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Best Gaming Consoles | Image: Man of Many

7 Best Game Consoles to Play Right Now

PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X? Nintendo Switch OLED or Steam Deck OLED? These are the real questions you’re probably asking yourself if you’re in the market for one of the best game consoles. Ultimately, it might boil down to choice when you’re deciding between the big two, but with a handful of portable consoles hitting the market (ASUS ROG Ally, Steam Deck, etc.) the competition is getting fierce.

Legions of loyalists from each side of the fence have begun engaging in the kind of hostile debates that you’d typically find between rival sports fans. So goes the gaming experience in the modern era and we’re not here to judge. What we are here to do is guide you toward some of the best gaming consoles that money can buy right now. Let’s get into it!

Best Consoles for Gaming at a Glance

Highlights from our list include the following:

Now that we’ve looked at our favourites, let’s check out the complete list.

RELATED: These are the best power banks and portable chargers we’ve used.

Sony ps5 slim
PlayStation 5 (Slim) | Image: Sony

1. PlayStation 5 (Slim)

Price: from AU$769 (Digital), AU$799 (Disc)

  • Pros: Between its deft sleek design, mid-range CPU-rivalling hardware, comfortable DualSense controllers, and a huge library of popular game titles, the PS5 leaves precious little to be desired.
  • Cons: Some users may find that even 1TB of storage (which is more like 850GB) still isn’t enough to suit their needs meaning you’ll need to spend around $250 on an M.2 SSD to get 2TB of added storage.

Sony’s PlayStation has been wildly popular since it was first introduced with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The fifth iteration—aka PS5—touts a uniquely curved and futuristic design, which looks all the more sleek on the “slim” version that has replaced the original PS5.

The differences are surface-level as the internals remain the same, it’s reduced in volume by more than 30% and it’s up to 24% lighter compared to the full-fat PS5.

While we’re yet to get our hands on the Slim model, we’ve been using the original version of the PS5 almost every day since it was released and fundamentally the performance of the product remains unchanged. Compared to your average gaming PC this game console is a relative bargain that outputs 4K resolution, 120hz refresh rate, HDR, and delivers 1 TB of storage, and 3D audio amongst other things.

The DualSense Wireless Controller is one of the biggest upgrades over the previous generation PS4. They remain comfortable in the hand for hours of gameplay, and while you’ll probably turn off the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers if you’re a die-hard gamer, they’re a fun addition for casual gameplay. You can even buy a DualSense Edge controller (AU$339.95) that adds re-mappable buttons and changeable stick caps.

If you’re a serious gamer who likes to keep multiple titles loaded and ready to go, the PS5 lets you upgrade your storage with M.2 SSDs (sold separately). The high-speed solid-state drives can be installed at home in less than 10 minutes and let you choose between the PS5 console’s in-built storage, a connected USB extended storage device and the added M.2 SSD storage.

PS5 Slim Specifications:

  • CPU: x86-64-AMD Ryzen “Zen 2” with 8 Cores / 16 Threads and Variable frequency, up to 3.5 GHz
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine with Ray Tracing Acceleration and Variable frequency, up to 2.23 GHz (10.3 TFLOPS)
  • System Memory: GDDR6 16GB with 448 GB/s Bandwidth
  • SSD: 1TB with 5.5GB/s Read Bandwidth (Raw)
  • Video Out: Support of 4K 120Hz TVs, 8K TVs, VRR (specified by HDMI ver.2.1)
  • Audio: “Tempest” 3D AudioTech
  • Input/Output Front of Console:
    • USB Type-C port (Super-Speed USB 10Gbps)
    • USB Type-C port (Hi-Speed USB)
  • Input/Output Back of Console: USB Type-A port (Super-Speed USB 10Gbps) x2
  • Networking: Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) Wi-fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
Xbox series x
Xbox Series X | Image: Xbox

2. Xbox Series X

Price: from AU$799

  • Pros: The most powerful Xbox to date is a true competitor to the Sony PS5 and offers a handful of exclusive titles (e.g. Forza) and the best value-for-money monthly subscription of all game consoles. Of course, it does this while delivering 4K resolution, outstanding performance, and a disc drive for BluRay at up to 8K with HDR.
  • Cons: Globally, the PlayStation 5 continues to grow its market share which has resulted in a wider online player base and more competitive play, especially online. It’s still the preferred choice for most gamers.

Microsoft’s answer to PlayStation 5, the Xbox Series X delivers similar levels of power and performance with its line-up of exclusive titles. In fact, that’s the main reason to choose a PS5 over an Xbox Series X or vice-versa. It’s almost entirely down to the games titles you have access to and want to play as they perform equally in our testing. There are, however, a few software and subscription differences that might have you leaning towards the Xbox.

Perhaps its biggest draw is an online subscription service called Game Pass, which puts hundreds of games at your fingertips for AU$11.95/month. Sony launched a similar membership plan with tiered subscriptions priced from $18.95/month, but being quite an expensive subscription, we haven’t had a chance to test that membership out yet to compare it to Game Pass.

As for the difference between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, the more expensive option has 3x the processing power, supports 4K resolution, and has a disc drive. It’s also $300 more expensive, but if you’re serious about finding the ultimate gaming console on the market, we can only recommend the best.

Related: Xbox’s ‘Indiana Jones and the Great Circle’ Looks Like Pure Adventure Gold

Xbox Series X Specifications:

  • RAM: 16 GB GDDR6 RAM
  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT)
  • GPU: Custom AMD Radeon RDNA Navi 12 Teraflops, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz with DirectX Ray Tracing
  • Video output: Native 4K, 8K Support, Up to 120hz (120fps)
  • Storage: 1 TB NVMe SSD Storage Drive
  • External storage: Seagate Proprietary External 1TB SSD Expansion Card, USB 3.2 HDD Support
  • USB:
    • Front: One Type-A USB Port
    • Rear: 1TB External SSD Slot
  • A/V Hookups: Native 4K, 8K Support, 2 HDMI 2.1 Ports
Xbox series s
Xbox Series S | Image: Xbox

3. Xbox Series S

Price: from AU$499 (512GB) in White, $549 (1TB) in Black

  • Pros: The Xbox Series S improves upon its predecessors and comes in at a lower purchase price than the Series X or PS5. Its space-saving design and fast performance speeds make it a perfect point of entry for casual gamers.
  • Cons: With a lower price point and slimmer design comes less built-in storage and reduced graphic resolution, amongst other things.

The slim and affordable alternative to the Xbox Series X, the Series S is often described as the perfect starter console for new gamers and we’d agree. It’s $300 cheaper than the Series X, but you lose the integrated disc drive, 4K resolution, and most of the processing power. What you gain is a small form factor that could fit anywhere, and we’ve even brought ours with us on holidays to play in downtime.

You still get 120fps game-play, and unless you have a TV or monitor that supports 4K resolution there’s no need to have it. You could also argue that you don’t need the full 12 teraflops of power to play a game in 1440p resolution and you can easily make do with 4 teraflops.

Our only major complaint is that the built-in storage capacity (512GB as standard) can fill up quickly so you’ll have to choose the 1TB unit which carries a price tag of $549 and edges close to Series X money. Of course, you could spend the difference on upgrading the internal storage, but we’d recommend getting the X first.

The Series X and Series S can play all the same games, they get access to Xbox Game Pass, and if you’re on a budget, this is a great option that will keep you (or your children) happy for years to come.

Xbox Series S Specifications:

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT)
  • GPU: Custom AMD Radeon RDNA 4 Teraflops, 20 CUs at 1.55 GHz with DirectX Ray Tracing
  • Video output: 1440p, 4K Support through playback or upscaling (120fps)
  • Storage: 512GB NVME SSD Storage Drive
  • External storage: Seagate Proprietary External 1TB SSD Expansion Card, USB 3.2 HDD Support
  • USB:
    • Front: One Type-A USB Port
    • Rear: 1TB External SSD Slot
  • A/V Hookups: HDMI 2.1 Port, Upscaled 4K Support
Steam deck oled
Steam Deck OLED | Image: Supplied

4. Steam Deck OLED

Price: from AU$1,299

  • Pros: This is an outstanding handheld device for serious gamers. Like many Nintendo Switch owners, our poor Switch has been collecting dust ever since we got our hands on the Steam Deck OLED. It offers more power and a more impressive display with up to 90hz refresh rate. It also syncs with the Steam platform so you can play every game from your PC in your hand.
  • Cons: Like other hand-held PC gamers, high-level games will deplete the battery life of the Steam Deck OLED very quickly. We’re talking 2-3 hours max.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to carry around your PC in your hand, let us introduce the Steam Deck OLED. This is the latest iteration of the device that started it all, combining a 7.4-inch OLED display with a 90hz refresh rate and powerful hardware for smooth gameplay. Of course, this is backed by up to a 1TB NVMe SSD so you can store all your games internally.

Compared to the non-OLED models, the Steam Deck OLED adds a handful of new hardware and software features that improve battery life. It starts with the 6 nm APU for better efficiency, more thermal module thickness, and improved memory power management firmware. There’s also a larger 7.4-inch screen and support for WiFi 6E, and we found the sticks were grippier and more controlled when gaming.

In our time with the device, we also used the Steam Deck OLED as a PC when working from home. With the correct adaptor, the USB-C port can handle multiple inputs from your keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

Steam Deck OLED Specifications:

  • Processor:
    • CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
    • GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.6GHz (1.6 TFlops FP32)
    • APU: 6 nm AMD APU at 4-15W
  • Display:
    • Resolution: 1280 x 800 x RGB
    • Type: HDR OLED
    • Display size: 7.4” diagonal
    • Maximum Brightness: 1,000 nits peak brightness (HDR) and 600 nits (SDR)
    • Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1
    • Color gamut: 110% P3
    • Refresh rate: up to 90Hz
    • Response time: <0.1 ms
  • Memory: 16 GB LPDDR5 on-board RAM (6400 MT/s quad 32-bit channels)
  • Storage: Up to 1TB NVMe SSD
  • Ports: Display port over Type C; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB3 gen 2
  • Network and Communication: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
  • Battery: 50Whr battery. 3-12 hours of gameplay
  • Power Supply: TYPE-C power supply 45W
Rog ally feature
ROG Ally | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

5. Asus ROG Ally

Price: from AU$1,299

  • Pros: One of the most powerful portable gaming consoles on the market. Considerably more powerful than the Steam Deck with more freedom of games e.g. Xbox Game Pass.
  • Cons: Running at 30W, it uses a lot of power. You want to use max power to get the most from your games, however, it eats through battery life when doing this and you’ll end up turning it down to save battery.

Just when you thought nothing could compare to the performance and portability of the Steam Deck OLED, the ROG Ally enters the chat with greater performance and display capabilities. We had a chance to use this one for an extended period at launch and were impressed by the hardware and underlying performance, but since then the brand has added gyroscope aiming and plenty of updates to iron out intermittent crashing.

RELATED: You can read our full ASUS ROG Ally review right here.

Let’s talk hardware first. Compared to the Steam Deck, the ROG Ally is equipped with a Ryzen Z1 Extreme that brings 8 Zen 4 cores and 12 RDNA 3 cores for up to 8.6 TFLOPs, according to AMD. On the other hand, the Steam Deck is equipped with the older Ryzen Z1 with 6 Zen 4 cores and 4 RDNA 3 cores for up to 2.8 TFLOPS.

This performance does come at a price though, because the Ally is let down by below-average battery life and during our testing with games like Forza Horizon 5 we managed to get less than 1.5 hours of gameplay at 120fps. This is with VRR (variable refresh rate) switched on, a feature unique to the Ally. Of course, you can turn the power down through the Armoury Crate for extended battery life or plug in a large power bank.

We also weren’t the biggest fan of the Windows interface which means navigating on minuscule touch buttons to find your way around the device. It’s not a seamless experience like the Steam Deck which uses its own operating system in a similar way to the Nintendo Switch.

Asus ROG Ally Specifications:

  • Processor:
    • CPU: AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme Processor (“Zen4” architecture with 4nm process, 8-core /16-threads, 24MB total cache, up to 5.10 GHz boost)
    • GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics (AMD RDNA™ 3, 12 CUs, up to 2.7 GHz, up to 8.6 Teraflops)
    • TDP: 9-30W
  • Display:
    • 7-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS-level
    • sRGB: 100%
    • Refresh Rate: 120Hz
    • Response Time: 7ms
    • Brightness: 500nits
    • FreeSync Premium
  • Memory: 16GB LPDDR5 on board (6400MT/s dual channel)
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD (2230)
  • Ports:
    • 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
    • 1x ROG XG Mobile Interface and USB Type-C combo port (USB 3.2 Gen2, DisplayPort 1.4)
    • 1x UHS-II microSD card reader (supports SD, SDXC and SDHC)
  • Audio:
    • AI noise-cancelling technology
    • Hi-Res certification (for headphone)
    • Dolby Atmos
    • Built-in array microphone
    • 2-speaker system with Smart Amplifier Technology
  • Network and Communication: Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2
  • Battery: 40WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
  • Power Supply: TYPE-C, 65W AC Adapter
Switch oled
Nintendo Switch OLED | Image: Nintendo

6. Nintendo Switch OLED

Price: from AU$539

  • Pros: It’s exactly what it says on the tin. The Switch OLED delivers the same versatility as its predecessor with notable improvements to the display that’s larger and has better colours. It also added better audio for when you’re not playing with headphones.
  • Cons: The OLED model doesn’t improve the experience when placed in ‘TV mode’ so current Switch owners shouldn’t think about upgrading unless they play a lot in-hand.

If it’s a casual hand-held gaming console that you’re after, we think you should start your search with the Nintendo Switch OLED. While it’s been challenged by PC-like hand-held devices in the Steam Deck and ASUS ROG Ally, the Switch OLED is the top-of-the-range from Nintendo and still the benchmark for this segment. This is our favourite because of the exclusive games: Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 3, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons are just a few that you can only play on Nintendo Switch.

RELATED: Nintendo Switch 2 Reportedly Coming in 2025 with Larger 8-Inch LCD Screen.

The OLED model offers a larger 7-inch display with near-perfect colours, improved audio, added internal storage, and an upgraded kickstand. It’s around $70 more expensive than the Switch original, but we think the price is worth it for these features.

Those who are considering upgrading from the original Nintendo Switch should probably wait for now as a Switch 2 or Switch Pro is surely on the horizon as the console enters its 7th year of production. It’s also worth mentioning that the OLED model doesn’t add anything from a hardware perspective, nor when the device is placed in TV mode, so you won’t get better resolution than 1080p.

Nintendo Switch OLED Specifications:

  • Screen: 7.0-inch touch capacitive OLED Screen (1280 x 720 resolution)
  • CPU/GPU: NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
  • Storage: 64 GB of internal storage, expandable with microSDHC or microSDXC cards up to 2TB
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Video output: 1080p via HDMI in TV mode, 720p in tabletop mode and handheld mode
  • Audio output: Compatible with 5.1ch Linear PCM output
  • Speakers: Stereo
  • USB connector: USB Type-C for charging or connecting to the Nintendo Switch dock
  • Headphone/mic jack: 3.5mm 4-pole stereo (CTIA standard)
  • Internal battery: Lithium-ion battery/4310mAh
  • Battery life: Approx. 4.5-9 hours (5.5 hours for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild).
  • Charging time: Approximately 3 hours
Nintendo switch
Nintendo Switch | Image: Nintendo

7. Nintendo Switch

Price: from AU$469

  • Pros: Nintendo Switch generates sharp resolution and excellent gameplay across different user modes and offers a terrific library of classic games.
  • Cons: The console provides limited storage and some owners find the controllers to be a little difficult to use.

The best alternative to the Nintendo Switch OLED is the original Nintendo Switch whose main selling point is the fact it’s $70 less expensive. There’s also the Nintendo Switch Lite (AU$329) that we’ve been using for the last few years, but it’s only suitable for hand-held gaming.

The classic Switch is all most people will need, offering gamers the choice to play in either handheld, tabletop, or plugged-in TV modes.

Compared to the Switch OLED the first real difference is the screen size (6.2-inch vs. 7-inch screen) and quality which is noticeably average compared to the OLED model when using them back-to-back, but still decent enough for casual gameplay.

The audio from the built-in speakers is also down a notch and you don’t get a LAN port in the dock so you’ll have to deal with wireless connections only, unless you plug in a LAN adaptor. Finally, the kick-stand is tiny by comparison so it can be tough to use if the surface isn’t perfectly flat.

Still, the Switch can often be found on sale as most people gravitate towards the OLED model. If you can find a good deal and you’re a casual gamer who wants to play in TV mode most of the time, the classic Switch is a great option.

Nintendo Switch Specifications:

  • Screen: 6.2-inch touch capacitive LCD Screen (1280 x 720 resolution)
  • CPU/GPU: NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
  • Storage: 32 GB of internal storage, expandable with microSDHC or microSDXC cards up to 2TB
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, TV Mode LAN adapter (sold separately)
  • Video output: 1080p via HDMI in TV mode, 720p in tabletop mode and handheld mode
  • Audio output: Compatible with 5.1ch Linear PCM output
  • Speakers: Stereo
  • USB connector: USB Type-C for charging or connecting to the Nintendo Switch dock
  • Headphone/mic jack: 3.5mm 4-pole stereo (CTIA standard)
  • Internal battery: Lithium-ion battery/4310mAh
  • Battery life: Approx. 4.5-9 hours (5.5 hours for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild).
  • Charging time: Approximately 3 hours

Why You Should Trust Our List

Man of Many’s tech writers spend as much time writing about tech as they do testing and reviewing the latest cutting-edge devices. When choosing the best gaming consoles, they leaned on their years of experience to choose the best, evaluating performance hardware and software, value-for-money, battery life, and quality of display when comparing hand-held devices. Each time a device is brought in for review, they’re evaluated against these criteria before making the top of the list. In some cases, new devices may not be fit as a recommendation so they’re added to the ‘alternatives’ section.

This is a general guide that helps steer buyers in the right direction and provides all the information that we believe you will need before purchasing. However, if you want a more in-depth analysis of any of these products, we’ve added links to the full review or spotlight article for each product.

What To Look For When Buying a Gaming Console

When choosing the best gaming consoles we have one goal in mind: to point you in the right direction, no matter which console you might be looking for. We’ve included portable game consoles like the Steam Deck but focused our attention on standalone products like the Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X as these are what most buyers are looking at.

Our process for choosing mainly involved real-world testing where we played on the consoles regularly, and talked with colleagues in our office, and other industry experts who also have hands-on experience with these consoles to gauge their opinions and compare them to ours.

These are the aspects we looked at when deciding our list:

  • Exclusive titles: The biggest difference between the two main game consoles( PS5 vs. Xbox Series X) are the titles that you can play. Ultimately, if you want to play Forza Horizon 5 and you don’t have a gaming PC, you’ll have to buy an Xbox. The same goes for PlayStation if you want to play Spiderman. This is the single biggest factor to consider when deciding between them.
  • Performance: This section was evaluated differently when looking at standalone consoles vs. portable consoles. Standalone consoles have no issue running the titles that are designed for them, whereas portable consoles can struggle when you adjust graphics settings. We judged them differently because of this and included the top performers only.
  • Value for money: Does the product deliver on its promise at a fair price point? The very idea of a game console is to create a seamless experience that offers high-level gaming at an affordable price. If you want ultimate performance, buy a custom gaming PC.

Your FAQs Answered

What gaming console has the best graphics?

Both the Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are equally matched when it comes to graphics. They’re both capable of 4K @ 120hz gameplay with HDR.

Is the PlayStation 5 better than the Xbox Series X?

Both consoles are equally matched when it comes to performance. The main difference between the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X is the exclusive titles that are created for each brand and this is often the determining factor for casual gamers. Those who want to play competitively are better off with a Sony PS5 as the online player base is larger and offers more competition than Xbox.

What’s the difference between PS5 Slim and regular PS5?

There are no performance differences between the regular PS5 and the PS5 Slim. The Slim is 30% smaller and it’s up to 24% lighter compared to the regular PS5.

Can you still buy a standard PS5?

The PS5 Slim has replaced the standard PS5 and when stock of the PS5 runs out you won’t be able to buy one anymore.