Last year, when the then next-generation PS4 and Xbox One consoles launched in the UK within a week of each other, we like the vast majority of gamers plumped for Sony's machine as the better for hardcore gaming. It arguably had the better launch game line-up and games released for both often performed better on the PS4, most notably with graphical resolution.

However, a lot changes in a year. New games are released, naturally, and software updates constantly improve the user experience of the consoles and, it must be said, we've found ourselves leaning the other way of late. When asked by family members and friends - as we invariably are this time of year - which console to buy, we've more often than not recommended the Xbox One.

There are caveats, most notably when the purchaser is looking to do more than play games or if his or her favourite game is a Sony exclusive such as Uncharted, but when we describe what both machines are now capable of, the Xbox One more often than not comes out top.

So here's why we think that. It is our personal opinion and it should be noted that we actually use both consoles daily, for different purposes. But these are the reasons why we use the Xbox One more these days...

1. DLNA streaming and Plex

One of the things we most loved our PS3 for over our Xbox 360 was that it was far more capable as a media streamer. Yes, the Xbox 360 could stream video, music and image files over a home network but its compatible filetypes and general clunkiness in doing so gave the PS3 a definite advantage.

Consider our surprise therefore when the PS4 couldn't stream media at all. We were told this was a launch thing and that adding DLNA streaming was on the agenda, but we're one year on and a massive firmware patch in and it still hasn't been implemented.

The Xbox One however not only has its own streaming media player (in beta and of questionable quality, but at least it's there) and even a dedicated application for Plex server support. Even just through the media player, you can stream video and music of multiple filetypes. And through Plex - if you set up a server on a PC, Mac or supported network drive - you even get a content rich experience with the sort of metadata commonly associated with pro streaming services.

READ: Getting started with Plex: How to set up Plex to stream stuff to your Xbox One

2. Apps in general

This might not be important to some but it is to us. We would rather get rid of boxes under the TV rather than introduce new ones and therefore having all the apps to services we subscribe to in the one place is of huge benefit.

The PlayStation 4 has several, including BBC iPlayer (which isn't on the Xbox One yet), Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Now TV, but there are far more available on the Xbox One. Channel 4's catch-up service 4oD is strangely absent from the PS4, especially as it is available on PS3. Blinkbox Movies and are also exclusively available on the Xbox One at the moment.

READ: Vine on Xbox One is no PS4 killer, here are 5 other apps that could be

Then there's EA Access, Electronic Arts' own game subscription scheme that for a monthly fee provides complete games to play from its back catalogue - including Battlefield 4 and Madden 25. Sony publicly said that it wouldn't carry that service because it didn't represent good value for money.

In short, there are many more apps available for the Xbox One than the PS4 with more being released almost on a monthly basis. We will admit though that some are fillers rather than killers.

3. Sky, Virgin Media, the Digital TV Tuner and OneGuide

Perhaps our biggest daily use of the Xbox One is as the hub for our TV viewing. We have ours hooked up to a Virgin Media TiVo box but it is just as capable with a Sky box or Microsoft's own Xbox One Digital TV Tuner. It can then change channels, snap Xbox One content to the side of television broadcasting, control the lot through the excellent OneGuide electronic programme guide and, as we have a Kinect sensor, add voice control for TV. Some don't get on that well with the Xbox One's voice functionality, but we find it very useful indeed, often starting up the early evening's viewing with "Xbox on" and "Xbox watch Disney Junior" to sate the appetite of a three-year-old Sofia the First addict.

READ: Xbox One Digital TV Tuner review: The final piece in the entertainment jigsaw

It doesn't work every single time but it does the vast majority and leaves us free to do other things rather than spend time hunting for the remote. As the Xbox One switches everything on and off again when starting up or shutting down, it saves time and effort then too.

4. Hard drive

We have filled both of our consoles' hard drives twice over, having to often uninstall games with massive file sizes just so we can install a new one. Admittedly, as we review games this might be more relevant to us specifically, but there will be plenty out there we feel who will be wanting several of the triple-A titles this Christmas. And the 500GB hard drive on both is too tiny considering some of the games are 46GB or more.

Both machines have options for expansion, but the Xbox One's is easier by far. You have to completely swap out the PS4 hard drive for a 2.5-inch equivalent drive and we've only found 1TB models that work and are inexpensive enough. The Xbox One though can have games installed to an external hard drive as long as it uses USB 3.0 for connection.

That means much larger storage sizes and the drives can be reasonably priced. A 2TB external HDD can be as little as £70, which will give you plenty of space for game files. And they install and run at least as quickly as the original it has been found in tests.

5. Software updates

Microsoft decided early on in the Xbox One's life that it would release monthly system updates, often adding new features, including those most requested by the community. Sony on the other hand has had long gaps between major updates for its PS4. That means that if a requested feature doesn't make it into one firmware patch, owners have to wait many months before another to find out if it's been implemented that time around (and sometimes not then either).

It could be argued that a lot of the features added by Microsoft's monthly patch should have been there in the first place, but the same is true with its rival.

The impression it does give is that Microsoft realises that when it first released the Xbox One it was a work in progress, one that it has been striving to improve constantly. The PS4, however, was a more complete gaming machine from the off, but has perhaps let the media and entertainment elements slide - two things the PS3 was particularly good at.


PlayStation 4 fans will no doubt have plenty of reasons why they prefer their console to the Xbox One and in many respects they are also right. If it suits their needs then it is indeed the best possible console they can buy. We also love our PS4 for what it offers us - mainly a gaming experience that is currently second to none. But in day-to-day use our Xbox One shades it for the reasons above.

What impresses us most about Microsoft is that, perhaps born by a necessity to catch up in sales to its main competitor, it has changed its console dramatically to the machine released a year ago. In many ways it is barely recognisable. The PlayStation 4 has, in comparison, stood still in the glow of success.

READ: PS4 firmware 2.0: Why Share Play is the single most exciting thing to happen to gaming

That might be because it was so good to begin with (and we'll admit that Share Play and PS4 Remote Play are very much major features that the Xbox One can't possibly compete with in a gaming sense) but we feel the gap has shortened so much in 12 months that it entirely depends on what you want to do with your shiny new machine. We want more our console to be the entertainment hub of the living room and it is for that reason the Xbox One is nowadays a better option.

Are you a fan of the Xbox One or PS4? Do you have both and can't decided between them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...