The new Microsoft’s Xbox Series X console was created to introduce a new period of gaming. Besides, it can be called the “next-gen” since it’s a massive leap in console hardware that’s promising new games and things that have not been seen before. The Xbox Series X will certainly deliver those over time.
Xbox Series X Design
The console is enclosed with a matte black finishing, save for a light-up power button adorned with the Xbox logo and some subtle green accents that decorate the big convex air vent at the top of the console. Microsoft added all the components of the Xbox Series X into a rectangular, tower-like case. The Xbox Series X base isn’t removable, and the console is not created to be opened up.
It has two USB ports at the rear with an Ethernet port, an HDMI 2.1 out, a single USB port, a storage expansion slot, and the 4K Blu-ray drive that’s at the front. Xbox Series X has raised Braille bumps close to the Xbox Series X ports, a pleasant touch for easy accessibility. Unfortunately, the Xbox Series X doesn’t have a USB-C port and doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, which would have certainly been a tremendous addition.
The exhaust fan is at the top, placed beside a green coating in the plastic cover that makes it seem as if there’s an LED at the top. The exhaust fan is silent, and it is rear for you to hear it. The heat that blows from the top is identical to the exhaust heat from Xbox One X, and it doesn’t get too hot to touch.
The new addition to the Xbox Series X is the controller and the storage expansion cards. The enhanced controller is identical to the Xbox One version, having an improved D-pad, textured grips, and the inclusion of a new share button and a USB-C port. The share button allows you to share clips or screenshots with people within a short time, similar to PS4. But you’ll have to buy a rechargeable play-and-charge kit separately for $24.99 in case you wish to use the USB-C port, and the controller also works on AA batteries by default.
Xbox Series X Features
The Series X provides a series of multimedia features. For instance, the console features a built-in 4K Blu-ray player that’s easy to use. Besides, you gain access to lots of streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Netflix, and others available on existing Xbox One consoles, besides new streaming services like Apple TV and region-specific apps like Sky Go in the UK and Hulu in the US. These streaming services can benefit from the console’s 4K UHD capabilities. However, some need a substantial internet connection.
The new Xbox app for iOS and Android is an improved version of the companion app that allows you to have more control than before. Let you manage storage across your Xbox consoles, voice-chat with friends on either Xbox or PC, share clips and screenshots from games inherently, and give you access to remote play easily. The app can also be used as a remote control for your console, useful for multimedia services. You can even easily access and manage our Xboxes on the go.
This feature enables players to always have access to the well-improved version of an Xbox game, whichever console they’re playing on. It’s somewhat like the combination of both forwards compatibility and backward compatibility.
Dolby Vision Support
Without a doubt, Microsoft is the only next-gen console producer to implement Dolby Vision, an additional satisfying HDR format that enables top-notch contrast and color accuracy. Regarding content, you can watch movies and shows on Netflix in Dolby Vision (if you subscribe for the premium subscription tier) or through a Dolby Vision 4K Blu-ray, or view it in games such as Gears 5.
Dolby Vision possesses over standard HDR10, which implies that it supports 12-bit color, allowing the console to display about 68.7 billion colors, more than the 10-bit HDR format could show. However, your TV determines how good those colors will look, i.e., the TV must support Dolby Vision.
Quick Resume is an excellent feature that enables you to continue a game from a suspended position within a few seconds. So, you don’t have to sit through loading screens for a while anymore. Besides, you can also move between various games that have been left in a suspended position within a few seconds.
Although Microsoft didn’t state if there’s any limit to the number of titles that you can be in a suspended position simultaneously, it was discovered that suspending more than four games would begin to take a toll on the machine. It was also found that if more than four games are stacked in a suspended position, some will need a full boot-up again, with the console closing the first game that was opened.
About 1,000 backward-compatible titles are available, which implies that it will be challenging to find an older game you have that isn’t supported on the Series X. It was discovered that these titles were quick in loading and played well. The enhanced stability means a little reduction in frame rate, which makes older games feel satisfying when playing, even though they’re already outdated by recent blockbusters’ standards.
This feature also extends to Xbox accessories. It was discovered you can connect the original Xbox Wireless Controller and the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 to the Xbox Series X with any difficulty, and also connect to your headsets. Any licensed Xbox One accessory connecting either through a wired USB connection or wirelessly should work on the Xbox Series X.
DTS and Dolby Atmos Support
As the default headphones setting for the Xbox Series X is Windows Sonic. The Xbox Series X also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS headphone: X sound, but you’ll have to buy a separate license for each. Windows Sonic is suitable for people who aren’t too bothered about their audio. However, Dolby Atmos and DTS offer an improved spatial sound experience. If you play lots of online multiplayer, it could benefit you to get one of these, mainly as you don’t require a special headset to work. But to use Dolby Atmos, you need a compatible soundbar. Also, these only work effectively with games that support Dolby Atmos or DTS sound.
Xbox Series X Performance
Microsoft is boasting that Series X is the fastest and most powerful Xbox ever. Well, that’s accurate. The Series X was established on the Xbox One X to provide an experience that will almost be similar to a PC, even as a home console. And it plays out through the focus on three significant aspects: resolution, frame rate, and load times.
The adoption of NVMe SSD is indeed a revelation for console gaming speeds, either you’re booting up a game or playing it. Copying data through the optical drive is very quick. Nevertheless, the significant benefit is in-game, where games with fast travel are ultimately that quick. The highly boasted Velocity Architecture works effectively together with the consoles Quick Resume feature. It enables you to switch to a game you were already playing very fast.
The enhancement in resolution for the Series X isn’t as game-changing. However, if you’re trying to replace your old console with anyone but the Xbox One X, you’ll experience native 4K on a console for the first time.
The Auto HDR is exceptionally amazing too, and it is extremely, very easy to customize. It is also similar. In selected games, you’ll experience the awesomeness of ray-tracing for delivering accurate reflections, lighting, and shadows.
Frame rates are the actual ball game. However, 60fps is rapidly becoming the anticipated standard for the new console generation. The Series X-optimized Gears 5 runs at locked 60fps in the campaign mode, and it’s pleasing to play with the attractive fluid animations. After changing to multiplayer, it will increase to 120fps due to the 120Hz support. However, the difference isn’t as apparent as moving from 30 to 60fps.
Although, Gears 5 is an unusual case during launching. Various games that support 120Hz reduce the resolution from a 4K target to a lower resolution. This will be a decent trade-off for some, particularly online, where enhanced animations may be the difference between hitting a headshot or moving back to spawn. You can get 4K 60fps as the standard for offline games until afterward in the console’s life-cycle.
To enjoy the total package that comes with the Series X, you’ll have to get a reasonably new TV. Variable refresh rates (VRR) and 120Hz support depend on having a TV with HDMI 2.1 support, which is the benchmark for 4K sets from the past year or so, but not before.
For the storage, the Series Xs 1TB SSD provides about 802GB of usable space. Space is more than the PS5, but it’s still relatively small when you consider some latest games’ sizes. SSDs are costly, so entirely 802GB is a decent total considering the price of the console. But if you want more space, you have a better option to expand through the proprietary cards, but you must be willing to spend more. The one currently available at launch adds an extra 1TB (920GB usable) at $220.
Another option is using an external drive. But you won’t be able to play Series X-optimized games from one, but you can keep them for later. The only thing you can do is to play a non-optimized Xbox One and backward compatible titles from any USB 3.0 drive.
Xbox Series X Controller
The Xbox Series X controller possesses a matte finish and comes in black color. The body and buttons are relatively easy to touch. It has textured grips at the rear of the pad. These are good on the triggers and bumpers and feel exceptionally textured on your palms, particularly as your hands get warmer.
The major transformation is the new D-pad. It merges with the traditional cross-shape with the rounded diagonals that’s on Microsoft’s Elite controllers. It’s tactile and responsive, but the clicks are a bit noisy. It also has a new special Share button for rapidly capturing any gameplay clips. Well, this was an anticipated inclusion as that has been seen on pads from Sony and Nintendo. With an ordinary fast tap for a screenshot or hold for video capture, you won’t have to miss any of those clutch gameplay moments.
It also has four face buttons, the View, Menu, and Xbox buttons, two bumpers, two triggers, and two thumbsticks. It also has an expansion port, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, and even a USB-C port and a pairing button placed above. As regards the battery, Microsoft wants players to power their gamepads with two AA batteries. It’s a strange option, which means your gamepad won’t run out frequently, but you’ll have to buy and change batteries every few months. Alternatively, you can run power from a cable to the USB-C port, purchase a Play and Charge Kit at $24.99, or purchase some rechargeable batteries.
Well, the Xbox Wireless Controller for Series X is a good one. To an extent, it is well designed and constructed than its predecessors but almost similar to them in form and function.
The Xbox Series X is a great device with lots of potential. It’s ready and well-prepared for accurate next-generation games, which would be released very soon. We are confident that the Xbox Series X will exhibit real next-gen power in a few months.