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Best Game Consoles 2022

There are plenty of games consoles to choose from in 2022, ranging from convenient portables to 4K-capable home systems. But what are the best game consoles for you?

To help answer that question, we’ve picked the top rated game consoles that our team of experts have reviewed, and highlighted both their strengths and weaknesses.

Every game console on this list has been tested extensively with a variety of games. We’ve also made sure to test out every available feature, while taking the likes of design, software and ease of use into consideration, as well as battery life when it comes to portables.

If you can’t find a game console you like, be sure to check back with us as we constantly update this list, especially when we get new devices in for review.

Alternatively, you can check out our best gaming laptop list, or our best gaming monitor and best gaming TV rankings if you want a new panel to pair with your console.

Best Laptop at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test games consoles

Every game console we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality and performance.

We’ll play multiple games on the hardware, while comparing the performance to rival consoles (and predecessors) to see whether it’s worth the investment.

We’ll also evaluate the software, as well as the line-up of games when deciding on a final score.

Xbox Series X

Best games console for performance
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Pros

  • Sleek and premium design
  • Xbox Game Pass offers a stunning level of value
  • Quick Resume is a game changer
  • SSD makes games and applications faster than ever

Cons

  • User interface and overall design is very familiar

The Xbox Series X is one of the best game consoles we’ve reviewed. We found it to be immensely powerful, capable of a 4K output at 120Hz. Console exclusives such as Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite particularly wowed us, while the option for Game Pass provides access to a huge selection of fantastic games for an affordably monthly fee.

Its internal SSDs allowed games to load pretty much instantly, which we found especially useful. Testing, Doom Eternal, for instance, the game loaded in six seconds, which put it firmly ahead of any other next-gen console.

The Quick Resume function also allows for games to be stopped in a suspended state if you decide to open something else. But if you wish to return to your original game, you can pick up right where you left off.

Whilst we found the Series X to look sleek with its matted black shell, it’s also quite a tall console with a non-descript cuboid shape. It’s relatively expensive in the world of consoles, but if you’re looking for the very best gaming experience, then the Xbox Series X is the console to go for.

Reviewer: Jade King
Full review: Xbox Series X Review

PS5

Best games console for exclusive games
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Pros

  • Absurdly powerful
  • User interface is refined, accessible and easy to use
  • DualSense controller feels like a true leap forward
  • Backwards compatibility for PS4 games

Cons

  • The console is overly bulky
  • Lags behind Series X and S when it comes to loading times

If you want a solid selection of exclusive titles, as well as an incredible gaming experience, then the PlayStation 5 will definitely serve you well.

We found it to offer a large amount of internal horsepower, with benefits such as hardware-accelerated ray tracing helping to make games look magnificent. Alongside this is a blazing fast SSD, which loads up games in a matter of seconds.

Highlights for the new PS5 controller include Adaptive Triggers and Haptic Feedback, which we found were a great help in increasing immersion within games. Moreover, its 4K output at a max of 120fps is excellent on the new-gen titles that support it.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to get away from the sheer size of Sony’s latest gaming console. And while it can be placed either horizontally or vertically, you will need a lot of space to store the PS5. The port selection on offer is good, though with both USB-C and USB-A present on the front interface to provide good options for connectivity for any additional peripherals such as controllers and headsets.

There’s also a PS5 Digital Edition available for £359.99, although it lacks the ability to play any PS4 or PS5 games that you have on disk – not to mention films on Blu-Ray.

Reviewer: Jade King
Full review: PS5 Review

Nintendo Switch

Best value portable console
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Best value portable console

Pros

  • Gaming whenever, wherever you want
  • Bright and colourful screen
  • Versatile Joy-Con controllers
  • Some truly incredible games

Cons

  • Overpriced accessories
  • Expensive games

The Nintendo Switch may be over five years old, but it still offers excellent value for money if you want the versatility of a home console you can also take on the go.

We found it to offer a brilliant user experience, with the ability to flit between docked and portable play being particularly joyous. The Switch is also being jam-packed full of classic Nintendo titles including Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey. Recent times have also seen future classics such as Nintendo Switch Sports join the fold, backing up the marvellous first-party options available for the Switch.

Nintendo also provides the versatile Joy Con controllers, which we found offered an engaging gaming experience with both conventional and more motion-based titles such as party game 1-2-Switch available to get stuck into. They pack in haptic feedback technology, as well as an NFC reader and a gyroscope, which gives them some serious power.

All in all, the Nintendo Switch is a shining example of how to do a hybrid console right, and if you’re after a fun and engaging gaming experience whether you’re out or at home, this is a great choice.

Reviewer: Stuart Andrews
Full review: Nintendo Switch Review

Steam Deck

Best portable gaming PC
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Pros

  • Excellent performance for a portable
  • Light enough to play games on the go
  • SteamOS is packed with useful features
  • Open-platform PC offers oodles of potential

Cons

  • Limited storage space
  • Poor battery life for AAA games
  • Incompatible with popular multiplayer games

If you’re after the versatility and power of PC gaming in a more handheld-friendly form, then the Steam Deck is your best option.

We found it to pack some serious power for its form factor, with its all-AMD core helping it along to play some of the latest AAA titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn on ultra settings at around 30fps. During testing, the Steam Deck thermal performance was excellent, with no noticeable temperature increases occurring.

Its 7-inch 800p resolution display is perfectly serviceable for gaming on the go and offered good contrast and vibrancy during our checks. Our colorimeter measured a total 575 nits of brightness, alongside a solid 1213:1 contrast ratio. Do note though, that the screen may not look as sharp when you connect the Steam Deck up to a larger display as the image will be stretched.

The portability and convenience of a handheld device is ultimately why many will buy the Steam Deck, and we’re pleased to say it’s a major plus point of the device. While it does weigh a bit at 669g (which is more than the Nintendo Switch) the Steam Deck doesn’t feel too heavy, with Valve doing an excellent job at distributing the weight of the device.

This is by no means a perfect device though, as we found its battery life to be short when playing games, with more intense titles being capable of draining the steam Deck’s battery in around two hours or so. But if you’re okay with gaming in short bursts, then the Steam Deck is one of the best gaming consoles on the market in terms of portability.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Steam Deck Review

Xbox Series S

Best value home console
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Pros

  • Major performance upgrade on Xbox One S
  • Small and stylish design
  • Next-gen SSD reduce loading times dramatically
  • Incredible value considering the specs

Cons

  • 500GB storage is far too small
  • Lacks a disk drive
  • No support for Wi-Fi 6

The Xbox Series S is the best choice for people who want new-gen gaming at a cut price.

It may not be as powerful as the Xbox Series X or PS5, but Microsoft’s more affordable console is still capable of outputting at 1440p complete with ray-tracing. We found it to offer some stunning visuals within games, with sharp images and great lighting.

With the Xbox Series S comes the optional convenience of Xbox Game Pass and its vast library of titles that gives you instant access to over 100 games for a reasonable monthly price. In addition, its UI is familiar and easy to navigate.

The console itself is smaller than the Series X by some way, as well as being noticeably dinkier than the older Xbox One S, featuring a sleek white shell. With that smaller stature comes the sacrifice of a disc drive, however, so if you want to play games or any other forms of media via a physical medium, you’ll have to pick up the more expensive Series X.

In addition, the Series S only features a 500GB SSD, which is highly limiting, providing you with space to install only a handful of games at any one time. You can install more storage via a memory card, but that can get pretty expensive.

With that being said, the Xbox Series S is still the best games console available for those on a budget who want to play the latest major games, as long as you can live with the smaller storage and lack of a disc drive.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Xbox Series S Review

Nvidia Shield TV (2019)

Best for cloud gaming
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Pros

  • 4K and HDR visuals looks incredible
  • Cinema-quality audio
  • Redesigned remote
  • GeForce Now cloud streaming is a game changer

Cons

  • No app for Now TV
  • Requires strong internet connection for cloud gaming

The Nvidia Shield TV (2019) technically isn’t a games console, but more of a premium Android streaming box. With a quick download of Nvidia’s own GeForce Now, however, the Shield TV transforms into a capable cloud gaming system.

With the Shield TV, you get a few different ways of playing your favourite titles, as you can either download Android games onto it to play locally, stream your PC thanks to integration with your Steam and Epic Games libraries, or utilise a GeForce Now subscription. The latter will grant access to some serious PC power for a monthly subscription to play the latest AAA games at some seriously high settings.

When loading up the likes of Hitman 2, for instance, we found the experience on the Shield TV to be especially smooth and fun. Do note though, that the performance of any game on a cloud gaming platform, such as GeForce Now, depends on how good your internet connection is. As long as it’s stable and quick, you should get a great gaming experience.

The actual device itself features 4K HDR output, complete with the powers of both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. You do need a supported display and speakers to take advantage of such features, but then games should look and sound fantastic. With its revamped remote, you get access to Netflix via a dedicated button, as well a raft of other movie and TV streaming services.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Nvidia Shield TV (2019) Review

Nintendo Switch OLED

Best OLED gaming portable
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Pros

  • OLED screen offers a huge upgrade
  • Bigger screen, but still very portable
  • Stand is a lot sturdier now
  • Increased storage capacity

Cons

  • No performance upgrade
  • No substantial upgrades for docked mode

The Nintendo Switch OLED is the latest iteration of the firm’s brilliant hybrid console, and represents a great option for anyone wanting to try out the convenience of a Switch combined with the power of an OLED panel.

Its screen is an immense upgrade on the original LCD, even if its resolution is capped at 720p. We found it to look brighter than the original LCD, with especially bright and vivid colours. During testing, playing Breath Of The Wild revealed the extra punch of the OLED panel with more detailed skies and forests, alongside better contrast when switching between the a dark, shadow-laden cave and daylight.

There isn’t too much new stuff around here internally, as the Switch OLED packs the same power as its older sibling, which ensures a great all-round performance, especially when used in portable mode. The older internals do lead to a dicier performance in docked mode when connected up to larger displays, with images looking noticeably fuzzy. You do get some improved storage capacity here though, which is especially handy for installing more games on the main drive, and Nintendo’s selection is superb, as the Switch OLED works with every single original Switch game, as well as those found on the Switch Lite.

There has been a small redesign, with a new and sturdier kickstand present that spans the entire back of the device. We also found the plastics used on this new model to feel sturdier than the original, and its speakers sound noticeably better with more volume and detailed sound. The dock has also been redesigned and features an Ethernet port alongside handy cable channels for those after a cleaner setup.

All in all, the Switch OLED is a useful choice for those wanting a Nintendo Switch with a much better OLED display. Beyond that, it’s much the same experience as the original. For those who want a capable home console though, you may want to look elsewhere, given the fact there have been no performance upgrades for the Switch OLED.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Nintendo Switch OLED Review

Nintendo Switch Lite

Best budget-friendly portable games console
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Pros

  • Design is robust, attractive and easy to use
  • Already boasts a fantastic library of games
  • Increased battery life compared to the base model

Cons

  • Nature of console means certain games are no longer supported
  • Local multiplayer is far harder to achieve without docking

The Nintendo Switch Lite is the cheapest portable console on our list, which makes it an ideal choice for those on a budget, as well as for children.

It looks particularly bright and fun, with a funky yellow plastic outer shell. And if this isn’t to your taste, the Switch Lite is available in a couple of other colours, including turquoise and grey. This is a much smaller footprint console than the full-fat Switch, which we found made it nicely portable. It’s lighter 275g weight also made it easier to hold, especially for younger children.

The display on the Switch Lite is a denser 5.5-inch panel with the same 720p resolution as the original. Generally speaking, you won’t be losing anything in terms of picture quality, even with a 0.7-inch reduction in overall size.

It’s worth noting that the Switch Lite isn’t fully compatible with every Switch game, since the Joy-Cons aren’t detachable. This means a select few titles (such as 1-2-Switch) that need motion controls won’t work, unless you shell out on extra Joy-Cons. Other than that, the entire library is open to you, meaning all the best Mario, Zelda and Pokemon games are all within reach.

In addition, the console features decent battery life, ranging from four to seven hours, depending on the game. At the top end, it means you’ll get roughly a working day’s worth of playtime out of the Switch Lite before it needs to be charged. If you’re only playing for a couple of hours a day, it’s likely you could get several days’ worth of charge out of this little guy.

While it may not have detachable Joy-Cons and slightly shorter battery life than the standard Switch, the Switch Lite is a great option for those who want the fundamentals of Nintendo’s latest console with a fun gaming experience, complete with a sturdy and colourful outer shell and a great selection of games.

Reviewer: Jade King
Full review: Nintendo Switch Lite Review

Playdate

Best retro games console
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Pros

  • An inspired celebration of retro gaming
  • Perfect size for portable gaming
  • A surprisingly varied array of games included
  • The crank is fun to use

Cons

  • No backlight
  • No Bluetooth at launch

The Playdate is the best retro-inspired games consoles, despite being the most recently-released console on our list.

It’s a homage to the retro game consoles of old, with its yellow plastic frame an obvious nod to the iconic original Game Boy. Weighing just 86g, we found it to be incredibly portable. The Playdate features just two buttons, a D-pad, as well as a crank on the side that we found to add an interesting mechanic to the games that support it.

The selection of games available with the Playdate is varied, with there being 24 in total that we found to offer a fun experience, whether it’s the Asteroids-inspired Hyper Meteor, the crank-driven Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, or the side-scrolling detective thriller Saturday Edition. There’s sure to be a title that everyone will enjoy, especially given how captivating we found the gameplay to be.

There is also the ability to make your own games with the clever Playdate Pulp feature, and means anyone (even those with basic coding knowledge) has the potential to make a game.

The only major issue we had with the Playdate was its display. While its dinky 2.7-inch screen is perfectly serviceable for the most part, the fact there isn’t a backlight means you can’t really make use of the console if you’re playing in the dark. While the Playdate is a great retro-inspired console, the lack of a backlight did feel like it brings the old experience a little bit too close to home at times.

Reviewer: Thomas Deehan
Full review: Playdate review

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FAQs

Which games console is best for families?

The Nintendo Switch arguably has the best library of family-friendly games, with the likes of Mario Party and Mario Kart available. Although the Xbox Series S is a good option too, since it’s available at a low price and can be paired with Game Pass to access a large library of games.

Which console has better graphics?

The Nvidia Shield TV technically offers the best graphics if you subscribe to the most expensive GeForce Now tier. But if we’re talking about traditional consoles, it will be between the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

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Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

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