Where to play? Handheld console or home console Home consoles are meant for playing at home. They are quite compact and can be carried easily. You can take them with you on a vacation or to your friends’ homes. One can play anywhere on handheld consoles and they can be slipped into your bag.
For old-timers: availability of games There are any number of video games. Remember that some games are played only on a console. If you have a preference for a particular game like PES, FIFA or Call of Duty Modern Warfare, choose a suitable console according to the availability of the game.
Note that PSP can play earlier versions of video games of the same make. Nintendo has a virtual console with the option to download older cult games to play on Wii. Nintendo DS can also read cartridges of Game Boy Advance.
Data storage: memory card or hard disk Some consoles work on a hard disk like Xbox or PS3, others work on an internal memory. The former can save movies, photographs or music just like a computer. We recommend that you choose a hard disk with a capacity between 120 and 250 Gb.
Wii has a flash memory of 512 Mb to which one can add SD cards. Depending on the model, one can add upto 4 Gb. These cards store video games with games won, music, photographs or videos and one can copy and save the data for use whenever required.
The life of SD cards is limited. They are slower than hard disks when sending data to the console. They have a lower storage capacity and the cost per Gb is much higher than that of hard disks.
Always connected, to the network or the Internet Using an Internet connection, one can play online with players all over the world on some models of consoles like PS3.
There are also consoles where you can install a LAN or Ethernet connection. You can play on the network with your friends by linking your consoles. You can install a LAN adapter on Wii, for example. Wi-Fi technology is used to create a wireless network. Nowadays, one need not place all the consoles in the same room. You can organise battles with PSPs to play GTA, Street Fighter, even Final Fantasy.
Features that make a difference
Keep your eyes open: graphic resolution This concerns the quality of the image displayed on your screen. The resolution is between 480 and 1080 pixels. The quality will be better with a higher number of pixels. One must consider the console that is linked to the screen: some models (PS3, Xbox360) reach the best output only on HD screens. In most cases, handheld consoles have 4.3-inch wide screens and 480 x 272 pixels. Touch screen models have a resolution of 256 x 192 pixels.
DVD, SD, compatible supports Some consoles play CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. PS3 with a Blu-ray drive is much more expensive. Handheld consoles mainly work on game cartridges like Nintendo DS, which also reads game cards with a smaller format than cartridges. PSP reads UMDs.
Cable to network: ports and connections Some consoles have three USB 2.0 ports to connect gamepads as well as to load music, photographs and videos. There are two types of wireless connections for gamepads or for creating networks, namely Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
For the restless type: Nintendo Wii Are you bored when you play by yourself? Would you rather play with others? You are not the type to settle down quietly in a chair and you love sports? This is the console for you, specially designed for you to exercise, alone or with friends. Wii from Nintendo offers easy recreational games like Wii sports to entertain the entire family.
There is no question of sitting carefully on a chair when you play with the wireless gamepads equipped with movement detectors (Wiimote control system). With Wii, you can play tennis, do yoga, boxing or jog, the Wii Fit game also provides you with a virtual coach to guide you install a complete training programme. This game console can store your user profile and enables you to test your physical condition.
For true hardcore gamers: Microsoft Xbox 360 Are you an experienced player and a long-time enthusiast of video games? Do you like multi-player games where you can challenge complete strangers? Then Xbox might be for you. With a monthly subscription, you have access to movies, TV, the latest games and expansion packs and demos, music and a whole lot more!
Xbox 360 also stands out for the exceptional graphic quality. It produces images that look like images in a movie. Multichannel surround sound is another important asset that must be considered when choosing a console and Xbox has it. Plus, you can get a whole range of exclusive content only available on this particular console.
For multimedia fans, the Sony PS3 is a hit Do you wish to play online? Do you hope to watch movies and use your console like a computer? Choose a PS3. There are many functionalities available on this console which truly make it a multimedia support. It plays Blu-ray DVDs, too! It is also fitted with a hard disk to store data such as music or videos.
There is no surpassing the quality of the games offered and it stands out for the fluidity of the animation. Gamepads with highly sensitive movement detectors provide a very favourable recreational aspect. Sony has also just launched PS3 Slim, a simplified and cheaper PS3 console for those on a budget.
PS3 also has the advantage of enabling you to play PS2 games making this a great choice if you can't afford to update your current game title library as soon as you'd like.
Players on the move: handheld consoles The first thing to take into account is the working time of the battery which can last from 5 to 19 hours. Some work on game cartridges like Nintendo DS lite. Others read the UMDs (Universal Media Disc), like PSP, so they can also play movies and show photographs. There are consoles with the option of on-line games. Models with touch screens help interaction with the machine.
To choose the right handheld console, consider shock-resistance as it differs from model to model.
Sound A microphone is easy to install and use and enables you to sing (necessary for a game like SingStar). If you play against others online, then you'll definitely want to get a headset so you can keep in contact with those on your team or for talking smack to your enemies.
HDMI cable If you have a high definition television set, you must buy an HDMI cable to get the best quality image on your console.
Protective device There are bags to carry handheld consoles, silicon cases or shells for each model. There are also protective covers for home consoles and gamepads.
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