best gaming consoles for casual gamers

Best gaming consoles for casual gamers

Find the perfect console to enjoy immersive gaming experiences as a casual gamer.

The X Box Series S is the perfect console for casual gamers who are not looking to spend heavily but also can’t sacrifice standard features for a good gaming experience.

We chose it for its aesthetic compact design, ultra-speed gaming experience, access to a long list of games on the Xbox Pass, and, more importantly, its pocket-friendly price.

Read on to find out more about why we choose the Xbox Series S and the three other alternatives that rival it.

At a glance

Here are the best gaming consoles for casual gamers:

  1. Best for Casual Gamers: Microsoft’s Xbox Series S
  2. Most Powerful/Best Resolution: Xbox Series X
  3. Best for gamers on the go: Nintendo Switch OLED
  4. Ideal for Entry-Level Gamers: Xbox One S

We recommend reading our in-depth guide below to understand the pros and cons of each option.

Top 4 game consoles for casual gamers

After testing close to 15 gaming consoles, here are our top picks for casual gamers.

1. Microsoft’s Xbox Series S

microsoft xbox s
(Image credit: Windows Central)

Processor: Custom AMD 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.6Hz; Graphics: Custom RDNA 2 20 CUs @ 1.565 GHz 4 Teraflop; Storage: 512GB NVME SSD Storage Drive; Memory: 10GB GDDR6 RAM

Pros

  • Small, sleek, and compact design
  • Ultra-low latency for seamless gameplay.
  • Fast loading times thanks to SSD.
  • Affordable and readily available.
  • Enjoy 1440p at up to 120FPS

Cons

  • No disk drive.
  • Not future-proof.
  • Storage limitations.
  • Less powerful than Xbox Series X.

The Xbox Series S stands out as the sleekest Xbox ever, offering the speed and efficiency of a digital-only next-generation gaming experience, all at an amazingly affordable price. The package includes the Xbox Series S console, a controller, a power cord, and an HDMI cable.

With its superbly compact design, the Xbox Series S fits snugly into your monitor stand, while the controller ensures a comfortable couch play experience. Its small aesthetic design also makes it convenient for travel. Similar to typical 9th-generation gaming consoles, the Xbox Series S does not feature a disk drive. However, it provides gamers with access to an extensive catalog of games through the Xbox Game Pass.

At a cost of $250 to $299, the Xbox Series S remains affordable for a 9th-generation gaming console. It enables gamers to enjoy playing certain games like Call of Duty Warzone at a smooth 120 frames per second (FPS), delivering an exceptional gaming experience.

2. Xbox Series X

microsoft xbox series x
(Image credit: Popular Science)

Processor: Custom AMD 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8 GHz; Graphics: Custom RDNA 2 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz 12 Teraflop; Storage: 1TB NVME SSD; Memory: 16GB GDDR6 RAM

Pros

  • Supports native 4K resolution
  • 4K Blu-ray disc drive included
  • Powerful hardware for silent, smooth performance
  • Outstanding storage and graphics

Cons

  • Bulky and uninspiring design
  • Pricey investment

The Xbox Series X reigns supreme as the ultimate choice for unparalleled graphics and resolution in gaming. Powered by AMD’s Zen 2 processor and RDNA 2 graphics processor, it delivers astonishingly lifelike lighting, shadows, and reflections, immersing players in a breathtaking gaming experience. With 3D spatial audio, a maximum framerate of 120FPS, and native 4K gaming support, it offers an extraordinary level of realism.

One remarkable feature is the QuickResume function, enabling seamless switching between multiple games within approximately 10 seconds. This feature saves your progress in a suspended state, allowing you to effortlessly resume where you left off. Complemented by its lightning-fast SSD, which reduces loading times, the Xbox Series X delivers a smooth, swift, and highly efficient performance, solidifying its status as one of the most powerful gaming consoles available.

3. Nintendo Switch OLED

nintendo switch
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Processor: Custom Nvidia Tegra X1 Processor; Storage: 64GB; Memory: 4GB RAM; Battery: Lithium-ion battery / 4310mAh / 4.5-9 hrs

Pros

  • Hybrid console
  • Enhanced 7-inch OLED screen
  • Improved battery life
  • Increased storage and LAN support

Cons

  • Lacks native 4K support
  • Minimal advancements from previous models
  • Display limited to 720p resolution

The Nintendo Switch 7-inch OLED screen gaming console is a remarkable handheld gaming device, the ultimate choice for casual gamers. Boasting three distinct modes, it offers unparalleled versatility. The TV mode caters to online multiplayer enthusiasts, the Tabletop mode is perfect for local play, and the handheld mode delivers an exceptional single-player experience.

One of the standout features that set this model apart from its predecessors is its wider and curved design, which adds to its visual appeal. Additionally, the TV mode now includes a LAN output, and the console provides 64GB of internal storage. Notably, the battery life has been significantly improved, lasting between five to nine hours, depending on the game being played.

While it’s disappointing that the Nintendo Switch still showcases games in 720p and lacks support for 4K gaming, its standout qualities lie in its diverse modes, particularly the handheld capability and its captivating library of games. Plus, the enhanced kickstand deserves commendation, as it has transitioned from a flimsy design to a sturdier, more reliable one. You can adjust the kickstand to any angle up to 140 degrees, allowing you to find the perfect viewing position for your gaming sessions.

4. Xbox One S

microsoft xbox one s
(Image credit: Expert Reviews)

Processor: 8-core 1.75GHz Jaguar; Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next engine 1.23 Teraflops at 914 MHz.; Storage: 1TB; Memory: 8 GB of DDR3 RAM

For entry-level casual gamers seeking a budget-friendly option to enjoy a game or two, the Xbox One S remains a viable choice despite its 2016 release. This sleek and powerful console offers a combination of affordability and performance.

While it initially debuted at $600, the subsequent release of the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X has led to heavily discounted prices for the Xbox One S, with used units available for around $200. The Xbox One S delivers smooth and quiet operation, along with HDR and 4K Blu-ray support. By subscribing to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can even stream modern games from the cloud to extend its gaming potential.

It’s worth noting that purchasing an Xbox One S in 2023 may not be the wisest decision, as it is no longer in production, and the Xbox Series S offers superior performance at a budget-friendly price. However, if you already own an Xbox One S and simply wish to engage in casual gaming, you can enhance your experience by obtaining a 4K TV and considering an upgrade to an Xbox Series X|S in the future, as games and accessories seamlessly transition between both devices.

Choosing the best console as a casual gamer

When choosing the best console as a casual gamer, consider the following factors:

  1. Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on a gaming console. Different consoles have varying price ranges, so consider affordability without compromising on essential features.
  2. Game library: Assess the available games for each console and see if they align with your gaming preferences. Look for a console that offers a diverse range of titles that cater to casual gamers.
  3. Exclusive titles: Some consoles have exclusive games that are only available on that platform. If there are specific games you’re interested in, check which consoles offer them as exclusives.
  4. Ease of use: Consider the console’s user interface, controller comfort, and overall usability. Look for a console that offers a user-friendly experience, especially if you’re new to gaming.
  5. Multiplayer options: If you enjoy playing with friends or online, research the multiplayer capabilities and online services offered by each console.
  6. Additional features: Consider additional features that may enhance your gaming experiences, such as virtual reality (VR) support, streaming capabilities, or backward compatibility with older games.
  7. Portability: If you prefer gaming on the go, consider a handheld console like the Nintendo Switch, which offers the flexibility of both handheld and docked play.

By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision and choose the best console that aligns with your preferences and provides an enjoyable gaming experience as a casual gamer.

FAQs

Yes, the PS5 can be worth it for casual gamers, depending on their preferences and budget. The console offers a powerful gaming experience with impressive graphics and a diverse game library. While it comes with a higher price tag, the PS5 provides access to exclusive titles and immersive gameplay. Ultimately, it’s important to consider your gaming preferences and budget before deciding if the PS5 is the right fit for you as a casual gamer.

For beginners, the Nintendo Switch is often considered the best gaming console choice. It offers a user-friendly interface, a wide range of accessible games suitable for all ages and skill levels, and a unique handheld mode for portable gaming convenience. The intuitive Joy-Con controllers and family-friendly titles make it an ideal option for those new to gaming. Additionally, its lower price point compared to other consoles makes it more accessible for beginners.

The easiest game console is subjective and may vary depending on individual preferences and familiarity with gaming. However, the Nintendo Switch is often regarded as one of the easiest consoles to pick up and play. It features a user-friendly interface, intuitive controls, and a wide range of accessible games suitable for players of all ages and skill levels. The console’s versatility, with its handheld and docked modes, provides a seamless gaming experience for both beginners and experienced players.

Final Thoughts

For casual gamers seeking a top-tier experience at an affordable price, the Xbox Series S is an undeniable choice. It combines outstanding features from other consoles while maintaining an attractive price point. However, if you prioritize superior graphics, ample storage, and unmatched performance, the Xbox Series X is the ideal option.

If you’re an on-the-go gamer in need of portability, the Nintendo Switch OLED is the perfect fit. Its handheld mode allows you to easily carry it in your backpack and enjoy gaming anytime, anywhere. Alternatively, if you’re new to gaming and prioritize practice over advanced features, the Xbox One S is the ideal console for you.

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