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The Best Game Consoles

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The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S were released in fall 2020. And since there are similar levels of performance and plenty of great games on every system, it can be hard to know which one to buy. The Nintendo Switch complicates the decision, because it’s portable and offers a lineup of fun games for the whole family. The games you like to play, the level of graphics performance you value, and how you play online all go into deciding which console is best for you.

The Nintendo Switch is the most popular console. It’s got plenty of fun games and few downsides, and it’s a favorite among Wirecutter staffers—both the casual players and the video game pros. You can read more about the Switch and why it appeals to so many people in the Switch section below.

If you’re shopping for a console to give to someone else, we recommend sticking with whatever brand of console they last had (and saving the receipt). If you stick with one brand, they can still play the games they already have and connect with the same friends online. And they’ll also be able to play the sequels to any platform-exclusive games they already love.

For everyone else, if you’re ready to jump into the current generation with the PlayStation 5 (disc or digital) or with the Xbox Series X or Series S, we’ve been testing both for more than three years now, and we can help guide you through the differences. If you already know which brand you’ll choose, we also have separate guides dedicated to the new Xbox Series X|S options and the new PlayStation 5 options.

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