The Xbox Series X system from Microsoft is intended to bring in a new era of gaming. Every time a significant improvement in console hardware appears, we jokingly refer to it as the “next gen,” promising new games and innovations. The Xbox Series X will definitely deliver those in due course, but for the time being, the major launch titles, games with eye-catching new visuals, and next-generation titles are still in the works.
Microsoft has created a console-based experience that seems like an exciting PC update. Thanks to SSD storage, a far more potent CPU, 120Hz support, and great backward compatibility capabilities that enhance existing games, the Xbox Series X comes the closest I’ve yet seen to replicating the superior PC gaming experience. All of this is contained in a $499 box, which is quieter and more simpler to use and maintain than the $3,000 gaming PC I recently built.
Microsoft has crammed every element of the Xbox Series X inside a tower-like, box-shaped enclosure. It has a modest appearance like a mini PC, yet it stands up much better than it does when it is horizontal (just like most PCs). Unlike the PS5, the Xbox Series X’s base cannot be removed, and the system is not intended to be opened. It’s fair to say that the Xbox Series X appears to have fallen over with the base still attached when positioned horizontally. The design isn’t my favourite, but I’m also not troubled by it. As long as you can fit the black box under your TV, you may bury it there and forget about it.
Xbox Series X review: Design
The upright tower form of the Xbox Series X, though it can also be placed horizontally, is more similar of a desktop gaming PC than that of its predecessors. The cuboid-shaped console is matte black throughout, with the exception of a green hue inside the recessed cooling vents on top. This innovative addition elevates the console’s design. It measures 15.1 x 15 x 30.1cm and weighs 4.45kg.
The Xbox power button is located at the top-left of the console’s face, the disc drive (and eject button) is located at the bottom-left, and the pairing button and USB 3.2 port are located at the bottom-right (the pairing button also acts as an IR receiver). Cooling vents, an HDMI 2.1 output port, two USB 3.2 ports, a networking port, a storage expansion slot, and a power input connection are all located on the console’s back.
All of the ports on the rear of the console have tactile indicators, which are little raised dots that let you know which port you are touching. For instance, the power input port has just one elevated port compared to the three raised ports on the USB 3.2 ports. This is done to help with reach-around cabling and to make the console easier for those who are blind to use.
Except for a subtle Xbox logo in the corner of the left side and four rubber pads on the right that allow the console to lie horizontally, the sides of the console (when it is upright) are blank. As previously mentioned, the top of the console is designed to help with ventilation, as here is where the Xbox Series X exhausts any heat it generates. On the bottom of the console are some more cooling vents and a slightly higher disc-shaped stand.
Xbox Series X review: Ports
The Xbox Series X maintains a minimalist design by only having a Blu-ray disc drive and a USB 3.1 Type-A port on the front of the device. A button for pairing a wireless controller is also included. Because of this, connecting a controller to charge or an external hard drive to transfer games and data to and from the Series X is really simple.
The Series X has a significantly greater range of ports on the rear. One HDMI 2.1 port is available, which is necessary for 8K gaming and for some games to take use of the 120 frames per second frame rate on TVs with 120 Hz screens. (For a list of suggested models featuring HDMI 2.1, see the best gaming TVs.) Along with an Ethernet port, a Kensington lock, and two more USB 3.1 connections, which are useful for external storage that you intend to keep connected to your console.
Unlike the Xbox One S and One X, there is no HDMI-in connector or optical audio connection. Only those with powerful audio systems would likely notice the loss of optical audio, as the HDMI connection can still deliver Dolby Atmos and surround sound signals. It’s not a big deal to remove the HDMI-in from the Series X because we’re not sure how frequently customers utilised it. Additionally, it eliminates the possibility of connecting an HDMI cable to the incorrect port and then wondering why your TV isn’t receiving a signal, which has occurred to me previously.
Xbox Series X review: Setup
Pressing the power button and signing into Xbox Live should take about 20 seconds on an Xbox Series X if you are starting it up from a fully powered-off state. That startup process will take two to four seconds if the Instant-On power mode is enabled. From there, you can rapidly load any of the games that were previously in a Quick Resume suspended state. The Xbox Series X is quick to boot up and moves quickly so you can start playing games right away.
Of course, you should anticipate receiving an initial update if you are turning on the system for the first time. You can start fiddling with the settings using the new Xbox app while this is downloading and installed. If you already have an Xbox Live account, you can login in with it on your Xbox Series X to transfer hundreds of settings and preferences.
The quiet before the unavoidable frustration is a simple process. You shouldn’t anticipate playing a lot on day one unless you want to transfer games from your Xbox One using an external SSD. How quickly you can download games will depend on your internet speed and download bandwidth restrictions, but you’ll notice how much larger games are getting when your hard drive is empty.
There is a big catalogue of titles accessible, whether through backwards compatibility or Xbox Game Pass, so you should choose your battles wisely on day one. Don’t assume that having actual media will make things easier for you; disc installations on Xbox Series X take just as long as they did on Xbox One, so plan on waiting anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes before the inevitable patch requests start. And no, you still can’t download numerous updates or games at once or move them about easily in the instal queue.
Xbox Series X review: Performance
Yes, the Xbox Series X is marginally more potent than the PS5, but it is still the most powerful game machine currently available. It has a bespoke AMD RDNA 2 GPU with 12 TFLOPs of computing capability, an eight-core AMD Zen 2 processor clocked at 3.8GHz, 16GB of GDDR6 memory, and a 1TB Custom NVMe SSD for quick loading.
Similar to the PS5, the SSD is utilised to cut down loading and reloading times for most games to under a second, however others may take a little longer. You can switch between different games from the dashboard, which is ideal for returning to games without having to wait for them to load. You can even skip between games and pick up where you left off. Elden Ring and other games that require instant starting and restarting are the greatest candidates for the SSD. The Xbox Series X can handle 120 frames per second, which is only really necessary if you play Halo Infinity or Gears 5 extremely competitively. This shooter supports 4K at 120 frames per second online, which is, quite frankly, amazing.
This serves as another example of Microsoft’s backwards compatibility since Gears 5 is an Xbox One end-of-life title that excels on Xbox Series X. To support 120 frames per second, several games reduce their resolution to 1080p. It implies that ultimately you’ll desire one of the top 4K TVs.
Xbox Series X review: Controller
The only things that came with my Series X review unit are the same things you’ll receive when you buy a Series X retail device. Aside from the console itself, this kit also comes with the new Xbox Wireless Controller, two Duracell batteries for the controller, and an HDMI 2.1 compliant cable (needed if your TV supports high refresh rates in 4K HDR)
Unlike Sony, Microsoft hasn’t made many changes to the controller. It continues to be referred to as the Xbox Wireless Controller for this reason. It has the same general form, but the area surrounding the luminous Xbox logo and the trigger buttons is less angular and more streamlined. In place of the Xbox One controller’s original glossy surface, the latter additionally sport a gritty texture.
This texture is repeated around the rear of the controller, which appears to make it less slick, which is advantageous in hot and muggy countries like India where your palms would inevitably perspire throughout extended sessions. Additionally, sweat doesn’t tend to gather as much on the front of the controller.
The D-pad and the USB-C connector are the only significant changes. The new D-pad, which was taken from the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, is noisier and clickier than the Xbox One version. The “Share” button only contains one introduction. The “View” and “Menu” buttons are joined by this DualShock 4-inspired button in the controller’s centre.
It obviously makes it easier to quickly take a screenshot or film a video while playing a game. This simplifies what used to be a laborious process that involved pressing the Xbox button, selecting the “Capture & share” area, and then selecting an option.
Xbox Series X review: Price and availability
The Xbox Series X has been available for almost two years, but if you were hoping for a price cut, I’m sorry to disappoint you: the console is still $499 in the United States, £449 in the United Kingdom, and AU$749 AU in Australia.
That still makes it slightly less expensive than the PS5 in these countries, especially considering that Sony’s gaming console has seen a price increase in the U.K. and other countries but has yet to do so in the U.S. There are certain Xbox Series X bundles that can help you save some money, but they aren’t currently that inexpensive. you can purchase this product from Xbox official store.
Overall, the Series S provides a lot of value today, especially considering that it only costs $300. It can only play games at 120 frames per second if your TV for Xbox can handle it and has a resolution limit of 1440p. However, it is small, quiet, and has quick load times. Its long-term viability is primarily what worries me. Future games will only become more demanding, so I wouldn’t suggest using the Series S as your primary gaming system.
However, that does not imply that it does not have a place: If you have a PS5 but want to occasionally dip into the smorgasboard that is Game Pass, for example, or if you want something for a child who plays on a smaller screen, the Series S is a great second console. It’s a special, inexpensive way to start using the next console generation, as long as you’re aware of the Series S’s advantages and disadvantages.