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A Quick RFD Guide to Shopping for Video Game Consoles

A Quick RFD Guide to Shopping for Video Game Consoles

By Ambia Staley

When shopping for a new gaming console, it's pretty daunting to look at all your options and judge if you're getting a good price. If you're looking for a quick guide to help you make your mind, then check out our handy console guide here on RedFlagDeals!

We've gone ahead and listed the currently available consoles for you along with the regular retail price of the console alone (if applicable), and a few basic specs that will help you determine if the plethora of holiday bundles and deals are worth picking up!

Looking for a specific console? Jump down using one of the below links:

  • Sony
  • Nintendo
  • Microsoft
  • Google


  • Sony

    Sony is arguably the most popular of the 3 major gaming companies, as it offers a wide selection of gaming options for both casual and hardcore gamers of all ages. The PlayStation 4, their current console which was originally released in 2013, is the best-selling out of the 3 major home consoles (it consistently outsells the Xbox and Switch in very market except Japan, where the Switch dominates).

    The company has ventured into the handheld market in the past with the PsP (discontinued in 2014) and the PS Vita, which has been hard to find in Canada for years, and was officially discontinued worldwide in 2019.

    An important thing to keep in mind when you're considering purchasing a PS4, is that the PlayStation 5 is expected to launch in time for holiday 2020.


    PlayStation 4 Slim
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $379.99
    • Hard Drive: 1TB
    • Backwards Compatible: No
    • Online Play: PlayStation Plus membership required for online play of PS4 titles ($69.99 for 12 months)
    • Controllers: Comes with 1 DualShock 4 Remote. Additional remotes cost an average of $74.99 each

    The PlayStation 4 Slim is the updated and, as its name suggests, slimmer version of the original PS4 console. The console is one of the best around for both casual and hardcore gamers, as PlayStation boasts an extensive library of games. The system also has lots of room to store your games (and pictures, videos, and music), as it currently boasts a 1TB hard drive (older models were available with a 500GB hard drive, but are no longer available). If you're upgrading to the PS4 and have past PlayStation consoles, you may want to hang onto them, as the PlayStation 4 is not backwards compatible with previous generations.

    Looking to play a few popular PlayStation-exclusives? Check out Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, or the Uncharted series.


    PlayStation 4 Pro
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $499.99
    • Hard Drive: 1TB
    • Backwards Compatible: No
    • Online Play: PlayStation Plus membership required for online play of PS4 titles ($69.99 for 12 months)
    • Controllers: Comes with 1 DualShock 4 Remote. Additional remotes cost an average of $74.99 each

    PlayStation 4 Pro is for any gamer looking to make the most of their HD TVs. If you look for HD Enhanced PS4 games, you can take advantage of increased image clarity, faster frame rates, and more. You'll also be able to stream 4K videos, movies, and shoes to your PS4 Pro (if you have Ultra HD availability on your streaming service subscription).

    Looking to make the most of the enhanced graphics? Try playing optimized games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 or Gran Turismo Sport.


    Nintendo

    Nintendo is widely considered the most family-friendly of the consoles with colourful characters like Mario, Kirby, and more. While this may be true, with the release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, Nintendo has made a push to expand their library with even more third-party titles in addition to their first-party staples. If you're into handheld gaming, Nintendo consoles are worth checking out, as the Switch, Switch Lite, and 2DS can be played on the go.

    If you're searching for a 3DS, the system is still officially supported by Nintendo, but the company admitted earlier in 2019 that they are currently focusing more on the Switch and no new first-party games are in development for the 3DS. Retailers have also not offered the system for sale for quite some time, so if you're looking to get into the 3DS library of games and don't already own the system, your may have to stick with a 2DS.


    Nintendo Switch
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $399.99
    • Hard Drive: 32GB
    • Backwards Compatible: No
    • Online Play: Membership required ($24.99 for 1-year Individual membership -- shorter terms also available, or $44.99 for 1-year family membership)
    • Controllers: Comes with 1 set of Joy-Con remote. Additional Joy-con cost $99.99 per set. Pro-controllers are also available for approximately $89.99 each

    The Nintendo Switch is the most versatile of Nintendo's current consoles, as its included TV-mode, table-top mode, and handheld mode mean you can play your favourite Switch games just about anywhere. The system also encourages multiplayer gaming, as the Joy-con remote can be split between two players on one system, or you can use local wireless with up to 8 Switch and Switch Lite consoles for certain games.

    If you're planning to play the Switch off its dock, there are a few things things that you'll want to be aware of. Firstly, the Switch only comes with 32GB of internal memory out of the box (some of which is used by the system). If you plan on storing a lot of games on your console, you'll want to consider purchasing a microSDHC or microSDXC to expand the storage space up to 2TB.

    Secondly, if you tend to play the Switch off its dock, then you'll want to buy newer production models of the Switch as they have a longer batter life. Original models numbers [HAC-001, with serial numbers beginning with XAW] have approximately 2.5-6.5 hours of battery life. Models produced after mid-August 2019 [HAC-001(-01), with serial numbers beginning with XKW] have approximately 4.5-9 hours of battery life. If you plan on getting a Switch this holiday season, be sure to check the model numbers, as some of the bundles up for grabs will be the original switch models, and not the newer ones with the longer battery life!

    Looking for some Switch games with playing? Check out The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokemon Sword and Shield, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, or Fire Emblem: Three Houses.


    Nintendo Switch Lite
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $259.99
    • Hard Drive: 32GB
    • Backwards Compatible: No
    • Online Play: Membership required ($24.99 for 1-year Individual membership -- shorter terms also available, or $44.99 for 1-year family membership)
    • Controllers: Controls are built into the system

    The Nintendo Switch Lite has many of the same features of the Nintendo Switch, but is a slightly more affordable option for those who prefer handheld gaming. It can play the majority of the Switch library (just make sure there is a handheld gaming logo on the game's case), and is slightly lighter than the regular Switch -- the Switch Lite weighs 0.61lb compared to the Switch and Joy-Con weighing 0.88lb.

    The Switch Lite's controllers are built into the system -- meaning they're not removable like the Switch's Joy-Con, however the Switch Lite has a + control pad, something the Switch's Joy-Con lack.

    Like the Nintendo Switch, the Switch Lite only comes with 32GB of internal memory out of the box (some of which is used by the system). If you plan on storing a lot of games on the system, you'll want to consider purchasing a microSDHC or microSDXC to expand the storage space up to 2TB.

    The Switch Lite has approximately 3-7 hours of battery life. Your battery life will of course vary based on the games you play.

    The Switch Lite can play the majority of the Nintendo Switch library, but if you're looking for fun games to try out in handheld mode, try Pokemon Sword and Shield, or Fire Emblem: Three Houses.


    Nintendo 2DS
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $109.99 (only currently available version comes with a game)
    • Hard Drive: comes with a 4GB SD card
    • Backwards Compatible: Yes, with most Nintendo DS games
    • Online Play: Local online and multiplayer only
    • Controllers: Controls are built into the system

    The Nintendo 2DS is a great entry system for kids, as its unique design is easy for small hands to hold. Unlike other the 3DS and 2DS XL models, the regular 2DS system does not having a folding design, and instead has a unique wedge shape.

    The system can play the majority of the 3DS (and New 3DS) library in 2D, and is also backwards compatible with DS games.

    The only 2DS system currently available in stores comes with New Super Mario Bros. 2 pre-installed, but you can also try out popular games including YO-KAI WATCH 3, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and more.


    Nintendo 2DS XL
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $199.99 (only currently available version comes with a game)
    • Hard Drive: comes with a 4GB microSDHC
    • Backwards Compatible: Yes, with most Nintendo DS games
    • Online Play: Local online and multiplayer only
    • Controllers: Controls are built into the system

    The 2DS XL is similar to the 2DS in that it can play the same library of games in 2D, however this version of the system boasts an 82% bigger screen than the 2DS and has an ergonomic folding design. The Nintendo 2DS XL also has a power saving mode, which helps your gaming sessions last -- something the regular 2DS model does not have.

    The only 2DS XL system currently available in stores comes with Mario Kart 7 pre-installed, but you can also try out popular games including Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon, The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, and more.


    Microsoft

    Xbox is a great option not only for gaming, but for those looking for an all-around media centre. Most systems include a 4K Blu-Ray player, and if developers take advantage of it, it can support upscale 4K gaming.

    Unlike other systems on this list, Xbox One consoles also support backwards compatibility, meaning you don't necessarily need to hang onto your old Xbox and Xbox 360 in most cases.

    Another thing to keep in mind when shopping for an Xbox console, is that Microsoft's next generation console, Project Scarlett is expected to arrive holiday 2020.


    Xbox One S
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $379.00
    • Hard Drive: 1TB
    • Backwards Compatible: Yes, with select Xbox and Xbox 360 titles
    • Online Play: Xbox Live Gold membership required for online play ($11.99 for 1 month, $29.99 for 3 months, or $69.99 for 1 year )
    • Controllers: Comes with 1 Wireless Remote. Additional remotes start from $64.99 each

    The Xbox One S is a slimmer, sleeker, and slightly more powerful version of the original Xbox One. The system is also a great option for those also seeking a media-centre, because the Xbox One S has an included 4K Blu-Ray player -- something the standard PS4 lacks.

    If you're looking for some Xbox titles worth playing, try Forza Horizon 4, Gears of War 5, or the Halo series.


    Xbox One S All-Digital Edition
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $299.00
    • Hard Drive: 1TB
    • Backwards Compatible: Yes, with select Xbox and Xbox 360 titles
    • Online Play: Xbox Live Gold membership required for online play ($11.99 for 1 month, $29.99 for 3 months, or $69.99 for 1 year )
    • Controllers: Comes with 1 Wireless Remote. Additional remotes start from $64.99 each

    The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition features most of the same features of the regular Xbox One S, with one important difference -- as its name suggests, this system only supports a digital library. This means if you like buying physical discs, this may not be the system for you, as you'll have to download all of your content. This system is a great option for anyone looking to streamline their gaming experience, and it even comes with a few pre-installed games to help get your digital library started.

    The downside to this system is that the lack of a disc port means that you're not only unable to play physical copies of games, but you'll also lose the 4K Blu-ray player that the other Xbox One systems include.


    Xbox One X
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $599.00
    • Hard Drive: 1TB
    • Backwards Compatible: Yes, with select Xbox and Xbox 360 titles
    • Online Play: Xbox Live Gold membership required for online play ($11.99 for 1 month, $29.99 for 3 months, or $69.99 for 1 year )
    • Controllers: Comes with 1 Wireless Remote. Additional remotes start from $64.99 each

    The Xbox One X is the priciest console available right now, but it's the system to get if you want the best graphics, as the Xbox One X promises the ability to run games as high as 4K resolution and up to 60fps. Games may also have improved textures, high dynamic range, and even support for Dolby Atmos. Not every "Xbox One Enhanced" game may take full advantage of the powerful console, but games are being updated and the list is growing as time goes on.

    If you're looking for some Xbox One X Enhanced games to try out, pick up Forza Horizon 4, The Witcher 3, or Gears of War 5.


    Google

    Google entered the gaming market in late 2019 with the Stadia. The system just started shipping out mid-November 2019, and is a good option for any fan of cross-screen gaming.


    Google Stadia
    • Average Regular Retail Price: $169.00 (Premiere Edition)
    • Controllers: Comes with 1 Wireless Remote

    The new Google Stadia has cloud-based gaming, meaning you'll need an internet connection to play your games. This system is also great for cross-screen gaming, as you'll be able to play your games in up to 4K and 60fps on your TV or across your computers and select Pixel devices.

    It's important to note that you will need the Chromecast Ultra in order to bring the Stadia to your TV, but you can get the Chromecast Ultra currently with the purchase of the Stadia Premiere Edition.

    The system just began to ship out in November 2019, and their gaming library is slowly rolling out. Right now you can play games including Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Mortal Kombat 11 on the Stadia.

    If you're looking for more information on the Stadia, check out our previous articles on games coming to the system, specs, and price breakdowns.



    Now that you're armed with the basic info on gaming consoles, be sure to keep checking RedFlagDeals for the best deals on games, accessories, and consoles this holiday season!

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