Microsoft Xbox Series X.
Jordan Novet | CNBC
Microsoft put the Xbox Series X, the $ 500 video game console it launches on Tuesday, with impressive performance. Games are better on this computer than any previous Xboxes, as well as many PCs.
The X Series has a sleek design – a black rectangular plate with a green shaded concave vent on one end. It comes out around the same time as Sony’s $ 500 for PlayStation 5. For Xbox fans, the Series X is likely to be very appealing, especially as the coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of easing, leaving consumers with plenty of free time at home.
According to Microsoft, the X Series improves gaming in a number of ways. They were clear to me when I tested the console and compared it to the 2017 Xbox One X.
I waited less time for games to load and it was faster to switch between games. The X Series contains a solid-state drive that reads data faster than the hard drive in the One X.
This faster memory enables a feature Microsoft calls Quick Resume, which is great for moving back and forth between games. For example, when I paused the car racing game “Forza Horizon 4” and opened the third-person shooter title “Gears 5” that I played the day before, the “Quick Resume” message screen appeared in the upper right corner, and I was dropped right back to my position in “Gears”.
The scenic location of Whitewater Falls in Forza Horizon 4 looks more realistic on the Xbox Series X than it does on the Xbox One X.
The X series also has four times as much computing power of the One X as well as twice the graphics performance and 33% more memory. To take advantage of these resources, Microsoft software developers have tweaked Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, and other games, and developers at third-party studios are doing the same.
I’ve seen slight performance improvements in Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, and The Touryst, a puzzle game from Shin’en Multimedia from Germany. In Forza, I parked my Lamborghini next to a waterfall, and the scene looked more realistic on the X series than the One X.
The X Series can deliver 4K games at 60fps, but I have a 1080p TV. In “Gears 5” I saw higher frames per second as my character was walking around. The game looked more impressive.
The Series X and One X each have 1TB of onboard storage, but the Series X has a little more storage space for you to actually use: 802GB versus 781GB a study. That means more space for games when you don’t want to spend more on removable storage.
The buttons on the shoulder of the Xbox Series X controller have tiny tactile bumps that can give you a stronger grip.
Jordan Novet | CNBC
Microsoft says there are thousands of games to choose from, spanning four generations of consoles up to the original Xbox from 2001.
The large selection is an advantage of the X Series over the PlayStation 5. While most PlayStation 4 games can be played on Sony’s new consoles, games for older PlayStations are not available. Microsoft has a feature called Smart Delivery that lets you open games you own for older X-Series computers in an optimized format instead of buying them a second time.
You can also see Smart Delivery in action if you have Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription, which offers over 100 console games for $ 10 a month.
Another benefit of a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which is $ 15 per month, is that you can play games from Game Pass on Android devices. Microsoft wants to provide something similar on iOS.
I don’t have a very fast internet connection at home and my phone can’t access 5G. As a result, streaming games from the cloud is choppy, if not unplayable. So I still prefer a console or a PC. Things could be different in a few years.
Green is the signature color of Xbox and appears around the X Series vents.
Jordan Novet | CNBC
Remote Play, Microsoft’s term for streaming games from my console instead of a remote data center, is a different story.
When I’m at home and someone else is using the TV, I can still play games on my phone without losing much power. I bought an adjustable plastic clip for $ 9 that attaches to my Xbox controller and holds my phone right over it. I played like this for hours. This feature works through the Xbox app for Android and iOS and is available on the Xbox One, not just the new Xbox consoles.
Microsoft has refined the design of the Xbox controller. The new version contains welcome changes and still feels familiar. The left and right buttons and triggers now have a matte finish, which I prefer to the old glossy buttons, and they now have tiny tactile bumps. When the game gets intense, it helps to have extra friction. Your fingers are less likely to accidentally slip and cause incorrect movement.
A new share button for taking screenshots is in the middle of the controller. The D-Pad is now a full circle instead of a plus sign, making it easier to move diagonally. Depressing the D-pad feels a bit more precise and creates a louder click noise. The connector on the front of the controller is now connected via the reversible USB-C instead of the older micro-USB.
Overall, I like the new Xbox gaming hardware. The Series X isn’t a huge evolution of the One X, but for serious gamers the performance upgrades will likely be worth it. If you have an older Xbox One or Xbox 360, upgrading to the X Series might make sense. You can opt for the $ 300 Series S, but it doesn’t have a hard drive and the performance isn’t that impressive.