Xbox Series X Review - Next Gen Pinnacle

By Jess Jonassen
Xbox Series X Review - Next Gen Pinnacle

Everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X next-generation console will be covered in this in-depth review, including its appearance, features, and gameplay.

To cut directly to the chase, it's great and definitely worth paying out on even if there are still a few issues that need to be hammered out.

As well as the basic Xbox Series X review, you can find out more about the cost and availability of the console as well as what equipment I used when testing it out.

I began writing this review as soon as it was released, and I've continued to do so as I learn more about it.

Xbox Series X, The Latest Console From Microsoft

Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X console is supposed to bring in a new era of gaming. We affectionally call it the “next gen” every time a huge leap in console hardware occurs, promising new games and stuff we’ve never seen before. However, for the time being, the big launch games, improved graphics, and next-generation games are still on their way from Xbox Series x

In the meantime, Microsoft has produced what seems like an exciting PC upgrade experience in a console form. The Xbox Series X comes the closest I’ve yet experienced to re-creating the superior PC experience of playing games, thanks to SSD storage, a significantly more powerful CPU, 120Hz capability, and outstanding backward compatibility features that improve existing games. In comparison to the $3,000 gaming PC I constructed only a few weeks ago, this $499 system is much quieter and significantly simpler to use and maintain.

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
RAM 16GB 10GB
Storage 1TB 512GB
Display (Targeted) 4K, 60 fps 1440p, 60 fps
Display (Max) 8K, 120 fps 1440p, 120 fps

There’s a reason the Xbox Series X even looks like a PC – it’s because it often feels like one.

GOOD STUFF

  • Performance and back compat
  • 120Hz modes for smoother gameplay
  • Feature of quick resumption

BAD STUFF

  • Non-removable stand looks weird horizontally.
  • There will be no big-budget launch games.
  • Storage that can be expanded at a cost

Xbox Series X review: Price and availability

X Box Series X

  Buy X Box Series X from Amazon  

Released worldwide on November 10, 2020, the Xbox Series X is reaching its one birthday, at the time of writing. And purchasing one is still really difficult.

We've been watching Xbox Series X restocks for month upon months, and still most outlets are out of stock. When they do get new merchandise in, it sells out in minutes. Sadly, with semiconductor shortages ongoing and projected to remain through 2023.

If you can get your hands on an Xbox Series X, plan to pay at least $499 in the United States and £449 in the United Kingdom. On paper as least, the Xbox Series X equals the price of the PS5 in their respective nations.

However, it’s more expensive than the PS5 Digital Edition, which costs $399, or £349. But these consoles are often offered in bundles that come with a higher ticket price.

WHERE TO BUY IN US

Where to Buy X Box SeriesX in US

Amazon: It's not uncommon for Amazon to price match on gaming peripherals like controllers and headphones.

Best Buy: Game Pass is frequently included in accessory bundles from Best Buy.

CDKeys: huge discounts on a massive choice of games

Microsoft: Purchase choices for Microsoft's All Access programme and significant accessory discounts

Newegg: Bundle deals with complimentary games at Newegg on a regular basis.

Walmart: excellent for affordable third party accessories and cheap games

  Buy X Box Series from Amazon  

Where to Buy in the UK

Where to Buy X Box Series X in UK

Amazon: frequent discounts on games and accessories

Argos: best for cheap controllers and accessories packages

CDKeys are a great way to save money on both old and new video games.

Currys: supply dips regularly include Game Pass bundles

Microsoft: frequent discounts on controllers and accessories

Very: console packages often stay in stock longer

  Shop X Box Series from Amazon  

Reasons To Buy

  • The most powerful console
  • Strong backwards compatibility
  • Easy expandable storage

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Console design is unimaginative
  • Only around 800GB of 1TB drive useful
  • Launch line-up of games is unimpressive

One-minute review of the Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X wasn't a must-have when it first, but after more than a year on sale, it's apparent the console is now coming into its own. It’s always been a terrific piece of hardware, mind you, with the ability to entrench itself as an incredible next-gen console in the future.

But until now, the new Xbox has been missing the sort of wow factor we've come to expect at the start of each new console generation. There aren't many games that take full advantage of Microsoft's new hardware, and the same Xbox One UI doesn't help alleviate the impression that things are more of the same as they were before. When you first start up the flagship Xbox, it's tempting to be unimpressed, but the enhancements soon become apparent.

Fortunately, Microsoft's new hardware can now be seen in action via the Xbox Series X's growing library of games. Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Psychonauts 2, and Microsoft Flight Simulator are now all available, and Microsoft has improved numerous older Xbox One games to take use of the new console's amazing technical features.

Good news, then, because the Xbox Series X has always wowed us in terms of hardware. It's super-fast, nearly silent, and delivers the kind of outstanding performance that we've previously only seen from high-end gaming PCs. In the future, Microsoft can build on this foundation and improve the visuals and performance of all of its games, old and new.

Xbox Series X UI and dashboard

With a new exterior appearance, Xbox Series X stands out visually, while the user interface (UI) and dashboard have undergone more subtle revisions.

The Xbox Series X dashboard is pretty much the same as the Xbox One’s. It's because Microsoft released a significant update to the Xbox One in August 2020 to streamline its user interface and bring it in line with the Xbox Series X's design language.

That means the Xbox Series X UI still has a tiled structure, with adjustable pins, so you can choose which games and apps you want to view first on your home screen, and enables simple access to games, apps, party chat and other features through the Xbox button on your controller. It's a simple user interface with a lot of customizability and intuitiveness.

The Xbox Series X UI appears to place a high value on personalization. Players may now move their pinned games and applications around, as well as use new profile themes as a background for their profile page, thanks to Microsoft's latest update. Players may now now finally employ dynamic backgrounds, which offers a more personalised home screen alternative for those who are bored of the Xbox One's static offering.

Xbox X Series Storage

According to xbox's specifications, the Xbox Series X's 1TB Custom NVMe SSD provides 802GB of actual disc space, leaving 198GB for use by the console's operating system. We were able to download 18 games of varied sizes before having to utilise the console's expanded storage.

That's a nice quantity to play through, then, although we'd advise buying up the Seagate Storage Expansion Card if you really want to take advantage of features such as Quick Resume and the number of titles available through Xbox Game Pass.

Remember that after their optimizations have been implemented, true next-gen games will likely take up more storage space.

The Seagate Xbox Series X 1TB expansion card was tested in conjunction with our console. At $219.99/£219.99/AU$359, this isn't cheap, but when we ran out of data, we just inserted the card into the Xbox's rear and had access to an additional terabyte of storage. When the console detects that it's approaching its storage capacity, it asks whether you want to install on the card instead, while also presenting a relatively easy option for freeing up space by uninstalling games.

XBOX SERIES X CONTROLLER

The Xbox Series X Controller feels familiar in the hand yet subtly different, with better tactile textures and optimised shape making for a more ergonomic, and more comfortable, playing experience.

The Xbox Series X controller does not appear to be a significant departure from the Xbox 360 controller. The buttons and triggers are still laid out in the same way as on older models. However, if you look closely, you'll see the small changes that Microsoft has made.

  • Feels familiar in the touch although subtly different
  • Works on a range of devices
  • Improved tactile textures and revised geometry
  • Addition of "Sharing" button

In the first place, the exterior of the gamepad has been given a matte finish to better complement the look of the console itself. While this certainly looks sleek, it does come with drawbacks – the black controller that comes with the console easily picks up scuffs and scrapes that are noticeable, and considering the amount of hands-on time controllers are subjected to it’s possible that you’ll find it hard to keep yours looking in tip-top condition for years to come. The controller comes in a variety of colours, including Electric Volt, DayStrike Camo, and Pulse Red, some of which are less likely to scuff.

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