Should You Get An Xbox Series X Or Series S Console
In a head-to-head evaluation of the Xbox Series X and Series S, Digital Trends praised the Series X for its cutting-edge gaming experience from Microsoft, delivering games in resolutions up to 8K in a compact, minimal form factor. The same evaluation pointed out the Series S price point allows more players to get into the Xbox world without breaking their budgets.
So, which should you buy? Assuming you could actually buy both consoles, the extra $200 list price cost of the Xbox Series X is totally worth it. The Series X console is more powerful than the Series S overall, including a faster CPU, 8K video supported compared to the Series S 4K limit, more memory, and twice the SSD storage. In addition, the Series X console has a 4K UHD Blu-Ray optical drive. The drive has two huge advantages: You can play games on physical media, plus you can play Blu-Ray media.
The Series S lets you play all the new Xbox games, so if thats your sole motivation to buy the latest generation new Xbox console, it makes sense to save the $200. If you want to play games with the most powerful console and the highest video resolution, however, the Xbox Series X is still the smarter choice.
Xbox Series X Vs Xbox Series S: Key Differences
If you only walk away with three key differences in mind, let it be these: the Xbox Series X has a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive that’s capable of playing physical games and movies while the Xbox Series S does not.
The Xbox Series X has a large 1TB SSD that can store, on average, around 16 games while the Xbox Series S has a 512GB SSD that only stores around four to five and the Xbox Series X renders games in native 4K at 60 frames-per-second, while the Xbox Series S targets 1440p.
Otherwise, both will have the same user interface, the same controller and the same Xbox Velocity Architecture that enables features like Quick Resume. Both have the same media apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and more, and more importantly, both can play exactly the same games.
More people seem drawn to the power of the Xbox Series X from what we’ve seen so far, but that’s not to discount the advantages of the more affordable model. Both work well and both can serve a different audience.
Let’s break them down even further.
First up is the Xbox Series X, Microsofts flagship console thats capable of 4K graphics and is currently one of the most powerful consoles ever made. On paper the specs are very impressive, and it has a compact tower-style design that manages to be both unique and unobtrusive . It costs a pretty penny, though, at $499 / £449 / AU$749, the same price as the PS5.
Xbox Series X Features
- Dolby Atmos and DTS support
- More entertainment apps available than before
- Smart Delivery makes it easy to jump between consoles
- Xbox app makes it easier to manage and access your console on the go
The Xbox Series X has a number of useful features and meaningful quality-of-life improvements, while the inclusion of a Blu-ray drive and access to entertainment apps means the console can double-up as a home entertainment system.
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Xbox Series X Vs Pc: Price
Of course, theres one area where an Xbox Series X still has a major advantage over a PC, and thats price. Custom-built gaming PCs are always going to be more expensive than mass-produced consoles, while an Xbox Series X costs $499. You can build an extremely bare-bones gaming PC for that price, but it almost definitely wont match the power of a CPU, GPU or SSD on the Xbox Series X.
Out of curiosity, I went on Newegg and tried to create a PC with Xbox Series X specs. Even with the cheapest parts I could find, my total was almost $1,500 and thats not counting a case or a copy of Windows 10. Its easy to say that a gaming PC can do whatever an Xbox Series X can, and more. But its hard to justify doubling or perhaps even tripling what youd spend on an Xbox Series X just to play the same games with slightly better graphics and frame rates.
Granted, PC parts drop in price over time, and by November, this setup could cost hundreds of dollars less. But consoles are always going to be cheaper to buy and simpler to set up by a wide margin. Building a PC can be fun, but its also a complicated, time-consuming process. And when something goes wrong, being your own tech support is absolutely, positively no fun. Buying pre-built systems is even more expensive.
How To Save Money On Xbox Series X
Alright, so the Xbox Series X price is still a hefty chunk of cash to spend. But you don’t necessarily have to pay it off in one go. Enter Microsoft’s fancy Xbox All Access system. This is a payment plan, and it allows you to get an Xbox Series X for a monthly fee spread over two years. It’ll set you back $34.99 per month in the US, £28.99p/m in the UK, and $46p/m in Australia.
Interestingly, Xbox All Access doesn’t just get you the console. It also offers 24 months of Game Pass Ultimate as well. Because Game Pass is a bit like Netflix for gaming , that’s a solid deal. Particularly due to the fact that new Xbox exclusive games like Halo will appear on Game Pass for free on the day of release.
Thanks to this, Xbox All Access might be one of the more sensible options when it comes to buying an Xbox Series X. Indeed, it saves you money in the long run. Sure, you’re only getting a small amount knocked off the overall price, but it’s still cheaper than buying the console and two years of Game Pass separately.
However, be advised that you won’t find Xbox All Access in many stores besides Microsoft. GameStop fills that role in the US, and Game or Smyths have the honor in the UK.
If you want to check out what you’ll be playing next-gen, head on over to our guide to upcoming Xbox Series X games.
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System Software And Features
Both consoles feature a similar user interface to the Xbox One, but there has been a 40% reduction in memory use to improve its speed. According to the UI development team, the Home section loads in about half the time as it did on the Xbox One. Other changes include adding rounded UI elements, a more-readable font for text elements, rearrangement of certain aligned features, and improvements to the sharing functions. These changes were brought to the Xbox One system software, the Windows’ Xbox application, and the Xbox mobile application around September 2020. Based on system previews, about 200 GB of space was reserved on the internal drive of the Xbox Series X for system files.
The console’s Quick Resume feature will allow users to suspend and resume more than one game at a time, and also resume suspended games after a reboot of the console.
Several video and streaming media services will be available through the system software on the consoles’ launch notably, it will be the first time that Apple TV+ will be available on Xbox consoles.
Microsoft plans to migrate the xCloud service from Xbox One S-based blade servers to Xbox Series X-based systems by 2021.
The Xbox Game Preview program, which allows games to be released through an early access model, continued into the Xbox Series X/S line with Spacebase Startopia in January 2021.
Is The New Xbox Backward Compatible With Older Games
The Xbox Series X and Series S are backward compatible with all but a handful of Xbox One titles which were based around the no longer supported Kinect sensor. The Series X and Series S will also play the hundreds of Xbox 360 and Xbox titles that Microsoft made the Xbox One backward compatible with as well. Almost all backward-compatible titles will have a variety of graphical enhancements.
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Whats The Latest Update For The Xbox Series X
On October 12, Microsoft released a new launch trailer for the upcoming Xbox Series X and S consoles, featuring Black Panther and Get Out actor Daniel Kaluuya.
The trippy launch trailer follows Kaluuya as he boots up the next-gen Xbox system, only to get pulled into another dimension. As he floats through time and space, Kaluuya is transported to the world of Valhalla, from the upcoming Assassins Creed game, and later has a run in with Halos Master Chief.
In early October, Aaron Greenburg, the general manager of games marketing at Xbox, responded to the next-gen game price hike issue. During an appearance on the Real Deal podcast, he described the issue as super complex, noting that titles no longer launch at a uniform price point.
In the old days, every game launched at one price and that was it, he said. But we launched Ori And The Will Of The Wisps at $30, and Gears Tactics is a new title launching this holiday and its launching at $60. State Of Decay 2 launched at $40. So theres not a simple answer to that.
The Xbox marketing chief then suggested that a price increase for next-gen might be the expectation rather than the rule, noting that upcoming titles like Assassins Creed: Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077 and Dirt 5 are all set to launch at US$60.
The Xbox Series X and S will allow players to selectively uninstall different components of games, according to Jason Ronald, the director of programme management on the Xbox team.
Xbox Series X: Is It Worth Buying
In our Xbox Series X review, we had only positive things to say about the console. At least, for the most part. The console runs cool and quiet, it provides impressive visuals, and the collection of small improvements across the board really elevate the experience.
As of writing, the main issue with the Xbox Series X pertains to its exclusive lineup, which is a bit thin. Games like Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are a good glimpse at what next-gen gaming will be like, but it won’t be until 2022 where we start to see games built natively for the new architecture, utilizing all of the console’s features. Most games available for Xbox Series X are effectively Xbox One X versions with extra options and features. In 2021, we were supposed to see The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 get native versions on Xbox Series X, but things like the pandemic and the chip shortage have delayed much of the work in this space.
Some games have received impressive enhancements, like Metro Exodus. We should also see more from Microsoft’s first-party studios, including Halo Infinite, Hellblade II, and many more. One of the first “big-name” franchises to go next-gen only will be the next Battlefield 2042, set to launch towards the end of 2021.
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Better Graphics On Old Games Great Graphics On New Games
The Xbox Series X and Series S feature a new generation of graphics hardware that is more capable than the components of previous consoles in a variety of ways. In most titles, you can expect higher resolutions, higher frame rates, and more detailed characters and environments compared to the same games on Xbox One or PlayStation 4, all with better image quality. Effects should also be more pronounced and sophisticated, as the new graphics hardware in these consoles can pull off greater amounts of fancy tricks like smoke and fog that has physical properties, and lighting that creates shadows and reflections more like it does in the real world.
The True Cost Of The Xbox Series X: $960/896
With the above taken into account, getting the most out of the Xbox Series X is going to cost you $960/£896. Thats a fair bit for a dedicated gaming machine, but its still quite the bargain.
To get equivalent 4K performance from a gaming PC, youll need to spend some $1,500, though we appreciate that gives you a far larger library of games to choose from. But in comparison to what we believe to be the true price of the PS5, the Xbox Series X is the winner given its that bit cheaper with all its extras added into the mix. Though for the performance they deliver, both consoles still offer impressive value for money.
However, getting hold of an Xbox Series X is very difficult at the moment. So if you can hold off until 2021, you might be able to get yourself a well-priced Series X bundle, and youll have more games to tap into on Game Pass – hopefully in the form of Xbox Series X exclusives. After all, 2021 is looking like the year that these new games consoles come into their own.
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Xbox Series X Vs Pc: Which Is Right For You
When it comes to measuring up the Xbox Series X vs. PC question, there’s no easy answer. For a start a machine from our best gaming PCs list will offer plenty of gaming power and access to huge library of old and new games, for $1,000 or more. The Xbox Series X offers plenty of practical gaming power for half the price at least, but then has a more limited, albeit still expansive, library of games.
And then there’s a good deal of crossover between the platforms, with Xbox Game Pass available on PC, yet the Xbox Series X having PC-like components and graphics features heck, the Series X even looks like a compact PC.
In short, both the Xbox Series X and PC have pros and cons, and that every users situation is a little different. But with the Xbox Series X, the calculus is a little bit different than before. The Xbox Series X isnt selling itself on exclusive games or bespoke hardware its just one way to access an entire gaming ecosystem. And, perhaps for the first time in console history, youll be able to access the exact same ecosystem on a PC.
This story isnt really about comparing an Xbox Series X and a gaming PC head-to-head, partially because there are thousands of different gaming PCs. Instead, heres a look at which platform might suit you gaming needs the best.
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You may ask why Microsoft would price at $500 when thats what bit them last time. Well, the significant difference this time around is that if Sony does price at $400 again, at least the $100 price difference can be sold as the Xbox Series X being more powerful . Whether its 25% more powerful, as that price would indicate, is another matter, but at least the price difference this time would not be because of an albatross like Kinect, which was the major contributing factor to the Xbox Ones launch price.
In addition to this, Microsoft has already established $500 as a price point for the most powerful, currently available console when they launched the Xbox One X at that price. Thats since been knocked down to around $350 most places you shop, but at the time, that was a price point that seemed to make sense for the powerful upgrade. So for a fully new generation that pushes the power envelope even further ? That price point is probably going to receive the same amount of pushback as the Xbox One X, which is to say, not very much at all. Theres a big difference between a $500 bundled with Kinect, less powerful than PS4 or Xbox One, and a $500 Xbox One X that dwarfs everything else on the market. And I think the same could be true for the Series X.
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Can You Buy Xbox Series X In Store
In the US, in-store stock varies by region, but we are seeing some success with Target. Be sure to check in-store stock levels early in the morning and head down straight away if you spot consoles available. Stores are allocating what little stock they have on a first come first served basis, but it is possible to buy the new Xbox Series X in person.
If you’re in the UK, things are a little different. Obviously the current lockdown has scuppered many plans to buy Xbox Series X in store so you’re at the mercy of online retailers for now.
Where To Get A Playstation 5
If you want to buy a PS5 now — like, right this very moment — the best place to get one is StockX. Though the site is a third-party reseller, StockX authenticates PlayStation 5 consoles and offers some of the best third-party pricing around. Note, however, that you’ll have to pay a $100 premium or more over the console’s MSRP to buy one there.
It’s possible that you’ll still be able to get a PS5 console at Best Buy, Walmart or GameStop, even if you’re not willing to drop your hard-earned cash on a premium membership or third-party reseller offering. Your luck depends on checking frequently for the latest PlayStation 5 restock news — and on tapping those “check stock now” buttons to get lucky.
If social media is your thing, Tech Radar Editor-in-Chief Matt Swider has turned his Twitter profile into a PS5 restock tracker of sorts. He even flew to Boston last October to live blog the GameStop in-store restock in person.
Retailers Walmart, Best Buy, Gamestop, and Target restock the console, but those PS5 restocks often sell out in seconds. Keep reading to find out when the elusive Sony PlayStation 5 console will hit shelves again and how you can be among the first to know.
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