started the gen saying that their console would be always online, and that you’d just have to suck it up even if you didn’t want the Kinect, they quickly changed their tune once their sales started to dip. They have more controller options (damn their battery management, though), genuine backwards compatibility, and have helped champion cross platform play (along with Nintendo), while Sony has stubbornly sat at the top of their ivory tower.
Ultimately, only you can choose your side. And there is no wrong decision. Unless you choose the PS4 Slim just because it is the smallest. That would be weird.