Ever since the Sony Playstation 5 and the Microsoft Xbox Series X consoles were announced, they were the talk of the town and many people were speculating about which one is better.
Well, there are so many things to consider here, so in this article, I will talk about what you need to know about the two consoles so that you can decide for yourself which one is a much better purchase for you.
The next-generation game consoles are designed in a way that helps people save space. So, instead of taking as much space as possible via a horizontal orientation, both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X have more vertical aesthetics.
The Microsoft Xbox Series X looks like a rectangular box that rises upward. That means that its base should give you enough space to place it in a cramped desk, though its verticality could prove to be a bit challenging if you intend to put it in a cabinet, for example.
For the Playstation 5, it also has a rectangular design but it is accentuated by two white flaps that are stuck to the side of the console. Aesthetically, the PS5 wins some style points because it looks like a ‘true’ new-age gaming machine.
It is also worth mentioning that the PS5 will have two versions: The All-digital edition and the one that comes with a physical optical drive. The latter is an option for people that want to buy game disc cartridges instead of relying on digital downloads.
Personally, I would recommend that you get the all-digital edition since it is going to be a bit cheaper than the one that has the optical drive. Furthermore, the disc edition kind of looks awkward due to the inclusion of the said drive.
Again, this is personal preference but do keep in mind that the optical drive edition will cost a bit more money.
Gaming Performance and Graphics
For quite some time, Sony’s game consoles have always beaten what Microsoft had to offer when it comes to sheer specs and performance. Well, the latter company doesn’t want that anymore, so they’ve equipped the Series X with much better components.
The Xbox Series X has a GPU that has a processing power of 12 teraflops as opposed to the 10.3 teraflops processing power on the PS5. On paper, it seems that Microsoft wins this round, but that might not necessarily reflect on real-world performance.
You see, while the Microsoft game console does have more processing power, it doesn’t mean that every game that is developed for the platform would be able to utilize it. Of course, the games that you play will factor into the equation as well.
Aside from the slight performance increase, both the Xbox Series X and PS5 are powered by Solid-State Drives or SSDs, but the former has a bit more storage capacity than the latter.
Unfortunately, we still do not know the specifics about what SSDs are used in both game consoles. Some Sony representatives did mention that it is going to be so much better than any SSD available for the PC. Of course, this remains to be seen when the console comes out in the Holidays.
When the PS5 and the Series X will be launched during the Holidays, they will be released with some platform exclusives.
The games that are going to be released alongside the Playstation 5 would be Spiderman: Miles Morales, Horizon: Forbidden West, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, among many others.
For the Xbox, Halo Infinite is the main title to watch out for, but you can also expect other titles such as Fable 4, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, and possibly more titles in the future.
Before the announcements were made, a lot of people were speculating about whether or not the next-generation consoles will be supporting backward compatibility with older games or not.
The feature is actually a pretty nice thing since some people are saving up some money to buy the newer console as opposed to getting the Playstation 4, for example, mainly because of this very reason.
Fortunately, fans of both the Series X and the PS5 will be happy to know that all of the upcoming consoles will be supporting older games, but even more so for the former.
While Sony’s PS5 will offer some backward compatibility with older Playstation games, it is important to note that not all of the games on the platform will be supported right off the bat. In fact, you may have to wait a little longer for the console to fully support games that are so many years old.
You also have to take into account that while Sony did express its motive of supporting PS4 games, players will not find any luck supporting PS3 and older games which can be off-putting for some people.
Meanwhile, Microsoft not only expressed compatibility with older console games, but you do have the option to play even the games that were available in the Original Xbox.
Phil Spencer mentioned that his team is now making sure that most of the popular titles in the yesteryears will be supported by the Series X.
One benefit of playing older Xbox titles is that they are most likely going to be upscaled to look better on the upcoming game console. That means that you could either have smoother gameplay thanks to the higher 120fps refresh rate or higher visual fidelity thanks to visual upscaling that is already inherent in the new platform.
Plus, when you purchase an Xbox Game Pass, you are entitled to receive new perks, as well as the ability to gain access to older games much faster than those who did not enroll in the program.
So, if you’ve been wanting to play older titles on the Xbox ecosystem, then you might as well save up for Microsoft’s upcoming game console.
Virtual Reality Support
If you are a fan of virtual reality gaming, then there is no doubt that you should be going for the Playstation 5. That is because Sony’s current and upcoming game consoles have support for the company’s Playstation VR headset and Sony has also expressed that there will be more VR-specific titles in the near future.
While the Xbox Series X is capable of handling VR games, Microsoft, at least at the time of writing, didn’t mention anything about VR exclusives. Although, I wouldn’t lose hope because Microsoft is usually a company that is always cooking up something new.
Both Sony and Microsoft provide subscription-based services to their customers and signing up to them make sense as you not only have the ability to gain exclusive perks but also the ability to buy whatever games that you want that their individual platforms support.
That being said, if you are going to buy the Playstation 5, you should consider subscribing to the Playstation Now service. For just $6-$10 a month (depending on your region), you will have the option to buy PS5 exclusives much earlier than those who are not subscribed to the plan.
On the other side, Microsoft is offering the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which pretty much offers you exclusives and first-hand experience with newer titles, but there is also another nifty feature that you can get.
Microsoft has heavily invested in its cloud gaming platform called Project xCloud and it would be quite interesting since you are going to be able to stream using your Android device or PC. More details would be needed to fully understand the architecture, but from the looks of it, you can use the aforementioned platforms to save data on the cloud and use them on whatever platform you choose.
For example, if you are playing some Xbox games on the PC and you’ve saved progress on your gaming computer, you will then start where you left off if you decide to play on the Xbox game console later in the day. This flexibility is quite amazing, but again, more information would be needed to make things clearer.
Okay, so you might have a hard time deciding now because both platforms are offering juicy exclusives that are hard to miss.
Well, let me break it down for you. While the Xbox Series X has more GPU processing power and a slightly heftier SSD storage capacity on paper, that doesn’t necessarily mean that its gaming performance will be better than what Sony has to offer.
You see, individual game developers would have to make sure that they eke out every last bit of performance from the individual game console’s specs to ensure maximum performance, so you will have to wait until they are released to truly find out.
If you value virtual reality gaming, then there is no doubt that you should get the PS5. Not only does it support the Playstation VR headset right off the bat, but Sony has expressed that it will release more VR games in the future. Microsoft has yet to include any VR-exclusive games.
Now, if you want extensive backward compatibility, you might want to lean more towards the Xbox Series X. Microsoft has told the media that it will be supporting not only its predecessor’s games but also the Xbox consoles of old as well. Of course, you will have to wait until your favorite game is supported, but the company will support it nevertheless.
As of now, Sony has made it clear that it will only support some Playstation 4 games, though the company might have a change of heart in the future, especially if players petition it to support more titles.
When it comes to subscriptions, both of them provide exclusives and platform-specific perks, though, with the Xbox Ultimate Game Pass, you also have the keys to unlock the company’s cloud gaming architecture as well. If that is what you want, then you know which console to get.
Seriously, both the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X are going to be great game consoles. It is just a matter of ticking the right boxes so that you will know which of them is going to be the right fit for you.
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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