Game on: Test-driving the XBox One and PS4

Christmas has come early in our house.

I’ve been test-driving the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One — two of the most desired pieces of technology this festive season — for the past week.

The Xbox One launched here on Friday while the PS4 goes on sale this Friday. Last time round, Microsoft got the jump on Sony with the release of the Xbox 360 in Dec 2005 and the PS3 launching well over a year later in Mar 2007. are currently saying that if you pre-order the Xbox One now you will get it before Christmas.

However, reports are that if you haven’t already pre-ordered the PS4, you won’t be able to get it until January at the earliest.

The Xbox One sells for €500 but comes bundled with the Kinect 2. The PS4, while cheaper at only €399, doesn’t come with the PlayStation 4 Eye — that will cost you an additional €59.99.

The Xbox One and PS4 only come with one controller so factor in on spending an additional €59.99 for an extra one if you need it. Also, the PS4 has rechargeable batteries built-in while the Xbox One comes with two standard AA batteries.

Both Xbox One and PS4 are black and instead of round and curvy, both are flat with sharp edges. Xbox One is reminiscent of the VCR from the 1970s and 1980s, while the PS4 is like a throwback to the original PS2 with an angular, two slanted halves stacked on each other design.

Looks aren’t everything and of course personal tastes will differ, but the PS4 is the more striking of the two. However, the larger and blander look of the Xbox One won’t date easily. Stick either of these consoles under the TV and you’ll soon forget they’re there.

The Xbox One would appear to have lots of room inside with plenty of vents so hopefully Microsoft’s new console can stay cool under pressure and avoid any of the heating issues it had with the original Xbox 360 design.

As you’d expect from a new generation console, the Xbox One and PS4 are graphical powerhouses in their own right and although I was impressed with the visuals in the games I played, it’s important to understand that it will take time for developers to fully come to grips with either platform before we really see their full potential.

Both the Xbox One and PS4 are packing eight-core AMD CPUs coupled with 8GB RAM, not all of which is available for gameplay because the OS already uses a portion of this. The PS4 uses GDDR5 memory while strangely enough Microsoft is using slower DDR3 RAM. I don’t think it will make any difference right now but it may in the future.

Graphically, the PS4 seems to have a slight edge over the Xbox One and an example of this is in Call of Duty: Ghosts which runs natively at 1080p on the PS4 while the Xbox One runs it natively at 720p before upscaling it to full HD. Both versions run at 60fps but since I only played this game on the PS4, so far I can’t really say if there’s any real difference apart from the numbers.

Both consoles support 4K graphics.

However, currently there aren’t any 4K games so if you own a 4K there’s no need to run out buy a next generation console just yet.

PS4 and Xbox One have built-in WiFi and wired Ethernet networking ports as well as USB 3.0, but only the PS4 has Bluetooth.

The Xbox One comes with a nice headset with microphone while the PS4 only comes with a single earpiece and in-wire microphone set.

However, a really nice touch with the PS4 is that you can plug your favourite headphones directly into the controller for sound thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity.

As with any new console, there aren’t many games available for either yet, but both consoles have serious backing from developers so expect many of the bigger titles to get release next year.

* For a full review, see Wednesday’s Irish Examiner


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