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The Best Game Consoles for 2021

The time hasn’t been better for game consoles. If you’re in the market for a new one or wanting to jump into gaming for the first time, we have a list that has something for everyone, including the top brands and products on the market, such as PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. 

The list is short as the current consoles available are the usual top three, with older models being phased out/discontinued. That said, they are still great to look into and worth noting. 

 

Our top picks

How to choose a game console

Choosing a game console doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are a few things to look for: 

  • Types of Games – What kind of games do you want to play, or enjoy playing? Different consoles cater to different types, such as the Xbox line is focused on multiplayer, Nintendo is more user friendly, and PlayStation is more story-driven single-player games. 
  • Cost – Brand new game consoles can be pricey, but there are differences. The Nintendo Switch or Classic NES/SNES consoles are generally a bit cheaper. 
  • Durability – Will your console have to be durable against children or pets? Or can it sit on a shelf without worrying about getting knocked into or over? Most game consoles are sturdy, but make sure that what you’re getting can withstand some hits. 
  • Ease of Use – Nintendo is generally geared towards everyone for games and use setup. Make sure you’re getting something that isn’t too overwhelming for the user. 

Why trust us

With game consoles upgrading and changing every few years, it can be hard to decide which one suits you and your play style. Our team has spent over 10 hours researching to compile this list to make your choice easier. We took not only online user reviews into consideration but also our own experience playing video games for years. 

Best game console for 2021

Nintendo Switch

With something for everyone, new gamers and old – the Nintendo Switch is our top choice for game consoles. 

From friendly Mario games to horror and first-person multiplayer shooters, the Nintendo Switch has nearly everything. The best and most notable feature of the Switch, as the name implies, it can be docked and played on the TV or switched into its handheld mode. It’s seamless, quick, and straightforward. 

Gameplay time while handheld ranges anywhere from three to six and a half hours, depending on what you’re playing and other factors such as brightness, audio volume, and whether you’re on Wi-Fi or not. The other factor is that charging the Switch right back up doesn’t take much time either  around three hours for a full charge, depending on how low your battery is initially. 

One thing worth noting is that unlike other Nintendo Gameboy consoles/handhelds, always remember to set it to Sleep mode or put it down on a hard surface, instead of just tossing it on your bed or couch while it’s still running – The console gets very hot, very fast while a game is playing and if the air intake vents on the bottom get covered up or smothered by a blanket, you can wreck the system or even start a fire if it’s left unattended for a long enough period and reaches hot enough temperatures. 

Another slight caveat that has to do with the design is making sure that you don’t accidentally slide the Joy-cons on the wrong way or onto the wrong sides, as they will lock and be extremely difficult to remove without damaging the system. 

Pros
  • User friendly.
  • Games for everyone.
Cons
  • Joy-cons start to ‘drift’ after a while.

Best game console for multiplayer games

Xbox Series X

Known for its more multiplayer FPS type games, the new Xbox Series X console needs no introduction as the pick for multiplayer. 

With beefy specs and ease of transportability, this console is a great choice for anyone that likes FPS games or being able to transport their console to a friend’s house and the like. Having a large game catalogue that makes it easy to play with friends or online with new people, the Xbox Series X steps up the game more than before. 

Higher refresh rates, 4K capability, and the ability to just unhook it, move it wherever you need, and within seconds it will turn on and be back right where you left off – no long start-up screens or waiting for everything to reboot. 

Pros
  • Excellent quality.
  • Specs are great.
Cons
  • Lack of new exclusive games.

Best Game Console for Retro Gaming

Nintendo SNES Classic

For those who love older games and want to replay them, look no further than the Nintendo SNES Classic console. With 21 SNES games to choose from this is a good system to look into.

With the classic Super Nintendo controllers, and designed like the old system, it’s a quality little console worth picking up. There is also the Nintendo Classic that’s about twenty dollars cheaper. You just hook it up to your TV and play any old SNES game you want.

It’s good for those who love the older era of games, anyone new that might be into them, or just for nostalgia’s sake. It runs smoothly, and you don’t have to worry about any crashes or strange lag with frame rate like you might get playing old games with emulators on a computer.

Pros
  • Game selection is great.
  • Quality is good.
  • Affordable.
Cons
  • Odd build design in some regards.

Best 4K Console

Sony PlayStation 5

Sony’s newest console, the PS5, is a top tier console absolutely worth looking into (if you can currently find one) Taking the market by storm and highly anticipated, it delivers in every regard – if you’re lucky enough to have gotten one via pre-order or can find one in store.

With stunning 4K capability and beefed-up specs from the PS4, it’s a sleek machine more than capable of handling any game you throw at it. If you can find space in your living room that is since the PS5 is notably very large. The Xbox Series X is also quite big, but the PS5 takes the cake.

If you’re looking for a gaming experience with rich storytelling, stunning realistic graphics, and a quick start-up time, look no further. The PS5 stands out from the crowd as well with its new DualSense controllers – offering new haptic feedback and pressure-sensitive shoulder buttons that essentially ‘push back’ as you play, adding even more immersion and realism to the feel of the controllers while you’re playing games. Something like an FPS might make the controllers feel more resistant to being pressed down, much like pulling a trigger that has some resistance.

Pros
  • DualSense controller is top tier.
Cons
  • Currently difficult to find.

How we picked the best game consoles

For this particular buying guide, we reviewed the top game consoles available on the market today in Canada and determined each for any and all users, whether you’re a video game pro or novice. 

Common questions about game consoles

What’s a game console?

A game console is an electric console you can use to play video games on that either has its own screen like the Nintendo Switch, or a console box that makes use of a TV or other output, that you can play using controllers. 

When was the first video game console made?

1972 – The Odyssey console 

What’s the best-selling console of all time?

Sony’s PlayStation 2 is the best-selling game console of all time. 

What’s the best console for Fortnite?

Xbox One has been noted as the best console (besides PC) to play Fortnite on, as the Xbox has more multiplayer based users. 

What’s the best console for casual gamers?

The Nintendo Switch would be the best console for casual players. There’s something for everyone and it’s easy to pick up and play or connect to the TV and play that way. 

What’s the best console for seniors?

The Nintendo Switch or even the Nintendo Wii are the best consoles for seniors. 

Xbox or PS5: Which one is the best?

The difference between Xbox and PlayStation really depends on what you prefer to play. PS games tend to be more story-driven and single-player, whereas Xbox tends to lean towards multiplayer games. 

What’s a powerful console in 2021?

Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are powerful consoles in 2021, the newest consoles from Sony and Microsoft. 

Should I buy a second-hand game console?

A second-hand game console can be a great investment if you don’t want to buy a brand-new console at cost. Just make sure to do your research and see the console first in person or ask if there are any damages. 

What’s the PS5 release date in Canada?

November 12, 2020, was the release date for the PS5 in Canada. 

How does backwards compatibility work?

Backwards compatibility works with the current console emulating its older system, allowing you to play older games on it that you otherwise would need the separate/older console for. As technology improves, newer tech has trouble emulating old games properly. 

Can I connect my Xbox controller to the PC?

Yes. You can connect an Xbox controller to your PC via USB cable, an Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows, or over Bluetooth. 

Is PC gaming cheaper than console?

PC gaming can be cheaper than console depending on what you play and what your set-up needs would be. An expensive gaming rig can last years and run the newest and best games, but the cost upfront is quite a bit. 

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About the author

Nikki Lyka

Nikki Lyka is a reviewer and writer at Rank-It.ca that’s written about a variety of subjects from the best fantasy novels to travel guides and blogs. When she isn’t researching and typing up a storm, she’s generally found winding down with tea, video games, practicing aerial hoop, photography, and reading good horror novels.
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