Ask LH: Is The PlayStation 4 Really Better Than The Xbox One?

Ask LH: Is The PlayStation 4 Really Better Than The Xbox One?

Dear Lifehacker, after six years of faithful service, my Xbox 360 finally contracted the Red Ring Of Death. I’ve decided to upgrade to the next generation, but I’m unsure which console to buy. Most of my friends claim the PS4 is superior, but I’ve been an Xbox (and Halo) gamer my whole life. If I get the Xbox One will I be disappointed? Thanks, Achievement Junkie

Dear AJ,

If you prefer Xbox, go with the Xbox One. While it’s true that Microsoft’s latest console had a bit of a bumpy launch, it has since come into its own and provides roughly the same gaming experience as the PlayStation 4.

In a side-by-side comparison, the PS4 sometimes comes out on top due to its superior graphics card and higher memory bandwidth. This can result in crisper looking graphics in cross-platform games. However, the difference isn’t massive and certainly won’t ruin your enjoyment. Xbox One games can still comfortably hit 60 frames per second and the (occasionally) shorter draw distances are unlikely to affect gameplay.

Personally, we think product familiarity is more important. In short, the Xbox One boasts the controller, user interface, exclusives and achievements that you know and love. Tossing all that aside for slightly slicker graphics would be silly.

When it comes to entertainment options, the Xbox One is certainly no slouch, with optional streaming access to Foxtel Play, PLUS7, SBSOnDemand, TENplay, YouTube, Netflix, Plex, Twitch, Quickflix, Crackle and a whole bunch of lesser known applications.

It also has its own built-in media player, a Blu-ray drive and a HDMI-in port. The latter allows you to access a HDMI gadget such as Google Chromecast through your Xbox One instead of wasting an input on your TV; something that the PS4 lacks.

Another compelling reason to go with Xbox One is backwards compatibility with Xbox 360. An upcoming software update will make it possible to insert and play select discs from the previous generation. This is a great feature if you have a bunch of unfinished titles in your collection or just like replaying old games.

Want a more detailed overview on how the two consoles compare? You can find everything you need to know via our Xbox One vs. PS4 face-off article. We crowned PlayStation 4 the overall winner, but this was based on someone with no skin in the game. As an Xbox fan, we advise you to stick to what you love. (Plus, it’s the only way to play Halo!)

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • Lots of my friends has asked about whether to buy PS4 or X1 for their kids and the answer I always give them is: ask the kids what their friends play. It’s no good if your kid is the only one among his/her friends with PS4 when everyone else is on X1 (and vice versa).

    The person who ask the question to Lifehacker – “Most of my friends claim the PS4 is superior”, so I assume that his/her friends all have PS4. Probably better to go with the PS4, rather than be left out with the only one to have the X1.

    When all your friends are on the same ecosystem, you can play together, swap/borrow games etc

    • I agree, even as an adult I made my decision on getting an x1 just because I had more friends who I play games with on that system(or about to move up to an x1 from a 360).

  • Main reasons to buy an XBox One:
    – The UI will be more familiar if you have a 360.
    – The HDMI port.
    – Better first person shooters. Forza. Rare collection.
    – Wider variety of media apps (although the PS4 now has all the ones I’m interested in.)
    – Controller more comfortable if you’re familiar with the 360 controller.
    – XBox Gold will cover both your 360 and your XBox One.
    – With PS Plus, once you close off your subscription, you supposedy lose access to your free games. I haven’t tested this yet, but with Xbox Gold this definitely doesn’t happen.
    – Upcoming 360 compatibility. We don’t yet know how exhaustive this will be, but signs are it will be pretty broad.
    – Kinect is (probably) better than the PS camera. This isn’t really saying much. (Both allow spoken commands.)

    Reasons to buy the PS4:
    – Slight edge on performance.
    – User-upgradable hard drive. (Mine has a 2TB drive now.)
    – More exclusives overall. (If you don’t believe me, look up the lists on Wikipedia.)
    – Cross-play deals with the PS3 and Vita – probably not important to you.
    – Better user interface. The wait cursors on the XBox One were driving me insane.
    – PS Plus (in my biased opinion) seems to give you better games sooner, including in some cases brand new, previously unreleased games. Still kicking myself for missing out on Resogun as a freebie on system release.
    – The actual console looks nicer, is significantly smaller, and does not have the almost-literal power brick that the XBox One has. (Seriously, that thing is huge.)
    – Controller you get with the system has its own internal, rechargeable battery (although it only lasts about 6 hours).
    – In general, the PS Store seems to have a lot more specials at any given time than XBox does. (Typically at least ten at any given time.) The HDMI port doesn’t bother me much either, although that’s partly because I have an HDMI switcher.

    The apps IMO don’t matter too much – the PS4 has the most important ones and a functional media player.

    On the whole, while I prefer the PS4 (partly because I don’t play FPSes much) the upcoming backwards compatibility and the doubling-up of Gold across 360 and XBox One probably make it preferable if you’re coming from a 360.

    • Add:
      Xbox 1 allows the use of external HD
      Xbox Live is far superior to PSN in all aspects (unless that seemingly more deals actually is more, that adds up over time), primarily in the most important, actual gameplay
      PS4 has more RPGs and Japanese games
      XB1 not only has HDMI, it has HDMI throughput enabling DVR capabilities
      The power brick is not just a power source, it has technology not limited to acting as a surge protector (thank you MS, as this is a non issue)
      PS4 controller battery going out means you need a new controller and rechargeable batteries are available and extremely affordable
      Performance is only better when the developer of a game makes it so, (and in my biased opinion) may they be damned for doing it. I’d prefer exclusive content (even if missing out) than different gaming experience predicated on a lazy game maker.

      • Overall it’s probably pretty much a wash. Personally I have both but the XBox One has been largely gathering dust; on the other hand, that’s partly a self-fulfilling preference as I’ve been buying multiplatform games (such as Witcher 3) on PS4

        That said:
        – The PS4 also allows use of an external HD, although only for storing media, not games, a restriction not present for PS4.
        – Can’t speak on XBox Live vs. PSN on a multiplayer basis; only multiplayer game I’ve played was FF14, which seemed perfectly OK to me… and Destiny, likewise. My nephew played Plants vs Zombies in multiplayer and had no complaints.
        – Agree Re: RPGs; since it’s my preferred genre, this is a big plus for PS4 (for me). Although XBox probably has an edge on FPSes, as mentioned.
        – Granted on the HDMI; I only use it as a passthrough, personally. Already have a DVR.
        – Would be interested to hear what the brick does other than acting as a surge protector. However, unlike the PS4 power supply, it’s not universal (it won’t handle both 110v and 220/240v power) and allegedly the surge protection in the XB1 makes it finicky when plugged into an external surge protector.
        – The batteries in the PS4 controllers are admittedly a pain, but you can recharge using any microUSB power supply, or just use a USB cable to your console, while it is in use.
        – As far as I can tell the performance edge is real, but quite small. While there have been a fair few games with the same performance profile on both platforms, there have also been a fair few games that ran just a bit better on PS4. This may be due to the PS4 being easier to program (I wouldn’t know; the PS3 was notoriously hard to program) but if so that’s just a different edge.

        It will be interesting to see how this morning’s announcements from Sony and the planned changes in November by MS change the game.

  • Me and the boys down at the Sony labs have done extensive independent research and have found the ps4 is indeed better than the Xbox one…..we also found antidotal evidence that xboxes cause impotence and female balding.

    • That’s a bit biased off course the boys at Sony labs would say PS4 is better. If the boys at Microsoft labs did same test they would claim XB1 is better

      • its alright me and the boys at the Sony lab also tested the boys at the Microsoft lab…..we found they were 54% more smelly than the general population……….as opposed to PlayStation owners who generally smell like pure Awesome success………

    • Really? I found evidence that the Xbox One not only has a larger range of exclusives, but has a better controller and a less shitty fanbase.

  • I’ve had both. The graphics changes are unnoticeable. Psn is still a bit more unstable and buggy than Xbox live. Make a decision based on what platform your friends have and which exclusive games you prefer. Also if your an Xbox 360 player your still going to find the new dual shock a steaming pile of dog poop.

    • I currently have both and have to agree I prefer the Xbone. Some games the graphics are noticeably better on PS4, but nothing I care about. I also find the Xbone UI infinitely easier to use/browse, and I came from a PS3 and never had a 360, so its nothing to do with being used to the UI. That said, I do sorta prefer the PS4 controller, I feels a hair better to me. That probably DOES have to do with being used to the design though.

  • As someone who has both I would highly recommend the Xbox 1. It has better features that the PS4 is lacking, Xbox live is a way better service than the unpredictable PSN, and a lot more exclusive games than the PS4.

    • Really xbox live has been down several times within the last 2 months psn hasn’t exclusive games hmmm xbone forza halo and gears that’s all tomb raider is timed exclusive ps4 exclusives until dawn bloodbourne uncharted collection the order1886 ratchet and clank tearaway everyone gone to rapture vanishing of ethan carter helldivers rocket league etc… And most indie games are ps4 only

      • First off, grammar. Secondly, Forza, Halo and Gears of War is all you could come up with? Sunset Overdrive, Rare Replay, Sea of Thieves, Scalebound, Recore and Fable would like to have a word with you. Third, if I wanted indie games, I would just open Steam. Fourth, Until Dawn is boring and the Order 1886 sucks, as does Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.

        I would reconsider your comment, right now you’re coming off as intensely stupid. The same kind of intensely stupid that would say that Goldeneye still holds up today or that Sonic ’06 would’ve been amazing if it hadn’t been glitchy.

  • Ask LH: Is The PlayStation 4 Really Better Than The Xbox One?

    Dear AJ,
    Git gud.

  • Fair points. Heads up that the new user interface for the xbox is much much better than the one that is currently up. I’m in the xbox preview program and have it on my xbone and the wait and load times are infinitely better than they were. And also you didn’t note that you can just plug in any external hard drive that you have to the xbox one for user expandable storage

  • I don’t think the UX is a reason to go with the xbone over the ps4, outside of the fact they both have tiles there isn’t much in common between 360 and xb1. Having used all 4 consoles a LOT I’d say I greatly preferred the 360 system software to the PS3 but take the ps4 over the xbone any day.

    Controller familiarity has some weight but I’d be surprised if you didn’t very quickly adapt to whatever you were using. XB1 controller also doubles as a good PC controller if you do any PC gaming though so it’s good to have one.

    The difference in power between the xbone and ps4 is not insignificant, there are a lot of games that have rendered at a lower resolution (like 900p vs 1080p) on xb1 to make up for it, but unless you have them side-by-side you’re unlikely to know/care.

    If you have a gaming-capable PC then console exclusives are very important. Outside of Halo and the Rare collection there isn’t much xbone exlusive, where there is already quite a list on the PlayStation side.
    I also wouldn’t be surprised to see lots of Microsoft titles also release for Windows 10 so again if you have a pc that’s a vote against xb1.

    Finally, online services.
    If you do a lot of online gaming with friends then it’s worth considering getting whatever they have. If not I think Sony have the better offering here with PS Plus giving you free games every month.

    My system of choice this generation is the ps4, it’s more powerful, I prefer the UX (although MS does have a big update to theirs coming which may change that), and I prefer the exclusives.
    If you’re considering switching now would be the time. If you go for the XB1 do it for Halo and your friends.

  • Definitely the best answer. I have both current gen consoles and I cant remember the last time I turned my PS4 on, because my friends have Xboners.

  • I have always had a PS, never purchased another make console. I made the choice to purchase the XB1 when I found that Internode provides unmetered downloads from Xbox Live. This essentially saves me $10-20 a month in bills.

  • I went with Xbox One on launch purely because i have always preferred the analog stick layout of the Xbox 360 and cant stand the dual shock controller.

    Haven’t been disappointed at all with the system 🙂

    • Me too! Stoked with my Premium version from DickSmith/Ozbargain a couple years ago for $200

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