We help you choose the right next-gen console.
Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X / S have been released, and if you have not already decided, it’s high time. A not very easy decision when both systems are good really good. To help you make a decision, here’s a review of the strengths and weaknesses of Sony and Microsoft’s latest wonders.
Price and models
Playstation 5 is released in two versions: with and without optical disc reader. The first, which is simply called Playstation 5, costs around SEK 6,000, and the discless, slightly narrower Playstation 5 Digital Edition is a thousand bucks cheaper. In terms of performance, they are identical, but only the more expensive one can run your old PS4 games on disk. Of course, this is also the case if you want to watch blu-ray movies or are thinking of buying physical PS5 games.
PS5 is released with and without optical disc reader. The price differs but not the performance.
Xbox is released as Series X and S. Here too, only the X model has a disc reader, and thus the same conditions apply as with the PS5 choice. The Xboxes cost around SEK 5,700 and SEK 3,600, respectively. For the money you save on S, you get a console with a slower processor and graphics part, which has smaller and slower memory and half the storage space. It is also about half as big.
Price, size, performance, disc reader – there are many differences between the Xbox Series S and X.
The round ends in a draw as both business models have their advantages and disadvantages.
Xbox Series X is the more powerful machine on paper with a faster processor and higher teraflops figure for the graphics device. But the PS5 has faster internal SSD storage, and according to Sony, it will affect how we look at games. Whether it also affects the performance balance between the two consoles remains to be seen when developers have learned to take advantage of the strengths of the two systems.
And the Xbox Series S? A budget machine in this context.
The round goes to Xbox Series X – barely. Remember that this match will last for years.
Technology and functions
“Virtual surround sound when plugging in optional headphones”
When you start the PS5, you are greeted by a completely new interface, loosely based on it from the PS4 and with some new features. In the navigation menu at the bottom there are Cards, or tabs, which change depending on what you do and can provide shortcuts to get into multiplayer modes with the old regular gang, built-in walkthroughs, game info and more. It will be interesting to see how developers will use this.
A more important innovation is 3D Audio, which gives you virtual surround sound when you plug optional headphones into the 3.5-millimeter socket of the controller. Superb.
The Xbox Series console interface is almost identical to the Xbox Ones, and although it feels a bit dull, it works well today. Below the surface is Quick Resume, a feature that freezes the moment you leave a game and allows you to resume it later in a few short seconds. Excellent, but it is unclear which games are supported, and perhaps less necessary now that the games still load SSD quickly.
The Xbox controller has a new share button for streaming and for saving / sharing movies and photos. But the movie recording is limited, we have not managed to save more than 2 minutes long movies. Will hopefully be fixed in the future.
The round to Playstation 5 for the new feeling. Quick Resume, however, got a juicy upper-cut.
One of the big news of this generation is significantly shorter charging times. This means a lot, and is achieved by all new consoles using SSD storage instead of hard drive. All also support storing games on USB-connected devices, but in general it is not possible to run next-gen games from there, only titles from previous generations. And at present, PS5-exclusive games can not even be stored on external devices, only on the internal SSD.
This can be a problem with the PS5 as it only has 825 GB of storage (in practice there is 667 GB available), and at present it is not possible to expand. The console has a free M.2 slot to expand the internal storage with, but it does not work yet. Sony will activate it in 2021, and then list which SSDs are compatible.
PS5 has a free space for M.2 SSD storage, but it will not work until 2021.
The Xbox Series X, on the other hand, comes with 1 TB of storage (802 GB available) and the Series S stays at 500 GB (364 GB free). Storage of both Xbox consoles can be expanded with 1 TB memory cards. A special memory card of 1 TB is required to expand the internal storage, and it is certainly not free – from SEK 2,700 it costs today. So if you want to give Series S more storage, the total price will be 300-500 kronor higher than for a Series X or PS5. Then you certainly get 500 GB more storage, but also a clearly leaner console.
Round drawn. SSD works wonders on both systems, but both also have some drawbacks at the moment.
At the time of release, there are no major Xbox Series X / S-specific games to buy. At least a few pieces will be released for the Playstation 5, as is usually the case with generational changes. Both attract backwards compatibility, but when it comes to interesting next-gen games, Microsoft leaves the walk-over.
S5 game Spider-Man: Miles Morales with ray-tracing effects.
The future then? Sony has several very powerful studios and game series behind it, and several of them have already delivered on PS5 (Spider-Man, Demon’s Souls). In the Xbox camp, hopes for a bright future are bubbling up after Microsoft’s diligent purchase of well-known studios, and it could be really fun to own the Xbox Series in a couple of years. But here and now it looks better for PS5.
Round to Playstation 5.
Virtually all PS4 games work on Playstation 5, some of them get better framerate and graphics enhancements. Sony lists ten games that are not PS5 compatible, and says that some features do not work in any of them on PS5. But the vast majority of the over 4,000 games released for PS4 work. No games from PS1, PS2 or PS3 can be run on PS5 today.
“All of Microsoft’s proprietary games work on both Xbox and Windows 10 PCs”
The Xbox Series can run all Xbox One games, and all Xbox and Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. Plus: all of Microsoft’s proprietary games work on both the Xbox and Windows 10 PCs – just running, at no extra cost. And even here, graphic improvements are often involved, and charging times are speeding up.
All officially licensed knobs and other accessories for Xbox One and PS4 are compatible with the Xbox Series and PS5. Playstation VR games work on PS5, but require a PS4 camera (an adapter is needed, you get it for free from Sony).
The round goes to the Xbox thanks to the width.
The Xbox Series controller looks and feels very similar to the Xbox One controller, which is really, really good. But… The Playstation 5 control Dualsense has completely new functions for a hand control, with adaptive resistance in the trigger buttons, highly detailed force feedback and a feeling of grip that is not very far behind the luxury control Xbox Elite.
For the first time in 15 years, Sony has better control than Microsoft. With a bang, moreover.
A control to love.
Round to Playstation 5 by knockout.
Both camps require you to pay to play online. The services are called Xbox Live Gold and Playstation Plus, and provide some bonuses, discounts and free games.
Playstation Now is a gaming subscription service that, like Netflix, gives you access to a number of games for as long as you pay. About a hundred games are in the catalog, some permanent while others are replaced. There are some pretty new big games, but not all and the very latest.
The Xbox Game Pass works the same way, but has the great advantage that all of Microsoft’s proprietary games appear here the same day they are released. In practice, you can pay a hundred or so for a month’s subscription to play the very latest Xbox game. Hard to beat.
The round to the Xbox for new thinking and change in how we consume games.
Thanks to the faster storage technology, both the Xbox Series and PS5 feel like a bigger step forward than usual, and you get that no matter which model you buy. Which one to choose depends, of course, very much on which games you prefer, but they also differ in other areas, mainly that the Xbox blurs platform and generational boundaries, and Playstation puts the controller in the center of events. It is not possible to nominate a clear winner this time – both camps have attractive features and news.
But when we have now listed the consoles’ strengths and weaknesses, you will hopefully know better which one suits you. So… which one do you choose?