Xbox Series X Review: Six Months Later The Xbox Series X Is Proving Its Worth
For those taking a more cautious “wait and see” approach, you might have been put off by the Xbox Series X launch lineup. You may have been wondering how the consoles held up over time. After over six months of near non-stop usage, I’m pretty confident to call the Xbox Series X my favorite console of all time.
For the past six months, my Xbox Series X has become my primary console of choice, and the cornerstone of my leisure time. And after Microsoft’s E3 2021 showcase, I couldn’t be more excited for the platform’s future.
In this six-month re-review, we’re going to cover the hardware and design, its capabilities as a gaming console, as well as a centerpiece of your entertainment system. What are we losing, and what are we gaining? Are the tradeoffs worth it? Do the games honor Microsoft’s claim that this is the most powerful gaming console ever made? And is the Xbox Series X a worthwhile gaming investment for the future?
Gta 5 Ps5 And Xbox Series X Trailers
A new GTA 5 trailer was revealed during Sony’s PlayStation Showcase 2021 event. You can check it out below:
GTA 5 on PS5 was the first trailer revealed for the console during Sony’s Future of Gaming Event in June 2020. The intro, featuring Michael saying ‘Why did I move here? I guess it was the weather” parallels GTA 5’s famous first trailer in 2011. We haven’t had a similar trailer for Xbox Series X yet.;Check it out below:
What Is Ray Tracing For Minecraft On Xbox Series X
Ray tracing is one of those vague gaming terms that doesn’t concern the vast majority of gamers. However, when properly used, ray tracing can have real effects on how a game looks, particularly in the atmosphere department. On games that are already meant to be photo-realistic, ray tracing allows them to take it to the next level by accurately portraying lighting instead of simply “guessing” as was commonplace before. It’s very complicated, but fortunately, we’re here to break it all down.
Ray tracing, down at its core, requires three things to work: capable hardware, supported drivers and software, and a game built with ray tracing in mind. With Xbox Series X|S, all three of these things will be present, with ray tracing being touted as an essential next-gen feature for both the Xbox Series X|S and the PS5. Minecraft could be one of the games to support real-time ray tracing at some point in the future.
Now, it should be noted that Minecraft with ray tracing already exists, and it looks incredible, completely altering the look and feel of this over-10-year-old game. We even paired Minecraft with ray tracing and an NVIDIA RTX 3060 for even more beautiful results. However, Minecraft with ray tracing is currently available only for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition on Windows 10 when paired with high-end NVIDIA RTX GPUs.
If you want all the details regarding Minecraft with ray tracing, be sure to check out our ultimate guide on Minecraft with ray tracing.
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Xbox Series X/s Consoles
An Xbox Series X costs £449/$499 – that includes the Xbox Series X console and the new Xbox Wireless controller. Aside from all the cables and perhaps a free trial for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, no other extras will be included. Here’s the Digital Foundry review should you want to see how the console performs.
If you want to go for an Xbox Series S instead, that’ll set you back £249/$299. Remember, though, that’s the less powerful version of the next-gen console. It’ll still comfortably run all upcoming Xbox games but it won’t run games natively at 4K, doesn’t feature a disc drive and has a smaller 512GB NVMe SSD. However, you’ll get support for 1440p at 120FPS and 4K upscaling, as well as the same raytracing and variable refresh rate features as with the Series X.
If you’re willing to sacrifice those additional features, you do save a considerable chunk of change on the console. Definitely worth it if you aren’t playing on a 4K TV or aren’t too fussed about all the extra performance benefits. For more help on making that decision, do take a look at our guide to the differences between the Xbox Series X and S.
In the UK:
The full list of Xbox All Access eligible countries and retailers:
- Australia at Telstra
- South Korea at SK Telecom
- Sweden at Elgiganten
Dts And Dolby Atmos Support
While the default headphones setting for Xbox Series X is Windows Sonic, as on the Xbox One before it, the Xbox Series X also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS headphone: X sound though you need to purchase a separate license for each.;
Windows Sonic is fine for those who arent too fussed about their audio, but Dolby Atmos and DTS provide a fuller spatial sound experience, meaning, for example, that you can tell from an enemys footsteps exactly where they are in relation to you. If youre someone who plays a lot of online multiplayer then it could be worth picking one of these up, especially as you dont need a specific headset for either to work though to use Dolby Atmos you require a compatible soundbar.
Its also worth noting that these only work with games which support Dolby Atmos or DTS sound, which include the likes of Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
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Xbox Series X Review: Games And Performance
First game I played on the Xbox Series X? Halo 5 of course. If only Halo Infinite had been a launch title…
Let’s deal with performance on the Xbox Series X first. The Xbox Series X target for gameplay is 60fps at 4K resolution, while also offering a 120Hz refresh rate and theoretical maximum framerate of 120fps, and as you can see from the image below, this is delivered out of the box.
I enabled a 4K UHD resolution, HDR and 120Hz refresh rate on my LG CX55 TV straight away and, let me tell you, there’s no going back after you’ve sampled this smoothness and fidelity.
120 Hz refresh rate? Yes please!
I test a lot of T3’s high powered gaming PCs and laptops, as well as mobile phones, so high refresh rates, framerates, and resolutions aren’t new to me by any means, but there was still no escaping the immediate sense of upgrade I had when transitioning from Xbox One X to Xbox Series X.
And, aside from visual fidelity and smoothness , the biggest upgrade is the speed at which everything loads especially games.
There was no escaping the immediate sense of upgrade
I’m a huge fan of Forza Horizon 4 on Xbox One, but even on the last-gen flagship, the loading times on that title were absolutely appalling. For the uninitiated, I’m not exaggerating gamers around the world often reported waiting up to 5 minutes for the game to load initially and that, quite frankly, was not acceptable.
The Xbox Series X is like the Xbox One gone Super Saiyan
Xbox Series X: It Eats Monsters For Breakfast
The Xbox Series X represents a bold vision and a huge step forward for Redmond, which is keen to put the mistakes of the early Xbox One generation behind it. New name, new vision, new leadership, and more investment than ever before as Microsoft seeks to stave off potential cloud threats from Google, Amazon, and Tencent.
Far more than a simple box, the Xbox Series X should grant visual quality that has, up until now, been available only on the most extreme Windows gaming PCs, while incorporating the entirety of your existing library. It will also allow us to roam with our games via the internet, thanks to Project XCloud and Xbox Game Pass, streamed to our mobile devices.
Microsoft has never put this much investment into its gaming operation before. I don’t doubt Xbox fans will be delighted with what Redmond puts out with the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S. Whether or not the broader market responds remains to be seen. Still, Microsoft is undoubtedly giving Xbox its best chance possible.
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The Most Powerful Xbox Ever
The Xbox Series X is powered by a custom 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU and 12 teraflop RDNA 2 GPU, so you can play all types of games without any lags or hiccups. The fast graphics generated by the processor are further boosted by the 16 GB GDDR6 memory, as well as a lot of space to store your downloaded games and saves on a 1TB NVMe SSD hard drive. It also supports ray tracing, true 4K gaming, and framerates up to 120 fps for the smoothest graphics you’ve seen on an Xbox yet. Three primary channels for parallel air flow divide the heat load across multiple air streams to better manage the internal temperature of the console’s subsystems, including the split motherboard and heat sink chassis.
Xbox Series X Load Times
|43 seconds||1 min, 52 seconds|
This fast storage also helps enable a feature called Quick Resume on both consoles, which allows you to switch between games incredibly quickly in a lot of cases. The big problem right now is that its not supported by every game, although Microsoft is working to enable it across more titles. When it works, though, Quick Resume is one of the consoles best new additions, and Sonys PS5 doesnt have an equivalent feature.
One of the most significant differences between the Series S and Series X is found in the graphics department. Although both consoles use AMDs RDNA 2 graphics architecture, the Series X has 52 compute units. Thats not only more than double the 20 compute units youll find in the Series S, but theyre also clocked faster at 1.825GHz compared to 1.565GHz. In total, that means the Series X has 12.15 teraflops of graphical horsepower according to Microsoft, compared to 4 teraflops for the Series S.
There arent many cross-platform titles that allow us to see how the performance of the PS5 and Series X compare in practice, but an analysis of Devil May Cry 5 by Digital Foundrysees Sony and Microsofts consoles performing very similarly. In some modes, the Series X offers slightly faster performance, while the PS5 is ahead in others.
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Xbox Series S Price: Cheaper Digital Edition
Rumours circled for months that Microsoft was working on a cheaper Xbox to launch alongside the Series X. Sure enough, the Xbox Series S is a digital-only version of its next-gen console in order to lower the barrier to entry.;
It costs £249.99 . That’s just over half the price of the full-fat Xbox Series X and could be a very tempting price for UK gamers.;
Gamers in 12 countries, including the US, UK and Australia, also have the option to pre-order the Series S and pay in instalments. Microsoft’s Xbox All Access service gets you Series S console plus Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Live Gold in return for £20.99 per month over a 24 month period.;
The main difference between the Xbox Series X and Series S is that the latter doesn’t have a disc drive. Another big difference is that while both consoles support high frame rates of up to 120fps, the Xbox Series X offers native 4K gaming, while the Series S is geared more towards 1440p. If you want to make the most of your 4K TV, the Series X would be the obvious choice, but those with gaming monitors might be perfectly well served by the Series S.
The Series S isn’t as powerful, though. Both consoles have the same Zen 2-based CPU but the Xbox Series X runs at 3.8Hz, while the Series S runs at 3.4Hz. And where the Xbox Series S has 10GB of GDDR6 memory running at 224Gbps, the Series X offers 16GB of GDDR6.
New Games Old Hardware
Microsoft has said you wont have to buy new hardware to enjoy its upcoming first-party titles because many of them will also come to Xbox One. Heres how Xbox chief Phil Spencer described the companys approach back in July, where he said that every Xbox Game Studios game in the next couple of years will be playable on the Xbox One.
You wont be forced into the next generation. We want every Xbox player to play all the new games from Xbox Game Studios. Thats why Xbox Game Studios titles we release in the next couple of yearslike Halo Infinitewill be available and play great on Xbox Series X and Xbox One. We wont force you to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play Xbox exclusives.
And if youre more of a PC gamer and dont own an Xbox One, then Microsoft also typically releases its major titles there as well, and it says it plans to continue this policy this year.
Microsoft has promised to bring Halo Infinite to PC and Xbox One as well as its new Xbox consoles.
There are some caveats you should be aware of. First is that these promises only cover Microsofts first-party titles, aka those published by Xbox Game Studios. Microsoft isnt making any promises about how other publishers like EA, Ubisoft, or Activision will handle their new games.
Microsoft is making big promises about its own games
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Xbox Series X And Series S
- Xbox Series X
|The Xbox Series X with controller|
|Also known as|
|Seagate Storage Expansion Card|
|Built-in power supply|
|Series X: 15.1;cm ×;15.1;cm ×;30.1;cm Series S: 15.1;cm ×;6.5;cm ×;27.5;cm|
|All Xbox One games and select Xbox 360 and original Xbox games|
The Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S are home video game consoles developed by Microsoft. They were both released on November 10, 2020 as the fourth generation of the Xbox console family, succeeding the Xbox One family. Along with Sony’s PlayStation 5, also released in November 2020, the Xbox Series X and Series S are part of the ninth generation of video game consoles.
Xbox Series X Price: Game Bundles
Some of the biggest titles are usually partnered with a new console. This year’s instalments include FIFA 21, Fortnite, Rainbow SixSiege and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, all of which are confirmed for the new console.
We know that Microsoft has teamed up with EA to bring over 60 of EA’s biggest games to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which gives you access to 100+ games stored in the cloud.
Halo Infinite would likely have been the most-wanted launch title, and the most popular bundle, but 343 Industries, the studio in charge of the game, recently announced that they had made the “difficult decision” to delay its release until 2021.
Retailers such as Best Buy are already offering the Xbox Series X and Series S bundled with accessories such as extra wireless controllers and subscriptions to the online gaming platform Xbox Live. Stay tuned, and we’ll bring you more as we get it.
When Will Xbox Series X Come Out
Do not be confused between Xbox Series X and Xbox One. Xbox One is amongst the latest consoles launched by Microsoft prior to Xbox Series X, which has not yet been released. The;Xbox;One was;released;on November 22, 2013, whereas other prior consoles,;Xbox 360 and Xbox,;were launched on November 22, 2005, and November 15, 2001, respectively.
- Image courtesy: XBox official website
Fps Boost On Xbox Series X
Microsoft has added a new feature to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S post-launch called FPS Boost, which has the potential to quadruple the framerates of older titles. It means that games that were previously locked to 30 frames per second can now hit 60fps – some games can even hit 120fps.
At present, FPS Boost only applies to;Xbox One games, and to a specific selection of games. But the list is fairly extensive and were likely to see this feature rolled out to Xbox 360 and original Xbox games in the future. FPS Boost is a fantastic upgrade, particularly for those with an Xbox Game Pass subscription, as it allows Xbox One games to utilize the power of the Xbox Series X. So, for compatible games, it feels less of a technological step back when you decide to revisit some of your favorite Xbox One games.
If, for some reason, you don’t want to play these games at a higher framerate, you can also turn it off on a per-game basis. However, we’d recommend leaving it on as it makes games look visually smoother and feel far more responsive.;
We’ve included some of the games which benefit from FPS Boost below, but you can also check out the full list here.
- Far Cry 4 – 60fps;
- The Elder Scrolls V: Special Edition – 60fps
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