Every year around this time, we have great deals on consumer electronics. Gaming consoles are no exception. Most companies find the couple of months before Christmas to be the best time to push out new products. We cannot expect new gaming consoles every year, but if you are looking to buy one, it is probably the right time to make a move.
If you have been tracking us for some time, you would have already read the individual reviews of XBOX One and the PlayStation 4 that were aimed at their respective audio performance. The upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday would most definitely get you some amazing deals on these consoles, not only that, you would also be getting console bundles which will allow you to save some money.
PS4 Limited Edition Star Wars Battlefront Bundle
Its a feast for Star wars fans this December. Long anticipated movie “The Force Awakens” is releasing on December 14th, while Sony is launching its own Star wars Special Edition Battlefront bundles on November 17th.
Contents of the Bundle
Do not expect any special hardware upgrades while buying the Star wars Limited Edition PS4 Bundle. There are however a bunch of Star wars goodies that you would be getting with a nicely packaged box. The actual PS4 will be aesthetically designed to the Star wars theme, having Darth Vader’s helmet printed on the body whereas the Dualshock 4 controller is designed after Darth Vader’s chest plate.
In addition to the Star wars themed hardware, you will be getting access to all the classic Star wars games that were previously available on PlayStation 3. Super Star wars, Star wars: Racer Revenge, Star wars: Jedi Starfighter and Star wars Bounty Hunter will be the games available on instant access upon buying the limited edition bundle.
Upon Pre-ordering the Limited Edition Bundle will get you access to the downloadable content, which is called ‘The Battle of Jakku’ and has insider information regarding Return of the Jedi and the upcoming film The force awakens. The downloadable content will be available on December 1st to those who pre-order.
Paying $399 for the Limited Edition and $349 for the standard PS4 system, the inside hardware remains common to both. You get 8GB of GDDR5 RAM having 256 bit bus width capable of operating at 5500MHz and pumping data at speeds of 176GB/s. In addition, PS4 also comes with a 500GB Hard disk drive that can be replaced by the user to expand storage. Out of 500GB, only 410GB is usable.
As we have reviewed before, There is AMD’s audio unit capable of handling 7.1 channel surround sound and the audio is pushed out from either the HDMI port or the optical jack. What we did not talk in the previous review were some of the software features. Games have become fat as the time passed. With better textures, graphics and animations, the size of the games has expanded over the years and it can take several hours to even start playing because you have to wait for the entire game to download. Not any more!
PS4 allows gamers to download a small portion of the game and start playing it while rest of the game downloads in the background as you play. This is in fact a very useful feature for those who would want to experience the game on the release day but are unfortunate to have good internet speeds.
Xbox One, a far superior console is bringing out its Elite bundle that packs in a lot of processing power as well as fast storage. Just like the PS4, Xbox One is ready to roll out way before Christmas, specifically, on December 1st.
The Xbox One elite bundle comes with a massive 1TB Solid state hybrid drive. Going all SSD would have made the price even higher, while SSHD offers significant improvement and keeps the prices lower. Much of everything else inside the Xbox One remains the same in the bundle, however you do get an improved Elite Wireless Controller.
Costing $150, the Elite controller is designed in mind of the need to respond to the action taking place on the screen. Surely, $150 for the controller feels expensive, but if you are buying the bundle, you get it out of the box by actually paying $50 less. The improved grips and the paddles are the first thing most users notice.
Paddles are not new, the steam controller (that we are yet to review) has two paddles rather than the four on the elite. They are much quieter on the former while you get that clicky feel on the latter. The paddles improve the player’s response time because they are placed so that they fan out under the newly textured grips. The paddles are snappy and responsive and do not require too much force to actuate. How much improvement these paddles would bring to your game performance will depend on how well you adapt to this functionality. You also get an option to reassign the buttons according to your wish with the help of an app they provide that works only on Windows 10 apparently. Much more in-depth than the PS4’s button assignment options for sure!
There do not seem to be any change on the performance of ABXY keys although there is a huge improvement on the analog sticks. The movement feels smoother in comparison to the previous controller. In the package you also get interchangeable sticks, two of them are shorter, while two are double the length of the shorter sticks. All of them have grips on the edge and have concave shaped nub. Good thing about installing these sticks is, you do not need to apply any kind of force. They slide in and attach magnetically. So, the chances of breaking the sticks while removing or installing is minimal. Speaking of sticks, the Dualshock 4 controller of the PS4 have symmetrically positioned sticks while Xbox controller has an offset stick on the right hand side. Aesthetically looking, Elite controller is far greater than the PS4’s and with the new customisation options, the Elite controller is pretty much inline with the PS4 counterpart.
The D-pads feel rigid on the regular controller, but that seems to have been fixed on the Elite controller. There is a lot to talk about the improvements that the Elite controller brings. If you are planning on buying an Xbox One, make sure you buy the Elite Bundle because of the apparent advantages over the regular offering. It does cost $100 more than the non-elite bundle.
Appearance and internals
The Xbox One Elite has a matte finish on the body whereas the original Xbox One has a glossy finish. As for audio, we have already seen what goes inside. Just to summarise, there is a full 7.1 channel audio output that can come from either the optical jack or the HDMI port. If you happen to have Kinect, you would simply be expanding the audio capabilities of this device.
You can also play Xbox 360 games with the new added backward compatibility feature. In addition to that, if you have a Windows 10 PC, you can directly stream Xbox One games to it. Though Xbox One is more expensive than the PS4, it is much more refined with better connectivity with your PC and other entertainment hardware. Oh, and we cannot forget the superior software which makes everything work together.
The Wii U Bundle is coming out on the Black Friday, 27th November for $249 on Meijer and slightly more, $279 at Gamestop. Two games, Super Smash Bros and Splatoon will come pre-installed on the console at no extra cost, this leaves you some more room to buy another game for the console if you intend to (if you can’t wait there’s a similar bundle out already!). Wii U isn’t a console where you play extremely intensive realistic games, rather it is more of a chill out console with games that are light on the mind. If you are coming from a PS4 or a Xbox One, Wii U specs will raise a question in your head because the console is not made for games like Fallout, Call of Duty, Crysis and Battlefield.
Out of the bundle, the Wii U console has 32GB of internal storage space, AMD based graphics processor that can push full HD frames and finally an IBM Power processor. You will be able to have a 5.1 channel surround sound setup using the HDMI audio stream, users have also pointed out that even a 7.1 channel setup is possible with this console. You can always plug an external SD card or a USB based storage device if you need to have more storage. If you are a headphones guy, pulling out audio from the gamepad controller is an easy task. Simply plug in your headphones into the 3.5mm audio jack. Some people wish there was an option to route all the audio from the Wii U console to the gamepad, but that is only possible on a few games.
What is interesting is the Wii U gamepad which reminds me of the PSP. With the 6.2 inch screen and all the control buttons identical to the usual controller, the gamepad can be used to play all Wii U games off the console without requiring any additional screen. It could also be used as an additional screen. There is WiFi and other non-gaming functionalities that can be used on the gamepad.
The Pro controller is light in weight and very simple in appearance. In comparison to the Super Smash gamecube controller released in 2014 bundle, the one coming with this bundle has some improvements. The buttons are little bit loose and the bumper pads are more snappier. Some people like to have tighter feeling buttons, in that case newer controller could be disappointment. Also, the buttons are less clicky, as there is a slightly lower tactile feedback. As usual, the analog stick is top notch and very responsive.
The Wii U will also support games from the previous versions of the consoles, which is a great thing keeping in mind a lot of Wii users have huge game collections. If you are really planning on buying more games apart from the Bundle, make sure you check out the Xenoblade Chronicles X which will be coming out on December 4th and if you are a Xenoblade fan, there will be its own Limited Edition console bundle coming out before Christmas.
It seems that all the console manufacturers have some sort of special console Bundles which can be hard to keep track of with all the releases coming out around the time of the last week of November and the first week of December. Make your choices and buy the right console for this Christmas. I prefer to lean towards the Xbox One because of the far better hardware and connectivity with the PC, whereas the PS4 is a plain simple console with its own advantages. The Wii U on the other hand is aims at a very different set of gamers and it does a good job of targeting its own area of the market.