After looking into Series S as an interesting device for many non-pro gamers in our previous review, it’s time to take a look at the most recent and best console Microsoft has ever made.
The new console comes after years of waiting and it is a really powerful machine. The thing is, the gaming world does not seem to be ready yet and we might still wait some time to enjoy it to the max.
The Xbox Series X is very minimalistic with a simple design. Some aspects, such as game backward compatibility or available library are absolutely no different from the Series S, so for the sake of clarity, we will omit them in this part of the review. We will focus primarily on the essential differences and what makes the Xbox Series X better and excels.
The first difference is obvious – design and appearance. Unlike a cheaper counterpart, the Xbox Series X presents itself as a stylish minimalistic block that you erect vertically.
The Series X is still very small and sturdy, but a little heavier than the Series S (actually more than 2 kg), with black matte colour. A very interesting optical illusion is hidden in the upper part of the console, where there are stylized vents and ventilation. The green colour spreads wide across depending on how far or close you come to the console, which looks pretty cool.
Xbox Series X: Hardware
Another difference is, of course, the rarely thin Blue-Ray drive from the front with the power button, USB port and Bluetooth button for pairing on the same side.
So, as you understand, the console offers a Blu-ray drive that can play physical copies of games, movies and other media. So you are not just relying on digital downloads and got yourself more options. At the back, of course, are all the important ports and connectors – HDMI 2.1 port, two USB 3.2 ports, a network connector and a slot for expanding the internal storage.
Although the console is much more successful when standing, the rubber feet indicate that the console can also be successfully placed on its side if you do not have enough space on your TV stand.
Overall, I like the design of the console. It is minimalistic, simple and fits most households similar to the Series S, only in black. The extravagant design of the PS5 will look much more complicated to fit into a traditional home, but it’s up to every gamer’s taste.
Xbox Series X: The Quiet Ninja
Like the Series S, the Xbox Series X is incredibly quiet, you won’t even notice it’s working other than by the LED indicator or seeing what’s happening on the TV. Adequate ventilation and air circulation ensure that the hardware is well cooled, even if feeling warmer air at the top under heavy load. We recommend leaving enough space above the console for air circulation.
Xbox Series X: Performance to the fullest
Unlike the Series S, which attracts above all to its low price tag and a giant library of games through Game Pass and backward compatibility, no one here plays the ‘small game’. The Series X is Microsoft’s most powerful console, offering a 3.8GHz AMD Zen 2 8-core processor, a 12-teraflops graphics chip, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, and a solid 1TB internal SSD.
Yes, even here the system bites something for itself and leaves us about 820 GB for games, but in comparison with the weak 364 GB at the Series S version, it is certainly a relief to be able to fit significantly more games in it.
Xbox Series X: Even more storage
Of course, there is also the option to buy storage expansion cards, which are quite expensive at the moment and the resulting price can climb a few thousand higher, so it is up to each user to decide whether it is worth investing in this case.
Another option might be waiting for a discount which may come later on after the initial boom passes.
A good alternative also is to connect more or less any other external storage via USB and store all your games on it, always copying the ones you are actively playing to the internal SSD. A bit bumpy road, but it usually shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to copy them over.
Xbox Series X: Controller – No evolution this time
The console’s controller hardly changed its approach and design over the years, and for a reason. The controller coming all the way from the Xbox360 generation is described by many gamers as almost iconic, and Microsoft knows it, so perhaps that may be the reason why they decided something that works it’s not worth changing.
The overall ergonomics have been slightly modified with the controller being covered with a delightful texture that does not slip in the hand and is nice to the touch. Vibrating motors and haptic response in triggers have also been slightly modified to make the controls a bit more accurate and sensitive.
The biggest change is the left side control cross, which is now much more durable, easier to use and has a vigorous press.
The standard Xbox Series X controller still, unfortunately, makes us use standard AA batteries as the power source, which is quite a disappointment, given its year 2020.
There seems to be only one reason behind this decision, which might be the option of paying extra for the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 with some advanced options such as improved performance, Interchangeable paddles, Hair trigger locks, customization app and charging dock for £159.99 / $179.99.
Xbox Series X: 4K resolution support
In terms of graphic performance, the Series X targets native 4K games at 60 frames, but in many cases can climb up to 120 FPS.
Of course, this depends on the games and the developers themselves. At the moment there are only a few titles supporting 4K in 120 fps and above all, you need to have the right TV with an HDMI 2.1 port to be able to capture the graphics exactly as the Xbox imagines. So a suitable TV is a must in the case of this console if you want to squeeze the most out of it.
See also: How to choose the right 4K TV
Xbox Series X: Interface as we know it
If you used the previous generation of the Xbox, then you will feel at home. All controls, layout and customization options have remained completely unchanged. In fact, you will not feel the wind of the new generation practically at all, which is, on the other hand, a bit of disappointment.
Here, you will find your library, the latest titles played and access to the store or the Game Pass, which is, at least for now, the most attractive and crucial feature as the new next-gen titles are still mostly in development.
Navigating the menu and the entire user interface is pleasantly smooth, fast and without a single delay. The large RAM and SSD really show their power here and you will never have to wait unnecessarily for anything to load.
Xbox Series X: Multimedia, Dolby Vision and Atmos
The Xbox Series X, like the S, is not only a game machine but also a multimedia centre. Thanks to the Blu-ray drive, Series X can handle 4K movies with ease, having a whole list of applications available out of the box, including Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +, Apple TV and Hulu. As we know, Netflix is starting to push hard for the 4K content that Series X is made for.
Another attraction for pampered gamers is the support of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos formats, which were also available in the last generation.
Dolby Vision serves as an enhanced version of HDR for a more believable representation of contrast and colours in the scene, in both movies and games. Of course, you must also have a suitable TV that supports this format.
Dolby Atmos then creates a much more believable and dense rendering of surround sound and overall work with sound, although in this case, you need to buy accessories that support the format and license, and again have the right TV that can handle this format.
Xbox Series X: We’ll wait a bit for the games
We wrote about the games and their library in a review of the Xbox Series S. Yes, the new console suffers from a terrible shortage of really new-generation games, which will only come next year. A huge library of games through backward compatibility and Game Pass is a great combination that will last you for some time. But it would be a much better start for the console if we could test the power of this muscle machine on some new gaming titles.
Certification means that the game runs on the console in the best possible way
Compared to the Series S, however, there is one small thing – the certification of games “Optimized for Series X”. At the moment, there are only a handful of these titles, namely, Gears 5, the racing arcade DiRT 5 or the latest city gangster Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
And what does it mean?
These games have been directly adapted for the latest generation, and therefore offer higher resolution, graphic enhancements and more stable operation, which is definitely noticeable while playing. For instance game, such as Forza Horizon 4 faced minor problems in some places, and it was certainly not possible to say that it was a new generation title. On the contrary, the DiRT 5 looks gorgeous on the console, it moves briskly and the high frame rate is damn visible on it. Now, we just ask for more new games, please.
The final verdict
The Xbox Series X is the company’s most powerful console. Unfortunately, we will not be able to see that for at least a year.
At the moment, it is a nice box with a huge library of games from older generations, a great performance and, above all, a great promise for the future. With the promise that we will see beautiful new worlds without waiting and effects that will take our breath away.
But at the moment, we can only wait and hope that it will come soon. We are definitely looking forward to it.