Xbox Series X Review,
Along with the Xbox Series S, the Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next-generation gaming console. However, things have changed since the Xbox One was introduced in 2012. The line between generations is blurred now. When the Xbox Series X launches on November 10, it’s going to have the largest library of games that any console has ever had at launch, because you’ll be able to play everything that was playable on the Xbox One family.
Yes, that includes thousands of Xbox One games, hundreds of Xbox 360 games, and dozens of original Xbox games. Many Xbox One games are being optimized for the new generation, and of course, there are some new games as well.
I love Microsoft’s strategy of not forcing anyone to go out and buy new games; indeed, we’ve all had to face the idea of losing our old games when upgrading to a new console. Still, there’s something that leaves the Xbox Series X as not feeling like a new generation. Most of the games I’ve been testing are games that I’ve played before like Forza Horizon 4 and Gears 5.
But still, it’s awesome. This new console has a 12TFLOP GPU that has 16GB GDDR6 memory, and an octa-core AMD Zen 2 CPU. It has new features like Quick Resume that lets you instantly pick up where you left off, and Smart Delivery that automatically gives you the version of a game that’s built for your console.
In other words, it’s exactly what you’d expect. The UI looks and feels like an Xbox One (it’s the same software), and right now, it mostly plays the same games. They look better and it’s faster, but that also summed up the Xbox One X. It’s yet another improvement on that.
This thing is big. If you’re used to standing up your consoles, it probably won’t stand out so much to you. If you’re not used to standing up your consoles, it is almost impossible to make this thing look natural in your home. If you look at the specs, this is very much a gaming PC, so think of it as a small form factor tower PC in your living room.
You can, of course, lay it on its side. There’s only one problem, which is that you actually can’t remove the base, and that makes it something of an eye sore. When laying on its side, you get this black circular disc on the bottom that gives it an unfortunate and permanent dose of asymmetry.
Microsoft gave me a choice on whether I wanted to review the Series S or the Series X, and I chose the latter because I think that people want to read about the most powerful one. But if I was buying it, I’d probably buy the Series S, opting for the more compact form factor. If you look at the specs, the Xbox Series S is actually quite impressive for how small the form factor is given the specs.
The Xbox Series X is rectangular and almost completely symmetrical, with the square base measuring 151×151, and the height being double one side of the base at 301mm. It’s also the heaviest Xbox in history at 9.8 pounds. Microsoft did catch some heat for this, which doesn’t really make sense to me since a gaming console isn’t really something that you’d be taking with you on the go. Besides, you can take Xbox on the go with you now with xCloud and other forms of game streaming.
Air flow comes in through the base and out the top. This is also likely why the circular base can’t be removed, as when the Series X is standing vertically, the base provides a bit of height, allowing air to pass through. If Microsoft allowed users to take that off when the console is horizontal, it risks the user forgetting to reattach it when standing the device back up, potentially causing overheating.
On the back, you’ll find your usual array of ports. The HDMI out port has been bumped up to the HDMI 2.1 spec, which means that it can power an 8K TV. HDMI in is gone, and so is the Xbox One feature of HDMI pass-through making the console your one and only media center.
There are also two USB Type-A ports, along with the one that’s on the front. Wired Ethernet remains, of course, and what’s new is a storage expansion slot. While you can connect an external HDD or SSD, Microsoft is letting you plug in an external version of the custom SSD that’s inside of the console.
The new controller
The new controller that ships with the Xbox Series X|S (there’s no actual branding for this generation, so that’s what it’s called) might be my favorite thing about it. It doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but it does have a few key new features that were previously exclusive to the Xbox Elite Controller.
The Xbox Series X is awesome. There is no doubt about that. If you’re an Xbox user and you have a 4K TV, this is the logical next step for you, especially if you skipped the Xbox One X. It’s also easy to get a ton of games. All of your old games just work on the Xbox Series X, and moreover, Xbox Game Pass gives you access to well over a hundred other games.
For me, these are easy value propositions. I love that if I buy a game like Forza Horizon 4 on my Xbox One, I automatically have the optimized game on the Xbox Series X, and I have it on the Microsoft Store for my Windows PCs. Thanks to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, I can even play the game on my phone too.