Which console balanced strong technical specs (computing power, the right type of media, etc) with affordability the best?

I know that technically the PS4/Xbox One have the best technical specs ever, but for their time? Doubtful. The 3DO blew away the competition (the Sega Genesis / SNES primarily) but at 700 bucks, it was way too expensive for most gamers.

Hereís some contenders:

Sega Master System. The NES won because of games, but the Master System hardware was more capable at about the same price as the NES. Itís not a massive difference, some of the later NES games ended up looking better than anything the Master System has to offer because more sales = more games = more programmers learning how to make better and better games. But out of the box, the Master System offered more horsepower, more capacious carts, and you could get one t the same price as the NES.

The 16-bit gen winner is the SNES. The Genesis was well designed enough, the Turbo Grafx 16 was underpowered, and the Neo Geo was great but massively expensive. The SNES offered more power to make the popular games of the time usually look and sound better on SNES. Not only that, but the SNES was designed to work easily with enhancement chips. This thing could even run DOOM! One of the best console technical designs of all time.

Nintendo would win the 32/64-bit gen too but the N64 has a major hamper: cartridges. It makes it more reliable today, but in the late 1990s it hampered developers looking to put long, rich experiences in their games. Why make an RPG on N64 when PlayStation gives you a lot more space? The Saturn did use CDís, but it was a 2D prioritizing system in the 3D era, and was more expensive and harder to program for. That leaves us with the PlayStation, which wins this generation by a wide margin. Good 3D capability + an affordable price + CD + easy to program for = a real winner.

The next gen Iím going with Xbox. It had a lot of power and a built in hard drive - no memory cards required!

Overall, Iím going with SNES. That thing was a beast for the early-mid 90s, an affordable beast with tons of potential for good games (and a ton of good games). While I personally prefer the Genesis library by a small margin, itís a matter of taste. PS1 was also great in terms of offering the right specs for the time.

And note that these arenít always the consoles that sold the most of their generation. Those consoles always have at least good technical specs though.