I’m just going to come right out and say it… the Xbox Series X is an incredible piece of technology. At $499, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck, especially when you compare the Series X to its powerful predecessor, the One X.
I have a lot of praise to heap on the Xbox Series X today, but before I do, I want to make it clear that I’m not typically an Xbox fan per se (I love all consoles equally for different reasons), so the praise I’m about to give is genuine.
Xbox Series X Review | A Serious Upgrade
I’ve talked about the physical state of the console itself in a previous feature. To quickly recap that feature, the build is solid. It’s heavy, sturdy, and it’s aesthetically pleasing despite being “plainer” than its rival the PS5.
The only concern with the Series X is with the large vent holes at the top of the console when displayed vertically. Depending on the occupants of your home (if you have any small, destructive little gremlins), you may want to display the Series X horizontally.
You know, so you don’t wind up finding things in those vent holes that aren’t supposed to be there, like food. The way you display your Series X will also depend on access to air flow in the location where you choose to display it as you’ll want to ensure the console is able to keep itself cool.
If you have to display it horizontally in order to maximize air flow, that option is available to you. The Series X is very versatile when it comes to displaying it vertically or horizontally given its flat, rectangular shape.
Visually, and in terms of functionality, the Xbox Series X is reminiscent of a PC tower in many ways. The first thing that struck me was turning the console on from the console itself, not the controller. The power button on the Xbox Series X felt exactly like the power button on my gaming PC.
Looking at the console from far away, when it’s displayed vertically, it definitely looks like a little PC tower. It’s not just looks, either. The way the console functions feels closer to a PC than any other Xbox console.
I will say that the initial console setup was a bit of a hassle even though I know it wasn’t supposed to be, but I’ll chalk that up to my own impatience, anxiety, and eagerness to test games out on the Series X.
The UI is nice, and while I was navigating around testing things out, it was immediately apparent how quick the Series X is not just for gaming but everything else as well. Browsing the store, making a purchase, opening YouTube and searching for videos, opening up Netflix or Hulu to watch a show, etc.
If you’re someone who uses the Xbox for more than just gaming, you’ll be more than happy with the speed at which you’re able to find and use apps like the aforementioned YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. Adding to the console’s speed is its Quick Resume feature.
If you want to switch between games and be able to pick up right where you left off, Quick Resume is an absolute dream. For example, let’s say you’re playing a game like Monster Hunter: World and your friends jump on and want you to play a little Apex Legends with them.
You can open up Apex Legends without having to worry about restarting and reloading into Monster Hunter: World later. You can open up the game and find your character exactly where you left them.
The Quick Resume process is smooth as butter. I found myself playing around with it for the sake of playing around with it because it’s that impressive. What about speed in relation to loading times? Well, the Xbox Series X cuts down on loading times to the point where they’re virtually nonexistent.
I found this most noticeable when playing The Outer Worlds. Previously, it’d take a painfully long time to load into different areas in The Outer Worlds when playing on the Xbox One. It didn’t detract from the experience, but it was a bit of a pain.
Using the Series X, the loading times are still there but they’re only a few short seconds long, if that. Obviously the loading times aren’t gone entirely, but they’re reduced to the point where going back to your Xbox One (as opposed to the lightning fast Series X) to play something will feel like a chore.
Features like Quick Resume and the console’s internal SSD really seal the deal when it comes to making the Series X feel like a next-gen console. It’s amazing what you get for $499 with the Series X.
Even if you previously owned an Xbox One X, there’s enough on offer with the Series X to make an upgrade feel worthwhile. The only real downside, at least at the time of launch, is a lack of brand new exclusives like Halo Infinite, which had to be delayed.
It’s not a huge deal given that games coming out around the time of the Series X’s release like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion, Dirt 5, Yakuza: Like A Dragon, Tetris Effect: Connected, and so on and so forth.
While you may argue these games are cross-gen, meaning you don’t need a Series X to play them, you’ll likely have a better time with these games on a next-gen console like the Series X.
Reduced loading times, Quick Resume, and the console’s 4K performance if you have a TV that’s able to complement it, make it better to play these games on the Series X as opposed to a previous gen console, even the One X.
Microsoft wasn’t bluffing when they said games look and feel better on the Series X.
Speaking of games feeling better, the controller that comes packaged with the Xbox Series X is also a nice upgrade from the Xbox One controller.
The controller is more comfortable to hold, is grippier (which is great for people who get sweaty palms when playing multiplayer games, not saying that’s me but it might be me), and some seriously improved rumble.
The improved rumble and responsive triggers really sell the controller as a must-have. Even if you don’t end up buying a Series X right away, you can purchase the controller separately and I highly recommend looking into it.
I noticed a difference between the Xbox One and Series X controller right away when playing games like Forza Horizon 4. The different road conditions can be felt through the Series X controller in impressive detail.
When playing other racing games (that I won’t mention by name to avoid breaking embargo) the triggers on the Series X controller really took me by surprise.
The triggers on the Series X controller can lock up when you lose grip on the road, unlock when you regain traction, and you can feel the rev of the engine not only through the controller itself, but also the triggers.
You get a legitimate driving experience when using the Series X controller that I think racing game fans — who don’t already own something like a Thrustmaster racing steering wheel — will sincerely appreciate.
If you’re someone who takes and shares a lot of screenshots and video clips, you’ll also appreciate the dedicated share button added to the center of the controller.
Taking a screenshot or video clip is instant which is not only satisfying in its own right, but it’ll help keep your head in the game if you’re taking a quick video clip of an impressive play in a multiplayer game that you’re still currently playing.
All in all, the Series X controller gives life to the games that you play and to have a controller this impressive packaged with a console that’s already impressive on its own really seals the deal so to speak.
You’re not only getting a new and improved console, you’re also getting a significantly better controller.
I’m sure one question heavy on everyone’s minds is whether the Series X is “better” than the PS5. On that one, I won’t be able to help you as I wasn’t given a PS5 to review.
I purchased one and will be receiving it on November 12 (hopefully, fingers crossed for Amazon not disappointing me on this one) and will be able to do a side-by-side comparison at that time.
As it stands right now, the Series X is a clear improvement over other Xbox consoles including the One X. Sure, there’s a lack of next-gen console exclusives for the Series X, but games coming out in November and December will (as Microsoft likes to say) look and feel better on the Series X.
If you’re looking to get a console for someone as a Christmas present and want an all-in one package, getting the Series X and 12 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate isn’t a bad idea.
Having hundreds of games available for download through Xbox Game Pass is absolutely wonderful when you have a new console you’re looking to test out.
I immediately downloaded Doom Eternal, Ori and the Will O’ The Wisps, Gears 5, and Forza Horizon 4 from Xbox Game Pass to play on the Series X. The installation speeds will vary depending on the internet speeds available to you where you live.
I live in the frozen wastelands of Maine so it did take a while before I could actually jump in and start playing the games I’d queued up for installation. In my case, I was ready to go with over a dozen games installed on the Series X after I let them install overnight.
If you’re giving the Series X as a Christmas gift, maybe let the person open it up on Christmas Eve so they can start installing games and have everything ready to go on Christmas Day. It’s just a thought, and again, it depends on internet speeds where you live.
If you live in Maine like I do, that’s my recommendation. Anyway, rambling about installation times aside, the Series X has quickly become my favorite console next to the Nintendo Switch. Previously, the PS4 was my favorite console over the Xbox One.
We’ll see how the PS5 stacks up to the Series X in the near future. Prior to receiving the Series X, I was worried the PS5 would overtake it with its impressive DualSense controller and SSD speeds, in addition to console exclusives.
However, now that I’ve had time with the Series X and its nifty new controller, the two are closer in my mind than they were previously.
All in all, the Xbox Series X is no joke, and I have no doubt it'll blow Xbox fans away on launch day.
It comes out of the box aggressive, swinging its invisible, muscular arms with some seriously impressive speed, performance, and features like Quick Resume.
For $499, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth and then some.
If you're interested in purchasing the Xbox Series X, the console will be available starting on November 10 at a variety of retailers including the Microsoft Store, Best Buy, Amazon, GameStop, Target, and Walmart.
- Noticeably faster than previous Xbox consoles.
- The Quick Resume feature is amazing and will make gamer’s lives a hell of a lot easier moving forward.
- The 4K capabilities are stunning whether you’re playing a game, watching a movie, or checking out a new music video on YouTube.
- Loading times are lightning fast. No more waiting forever for The Outer Worlds to load into a new area.
- The controller that comes bundled with the console is a major upgrade over the standard Xbox One controller with better grips, improved rumble and feedback, and conveniences like a dedicated share button.
- Lack of next-gen console exclusives.