Nintendo Switch vs Xbox One S vs PlayStation 4 Slim vs iPad Air 2

Video Game ControllerNintendo has some hubris. The Nintendo Switch is slated to be available on March 3, 2017 – for $299. That puts it against the Xbox One S and the PlayStation 4 Slim. Worse, these two competing consoles can be found for significantly less money than $299. Direct from Amazon.com, it’s about $20-$30 cheaper. That’s with a bundled game. The problem is even bigger than that. Why buy a toy when you can get an iPad? The iPad Air 2 was recently on sale for $275. Games are fun, but sometimes you need to be productive. With so many choices, how does the Nintendo Switch fair against the competition?

Nintendo recently released more information about the Switch, but the technical specs are still shrouded in mystery and rumors. From the way it’s looking, the Switch might be the underdog of the gaming consoles. The Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 have more RAM and storage space. The Nintendo Switch might overpower the iPad Air 2 as a dedicated gaming console. But as a portable, the iPad Air 2 has clear advantages. Comparing the specs shows the differences.

Nintendo Switch iPad Air 2 XBox One S PlayStation 4 Slim
RAM 4GB* 2GB 8GB 8GB
Storage 32GB 16GB 500GB 500GB
CPU Nvidia Tegra
(1GHz*)
A8X (1.5GHz)
3 Cores
AMD (1.75GHz)
8 Cores
AMD (1.6GHz)
8 Cores
Screen 6.2″ 9.7″
Screen Resolution 1280 x 720 2048 x 1536
Battery Life 2.5-6 hours 10 hours

*rumors

If you want more in-depth information about specs, Wikipedia has great articles.

Comparing these four devices is difficult. Part of the problem is that the stats don’t always line up. It’s easier to compare Apples to Apples than Apples to Xboxes. Additionally, there are multiple versions of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. However, there is an easy way to summarize…

The Nintendo Switch doesn’t excel in a single category.

If you want a gaming console with the most processing power and lots of storage capacity, it’s not the Nintendo Switch. That’s either the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. If you want a portable with long battery life and a large screen, it’s not the Nintendo Switch. That’s the iPad.

If you want a jack-of-all-trades device, the iPad can play lots of games on-the-go. It can also play games on the big screen, via an AppleTV with AirPlay or a separate Lightning to HDMI cable. But when the games are done, an iPad can also be used for productivity too. The Nintendo Switch doesn’t include an 8-megapixel camera for photography, video or communication. The Switch probably doesn’t include apps like Pages, Numbers and Keynote either.

The Nintendo Switch only excels at one thing – playing Nintendo games. If you love Nintendo’s library of cutesy characters, then it’s a no-brainer. March 3, 2017 is probably circled on your calendar already. But what if you were given a choice? What if Nintendo’s entire library was available on iOS, Xbox or PlayStation, would you still buy a Nintendo Switch?

Years ago, I’d likely be lining up on launch day to get the Nintendo Switch. But today, do I really need another gadget in my house? My Wii is sitting in the corner gathering dust. Realistically, how would the Nintendo Switch be any different? $299 is not a lot of money for a gaming console, but that price tag derailed the hype train for me. In that range, Nintendo is competing with other hardware.

The iPhone and the iPad really changed the game. I was wondering why I wasn’t so excited about the latest generation of gaming consoles. New technology has proven to be more practical. Sure, a new Mario or Zelda game could be entertaining, but not at $299 + $50-$60 for each game. I like the idea of Mario jumping around a New York City themed environment. But after I started doing the math, I started looking at the details of the trailer video. “Hmm, the sides of those buildings look kinda flat.”

Modern gaming is actually healthier. A simple 99¢ app can be purchased as a mild little diversion, then it’s back to something more productive. This is easier on the wallet and adds more variety to life. Today’s game are more accessible, portable and enjoyed in short bursts. It seems I’m more of a casual gamer these days. But even if I was still hardcore, the specs paint the picture. The Xbox One S or PlayStation 4 Slim have better graphics, but at a cheaper price.

In this competitive environment, $299 seems like a big ask for the Nintendo Switch. It doesn’t necessarily mean the console will fail. Nintendo seems to be marketing the Nintendo Switch more effectively than the Wii U. There’s certainly a lot of buzz about the new system. Will Nintendo’s strategy work out? The answer to that question should be revealed in less than two months, with the launch of the Nintendo Switch.

1 thought on “Nintendo Switch vs Xbox One S vs PlayStation 4 Slim vs iPad Air 2”

  1. Here’s a little bit of an update. I’ve been thinking about the $299.99 suggested retail price for the Nintendo Switch and wondering if Nintendo is crazy. It is a risky move for Nintendo, pricing their console the same as competitors, but it’s actually not that bad comparatively.

    Back in 2006, the Wii launched at $249.99 in the United States. Adjusted for inflation, that’s almost exactly $300 in today’s dollars.

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