Sony vs Microsoft gaming consoles: Which one to go for this fall

Months of cat and mouse chase between Microsoft and Sony has finally ended. Now that the two mega brands have officially announced their gaming consoles for 2020 – their specifications, design and features are now out in the open. This presents a good opportunity to compare the gaming consoles, giving you a fair idea of what's the best deal for the holiday season. Between the two game console makers you get four options – PlayStation 5, PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Choosing amid them will depend on some factors we'll evaluate here based on which you can make up your mind.

Overall design and looks

Choosing a gaming console primarily on looks can been an agenda for some and we've got you covered. Xbox has chosen to go for a varied look for its Series X and Series S consoles, and between the two Series S definitely looks more aesthetic for its rectangular-sharp design.

On the other hand, Sony has gone all out with its design for the PlayStation 5. It looks more futuristic on instant glance. While the basic design language of the PS5 and PS Digital Edition is almost identical – fluidic and next gen. The difference lies in the slightly streamlined form of the Digital Edition since it sheds the digital disc drive. The clear winner here is the PS5 Digital Edition which urges you to buy it right away.

Console dimensions

The overall dimensions and the weight of gaming console does matter in case you are frequently moving it from one place to the other. The PS5 and the Digital Edition both are a slightly taller than the Xbox X measuring 15.35-inch and 11.85-inch respectively. Xbox Series S on the other hand is almost 60-percent smaller than the Xbox Series X. It can even fit in your backpack for a gaming session at your friend's place, which is a great luxury. So, we have a clear winner when it comes to portability and placing the gaming console in your TV cabinet. It's the Xbox Series S.

Hardware firepower and output resolution

Under the hood these consoles are monsters when compared to the previous gen gaming consoles. This is where the buck stops for future-proofing your gaming den. More firepower means, you're secured for the coming years as graphics intensive games make way. PS5 console come with the custom AMD Zen 2, 8-core 3.5 GHz CPU, while the Xbox Series X has the same processor but it's is clocked at 3.8GHz, promising better performance. Even the Series S is clocked at 3.6GHz!

For GPU performance the PS5 consoles have the Custom RDNA 2, 10.28 TFLOP (36 CU) at 2.23 GHz. The Xbox Series X on the other hand, has the Custom RDNA 2, 12.15 TFLOP (52 CU) at 1.825 GHz and the Series S has custom RDNA 2, 4 TFLOP (20 CU) at 1.565 GHz. So, you clearly know where to sway for graphics performance – it's the Xbox Series X.

For output resolution, which is very important when buying a gaming console for at least 2-3 years, future-forward vision is important. The PS5 consoles have the 8K output resolution with no disparity between the two – the Xbox X has up to 8K resolutions with target 4K output. The Series S is a little left behind in this comparison for its 1440p resolution, which will hurt you in the long run. Here the winner is PS5 Digital Edition for the excellent video output at a lesser price.

Storage options and disc drives

On the storage front, these consoles can easily meet more than what you demand. However, for future-proofing there is ample space on-board for gaming addicts. The PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition both have the 825GB SSD with superior 5.5GB/s data processing power, while the Xbox Series X boasts 1TB Custom NVME SSD having the ability to become virtual RAM when needed, and its sibling, the Series S has 512GB Custom NVME SSD. Both the Xbox Series variants can process I/O data at 2.4 GB/s speed.

The external storage options on the two brands' consoles vary, even though their variants have similar options. PlayStation 5 consoles have the USB HHD support, whereas the Xbox Series consoles have both USB HDD and 1TB expansion support. Talking of the physical media options – the premium PS5 and Xbox X come with 4K Ultra UHD Blu-ray drive while the base versions, PS5 Digital Edition and Xbox S don't have any disc drives.

Based on this, the PS5 is the winner for its faster load times even though the storage is a shade lower in size. The overall in-game experience ought to be smooth as games will load doubly fast on the PS5 and the existence of Blu-ray drive gives you more options in the longer run.

Games and backwards compatibility

Sony has an upper hand when we talk of the exclusive game titles available for the platform. Game software is Sony's forte and hardcore gamers like that fact. Microsoft is banking on the third-party tittles – some of which will also be available for PS5. So the exclusivity bit is a missing for the Xbox consoles. That is not a deal breaker in any way though, it's just about the personal preference of the gamers. For exclusive titles, PS5 is the winner along with the Digital Edition.

Xbox consoles will have a far better backwards compatibility as Microsoft has clearly said that Xbox One games and even accessories are good to go with the new consoles. The supported Xbox One game titles will get free update for the Series X. Sony, on the other hand, has only confirmed backwards compatibility for top 100 PS4 games for now on the PS5 consoles. If you already own Xbox accessories and collection of games – the obvious choice is Xbox Series X.

Price and availability

Price is going to be one (if not the only one) deciding factor for choosing from amongst these equally impressive gaming consoles. The two heavyweights – PS5 and Xbox Series X are both stacked at par with $499 and $499.99 tags respectively. Their lesser versions – the PS5 Digital Edition and Xbox Series S are priced at $400 and $299 respectively. Choosing one from these is purely going to be based on the features that you want, still the value-for-money proposition is the PS5 Digital Edition.

Sony has announced the launch date for its PlayStation 5 consoles – it's going to be 12 November in select regions, including US and Canada. In other parts of the globe, the consoles will come on 19 November, so you'll have to wait a little longer if you happen to be in these parts. Xbox Series consoles, meanwhile are slated to release on 10 November, with pre-orders starting from 22 September.