Consumer Reports tests out features in top gaming consoles

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Consumer Reports tests out four different gaming consoles to see which offers the best bang for your buck this holiday season.

In a consumer reports lab, gaming expert Matt Ferretti and others check out the Xbox One from Microsoft, the Nintendo Wii-U, Sony's Playstation 4 and newcomer LeapTV from Leapfrog.

The LeapTV comes with educational games and a controller that's just right for little hands. LeapTV is aimed at children ages 3 to 8 and is priced at $150. But if parents are choosing a console for older kids, they should expect to pay more.

"The question you should ask yourself when picking a console is do you want it just for gaming or do you want all of your entertainment through the console?" Ferretti said.

While any of the higher-end consoles will stream video from services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, the Xbox One has advantages as an entertainment hub. When bundled with the Kinect motion-sensing camera, users can use voice commands and switch easily between games and watching television without having to use a separate remote.

"The Xbox One is a good choice if you like to split your focus between gaming and watching TV or movies," Ferretti said.

Like the Xbox One, the Playstation 4 has a built-in Blu-Ray player. The console also shines for gamers who like graphics-intensive games and want to share video clips, live streams, or sample a friend's game over the internet.

A user simply presses a share button that is right on the controller and videos or streams can be shared with friends. But for parents who don't want their kids to view shared content, it can be a tricky feature to restrict.

If having the greatest selection of family-friendly games is a priority, the Wii-U is the console that delivers.

The Wii-U costs $300, the Playstation is $400 and the Xbox One with Kinect is $450. Consumer Reports suggests that around the holidays, shoppers look for consoles bundled with different games and accessories that will be discounted.

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