On November 10, the sale of the first new generation consoles – Xbox Series X and Series S started. All people who are not indifferent to games have a question – what did Microsoft do this time? Was the company able to make decent gaming devices that will compete on an equal footing with the PlayStation 5? What about the graphics in games? Is it worth buying a new Xbox and which one is better to choose?
What is in a box?
Both models of the new Xbox ship with a user manual, an updated gamepad with a pair of AA batteries, an HDMI cable, and a standard power cable. The manufacturer did not put any gift subscriptions, although we believe that it would be a great move to attract a new audience to Microsoft services, for example, to Xbox Game Pass, which is one of the main arguments in favor of buying consoles of the Xbox family. The included batteries are needed for the gamepad, which also supports the battery, but you have to buy it separately along with the Type-C cable for charging. Let’s say a few words about the appearance. Series X is a black tower in a strict design, we repeat once again that the console will perfectly fit into most modern interiors. A round rubberized stand is provided for vertical installation, there are also rubber feet for use in a side position, but in this case, the attachment does not look so elegant, and for some reason, the stand cannot be removed here.
Xbox Series X|S design and important features
The body is made of plastic, the quality is not bad, everything is assembled perfectly and does not cause any complaints, except that Series X collects fingerprints perfectly. There is also such a problem as the ingress of dust into the grill of the cooling system, from above, it will be removed from there only with a vacuum cleaner. In general, this is the only way dust sticks to the case. All of the above about the build quality is also relevant for the Series S, although it has a different design and does not collect dust so actively. The younger model is somewhat similar to the Xbox One S, the same white color also looks great when lying down somewhere under the TV. Of the ports, Series X and S have three USB 3.0 at once, as well as one LAN, a power input, a proprietary connector for an external SSD, a hole for Kensington Lock (now no one will drag your Xbox), and HDMI version 2.1.
An important point – the Series S model does not have a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive, although in the modern world this is not some kind of critical disadvantage, because more and more gamers are buying games in digital, rather than on discs. For those who are used to changing games with friends or still going to the store in the old fashioned way, alas. The Xbox Series X and Series S gamepad received a new controller, well, as new, outwardly it is practically no different from the version for the Xbox One. There are only a couple of new touches that have significantly changed the perception of the gamepad. The crosspiece is now inscribed in a round base – something similar can be seen on the expensive Xbox Elite Controller. In addition, the hammers and handles are textured – this should make the grip more durable, and the fingers will slip less during hot network battles. However, this solution can cause problems for players with increased finger sensitivity. we heard from some people that when using a new gamepad they feel discomfort, most likely this is a special case, we did not have any problems during the game.
Another novelty is the Share button in the center of the gamepad, with which you can take a screenshot or start recording a video, and then post your records and cool moments from the game on the social network. The gamepad is still with Bluetooth, it can be wirelessly connected to a computer or tablet/smartphone. The port on the gamepad was changed from micro-USB to a more modern USB Type-C – it is on the top, through which you can charge the battery and connect to the console. At the bottom, there is a proprietary Microsoft connector and a classic 3.5mm headset jack.
The new controller also became more responsive to pressing. As far as backward compatibility is concerned, you can easily connect your Xbox One controller to the new Xbox. It works the other way around – the Xbox Series controller will play great on the Xbox One.
X vs S hardware
- X and S have Custom made AMD Zen 2 eight-core processor
- X: 3.8GHz CPU, 16GB GDDR6 RAM, 12 TFLOPS GPU (52 CUs at 1.825GHz)
- S: 3.6GHz CPU, 10GB GDDR6 RAM, 4 TFLOPS GPU (20 CUs at 1.565GHz)
The main difference between Xbox Series X and Series S (besides size) is the filling. The older model is positioned by Microsoft as a solution for gaming in 4K resolution at 60 or 120 frames per second. The younger version is a good choice for 1080p and 1440p games at 60 and 120 FPS.
The main disadvantage of the Series S is its storage. Of the 512 GB SSD, only 364 GB is reserved for games. In an environment where titles can take up more than one hundred gigabytes of disk space, even 1 TB is not enough, let alone a measly 364 GB. Just the other day, news came from the developers of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – on the Series, to install the shooter expected by many, you need as much as 136 GB. Yes, users will be able to delete auxiliary files of different modes – story campaign, multiplayer, and “Zombies”, but the fact itself, the games have become very demanding on disk space and over time the situation will only get worse. As a person who sits quite tightly on games-services like Call of Duty or Destiny 2, we will say that usually such games settle in the system for a long time and are not deleted for months, because from time to time you want to return to them. A depressing situation arises when most of the disk is already occupied, and you want to play something new. You have to remove a huge distribution and then reinstall it, it takes a lot of time and is very annoying.
What is the way out of all this? Well, as an option, buy a 1TB external SSD, which is extremely expensive. Or use a regular external HDD, to which you can transfer games already downloaded to the console, and then return them back as needed. Moreover, the HDD with USB 3.1 support will allow you to run old games directly from it. Let’s talk more about the filling. AMD’s APU, which is in the new Xbox, is made on a 7nm process technology, which increased the number of transistors from 7 billion in the One X to 15.8 billion in the Series. This is not as much as it might seem at first glance. For example, the GeForce RTX 3080 video card has 28 billion transistors on board. Texture blocks – 208 pieces. Rasterization units – 80, 52 computational CU sets – 3328 stream processors. By comparison, the Radeon RX 5700 XT has a 40 CU with 2560 thread cores.
Xbox Series X|S performance in games
The main question is whether there are any differences in picture quality between the older version of the new Xbox and the younger one. In those games that we managed to test, the whole difference came down to resolution and FPS. On Series X it is 4K, sometimes dynamic, sometimes below, and on Series S it is from 1080p to 1440p.
Let’s take a fresh example – Watch Dogs: Legion. On Xbox Series S, the game runs at dynamic resolutions up to 1080p, while on X, the native resolution of the game is almost always in the region of 1440p. Both they have ray tracing, but for each platform, the technology has been optimized to maximize the number of rays, the developers said.
At the same time, on the Xbox One X, the resolution is higher – dynamic from 1560p to 2052p, but in terms of picture quality, the new consoles are noticeably winning in a battle of X vs S, this can be seen with the naked eye.
- Xbox Series X price: $/€499
- Xbox Series S price: $/€299
On the one hand, Microsoft offers two good products: powerful hardware, fast downloads, and backward compatibility with almost the entire library of past Xbox. On the other hand, all the games that will be released on the Xbox Series in the near future will be available on the previous generation, albeit with a picture of not such high quality. Anyone who is thinking about buying one of the new Xbox just has to answer this question: do I need higher resolution, detail, stability, and faster downloads in games?
At the same time, if you do not have a 4K TV, then you can wait with the purchase of Series X and pay attention to the younger model, which, if you compare, offers all the same features with less powerful hardware. If the quality of the graphics is not of decisive importance and the same Xbox One X is available, you can sit on it for a while, you will definitely not lose much.