The Microsoft Xbox Series X is the pinnacle of Xbox consoles since it is the most capable of running all Xbox games, both new and old.
It’s still not simple to acquire, but doing so is worthwhile. Now that the Xbox One X has been on the market for over a year, there is a larger library of games available for users to try out, including both brand-new games and improved versions of some of the top Xbox One games.
- Which console is better, the PS5 or the Xbox One S?
- Tight on cash? Examine our Xbox S Series review for more info.
The visual improvement from the Xbox One X to the Series X isn’t very impressive, which may disappoint gamers who expect each new console generation to be a quantum leap forward from the last. Many games, however, will now run considerably more smoothly and at 4K resolution, whereas they may have chugged on previous gear.
In addition, the Xbox Series X has a lot of other great features. Find out if the new console was worth the wait by reading our comprehensive review of the Xbox Series X, and make the most of your purchase by consulting our guide to the finest hidden features of the Xbox Series X (opens in new tab).
Xbox Series X specs
|Xbox Series X||Xbox Series S|
|Price||$500, £449||$300, £249|
|Processor||Custom AMD Zen 2, 8-core, 3.8GHz||Custom AMD Zen 2, 8-core, 3.8GHz|
|GPU||AMD RDNA 2, 12 teraflops, 1.8 GHz||AMD RDNA 2, 4 teraflops, 1.6 GHz|
|Display (Targeted)||4K, 60 fps||1440p, 60 fps|
|Display (Max)||8K, 120 fps||1440p, 120 fps|
Xbox Series X Review: Price and Availability
Around this time next year, it will be the Xbox Series X’s first birthday since its worldwide release on November 10, 2020. Still, it’s really difficult to acquire.
Month after month, we’ve monitored Xbox Series X restocks, and most stores are still low on supply. When new supplies are finally delivered, they disappear almost instantly. Unfortunately, the current semiconductor shortfall is expected to last until at least 2023.
Find an Xbox Series X, and you should expect to pay a minimum of $499 USD or £449 GBP. Xbox Series X appears to have a price tag that is comparable to the PS5 in both of those countries.
In contrast to the PS5 Digital Edition, which retails for $399 (or £349), this one is a bit pricier. Unfortunately, these consoles are frequently sold in packages that carry a larger price tag.
Xbox Series X: Design
The Xbox Series X could be mistaken for a compact desktop computer while it is upright, and the comparison would be fair. One could argue that the structure’s bland, blocky appearance lacks imagination. On the other hand, the system’s sleek and uncluttered design is something I appreciate. To be sure, this is a sizable item.
With dimensions of 15.1 by 15.1 by 30.1 millimetres (5.9 by 5.9 by 11.9 inches) and a weight of 9.8 pounds, the Series X is a sizable but not quite as heavy machine as the PS5. This means you’ll struggle to put it inside an entertainment unit, unless you place the tablet on its side. When lying on your side, the console has four padded areas to indicate which way is up. The console won’t be able to slide around as easily thanks to these.
When laid on its side, the Xbox Series X appears like the offspring of an audio amplifier and a brick, which is not a particularly attractive design in my opinion. My console looks great standing up and half hidden behind my TV; the green accents around the vent holes in the top make it stand out.
In order to make the most of the Series X’s cooling system, I propose positioning the console vertically. As a side note, the system is whisper-quiet and chill, yet a touch to the top vent will release a pleasant breeze of heat. Microsoft’s technical prowess shines through with the Series X, which packs a lot of power into a relatively small package. It’d be tough to fit the same amount of power into a gaming PC of this size.
While the Series X may look bulky sticking out from behind my TV, I think it looks rather nice when it’s perched on a desk. You might be pleasantly pleased if you hook up the system to a 4K or high-refresh-rate display.
While the original Xbox’s VCR-like appearance put me off, the Series X seems to take cues from the Xbox One X’s streamlined aesthetic while expanding the device’s form factor. There is no blinking light bar or whirling LED rings. Instead, when you turn on the Series X, the only thing that lights up is a jewel-shaped Xbox power button that emits a bright white light.
Despite its popularity, the Xbox Series X console won’t be remembered as a groundbreaking piece of technology. However, the minimalist design won’t seem dated anytime soon, and I think it will blend in well with your current home theatre equipment.
As a side note, there has been some discussion about the possibility of dust clogging the vents on Xbox Series X consoles, but the Series X consoles owned by the Tom’s Guide staff show no signs of this happening.
Xbox Series X review: Ports
The Xbox Series X maintains its sleek appearance by featuring only a USB 3.1 Type-A port and a Blu-ray disc drive on the front of the system. There’s also a button for connecting a wireless controller. You may quickly and easily charge a controller or transfer games and saves to and from an external hard drive by plugging them into the Series X’s USB ports.
The Series X has an abundance of ports on its rear. Included is a single HDMI 2.1 port, which is required for 8K gaming and lets users enjoy 120 fps in select games on TVs with 120 Hz refresh rates. (Check out our list of top-rated gaming TVs to learn more about which models are suggested for their support of HDMI 2.1.)
In addition to the standard controller connections, the console also includes an Ethernet jack, a Kensington lock, and two additional USB 3.1 ports, which are useful for permanently connecting external storage.
As opposed to the Xbox One and One X, there isn’t an optical audio connector or an HDMI-in port. However, only those with really robust audio systems are likely to feel the loss of optical audio to be an inconvenience, as the HDMI port can still deliver Dolby Atmos and surround sound signals.
We can’t say for sure how many customers actually used the HDMI-in port, therefore its removal from the Series X was not a priority. It also eliminates the possibility of accidentally connecting the cable to the wrong port and finding that your TV has no signal, as I have done on more than one occasion.
The expansion slot, on the other hand, is the most notable port. This is the cost of the Series X’s optional 1 TB proprietary external PCIe 4.0 SSD expansion card.
Xbox Series X: Interface and Quick Resume
If you were hoping the Xbox Series X’s UI would drastically differ from the Xbox One, you’ll be sorely disappointed. That’s not a bad thing, as that user interface was quite feature-rich, covering a wide range of tasks, from app and game management to file transfer across drives and the fine-tuning of HDR displays and audio equipment.
You can still access your console from afar and play games via a local Wi-Fi connection, two of the many cool features introduced with the Xbox One and carried over to the Series X. Game streaming from the Series X through cellular broadband is planned for the future. Unfortunately, the feature, which was developed as part of Microsoft’s Project xCloud, has not been implemented in any Xbox system.
The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, however, will allow you to stream a variety of Xbox games to an Android device, and those games will sync with your progress on the Series X or Xbox One. In fact, the Series X’s ability to sync between devices is a major selling point. After I transferred my save data from my Xbox One to the Series X, the interface automatically loaded my game progress from the cloud so I could pick up right where I left off.
If you’re looking for something new to play on Xbox Game Pass, you’ll be pleased to know that the Series X’s user interface devotes a lot of real estate to showcasing the latest additions to the service. When compared to the incredibly clean PS4 interface, the Xbox’s Game Pass emphasis and overall tile menu style might make it a little complicated and occasionally tough to find what you’re searching for.
However, gamers who are used to the Xbox One interface will feel right at home with the Series X. This also supports the idea that the Series X is the pinnacle of the Xbox ecosystem rather than a true next-gen console.
Quick Resume is one of the most useful recently added user interface improvements. As a quick recap, this feature lets you play numerous games at once, switch focus from one to another, and return to the previous title just where you left off, as if you had only pressed the pause button.
Xbox Series X Links 🔗
Microsoft Store https://t.co/HyH5sQw38c
Best Buy https://t.co/sXWy69rs7c
— Xbox Series X Stock Alerts (@XboxStockAlerts) December 21, 2021
The process isn’t instant, but it’s still far quicker than completely loading a game. And now that the Xbox One X and Xbox One S have been on the market for a while, a larger selection of titles has been available that is specifically designed to make use of Quick Resume.
The convenience of Quick Resume is another plus. While playing one game, you can switch to another by pressing the Xbox button on the controller. Simply return to the original game from which you came and pick up right where you left off.
It’s a game-changing addition that the PS5 lacks, despite the fact that PS5 games load swiftly. Quick Resume is great for those times when you only want to play for a little while, or switch from a solo game to a multiplayer one when your buddies join you online.
Xbox Series X review: Games
Xbox Series X didn’t have a huge library of games at launch, but it has already amassed an impressive collection of next-gen games that aren’t available on any other platforms.
Notable games that make use of the console’s hardware include Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and Elden Ring, along with a host of outliers like The Ascent and Chorus. Even a true cross-gen game like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla benefits greatly from the power of the Xbox One X.
It’s important to remember that Microsoft has committed to releasing these titles on the Xbox One, Windows 10, and Windows 11 PCs, thus they are not exclusive to the Xbox Series X or Series S. However, I maintain that you should play them on the flagship Xbox unless you have one of our best gaming PCs or best gaming laptops.
Redfall, Fable 4, and Starfield are just a few of the upcoming games that will be highlights. There are a lot of Xbox Series X and Series S games that take advantage of the console’s improvements that you can play in the meantime. Cyberpunk 2077, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Destiny 2: Beyond Light, and Sea of Thieves are just some of the games that will operate better on the Xbox Series X than on previous Xbox consoles.
Here are some of the top Xbox Series X Dungeons & Dragons games you can play. You may compare the PS5 and Xbox game libraries by reading our article on PS5 and Xbox exclusives.
Xbox Series X Review: Verdict
There is only one Xbox, and its name is Xbox Series X. It’s a single system capable of playing and processing Xbox games from many generations. In addition, it won’t make a fuss or appear to be doing anything unusual.
Yes, $499 is a large sum to shell out for a gaming console that hasn’t yet demonstrated mind-blowing next-gen capabilities. For the technology you’re receiving, though, I think it’s fair. Powerful performance is promised by the latest AMD processor and graphics technology, and the pleasure of playing games in seconds rather than minutes is not to be ignored. Even while solid-state drives (SSDs) have been available for some time in PCs, it would be difficult to construct a gaming rig with such robust processing and storage capabilities for around $1000.
Given that there is no single killer app or game that makes the Series X feel like a next-gen powerhouse, I was prepared to be somewhat underwhelmed by it. But because games already look so beautiful, we won’t see the same kind of graphical improvement we had with the last generation of consoles. Instead, Sony’s new Series X consoles are focused on streamlining and improving the gameplay process.
That’s why the Xbox Series X is such a success right now. As for me, I can’t wait to watch what it accomplishes over the course of its lifetime.
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