Which game console to choose according to your needs in 2021?

Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Nvidia Shield ... discover our selection of the best gaming consoles in 2021, according to your needs.

The best gaming consoles in 2021

The future according to Sony 8/10

Sony PlayStation 5

  • Excellent controller
  • Excellent graphics
  • Careful backward compatibility
The test 499 € The most powerful console 9/10

Microsoft Xbox Series X

  • Powerful and silent
  • Real 4K
  • an attractive Xbox Game Pass
The test 499 € The same for (a little) better 8/10

Nintendo Switch OLED

  • Better display
  • Ethernet port
  • And that's all ...
The test 339 €

The new consoles are finally available, certainly with recurring availability concerns, so this is the perfect opportunity to take a look at the console market.

Unlike what has happened during other transitions, the current two generations of consoles clearly do not aim to coexist. There won't have been an ultra-compact PS One-style version or even steep price cuts for the PS4 and Xbox One. These are sold far too dear to keep the slightest interest.

This is why we have therefore purely and simply decided to take them out of our buying guide. As the eventful release of Cyberpunk 2077 painfully demonstrated, the base models are now obsolete. The PS4 Pro and One X do a bit better, but buying them doesn't make much more sense, especially with the big backward compatibility efforts being made on the new consoles.

What's up Doc ?

Basically, the PS5 and Xbox Series X are remarkably close. Both are built around an AMD-designed processor and graphics combo. The general architecture remains x86, which greatly facilitates cross-platform development and backward compatibility with the previous generation.

Without going into technical details, there are a few points that are particularly interesting for players.

The first is the move away from tray hard drives in favor of SSDs using a PCI-Express bus. Coupled with a few tips for decompressing data, this results in greatly reduced loading times. In our tests, they were divided by ten on some titles. Suffice to say that the good old loading screen seems to be on the way out.

Both consoles also adopt HDMI 2.1. In addition to a higher maximum resolution (we go up to 8K…), this new standard brings refinements hitherto reserved for the PC. We are thus entitled to an automatic switchover of the television to low latency mode, but also to the VRR (variable refresh rate).

Behind this barbaric term hides an automatic adjustment of the refresh rate of the screen according to the number of images per second of the television. In short: no more tearing of the image and a strongly reinforced impression of fluidity.

Only downside, these functions are reserved for TVs compatible with HDMI 2.1. To find out which one to choose, head to our guide to the best TVs.

Game consoles for TV

Microsoft Xbox Series X The Most Powerful Console

9 / 10 Product sheet See the Amazon test 499 €
  • Powerful and silent
  • Real 4K
  • an attractive Xbox Game Pass
Available at 499 € on Amazon

With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft promises us wonders: a powerful console, capable of running games in native 4K while not producing a jet engine noise on takeoff.

First observation: the machine is massive! To the point, moreover, that it does not fit into a number of TV cabinets, in particular if you want to put it vertically (which is recommended for better cooling). In action, the machine is indeed very silent even with greedy titles.

Source: Arnaud Gelineau - Idroid

On the software side we appreciate the interface, simple to use and perfectly fluid. Microsoft also impresses with Xbox 360 and Xbox One backward compatibility. Not only do the vast majority of titles work, but they also see their resolution and framerate increase. It's a great way to rediscover your game library.

In contrast, the list of exciting exclusives so far is limited to say the least and that won't improve for the foreseeable future, with Sony having signed most of the promising projects. For its part, the Redmond company has a huge Joker to play with its Xbox Game Pass. This subscription (9,99 euros per month) gives access to a very large catalog of games. Promising on release, it is constantly growing and proving a real argument in favor of the Microsoft console.

Including the titles of the 23 studios that Microsoft has acquired in recent years, including Zenimax / Bethesta. The next Fallout, Doom or Elders Scrolls will above all be made for the Xbox.

The Xbox Series X is therefore a very good console, handicapped only by a lack of interesting exclusives for the moment. Find his full test here.

Where to buy the
Microsoft Xbox Series X at the best price?
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Microsoft Xbox Series S La next gen en Full HD

7 / 10 Product sheet See the Amazon test 299 €
  • More compact
  • Perfect for playing in Full HD ...
  • ... but doubts in the long term
Available at 299 € on Amazon

While it is now customary to release a more powerful console in the middle of its lifecycle, Microsoft is reversing the paradigm here by offering a castrated version of its flagship upon release!

Xbox Series S and its joystick // Source: Arnaud Gelineau - Idroid

Among the main changes: a lighter graphics part, going from 12 to 4 Tflops, less RAM (from 16 to 10 GB) and an SSD of only 512 GB.

In practice, this gives a console halfway between the Xbox One X and the Xbox Series X. We retain certain advantages such as ultra-fast loading, but the console is clearly cut to make Full HD rather than 4K. The overall quality of the rendering is also degraded, with a lower level of detail.

This "downgrade" has its advantages, however, with a console that is much more compact and still very quiet. There is also the Xbox Game Pass for access to many games in exchange for a monthly subscription.

Still, if the S Series is a good console to play in Full HD without breaking the bank, we are entitled to ask some questions about its long-term viability. The reduced size of the SSD is also a bit petty given the increasingly large size of the games. The Xbox Series S is therefore an attractive option for casual gamers. You can read our full review for more information.

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Microsoft Xbox Series S at the best price?
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Sony PlayStation 5 The future according to Sony

8 / 10 Product sheet See the Amazon test 499 €
  • Excellent controller
  • Excellent graphics
  • Careful backward compatibility
Available at 499 € on Amazon

After dominating the market with the PlayStation 4, Sony was no surprises expected at the turn with its new baby.

First observation: the machine is a real tank. Like Microsoft, Sony must have squeezed all this power somewhere and this results in an even bigger machine than the Xbox Series X. Not only will it be complicated to install in a cabinet, but its design with the hints of the 2000s does not. clearly will not appeal to everyone.

The PlayStation 5 // Source: Idroid - Arnaud GELINEAU

If noise pollution is more controlled than with the PS4 Pro, we cannot however say that it is completely silent. We also note that the noise varies depending on the model, more consistency on this point would have been appreciable.

Unlike that of the Xbox, the controller of the PS5 evolves quite strongly. In addition to a revised look, it is now bigger, which makes it easier to handle. The rear triggers are now adaptive, with resistance varying depending on the context. The feel is compelling, but we'll have to see if the developers take advantage of it. The vibrations are also improved in general and we welcome the adoption of USB-C for charging.

The interface is also evolving in the right direction, generally becoming clearer and more fluid. As for storage, we are entitled to an 825 GB SSD of which only 667 GB are actually usable. At a time when most major titles exceed 100 GB, we will quickly find ourselves cramped. Adding a second SSD in M2 format is possible, but the functionality is not yet activated.

In terms of games, we find ourselves as on the Xbox with a certain lack of large launch exclusives. Things should get better in the coming months, but for now you'll have to settle for replaying PS4 titles. Fortunately, this time the backward compatibility is almost perfect.

While it lacks a few release exclusives to really shine, the PS5 is a solid console with overall promise. It is currently the best way to enjoy your PS4 games. To find out more, head to our full test.

Where to buy the
Sony PlayStation 5 at the best price?
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  • Baker € 499 Discover the offer
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What about the PS5 Digital Edition?

Devoid of optical drive and sold for 100 euros less, the PS5 Digital Edition could tempt some, especially when stocks are limited.

Although it is a little more compact and it offers the same performance as its big sister, the switch to all digital at a certain cost. Not only are you paying more for your games, but the door to opportunity is closed to you. Same penalty for your collection of PS4 games. If you have them in physical version you will only have your eyes to cry on.

To learn more
PS5 or PS5 Digital Edition: which model should you choose?

The result is a console that is certainly good quality, but will cost you a lot more in the long run. With a Sony "GamePass" this console would have had more interest, but for the moment we recommend the classic PS5. We tell you more in our review of the PS5 Digital Edition.

Nvidia Shield TV (2019) The console according to Nvidia

9 / 10 Product sheet See the Amazon test 149 €
  • 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, Dolby Audio
  • Truly surprising upscaler
  • All the "gaming" features linked to Nvidia
Available at 149 € on Amazon

If the Nvidia Shield TV is first thought of as an Android TV box rather than a console, its advanced video game-related features make it a good add-on console. Nvidia requires, it integrates all the streaming features of your local PC games, and the firm's cloud gaming: GameStream and GeForce Now respectively. Since it runs on Android, you also have access to the Google Play Store game library.

For the rest, it differs from its predecessor released in 2017 by its new design in "tube" allows it to be much more discreet on a television, and we also very much like the remote control "form" Toblerone with new buttons and direct access to Netflix. Google Assistant and Alexa are also in the game. In short, in addition to being a nice secondary console, the Shield TV is simply the best Android TV box, the most complete, but also the prettiest and most pleasant to use.

9 / 10

Nvidia Shield TV (2019)

Product sheet See the test Available at 149 €

Basically, the object is 4K HDR compatible, so it will also suit owners of compatible TVs. To know all the good things about it, you can check out our full review of Nvidia Shield TV 2019. Note that there is also a “Pro” version with limited interest, we talk about it in our review.

Where to buy the
Nvidia Shield TV (2019) at the best price?
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Nomadic game consoles

Nintendo Switch OLED The same and (a little) better

8 / 10 Product sheet See the Amazon test 339 €
  • Better display
  • Ethernet port
  • And that's all ...
Available at 339 € on Amazon

After years of rumors, it is ultimately not a Switch Pro we were entitled to, but an OLED Switch. As its name suggests, it swaps the LCD display of the original console for an OLED panel.

The Nintendo Switch OLED screen has fewer bezels // Source: Anthony Wonner - Idroid

Beyond the change in technology, Nintendo also took the opportunity to use a larger screen with thinner edges. While the dimensions of the console itself hardly change, we gain 0,8 inches to reach 7 inches. If we appreciate the additional space, the resolution does not change and the image is therefore a little less fine. The weight increases by 20 grams, which does not really change the fatigue of use.

The switch to OLED is real progress. The very vivid colors and the infinite blacks lend themselves very well to the game. If the brightness does not increase, the feeling is more pleasant because of the much higher contrast. However, do not plan to play in direct sunlight.

The latest changes are to be found on the dock, which displays a slightly revised design and above all an Ethernet connector. No need to use a USB adapter to directly connect your console.

The base storage is upgraded to 64GB is better, but a microSD card will still be essential for most gamers. Under the hood, nothing else changes, we find the same Tegra processor and the same battery. Unfortunately, we also find the same Joy-Con which are sure to have problems in a few months, even though Nintendo claims that they are constantly being improved.

While the impact of a better quality display is important for a portable console, Nintendo is giving us minimum service here. This is the best version of the console, but it doesn't really justify an upgrade if you already have an original Switch. We explain this in more detail in our test of the Nintendo Switch OLED.

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Nintendo Switch OLED at the best price?
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Nintendo Switch The hybrid console

Product sheet See the Amazon test 269 €
  • On site or to take away
  • Nintendo's best sellers
  • Two players with one controller!
Available at 269 € on Amazon

The Nintendo Switch therefore remains the best choice for a console that can be used both in portable mode and in living room mode on a TV. A detail that makes it particularly attractive, but above all different from its competitors (this is why it has its own category).

Nintendo has always put forward a certain robustness for its consoles and the Switch is no exception to the rule (Editor's note: the Game Boy even works 20 years later). It is a console that is suitable for young and old, especially with a well-supplied catalog of games which now reaches more than 1 titles available on the eShop. There is something for everyone, from famous Big N productions with licenses like Zelda, Mario or Pokémon, but also the flagship titles of third-party publishers with in particular Dark Souls, FIFA and many others.

Regarding its raw characteristics, it incorporates a 6,2-inch HD screen, an Nvidia Tegra X1 chip associated with 4 GB of RAM that we find for example in the NVIDIA Shield 2017, a 4 mAh battery which gives it an autonomy of 310 to 2 hours depending on use and a storage capacity of 3 GB (expandable via micro SD).

A new model of Nintendo Switch with better battery life available for a while. The original models are now rare, but we invite you to read our dedicated article so as not to make a mistake with the purchase.

Now sold for 270 euros, the classic Switch is still a good console. It's up to you to see if the savings of 80 euros compared to the OLED version make it more interesting.

To accompany your console you may be interested in a Switch headset or accessories.

Where to buy the
Nintendo Switch at the best price?
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Nintendo Switch Lite The Switch, but only portable

8 / 10 Product sheet See the Amazon test 199 €
  • All the delights of Nintendo
  • In a portable-only console
Available at 199 € on Amazon

If you do not want to play Switch games on a television, be aware that a "Lite" model is also available. This new version has the particularity of leaving aside the hybrid dimension to focus only on the experience in portable mode. Therefore, it is impossible to connect it to a television or to unhook the controllers at the ends.

This allows it to be more solid and lighter without the frames on the sides that normally accommodate the Joy-Con, but also more compact thanks to its 5,5-inch screen (against 6,2 inches on the classic model). Finally, it also benefits from the improved autonomy of the new Switch models of 2019, estimated at 6 hours depending on your use.

The interest? Simply take advantage of the huge catalog of the console by saving a hundred euros compared to the classic model. However, it should be taken into account that not all games will be compatible, especially those that ardently use motion detection.

Where to buy the
Nintendo Switch Lite at the best price?
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Valve Steam Deck Un possible challenger ?

Product sheet 0 ¤
  • A real PC
  • In mobile format
  • Valve's punching power

If there is one actor that we did not expect in the world of mobile gaming, it is Valve. The company behind Steam (and Half Life, we are still waiting for Episode 3 Gabe…) was indeed more focused on large PCs and living room VR.

With its false air of Game Gear, the Steam Deck is therefore a real small laptop PC adopting a console format. If that means anything to you, it's normal: the concept comes back very regularly since the GP2X more than 18 years ago now.

It is built around a 7-inch LCD screen in 16/10 format (1280 x 800 pixels). It's not much, but probably the right choice if you want to be able to run games in somewhat decent conditions.

Under the hood, a Ryzen mobile APU is present, built around the Zen 2 architecture for the CPU and RDNA 2 for the GPU, it should offer around 1,6 Tflops of GPU power. This places it roughly at the level of an Xbox One S, enough to run most games as long as we remain reasonable on the level of detail. Three storage versions exist, ranging from 64 to 512 GB of SSD. We will avoid the cheapest version: 64 GB will not be enough for most modern games.

La Steam Deck in fashion dock

On the software side, Valve brings us a version of SteamOS, this Linux distribution launched in 2013 to accompany the release of Steam Machines (who still remembers those home PCs that promised to replace consoles?). The games will therefore work via a compatibility layer. We should also be able to install Windows or any other X86 operating system for the more adventurous.

However, there are still some questions, especially ergonomics. The machine is heavy (669 grams) and above all the positioning of certain buttons is frankly something to be wary of. We therefore strongly recommend that you wait for our handling before going through the purchase box in December. A recommendation that buyers have obviously not taken into account: demand is such that the next wave of deliveries will take place in the second quarter of 2022!

Where to buy the
Valve Steam Deck at the best price?

There are no offers at the moment

Raspberry Pi: the retrogaming console for the little handyman

The Raspberry Pi is a nano computer that takes everything on board, namely a CPU, a GPU, RAM, also with a connection provided (HDMI, USB, Ethernet, etc.). It offers many possibilities for those who are creative, but our favorite is without a doubt that of being able to transform it into a true retrogaming console. Our colleagues from Numerama have written a guide to accompany you step by step in this adventure. It is even possible to make an arcade machine for the more DIY enthusiasts.

Why go on a Raspberry Pi?

  • Its low price
  • Its versatility
  • Allows you to make your own console

The Raspberry Pi 3 is sufficient and generally trades below 30 euros. If you want a little more power, the Pi 4 model will cost almost double that.

Know everything before buying a game console

What are the three big consoles of the moment?

The console market is dominated by three giants: Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. They respectively design the Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X. With the recent release of the latter two, the Switch is starting to show its age a little. However, she still has the particularity of Nintendo for her.

What are the criteria to study before choosing a console?

It is important to think about the games you want to play before buying a console, because the catalog can vary enormously from one machine to another. For example, the most popular games can be found on home consoles belonging to Sony and Microsoft rather than Nintendo (Call Of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Grand Theft Auto). Conversely, the latter benefits from many exclusives from its in-house licenses (Mario, Pokémon, Zelda) that you will not find anywhere else (if we forget the games released on smartphones).

Want to play online with your friends? In this case, you will probably have to play on the same machine as your relatives, because the cross-platform is still extremely rare today… too bad. Finally, it will be necessary to pay attention to the functionalities of the consoles. Some allow you to play in 4K, others to play Blu-rays or even act as a multimedia hub.

If you are looking for even more mobility, many accessories exist to be able to enjoy a gaming experience on smartphones and tablets.

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