As with any new hardware, new game consoles have their strengths and weaknesses. Several of our staff have now spent more than a week with the Xbox Series X and S, and have put together a list of the things they love on Microsoft’s new systems as well as where both new Xboxes have room to grow.
Check out the video below, or scroll down for the full list!
What the Series X|S Does Well
Here’s what we really like about the new iteration of the Xbox experience.
The presentation when you open the Series X packaging is honestly, genuinely the best I’ve ever seen in any console. It really feels like you’re opening up something special. It’s Apple-level good, if not better.
– Ryan McCaffrey, Executive Editor
Setting up a console shouldn’t be a pleasure, but somehow Series X makes it one. After a quick sync-up, the entire set-up process can be handled through the Xbox app. It’s simple, seamless, and feels somehow futuristic – not to mention lets you check in on other settings while your new console downloads and installs an initial update.
– Joe Skrebels, Executive Editor
In a world where tech is starting to think outside the box in design, I actually love the modern take of the Xbox Series X. While much bigger, the upright orientation reminds me so much of Amazon’s flagship Echo device. But there’s still a simplicity to it that doesn’t make it stand out too much. I placed it right next to my TV standing straight up, and I keep forgetting it’s there, it just blends right in.
– Mark Medina, Editorial Producer
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Set-Up / Configuration
I’m thoroughly impress ed by just how seamless migrating from the Xbox One to the Series X is; you barely need to lift a finger. A few hours after plugging in the external HDD from my Xbox One X, my Series X had pulled down the upgraded version of Forza Horizon 4, put it straight on the SSD, grabbed my save from the cloud, and I was back on the road. You barely miss a beat. I’m also not sure it can be understated what a great ecosystem the modern Xbox environment has now become, with four generations of games living side by side on the same device. It’s a crying shame the PS5 couldn’t pull off the same trick.
– Luke Reilly, AU Editor
I buy most of my games digitally these days, so it was really nice when I fired up my new Series X, logged into my Xbox account, and saw my digital game library – old and new – fully populated. Likewise it’s great to be able to browse through and buy games from the Xbox Store on my PC or phone and then tell it to automatically install my new purchases on the console remotely.
– Bo Moore, Executive Editor
I really like that the console offers an easy to use display menu that allows you to configure your output to various quality levels be that 4K, 1440p, 1080p, or 720p. You can set it to whatever your television or monitor can handle and then configure the Hz to 60hz or 120hz from there. There’s also a plethora of HDR, color depth, and RGB options as well as audio settings you can tweak to your liking.
– Destin Legarie, Content Director
When Xbox says the Series X is part of an ecosystem, they mean it. There’s something instantly satisfying when you log in with your Xbox Live account and find the digital games library you’ve been building since 2008. And yes, that means being able to play Sonic Adventure 2 on a Series X on launch day.
– Matt Kim, Reporter
The Xbox Series X controller is the most solid feeling controller I’ve ever used. It has a nice textured grip that makes it easy to hold, and the new trigger concave perfectly on your fingers. The share button is a welcome feature that works incredibly well. Just simply pressing it takes a screenshot without any UI interruptions, allowing you to simply reach over and take a quick snapshot of an awesome moment without visually interrupting your experience.
– Mark Medina
I’ll never go back to a console without Quick Resume ever again.
– Ryan McCaffrey
When Quick Resume works as advertised, it’s magical. Being able to go from, for example, Sekiro to Gears 5 and be able to pick up exactly where I left off within less than 30 seconds is amazing and something that is truly unique to the Xbox Series X. I wouldn’t think of having two games open at once on my PC that I could alt-tab between, and it’s a feature that also isn’t available amongst any of its console competitors.
– Mitchell Saltzman, Editorial Producer
Expanding a modern console’s storage has never been simpler! USB 3.0 is great, but these new SSD’s require a bit more heft, and the Series X couldn’t make it any easier. No unscrewing or removing any panels, you just simply plug the SSD into the back expansion bay, and you’re set.
– Mark Medina
Where the Xbox Series X/S Could Improve:
These are some items that the new Xbox consoles don’t handle as well as they could.
I’m a fan of the Xbox Series’ approach to expanding storage space – slotting in a snazzy memory card is a lot simpler than physically opening the console to add a drive. The problem is that, for now, I will absolutely not be paying for the official Seagate 1TB drive. $220 (and even more outside the US) is exorbitant for all but the kind of people that pay for gold-plated consoles. The silver lining is that Microsoft says others will be able to make their own versions of the proprietary cards – we need competition to drive down prices before it becomes a viable option.
– Joe Skrebels
That hard drive fills up fast! It’s only got 802gb of usable space when accounting for OS and system files.
– Ryan McCaffrey
As great as Quick Resume is when it works, it also doesn’t work 100% of the time. I went from Gears to Sekiro and quick resumed just fine on Sekiro, loading up right where I left off, but when I went back to Gears, I had to reload the whole game. The Series X just doesn’t do a great job of letting you know what games are currently suspended or whether or not switching out of a game will close it out, which can be particularly bad with games like Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which relies largely on manual saves. I’ve definitely lost a bit of progress, thinking my game would be suspended, and it wasn’t.
– Mitchell Saltzman
Share functionality could use some work. The recording times are pretty short, even in 1080p. I’ve also had it slightly glitch out when saving big 4K clips.
– Mark Medina
The launch line-up is slim pickings – and if you’re not into Ubisoft open-world games or basketball is even slimmer. Sure, 2021 looks great, but is there enough here that really says, “Welcome to a new era”?
– Luke Reilly