Powerhouse

PS5

Hybrid King

Nintendo Switch

Sony's upcoming console is super powerful, with a (variable) 10.28 TFLOPs, an ultra-fast, solid-state drive, and a 4K Blu-ray drive. It supports realistic graphics and will work with a wealth of PlayStation exclusives.

$499 at Amazon

Pros

  • Advanced SSD
  • Powerful GPU/CPU
  • Backward compatible with PS4 discs
  • Sony exclusives
  • 4K resolution
  • More powerful than Nintendo Switch

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Physically much larger than Nintendo Switch

Nintendo's hybrid console isn't nearly as powerful as the PS5, but it lets you dock to a TV or play in handheld mode. There are dozens of hit exclusives on this gaming system, many of which feature family-friendly couch co-op titles.

$300 at Amazon

Pros

  • TV and handheld play
  • Several couch co-op multiplayers
  • Compact design
  • Nintendo exclusives
  • Less expensive
  • More family-friendly games

Cons

  • Doesn't support 4K resolution
  • Doesn't come with a traditional controller

As we draw closer to the release of next-gen consoles and the holiday season, you might be wondering which gaming system is the right choice for your home. We already know that the PS5 will be a powerful unit with several highly-anticipated games in its lineup. However, the Nintendo Switch is also a very appealing option as is evidenced by the fact that since it launched in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has sold over 63 million consoles worldwide. This is in part thanks to Animal Crossing: New Horizons' phenomenal success, plus the fact that several Switch games are still in development.

What's the difference?

Ps5 Vs Nintendo Switch VsSource: Rebecca Spear / iMore

Comparing the PS5 to the Nintendo Switch is kind of like comparing chocolate to fries. They're both good, but entirely different from each other and suit different tastes. To start the comparison off, here are the cold, hard specs:

PS5 Nintendo Switch
Price $499 $299
GPU 10.28 TFLOPS, 36 CUs @ 2.23 GHz Custom RDNA 2 NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
CPU 8x Cores @ 3.5GHz Custom Zen 2 NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
Memory 16GB GDDR6 4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM @ 1600 MHz
Storage 825GB SSD 32GB Internal + MicroSD
Resolution Up to 4K at 120Hz / 8K at 60Hz 720p (Undocked) / 1080p (Docked)
USB USB 3.0 (unknown), USB-C 1 x USB-C (Console), 3 x USB 2.0 (Dock)
Controller DualSense Joy-Cons / Pro Controller
Backward compatibility Yes No
Game format Discs / digital downloads Cartridges / digital downloads
Weight 9.9 lb 0.66 lb (Console) / 0.72 lb (Dock)
Dimensions 15.3 in x 4.1 in x 10.2 in 4 in x 9.4 in x 0.55 in (Console) / 4.1 in x 6.8 in x 2.12 in (Dock)

What these differences mean for you

Alright, so those are the specs, but how does this information apply to you?

How you play TV vs handheld

Nintendo Switch Console on blue backgroundSource: Rebecca Spear / iMoreAn undocked Nintendo Switch.

The PS5 is a traditional media center console. It displays its gorgeous, high-resolution visuals on your TV and can support up to 4K resolution for crisp imagery. This is the kind of console that invites you to put surround sound in your living room, along with other permanent accessories, to amplify your playing experience. As you can see from the dimensions, this is a chonky device that will take up a lot of room on your TV stand.

The Nintendo Switch, on the other hand, is a small hybrid system that can be played both while docked to a TV or anywhere else, thanks to its handheld mode. If you want to place the Switch screen on a surface while out and about, just pull out the kickstand on the back to steady it. Its hybrid nature makes it an ideal traveling companion for both your regular commute or when you're on a trip. Just make sure to grab a carrying case for easier transport.

Processing power Performance vs Unique playing experience

Horizon Forbidden WestSource: Sony (screenshot)Screenshot for Horizon Forbidden West — coming to PS5.

Sony's console is without a doubt the more powerful of the two. However, since these devices offer very different playing experiences, you shouldn't determine which one to get based on power, but rather by what you want to do with your gaming console.

The PS5's super fast loading speeds and high processing power allow it to support more graphics-intensive titles and run online multiplayers more smoothly. It will be able to load 2GB of data in a quarter of a second, making it an incredibly fast console, indeed. If you hate sitting through load times, love looking at high-end graphics, or like playing competitive titles online, then processing power will be especially important for you.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with four players on Nintendo Switch.

Instead of relying on high-end performance, the Nintendo Switch focuses on the playing experience. In fact, it doesn't even support 4K. When docked to a TV, the Switch can reach up to 1080p, but when in handheld mode, it only reaches 720p. This won't really affect you since the screen is so small, though.

The Switch features two removable Joy-Cons, which when turned sideways become their own controllers. This makes it so you can easily pass one to a friend for on-the-go or at-home multiplayer fun. On that note, Nintendo tends to offer more couch co-op multiplayer games than any other gaming company. So you can invite friends over or have a family game night where everyone focuses on the same screen.

Storage Internal and external memory

The PS5 is definitely the better console when it comes to internal memory. Many AAA PS5 games will be about 8 GB - 15 GB of RAM and require 46+ GB of space to play. Sony's console will be able to hold several games before running out of space thanks to the 825 GB of storage and if you hit a wall, you can always connect an external hard drive.

The Nintendo Switch's abysmal 32 GB of internal storage is seriously lacking. Considering that AAA Nintendo titles tend to require between 10 GB and 15 GB, you can easily run out of room after adding as little as three games to your Switch. This being the case, you will want to invest in a microSD card for Nintendo Switch as soon as possible. Fortunately, Nintendo's console can theoretically take up to 2 TB memory cards. Though, you likely won't need that much space.

Controllers Sony DualSense vs. Nintendo Joy-Cons

Dualsense Ps5 Blue Ps BackgroundHow to fix controller drift Nintendo SwitchSource: iMore and Rebecca Spear / iMoreDualSense controller on the left, Joy-Cons on the right.

We don't really know what the PS5 DualSense controller is like since it hasn't released yet. However, we do know it will have adaptive triggers which add a layer of immersion to gameplay. For instance, a game that takes advantage of this tech might make it so you can feel the tension of a drawn bow as you aim an arrow. The DualSense will also feature textured grips, a touchpad, a microphone, and a share button.

This all sounds very interesting in theory, but once again, since the PS5 hasn't released yet, there's no way to determine just how well these functions actually work.

Nintendo Joy-Cons feature motion controls and allow you to scan amiibo, small Nintendo figurines with NPC chips inside. This allows for a very different type of gameplay that's often featured in party games like how you can tilt your Joy-Con to steer while playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or how you can unlock special items by scanning a Zelda amiibo in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Thing is, Switch owners have very mixed responses to Joy-Cons due to the fact that they are rather small, have an untraditional design, and many users have reported rampant cases of Joy-Con drift. In fact, many Nintendo fans opt to buy the Pro Controller, which features a more conventional build and doesn't have drift issues.

Online offerings PlayStation Plus vs Nintendo Switch Online

Playstation Plus CollectionNintendo Switch OnlineSource: Sony (screenshot) and Nintendo

In order to play online, PS5 and Nintendo Switch owners will need to purchase a special membership.

We don't have a lot of details yet surrounding Sony's upcoming PS5 membership plans. However, the company recently revealed that a PS Plus Collection subscription service will make it so PS5 owners can access a number of previous-gen games including God of War, Batman Arkham, Uncharted 4, Ratchet & Clank, Until Dawn, and more. The membership fee has not yet been revealed, but we expect it will be $10 to $20 per month.

Nintendo Switch Online gives players access to online play, lets them jump into a library of NES and SNES titles, and allows them to save their game data to the cloud. Choose from a $35 Family Membership that covers 12 months or an Individual Membership that spans one month for $4, three months for $8, or $20 for 12 months.

Console exclusives PS5 vs Nintendo Switch

Sony and Nintendo both have their share of special characters and franchises that only ever appear on their own consoles. Here's a small list of titles for either company to help give you an idea for what games can be experienced where.

Marvels Spider Man Miles Morales HeroSource: SonyMarvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

PlayStation 5

It should be noted that some of these games will be coming to PS4 as well as PS5.

  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • God of War sequel
  • Gran Turismo 7
  • Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
  • Demon's Souls
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Final Fantasy XVI
  • Deathloop
  • Ghostwire: Tokyo

Zelda Breath Of The Wild GuardianSource: NintendoThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Nintendo Switch

These are some of the best Nintendo Switch games.

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Pokémon Sword / Pokémon Shield
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Ring Fit Adventure
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Luigi's Mansion 3
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Super Mario Party

Cheaper console alternatives PS5 Digital Edition vs Nintendo Switch Lite

There are less expensive versions of both the PS5 and the Nintendo Switch. PS5 Digital Edition costs $100 less than the PS5 and is mostly the same except for the fact that it doesn't have a disc drive. Similarly, the Nintendo Switch Lite is also $100 less than the Nintendo Switch, but it cannot dock to a TV nor does it have removable Joy-Cons, motions controls, or rumble.

What about price and release date?

PsSource: iMore

The Nintendo Switch released in March 2017, sells for $300, and already has an impressive list of hits behind it. In comparison, Sony's PS5 isn't set to release until November 12, 2020, though PS5 preorders are currently live. It will be a powerful piece of next-gen tech, and will sell for $400. If you want to save some money and experience Nintendo's exclusives then you might want to go with the Switch. However, if you're willing to pay for a high-powered piece of tech and all of the next-gen experiences that come with it, you should consider the PS5.

PS5 vs Nintendo Switch: Bottom Line

It's very obvious that the PS5 is definitely the more powerful console between the two. However, that doesn't necessarily mean it is the right option for you. If you like the idea of keeping up-to-date with the latest gaming tech, playing online multiplayers, and are interested in Sony's upcoming titles, then by all means go with the larger console.

However, if you like the thought of hosting large game nights from one TV screen, and want to play your favorite games wherever you go, then you should definitely consider the Nintendo Switch.

Powerhouse

PS5

High-end gaming

With a powerful CPU/GPU and high-resolution capabilities, the PS5 will afford hours and hours of beautiful next-gen gaming. It's a great buy for those who love online multiplayer or are excited to see the capabilities of new tech.

Hybrid King

Nintendo Switch

Play anywhere

Play your favorite Nintendo games on your TV or wherever you go. The Joy-Cons slide off the sides making it easy to convert the system for multiplayer gaming. If that wasn't enough, there are dozens of exclusive hits on this gaming system.

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