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Xbox One vs. PS4

PlayStation 4 review: Great gaming for 2016 and beyond

THE GOOD The PlayStation 4 serves up dazzling graphics, runs on a simplified and logical interface and boasts a fantastic controller. It has the upper hand in indie games and can stream a constantly growing list of legacy titles via PlayStation Now. The PS4 makes it super-easy to capture and broadcast gameplay online and generally delivers a zippier performance than its direct competition. It also doubles as a Blu-ray player and solid media-streaming box.

THE BAD The Xbox One has a slight edge in non-gaming entertainment features such as streaming content and media portal apps.

THE BOTTOM LINE The PlayStation 4’s beautiful graphics, smart interface, blazing performance, near-perfect controller and better indie offerings give it an edge over the Xbox One — though that edge is ever-shrinking.

Scores: 

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As the PlayStation 4 quickly approaches its third birthday, let’s reassess the current state of Sony’s flagship game machine.

When the competing consoles were first released, we gave the edge to the PS4 over the Xbox One. And at this point in time, the PS4 is still looking good. It continues to improve thanks to regular system firmware updates and a consistent stream of console-exclusive independent games. Exclusive AAA-titles are less frequent, but the PS4 has some promising titles coming down the pike, including The Last Guardian and Horizon Zero Dawn, both scheduled to arrive in 2016. But if you’re concentrating more on the exclusives 2015 has to offer, the Xbox One wins that immediate holiday battle.

The majority of games are available on both platforms and PC. We call these multiplatform games. In our testing, we’ve found that a handful of titles perform better on a PlayStation 4. The most recent example of this is Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

To be clear: The PS4 and the Xbox One are very closely matched. Both offer a growing library of third-party games — mainstays like the Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed series, as well as newer titles like Fallout 4 and Rainbow Six Siege. And both double as full-service entertainment systems, with built-in Blu-ray players and streaming services like Netflix, YouTube and Hulu Plus.

At this stage in the game we’re still partial to the PlayStation 4. Our reasoning is below — along with a few caveats about areas where the PS4 can improve.

PS4 consoles and bundles

No matter how you purchase a PlayStation 4, it’ll ship with an HDMI cable, a DualShock 4 wireless controller, a USB charging cable and an earbud headset for game chat. The standard console goes for $350 though it seems like at almost any given time a PS4 bundle is being offered by Sony or another retailer. After a recent $50 price cut, the PS4 and Xbox One are nearly identically priced.

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PS4 bundles usually provide the best overall value if you’re looking to get started from scratch. Some franchise titles get exclusive PS4 consoles included in their bundles, most recently seen with the Star Wars: Battlefront PS4 SKU.

Major PS4 exclusive games (available now or soon):

  • Bloodborne
  • Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • LittleBigPlanet 3
  • Until Dawn

Major PS4 exclusive games due by 2016 and beyond:

  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • The Last Guardian
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • No Man’s Sky (console exclusive)
  • Dreams
  • Street Fighter V (console exclusive)
  • Ratchet and Clank reboot

PS4 ecosystem

The PlayStation ecosystem includes various products with some shared functionality. For example, the PS Vita can stream PS4 games via “remote play” mode. The PlayStation TV (PSTV) can also stream PS4 games as well as play Vita games and legacy PlayStation titles. Select phones from Sony’s Xperia line can also stream gameplay from the PlayStation 4.

Sony also offers PlayStation Vue, a cable TV alternative starting at $50 a month available on the PS3 and PS4. PlayStation Now, the company’s legacy game-streaming service, is available on every PlayStation platform and lets subscribers play games from the Sony vault. If you purchase in three-month increments, it works out to around $15 a month.

Firmware updates

Sony regularly updates the PS4’s firmware — as of this writing it’s currently at version 3.11. Recent updates to the console have brought along features like:

  • YouTube live game broadcasting
  • Party chat
  • Game communities and events sections
  • Suspend/resume: The console can be put into “rest mode” and then woken up to resume gameplay without needing to relaunch a game.
  • Share Play: Now PS4 owners can “host” a play session and “hand off” the game controller for up to 60 minutes to one of their friends on the PlayStation Network. At the end of the session players can simply restart. Share Play can also work with coop games that let two players engage at the same time. Share Play works with any PS4 game and only the host player needs a copy of the game and a PlayStation Plus membership.
  • Restore: You can now back up data stored on a PS4 and restore it.

The 2.00 firmware had some notable bugs, but Sony has addressed them with a recent 2.01 update. Firmware version 2.02 (also a forced update) brought along more universal stability to the system.

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PS4 pros

Here are the areas where the PS4 excels — and where it has an edge over the Xbox One:

PlayStation Plus

Compared with Xbox Live’s Gold membership, PlayStation Plus still makes it out as the better overall deal. The Instant Game Collection titles that come with the subscription can be played across various PlayStation platforms and the quality of these titles tends to be higher, though recently the free games have started to underwhelm. You need PlayStation Plus to play online, and it also offers discounts, exclusive betas and demos, cloud save storage, game trials and automatic system updates.

PlayStation Plus is $50, £40 or AU$70 a year, while Xbox Live Gold is $60, £40 or AU$85 per year, although you may be able to get discounted vouchers from retailers.

System interface

Overall, the PS4’s interface feels zippier than the Xbox One’s, even with Xbox’s new fall 2015 update. Games install quicker and moving around menus is a much smoother experience. It’s by far an easier system to navigate, as opposed to the Xbox One’s sometimes confusing presentation.second-post-playstation-41

Game streaming

Sony’s answer to backward compatibility is PlayStation Now, a subscription service that allows PS4 owners to stream a game over the Internet. That said, your experience will vary depending on your Internet connection. Suffice it to say, playing shooters and other “twitch” games on PS Now isn’t great, but it’s certainly improving — as is the growing collection of playable titles. When it launched we wrote PS Now off. Now we think it’s a viable option for those who are passionate about legacy PlayStation games.

Xbox One recently introduced Xbox 360 backward compatibility, which works with physical media, as opposed to PS Now’s digital-only operation.

Performance

Aside from a zippier all-around experience in the system software, the PS4 tends to install games quicker than the Xbox One. There’s also some evidence that multiplatform games play better and run in higher resolutions than they do on the Xbox One. In some cases, the PS4 will also play at a higher frame rate than the Xbox One.

Game broadcasting and social sharing

The DualShock 4 controller has a button dedicated to broadcasting and sharing options. The whole feature set is wonderfully tied into the fabric of the system and makes sharing fairly painless. Players can instantly snap screenshots, tweet photos and broadcast gameplay to Twitch (a free online streaming-gaming video service), all within a few clicks.

PS4 owners can also save these videos and screens and put them on a USB drive, edit them on the PS4 or upload them to YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.

It’s worth noting that publishers can block the ability to share content — it’s usually done to avoid leaking major plot spoilers in a game.second-post-playstation-4-box

Independent games

Sony has committed to bringing popular independent games to PS4. While a lot of these titles have previously been available for PC, games like Rocket League, No Man’s Sky and SOMA (among many others) will only see console debuts on PS4.

User-accessible hard drive

The PS4 ships with a 500GB, 5,400rpm hard drive (and is also available in a 1TB model), but you can easily swap it out for a 2.5-inch SATA drive with a larger capacity or a SSHD or SSD for potentially increased performance. The Xbox One, by comparison, doesn’t allow the swapping of hard drives — instead you have to attach an external USB drive.

DualShock 4 controller

The DualShock 4 is the best PlayStation controller yet and features a front-facing touchpad that can also be clicked. Players can bring their own headphones and plug them directly into the controller so they don’t disturb the neighbors during nighttime gaming.second-post-playstation-414

The controller is very comfortable and can be charged with a Micro-USB cable. The only real downside is the battery: unlike the Xbox One controller’s battery, the PS4’s can’t be replaced. Its battery life is good, but not great.

 

Media playback

The PS4’s media player app supports a wide range of file formats and codecs. Files can be played off a home DLNA server or USB drive.

PS4 cons

Here are the areas where the PS4 could use a little work:

Media apps: Good, but slightly lagging behind the Xbox One

The PS4 offers mainstay media and entertainment apps like Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Hulu Plus, but is noticeably missing apps that the Xbox One does have, such as ESPN, Comedy Central, Fox and Fios.

There is support for sports, though — PS4 owners can use MLB, NBA (only on PS4), NFL Sunday Ticket and NHL apps.

PlayStation Plus cloud storage

Cloud save storage was recently bumped up to a generous 10GB worth of data, but only for PS+ members. We also think cloud saves should sync automatically no matter which PS4 you’re playing on, instead of gamers having to manually upload saves from machines that aren’t their “primary console.” In this specific category, Xbox One has PS4 beat.

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Wonky eject button

A collection of current PS4 owners have experienced an issue with the PS4’s touch-sensitive eject button. Some complain that it can engage by itself, causing the console to either eject a disc during play or randomly make beeps.

Sony has since corrected this and now 1TB consoles ship with a tactile eject button.

PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR will finally be with us this October and we can’t wait to stick our faces in it. Sony’s PS4 virtual reality headset is coming in way cheaper than the likes of Oculus Rift or HTC’s Vive, with a RRP of just £350/$399.

In here (Virtual Reality post) you’ll find our guide to the best preorder deals out there for the headset, with prices starting around the aforementioned £350/$399. Pricier options also include the PS4 camera. Don’t expect many discounts before release, but we’ll keep you posted if any pop up.

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To Read About Xbox One Go To The Next Page

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Antivirus Compare (Windows and Android)

CyberSecurity

Comparing Windows’s Antivirus

  • Antivirus

  • Product

  • Protection
  • Performance
  • Usability
  • Ease of Scanning
  • Resource Use
  • First Quick Scan (Min)
  • Average Full Scan
  • Bitdefender

  • Internet Security

  • 98
  • 100
  • 100
  • 100
  • 91
  • 1.75
  • 60
  • Kaspersky

  • Total Security

  • 96
  • 97
  • 100
  • 75
  • 95
  • 2
  • 61
  • BullGuard

  • Antivirus

  • 96
  • 90
  • 90
  • 92
  • 98
  • 1
  • 56
  • McAfee

  • LiveSafe

  • 95
  • 90
  • 100
  • 67
  • 100
  • 6
  • 56
  • F-Secure

  • Anti-Virus

  • 96
  • 92
  • 92
  • 83
  • 85
  • 1
  • 23
  • Avira

  • Internet Security Suite

  • 98
  • 80
  • 100
  • 67
  • 90
  • 0.5
  • 63
  • Trend Micro

  • Internet Security

  • 96
  • 80
  • 95
  • 92
  • 85
  • 1
  • 45
  • Avast

  • Free Antivirus

  • 96
  • 85
  • 100
  • 58
  • 85
  • 18
  • 58
  • AhnLab

  • Security

  • 90
  • 85
  • 90
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • AVG

  • Free Antivirus

  • 96
  • 75
  • 100
  • 75
  • 89
  • 0
  • 30
  • Panda

  • Free Antivirus

  • 94
  • 75
  • 95
  • 75
  • 93
  • 8
  • 57
  • Symantec

  • Norton Security

  • 95
  • 80
  • 95
  • 58
  • 88
  • 3.75
  • 41
  • Qihoo 360

  • Total Security

  • 94
  • 65
  • 100
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • eScan

  • Anti-Virus

  • 87
  • 75
  • 95
  • 67
  • 85
  • 1.5
  • 35
  • ESET

  • NOD32 Antivirus

  • 87
  • 58
  • 100
  • 67
  • 99
  • 0
  • 53
  • G Data

  • Internet Security

  • 92
  • 50
  • 100
  • 83
  • 95
  • 5
  • 43
  • Emsisoft

  • Anti-Malware

  • 89
  • 60
  • 90
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • Windows

  • Windows Defender

  • 65
  • 85
  • 90
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

 

The term “antivirus software” stems from the early days of computer viruses, in which programs were created to remove viruses and prevent them from spreading. However, over the years, different types of malicious software, often called malware, emerged as threats to personal and work computers worldwide. “Malware” is an umbrella term to describe several different kinds of malicious programs, including computer viruses.

Although antivirus software evolved to combat new malware, the term “antivirus” stuck, even though the term anti malware is truer to the software’s capabilities. To give you an idea of the different types of malware out there, we’ve identified malware types that are potential threats to computer systems today.

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Worms

These malicious programs are designed to replicate themselves quickly with the intent to spread to other computers, often through a computer network. Although they may not be designed to intentionally impair computer systems, worms generally do some sort of damage or harm to the network itself by consuming bandwidth, at the very least. Most worms are designed only to spread as quickly as possible, so they may not try to change the computer systems they pass through. However, worms have been and are capable of creating backdoor security vulnerabilities, deleting files or even sending files via email. This is a common method for spam senders to spread junk email quickly, as the more computers the worms infect, the faster the spam mail spreads.

Trojan Horses

Trojan horses, or Trojans for short, are different from worms in that they are not designed to replicate themselves. Rather, Trojans are designed to trick you into downloading and executing them to cause data loss, theft and sometimes total-system harm. Just as in the ancient Greek story of the wooden horse designed to deceive the soldiers of Troy, Trojans present themselves as useful, interesting or routine programs to trick you into installing them on your computer.

Spyware

This software is designed to gather information about you without your knowledge. This information can be sent to another party without your consent, and in some rather malicious cases, it can even be used to take control over a computer. Spyware is capable of collecting any type of data, including your internet history and banking information. Some forms of spyware can install additional software or change your internet or browser settings, which can be a mere annoyance or a problem that can take days to fix.

Ransom ware

This incarnation of malware infects your computer with the intention of restricting access to your computer system, perhaps preventing you from surfing the internet or accessing the hard drive, and then demanding a payment to the malware creators. The trouble with this software is that it tries to imitate the look of genuine, trusted software to trick you into buying a solution. For example, some forms of ransom ware tell you that your user license for a particular application has expired and you need to repurchase the license. Some of the trickiest ransom ware creators have acquired millions of dollars from unsuspecting users.

Rootkits

Rootkits are stealthy types of malware that attempt to hide from typical methods of detection and allow continued privileged access to a computer. This essentially means that the rootkit attempts to gain administrator access on your computer and then hides itself so you don’t know it is on your system. This type of malware is generally difficult to detect and remove because it tries to embed itself thoroughly and deeply into your computer’s system.

Malware is not limited to these five examples, but this gives you a sense of how malicious and vicious malware can be. Fortunately, antivirus software is designed to combat these threats by preventing the programs from entering your system and quarantining and removing any malware that does get through. The best way to protect yourself from malware is to update your computer system when prompted and to purchase third-party antivirus software that protects your computer 24/7.

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Is Antivirus Software Necessary?

You may ask yourself why you need antivirus software when your computer comes with, or makes readily available, free antivirus software found in Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows Defender has been available since the Windows Vista days as an antispyware program, designed to monitor and detect programs that try to gather information about you without your knowledge. With the release of Windows 8, Windows Defender was upgraded to offer additional antivirus protection features. Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender built in to the operating system itself. Microsoft Security Essentials offers antivirus protection against viruses, spyware, Trojans and rootkits, and it is available on Windows XP, Vista and 7 but not on Windows 8.

With these protections in place, why would you ever need to download a third-party antivirus program? The answer is performance.

Although Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials offer built-in support and Microsoft continues to improve upon these systems, they don’t generate high scores in the tests conducted by AV-Test, the respected independent antivirus software test lab. This is expected to a point, as these programs were designed as a baseline of protection for users who don’t plan on purchasing commercial antivirus protection. However, AV-Test regularly publishes its test results comparing both Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials to the top third-party antivirus programs. The third-party systems score higher every single time.

So, is antivirus software necessary when Windows already has built-in protections against viruses? Although baseline virus protections can give you some sense of security, you want the top-performing antivirus programs to make sure you are always protected. AV-Test tests two separate categories of malware or virus interception: the detection of widespread and prevalent viruses and the detection of zero-day, or brand-new, malware attacks. In both categories of tests, Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials performed poorer than the industry standard, regardless of which Windows operating system was used during the tests. This means that third-party antivirus programs are more capable of protecting your computer, and you, against malicious virus attacks.

Free vs. Paid Antivirus Software

As you search for the best antivirus software, you’re going to run into free software that claims it is as capable as paid programs. If you were to rank antivirus software categories into three different tiers, you’d find free software in the bottom tier, with the least functionality and protection. Although free software can be enticing, free antivirus protection is not as capable as paid software. All free programs can scan for viruses, but only some of them scan for malware automatically and offer real-time protection or browser add-ons to help you avoid bad links. Most advanced features are limited to paid antivirus programs.

One annoyance of free antivirus software is that each program displays ads for the full, paid version of the product. This doesn’t detract from the free version’s performance or capability, but it can be distracting and annoying. Some programs even immediately launch your web browser and link to their company’s website if you click on a feature that isn’t available in the free version, which may be minor but annoying nonetheless.

Perhaps the biggest frustration with even the best free antivirus programs is the general lack of support offered by the developers. Paid programs generally offer extensive technical support, allowing you to contact the manufacturer via email, phone and live chat. Free programs generally leave you fending for yourself with user manuals or a knowledgebase in which you have to comb through information before you find helpful material specific to you.

Choosing the Best Antivirus for Your PC

Perhaps the most confusing part of shopping for antivirus software is finding the best program for your needs. Besides free programs, there are generally three recognized tiers of virus protection: antivirus software, internet security suites and premium security suites. Antivirus software is the lowest tier and is regarded as entry-level viral protection. Internet security suites, the next tier of protection, offer more functionality with further protections, such as firewalls and antispam tools. The top tier of virus protection is premium security suites, which are comprehensive tools to help you protect your system from the most aggressive malware with a variety of measures and protections.

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