The hype around the next gen consoles this year is greater than ever before. Xbox Series X and S have both sold out their launch day and likely second phase deliveries. Basically, fat chance you’ll get one for Christmas if you haven’t already got your name stamped on one.
While we’ve been testing both the Xbox Series X and Series S for the last few weeks, today, my thoughts on the Series X.
There’s a lot to love, a lot to look forward to, but also a lot to think about in terms of what you get on day 1.
Game Load Times
Radically improved. Thanks to SSD hard drive storage, there’s no more spinning up a disk to load all your data. Just as it is on a Laptop or PC, SSD offers faster data access, thus better loading times.
A game we play a lot in our household – in fact the greatest percentage of our gaming, is Forza Horizon 4. I can basically start that up on an Xbox One and go make lunch before it’s ready to play.
On the Xbox Series X, you’ll struggle to get to the fridge and back for a drink before it’s running.
Certainly not instant, but boy oh boy is it faster.
Sadly, games are still going to smack your enthusiasm right down when you play for the first time in a while with their delightful multi-gigabyte downloads (still the most frustrating part about being a casual gamer)
Hyped as one of the key features, I get what it can do, and is capable of, but it’s in limited supply right now. I was given a list of 10-12 titles to try this with, but in the extremely limited time available those downloads and tests were just not possible.
This should hold the key to much joy for people who share a console, or like to take a break from one game for something a bit different. The load and re-load times might be much lower with SSD, but Quick Resume will be a much welcome feature when available on your favourite games. Today, that’s none that I’m big on.
Xbox Series X Controller
With all the hype around Playstations new controller, you’d think Xbox would have come out of the box with something special. Nope. The D-Pad is greatly improved, elite style with a rounded button and an divot carved out for your finger to rest gently in – it works a treat.
Other than USB-C for charging there’s not much else to talk about.
There is a new button – the Share button, which users can program to easily record screenshots or clips, making that process a whole lot faster for the social sharing gamer.
The Size of the Xbox Series X
It’s a beast. The Xbox Series X sits 301mm tall, and is 151mm deep and wide. Laying down, it’s 301mm wide, 151mm tall, and 151mm deep.
This ain’t fitting in many traditional “VCR” slots. It’s designed to stand out, stand proud, and stand beside your TV. In the end, this one sits behind the TV because there’s no room beside it and I’m certainly not putting it on the floor.
Standout features of the Xbox Series X
Gaming quality is through the roof. Where supported, your game outputting in 120fps means a smoother look to that dirt flying off the wheels or the forest as you run through it.
Of course, your TV needs to support it.
Sitting here with a $10,999 Samsung Q950 TV which is mind blowing to say the least – I was frustrated to get 4K UHD output but not able to set the refresh rate to 120Hz.
Turns out, there’s just one of the four HDMI ports that support HDMI 2.1 and this higher bandwidth display rate.
Once I plugged into HDMI port 4 – bingo, we’re running.
Even for my weary old eyes that don’t really notice the small details, there’s a difference. Smoother motion, a sense of reality. Really great stuff.
What’s to love about Xbox Series X
The higher frame rate, improved picture quality are a huge deal, anything we see now is just the start. Wait till game companies really start to push the limits of this device.
Faster load times are worthy of your cash – the improvement really makes for a better experience. I know it sounds simple, but the fact is we’re in a society of now. We turn on our phone, it’s on. Computers are moving to that instant on, so why shouldn’t games.
Quick Resume is certainly one to love, but down the track.
Compatibility and GamePass on the Xbox Series X
The fact that hundreds of existing titles will work on Xbox Series X is a huge win. GamePass is an awesome subscription to hundreds of games, so there’s no regrets from buying a Series X. Trade in the old one, or put it in the Man Cave, nothing wrong with having more than one Xbox at home!
What’s disappointing about the Xbox Series X
Here’s a simple one, the thing doesn’t light up. All those fancy vent holes and the green layer under the top, light it up – it would look sick!
The controller is barely an improvement on the last generation, in fact it’s old hat now. You’ve likely read some of what Playstation is doing – tomorrow I’ll tell you how I see the PS5 Controller and how it shapes up to this one.
And then there’s just all-round compatibility. Chicken and Egg, I know, but we’ve gotta wait for games to update and support these new features before we can really make the most of them.
Should you buy one?
Xbox gamers will love this. It’s ticking loads of boxes for them.
Will it bring Playstation gamers across, no. That’s about titles.
Is it annoying not to get one in 2020 – no, don’t stress, there will be many more available in the future, and the compatibility and support will grow by the week.
Personally though, for those lucky enough to get an Xbox Series X on launch day, some of these boxes will be enough – the question is, is it really worth the upgrade – and for me, If I had an Xbox One X and played it once a week, no – not at all.
For those who are regular gamers, who will really benefit from the load times and those who had 120Hz TVs for the visual improvement, it’s a winner.