Best Game Console For Kids

Best Game Console For Kids

Videogame consoles are among the most desirable devices for children and teenagers because of the seemingly endless possibilities for entertainment. These are obviously designed for playing single player and multi-player games with each device connected to a television set.

Many of them, however, can also be used as handheld game consoles, thus, their next-gen status.The Big 3 in the game consoles industry are Sony for the PlayStation series, Microsoft for the Xbox series, and Nintendo for the Wii and related series.

In the stiff competition between them, the consumers benefit in many ways, such as in the increased number of advanced features and functions in game consoles. For example, many of the high-end consoles actually offer additional functions like Blu-ray disc players, set-top boxes, and even web browsers.

Buying guide

With each manufacturer striving to beat the competition in slimmer and lighter devices with more features and functions, parents will likely have a challenging time choosing which of these consoles are suitable for their children. We must emphasize that choosing a console for kids should be carefully considered for many reasons.

We caution parents, for example, against buying the latest release in consoles without closely looking at their specific features, as well as in choosing the games that the children can play.

Here are the things that we believe parents should consider when evaluating game consoles in the market.

Age-appropriate games

Game consoles usually come with free downloaded games, although new games must be bought. Be sure to check the games library to determine whether these are appropriate for the children who will be playing.

Nintendo is known for its wide range of kid-friendly games, especially for younger children, while Xbox and PlayStations games are geared more toward the older age group.

Parental controls

Most game consoles already have built-in parental controls that parents can use in preventing access to inappropriate content. These controls are a must in the face of videogames that emphasize violence, sex and intolerance, among other disturbing issues.  Ask other parents and the manufacturer’s customer service representatives about these matters.

Multiplayer networks

Many of the new games feature online multiplayer gameplay, which has its risks and rewards. These are mainly the result of the online interactions, usually via voice communications and instant messaging chats, between children and their fellow players.

Be sure to check that there are also parental controls that reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of children interacting online with strangers. Otherwise, they are at higher risk of grooming from predators and bullying from others.

Budget

In general, the older versions of consoles are significantly cheaper than the newer versions. For example, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 (PS3) are cheaper than the Xbox One S and the PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro), which are the newest releases. The cheaper price comes from their dated versions of the games, as well as fewer features and functions.

Be sure to consider the future of the consoles, too. The best choices are usually those that can still be used to play older games as well as the newer versions.

5 Best Game Console for Kids

With these things in mind, here are the five best game consoles for kids that we found in the market. Again, be sure to check that the games are age-appropriate and, in this case, older children will love the games that come with the bundle.

PlayStation 4 Slim 500GB Console Uncharted 4 Bundle

The Slim PS4 is among the more popular game consoles manufactured by Sony, thanks mainly to its slim profile, wide range of games, and practical functions. The bundle comes with the following:

Features

  • Slim PS4 500GB device
  • Matching DualShock 4 wireless controller
  • Incorporated Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on its own dedicated Blu-ray disc

With the system, your children can play online with their friends, as well as save their games and get free games online. If you want, you can also make an additional purchase a PlayStation Plus membership to expand their entertainment options.

This represents a revamp in both the console and controller although these changes are solely focused on the aesthetics (i.e., physical appearance). The Slim PS4 is exactly what its name says it is—it’s a slimmer, sleeker and lighter version of the beloved PS4 but it’s still the PS4 at its core.

Think of it as a makeover on the outside but an acknowledgement of the adage that, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it” —well, at least, not yet because there’s always room for improvement in game consoles.

Aside from the significant physical change, the Slim PS4 is also quieter in its operations, a boon considering that nobody wants to hear whirring discs and cooling fans while playing games and streaming content online.

This is also more power-efficient—or less power hungry, in other words—than its predecessors, an advantage when your utility bills are increasing due to your kids’ gaming and streaming activities.

As previously mentioned, the Slim PS4 has the same specifications and, thus, gives the same performance as the PS4. This also has HDR gaming support, thanks to the release of a patch, but it still lacks the 4K Blu-ray drive compatibility. Your kids, nonetheless, will be able to enjoy a certain level of HDR visuals but only when you have a 4K television with such functionality.

There are also plenty of western games coupled with Japanese-style games that kids will enjoy.

Pros

  • Whisper-quiet operations
  • More energy efficient
  • Slimmer and sleeker appearance
  • Excellent graphics
  • Wide range of games available for download
  • Familiar controls

Cons

  • PS3 incompatibility
  • Cheap controller analogue sticks
  • Cannot play CDs

Summary

Yes, the Slim PS4 may still have the heart of the PS4 so there’s no increase in its performance but it’s still worth buying. You and your kids will love the smaller profile, the whisper-quiet operation, and the more energy-efficient performance than the PS4.

Xbox One S 500GB Console – Battlefield 1 Bundle

The Xbox One S is considered by hardcore gaming enthusiasts as the Xbox version that Microsoft should have released in 2013 instead of the lumbering beast that was its predecessor.

Features

The bundle reviewed here comes with the following components:

  • Xbox One S 500GB console itself
  • Xbox wireless controller
  • 4K-capable HDMI cable
  • Power cable
  • Battlefield 1 full game download
  • 14-day Xbox Live Gold Trial
  • 1 month of EA Access

With the system, you and your children have the opportunity to play online multiplayer games, watch Blu-ray movies on 4K television, and stream content from Netflix and Amazon Video.

Most of these features are also available on the Xbox One, thus, the hesitation among parents who already own the 2013 edition, although the 4K television perks quickly sway them in the buying direction.

But parents who follow the Xbox evolution may also hesitate because of the November 2017 release of Xbox One X, previously known as Project Scorpio, because it promises to be light years ahead of the One S. But if your kids can’t wait that long, then the One S is a great choice—for now.

The One S has a smaller profile and cleaner design than its 2013 predecessor—it’s actually 40% smaller—while its internal power supply has done away with the massive brick. We daresay that it’s the chicest Xbox we have seen so far—well, at least, until we see the Xbox One X later this year.

This is also a step up in terms of its 4K and HDR video capabilities. Basically, your kids will enjoy four times sharper images and finer details, as well as enhanced color and contrast, on your 4K television. If you’re a tech geek, you will observe that the games have been merely upscaled to their 4K capability, but the PC-like graphics will not be there.

As for its overall performance, the One S doesn’t represent a big leap from the Xbox One. But if you very satisfied with the Xbox One, this shouldn’t be a bad thing.

Pros

  • Sleeker design with a leaner profile and lighter weight
  • Displays 4K videos
  • Supports HDR
  • Controller has Bluetooth compatibility

Cons

  • HDR, Ultra HD Blu-ray, and 4K only works on certain televisions
  • Same performance as the Xbox One

Summary

If you’re looking for an improvement in many respects over the Xbox One and/or you still have the budget for the Xbox One X, then get the One S. This is still a great buy, considering its good points.

PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console

The PlayStation 4 was already a great game console in its own right. But the gaming industry being what it is, Sony saw it fit to make upgrades on its features and functions—and, thus, the PS4 Pro was born.

Features

  • PS4 games compatibility
  • 4K streaming and automatic upscaling
  • Faster frame rates for selected games
  • Capability for online gaming using PlayStation Plus membership

While game console manufacturers are more likely to make upgrades slimmer, sleeker and leaner than their original units, Sony made the shift in the other direction.

The PS4 is, pardon the cliché, truly a beast in game consoles without sacrificing on the crisp and clean lines! In fact, it’s significantly deeper and wider, as well as slightly taller, than the PS4.But this is necessary because the PS4 Pro has a larger and, thus, more powerful engine that its predecessor.

We are willing to accept the increase in size along with the increase in power, performance and playing enjoyment. We have tested the PS4 Pro and its performance is better than ever—faster loading of games, fewer framerate drops, and clearer graphics!

But what we loved most of all is that the game console is compatible with 4K and HDR television sets! Not too many game consoles in the market have the capability, which is such a shame considering that the world is moving toward 4K and HDR technologies.

We tested Uncharted 4, Gran Turismo Sport, and Horizon Zero Dawn on the PS4 Pro. We were impressed by the results although these differed widely depending on the game. The graphics are more realistic so playing the games become more enjoyable, if not addictive so we suggest parents closely monitor their kids’ playing times.

With the SATA 3 hard drive, the PS4 Pro is arguably the fastest in the industry today, barring the release of Xbox One X in November 2017.  The Pro transfers data at two times the speed of its predecessor such that Hitman and Grand Auto Theft V were more enjoyable, thanks to the faster loading times.

Pros

  • Better performance all around from faster loading times and fewer framerate drops
  • Quieter operation
  • Enhanced performance for PSVR and PS4 games
  • Spectacular graphic on 4K and HDR television sets

Cons

Absence of 4K Blu-ray capability

Summary

The PS4 Pro is widely considered as the best game console today! But you have to test it out for yourself so that you can agree or disagree with the bold statement.

Xbox One S 2TB Console – Gears of War 4 Limited Edition Bundle

The Xbox One S is the upgraded version of the Xbox One—and there are subtle differences between the original and updated versions. For this reason alone, we suggest buying the One S because it’s worth every dollar paid for it, as well as every minute spent setting it up and playing with its games. The bundle includes:

Features

  • Xbox One S 2TB console
  • Crimson Omen controller
  • Gears of War 4: Ultimate Edition full game download (the card with its code is in the box)

The full game download comes with the 4-day early access, exclusive in-game items, and Season Pass, among others. The system also includes access to more than 100 exclusive console games and more Xbox 360 games.  This is also compatible with Kinect for Xbox One but when the features of One S are considered, Microsoft is veering away from the Kinect in more ways than one.

Most of its buyers say that the 2TB is absolutely worth the money and we cannot help but agree. The One S is also 40% smaller than the Xbox One, which is a boon for gamers who don’t want the boxy feel with the massive power brick. Plus, there are small details that make it so much more attractive, such as the Cog Tag/Gears logo on its battery cover.

The set-up process is fast, easy and convenient, too. Once the setup was complete, we were impressed by the faster loading times and fewer frame rate drops in the One S in comparison with the Xbox One although it may be due to the 2TB capacity. Many other buyers attested that the performance rates aren’t faster in the One S than in the Xbox One but they also say that they are just happy that these aren’t slower.

Pros

  • With 4K movie playback and UHD Blu-ray drive
  • Quieter operations
  • Leaner profile
  • Great gamepad

Cons

4K capabilities should be installed first

Summary

The Xbox One S is a good investment in a game console, especially when you’re the type who wants the latest features and functions. Buy it especially when you already have a 4K television at home. Plus, we like the more attractive design.

Nintendo Switch 32GB Console

The Nintendo Switch is the latest home videogame system released by the company. Unlike many of the consoles mentioned here, it’s both a home gaming system and a handheld system, while the two Joy-Con controllers bring more new plays into the gaming experience.

Such features aren’t surprising considering that Nintendo has a way of bringing innovations to the table. We can mention the Wii’s motion controllers and the GamePad as among its innovations.

Features

  • 2” tablet
  • Removable Joy-Con controllers
  • With capability for solo and split function for multiplayer sessions
  • 2-in-1 home console
  • Television dock

The Switch has a double purpose so there are plenty of accessories that come with it, out of the box. These include the Joy-Con L and R, the Switch Dock, and the Joy-Con grip and straps, as well as the power lead and HDMI cable.

Despite these accessories, however, the unit itself is surprisingly lean and mean, so to speak. There’s the sleek 6.2” capacitive touchscreen, which works well even in handheld mode, thanks to the relatively crisp and clear graphics.

The touchscreen’s responsiveness is akin to a tablet’s responsiveness, a good thing considering that the GamePad has many issues in this regard.We like the nice feel of the console in our hands, thanks to the sturdy plastic and ergonomic design.

The Joy-Con has a comfortable feel, too, especially as it has the right balance between being lightweight and substantial. Like the rest of the unit, the controllers have an attractive appearance so the overall effect is, indeed, a portable console that you will be proud to flaunt.

The Switch’s overall performance will also make Sony and Microsoft rethink their game consoles’ performance aspects. The loading times are expectedly faster so the gaming experience is better. The wide range of games available is also another reason to buy the Switch, if you don’t already  have it—better yet, you may just think about making the switch!

Pros

  • Easy to use even for children
  • Portable gaming
  • Full features on the Joy-Con controllers
  • Good graphics on the screen

Cons

Expensive accessories and games

Summary

If you’re looking for an enjoyable gaming experience with little to none of the tech-geek for your children, then the Nintendo Switch is your best choice. You may even find it a great choice if you’re new to videogames.

Final verdict

Many hardcore gamers consider game consoles as less desirable than the personal computer and the smartphone. But there are many things that make game consoles still relevant despite their failings in features and functions in comparison with their competitors.

First, game consoles have reliable software that performs well even under pressure. This isn’t as true in smartphone games bought in Google Play Store and App Store, most of which are just so inferior as to be a waste of money. You have the assurance that the available games made available by the consoles’ manufacturers are enjoyable, whether it’s racing games, adventure games, or shooter games.

Second, game consoles are more affordable than games-enabled personal computers, usually triple the price. Just as long as you have a television—and most American households have one or two—your children can play their age-appropriate videogames for a fraction of the price of PC-based games.

Third, game consoles are more portable than personal computers so there’s also the element of social appeal. Even adults who bring their consoles to other peoples’ homes aren’t as stigmatized as before.

The bottom line: Game consoles are great investments in your children’s physical and social development, as well as in building better relationships with them.