You want to buy a modern video game console, and you have R5,500 to play with. What do you buy? For R5,300, you can buy a Nintendo Switch or a PlayStation 4 — but both offer their own unique video game experiences.
This might seem like a small detail, but when you're turning a game console on hundreds of times throughout the course of its life, every second counts. And the Nintendo Switch can boot up much faster than the PlayStation 4.
The startup difference is significant, and it makes the Nintendo Switch act and feel more like a modern gaming console.
The Nintendo Switch takes just under 4 seconds to fully boot up, from completely powered off to on and playing from where you left off. The PlayStation 4, on the other hand, takes about 35 seconds to fully boot up from Rest Mode so you can jump back into that game you were playing. If you have it fully turned off, and not just asleep, the PlayStation 4 takes even longer to get going.
With the Nintendo Switch, you have at least seven different ways to play:
— Holding two Joy-Con controllers, one in each hand
— Using one Joy-Con as a controller
— Playing with the two Joy-Cons in the Grip handheld accessory
— Purchasing and using the Pro controller
— Putting the Joy-Con on the Switch console and playing it as a handheld
— Playing the Nintendo Switch on your TV
— Playing the Nintendo Switch on your tabletop, thanks to its kickstand
The PlayStation 4, on the other hand, can only be played on a TV, and has just a handful of input options, including the default DualShock 4 controller, the PlayStation Move hand controllers, and the PlayStation VR headset. And suffice it to say, those PlayStation 4 accessories are pricey and not at all portable.
Not only does the Nintendo Switch offer more ways to play, but it also supports multiple consoles playing together locally. Your friends can bring their Switch consoles and you can all play together. The Nintendo Switch allows up to 8 players over a single local connection. The PlayStation 4 supports local games up to four people, but most multiplayer experiences on that console are online. To take full advantage of the PlayStation 4's online play, too, you'll need a $60/year PlayStation Plus account, though some online games don't require it.
Most game consoles have some sort of online subscription service: On the Xbox, it's Xbox Live Gold. On the PlayStation 4, it's PlayStation Plus. And Nintendo Switch Online is coming soon to the Nintendo Switch.
Right now, playing Nintendo Switch games online with friends is totally free. Come September, though, a paid service called Nintendo Switch Online will change that. Still, it's more accessible than other online services: Nintendo Switch Online will just cost R262 per year (or R460 a year for a family membership that supports up to 7 others), and will support multiplayer experiences and regularly add older Nintendo games you can play for free.
PlayStation Plus, Sony's paid online subscription service for the PlayStation 4, costs R800 a year. Though PlayStation Plus also offers free games every month and some nice deals in the PlayStation Store, the entry price is still a big factor for many people, and one year of PlayStation Plus would cost the equivalent of three years of Nintendo Switch Online.
The PlayStation 4 has its share of incredible exclusive titles, including "God of War," "Horizon Zero Dawn," "Bloodborne," and the "Uncharted" series, but Nintendo is a master video game maker, and the one-year-old Switch has already built an impressive library of games you can't play elsewhere:
— "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," a winner of countless gaming awards and arguably one of the best Zelda games — and video games — of all-time
— "Super Mario Odyssey," arguably one of the best Mario games ever made, which is truly saying something
— "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe," arguably the best Mario Kart game ever made
And many more are on the way, including two new Pokémon games coming in November, "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" coming in December, and a new "Metroid Prime" game — the first in over a decade.
The PlayStation 4's default DualShock 4 controllers last about 4-5 hours on a single charge.
The Nintendo Switch's Joy Con, on the other hand, get about 20 hours on a single charge.
And if you buy the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, that gets about 40 hours on a single charge.
Of the many innovations packed into the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con, including a camera that can detect shapes and even heat, is a new rumble feature called "HD Rumble."
Nintendo basically put the rumble feature on the gaming map back in 1997 when it introduced the Rumble Pak for the Nintendo 64, which let the controller vibrate when certain things happen, like if you shot a weapon, or took damage.
Twenty years later, HD Rumble in the Nintendo Switch uses a high-definition haptic feedback motor — actually the same one used in Facebook's Oculus Touch controllers for virtual reality — to make the controllers not just shake, but give off different kinds of feedback.
Nintendo says HD Rumble could let you feel virtual ice cubes being dropped into a virtual glass. In practice, HD Rumble is similar to the feedback you can get from your iPhone's or Apple Watch's haptic motor when you use the 3D Touch feature — it can feel like a small and subtle tap, or a bigger shake. So unlike the PlayStation 4's controllers, which can basically produce quieter and louder vibrations, the precision and nuance of HD Rumble adds much more to the overall experience.
Storage space fills up fast on the PlayStation 4, where great-looking games command large file sizes.
You can upgrade the hard drive inside the PlayStation 4 if you want more built-in storage, but it's not a quick process, and it requires taking apart your console and putting it back together (gulp). You could also just plug in an external hard drive to the PlayStation 4 through one of its USB ports, but if you accidentally unplug the hard drive, or the system shuts off suddenly, you're at risk of losing your data. Besides, it adds more stuff to your entertainment center.
The Nintendo Switch, on the other hand, comes with less on-board storage than the PlayStation 4. That's okay, though, because game sizes are generally smaller on the Switch. More importantly, the Nintendo Switch also supports Micro SD cards, which let you add storage up to 2 terabytes. But that's way more than you'll need; even getting a Micro SD card with 64 GB or 128 GB would give you more than enough space for all of your Nintendo Switch games, and you don't have to worry about data loss.
In case you're wondering what advantages you get with the PlayStation 4, check out the 7 biggest reasons to consider Sony's console over the Nintendo Switch.
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