Is Xbox Series X Worth It? Next-Gen Console Review

Is Xbox Series X Worth It? Next-Gen Console Review

Is Xbox Series X worth it? That is the question now that Microsoft’s 9th gen console is out. Xbox Series X the most powerful console available. The console is a massive improvement over its predecessor and brings a lot to the table. It has a high-speed SSD but its speed is slower than the SSD of PS5. The power of Xbox Series X makes up for what it lacks in speed. The console is designed for maximum performance. The console is an excellent improvement over its predecessor but it’s only a good improvement over the mid-gen upgrades of 8th gen consoles.

The inclusion of SSD is making a lot of difference when it comes to some gameplay mechanics and loading time. It has a more powerful GPU and CPU making it better at running games. Series X has 16GB DDR6 Ram just like the PS5. Along with the console, you also get Game Pass which is the best deal in gaming. It improves on every aspect of the last-gen console giving you an overall better experience.

Despite all its upgrades, the Xbox Series X is not a must-have purchase at launch. You can play all the games that Xbox Series X has on your Xbox One. There are no next-gen games on Xbox Series X since all of the games on the console are cross-gen. Given Xbox’s statement to support older consoles, it will likely stay the same for two to three years. The controller is also not next-gen, unlike DuelSense. The UI is also pretty much the same. Series X feels more like an upgrade at launch than a next-gen console. Keeping all that in mind, Is Xbox Series X worth it? Let’s find out.

Xbox Series X

The packaging of the console is good and it feels like a premium device.  Every part of its packing is elegant even if the console itself is generic looking. Xbox Series X is the biggest Xbox console though it is not the biggest console ever, unlike PS5. It has a decent height and does not tower over the entertainment setup of a person. When it comes to the width, Series X is bigger than even the PlayStation 5. However, its height is less than the PS5 making it more compact. The overall size of the console is compact and does not dominate your setup.

The console will blend in with the setup. It does not stick out in the setting but rather becomes a quite part of that setup. People won’t even see that it’s there unless they look directly at it. Is Xbox Series X worth it based on size? Well, there is more.

Size and Orientation

PS5 is the biggest console but Xbox Series X is the thickest console. The overall size of PlayStation 5 is bigger than Series X but when it comes to width Xbox Series is the winner. Its width is quite large making it the thickest console ever. Despite its thickness Series X is still a compact console that requires little adjustment to your setup for proper placement. You might need to rearrange your setup to fit it in. Series X also has big vents that need open space for free airflow.

The console can be placed in both vertical and horizontal positions. In the vertical position, it looks like a speaker and sits elegantly in a setup. However, in the horizontal position, the console seems out of place. It looks like the console was not made for horizontal orientation. Its length to width proportion is in integration with each other making it best to be used in the vertical orientation. The overall design and dimension of the console make it look bad when placed horizontally. Even if it does not look good in a horizontal position, you can still keep it in a horizontal position if you want to. Regardless of the orientation, you will need to keep open space for airflow. There are big vents on the console so you might need to adjust your setup for perfect placement. Is Xbox Series X worth it for its orientation?

Design of Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X is not a flashy console but rather a simple one. It blends in your setup and disappears. Whether you place it vertically or horizontally the console will blend in the setup. Series X is a black brick that disappears in the setup and becomes a silent part of it. The console has ventilation on the top, bottom, and back. It is important to keep space for the vents of the console for proper ventilation. All of the vents on the console are simple holes but the upper vents have a green tint. While looking at the green tint of the top vent, it seems to be glowing. In reality, there is no extra lighting on the console other than the power indicator. Despite all its simplicity, I would prefer the Xbox Series X design over PS5 due to its compactness.

Ports on the Series X

The console has a simplistic design and that’s true for all sides of the console including the front. The Xbox logo on the console serves as a power button on the front of the console and it has a cheap clicking sound. Microsoft has not made it separate just like their previous console. Xbox logo is the only light on the console and it lights up when the console is powered on. There is a blue ray drive on the front of the console. The blue-ray drive is simplistic and blends in with the design of the console. It does not seem like an added weight on the console. The eject button is located above the disc drive giving it a sleek look. The disc drive is evident enough to let the user know its location.  There is also a controller pairing button and of course a USB Type-A port.

The back of Series X has an HDMI 2.1 located at the bottom of the console. The power port is also located at the bottom of the console beside the HDMI 2.1 port. There is an Ethernet port at the back of the console along with two USB Type-A ports. At the back, Series X has a proprietary storage port. Xbox Series X has proprietary SSD cartridges for storage expansion. The proprietary storage port is easy to use and it brings more mobility to the storage solution. There is no USB Type-C port anywhere on the console unlike PlayStation 5. Is Xbox Series X worth it for its ports and design?

UI of The Xbox Series X

UI is one of the most disappointing aspects of Microsoft’s next-gen console. The UI is nearly the same and little changes are made which would have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t a next-gen console. Series X feels like the continuation of Xbox One due to their similar User Interface. One thing is certain, navigating Xbox Series X is much faster. Every aspect of its OS is now much quicker other than that, the UI is the same.

There is not much difference in the dashboard and UI is rendered in 1080 rather than 4K but it can change in the future. The lower resolution of its UI makes it look old. Series X does not have the feel of a new device due to its UI. There is a system-level search option for the console which makes everything more accessible. It looks like Microsoft wants to offer familiarity and continuity to its players rather than the start of something new. Phil Spencer has already said that they will support old console generations for two to three years. Maybe the continuation is part of that plan. Is Xbox Series X worth it for you based on the UI? There is more.

Quick Resume Is Amazing

Xbox Series X brings some brand new things to the table which makes it a lot more fun. Its fast SSD and powerful hardware allow it to do things that would have been impossible on Xbox One. Quick Resume is a new feature in the console that makes it easy to open and close games. Quick resume keeps the game in a suspended state making it easier to open. While using Quick Resume you will be able to play the game in 5 to 8 seconds. Just a quick intro screen and you are back in the game.

Quick Resume brings next-gen experience to the console. Even if you power off the console, you can still use the Quick Resume feature. The feature allows you to suspend three games at a time. The problem is that players have no control over the Quick Resume. Not all games support Quick Resume so its use also depends on the game. The last three games that you have played would be added to the Quick Resume list. Is Xbox Series X worth it for you due to the Quick Resume feature?

Xbox Series X Controller

There aren’t many changes in the controllers and changes are not evident if you take a brief look at the controller. The only prominent changes in the controller are the new share button and D-Pad. Share button can be used to take screenshots and record videos. Think of it as the share button from the DualShock 4. The D-Pad now has a better shape and it resembles the D-Pad of the Elite controller. There are textures on the controller so it feels good in the hands. The grip is now better and the controller does not become slippery after long gaming sessions. It has improved connectivity with USB Type-C.

When it comes to the shape of the controller then it’s nearly the same. Series X has a black controller while Series S has a white controller. To top it all off the controller still uses AA batteries which is odd for a gadget of 2020. You can buy a rechargeable battery separately for the controller but not having a rechargeable battery from the start is kind of a disappointment. There aren’t many improvements in the Xbox Series X controller, compared to DualSense. All of the Xbox One accessories work with Series X including the controller. Kinect accessories are the only ones that do not work with Series X. Is Xbox Series X worth it for its less innovative controller? Well, there is more.

Continuation from Xbox One to Xbox Series X

Series X offers continuity from Xbox One to Microsoft’s next-gen console. You can bring all the games from Xbox one to your new console. Games from Xbox 360 and Original Xbox are also playable on Series X. Not all games from Xbox 360 and Original Xbox are backward compatible so not all games from these consoles will work. Controlling Xbox Series X through your smartphone is a lot better. You can even change the setting while the console is doing a system update. Games from Xbox One can be transferred to Series X via the network if both consoles are connected to the same network. Using an external HDD to transfer games is also an option. Is Xbox Series X worth it for you due to its easy storage management?

Smart Delivery is a bonus feature on the next-gen console. It makes the shift from 8th to 9th gen console more convenient. Smart Delivery allows you to play cross-gen titles on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X. If you buy a game on Xbox One and later decides to buy Series X then its next-gen port will be available for free on Series X. Of course, not all games support it but most of the cross-gen games support Smart Delivery. Microsoft has made it clear that all their first-party games will support Smart Delivery. PlayStation 5 also has a similar feature but it does not support all of its first-party titles. Smart Delivery makes the shift from Xbox One to Series X more convenient.

SSD of The Console

One of the most prominent features of next-gen consoles is the high-speed SSD. It reduces load time tremendously even for none optimized games. Theoretically, the speed of its SSD has nearly half the speed of PS5’s SSD but none optimized games perform better on Xbox Series X’s SSD. Fast travel is extremely quick, making games more fun. You don’t have to wait out the loading screen of a game. On optimized games, the load times are even better. SDD has an impact on every aspect of the console making it an overall better experience.

The main drawback of its high-speed SSD is low space. The console only has 1TB internal SSD and only 802GB of that 1TB space is available for use. Though the console has 802GB free space, which is more than 667.2GB free space of the PS5. There is space for only a few games on the Series X’s SSD. Installing a few modern games on the SSD can quickly take all the free space.

You can expand the storage by buying 1TB proprietary SSD for $220 but buying 1TB storage for such a price is not a good deal. Series X does offer a good solution as you can store games on an external HDD. Even Series X games can be stored on an external HDD but they can’t be played from it. You can play Xbox One games in their unenhanced version from the external HDD. Storage could be the main issue for the next-gen consoles. The propriety storage is not a good sign making you think, Is Xbox Series X worth it?

Performance of the Xbox Series X

The console can run games at 4K 60 FPS which is a good improvement over the 8th gen console. Xbox One games look crisper and better on the Series X. The frame rate could be increased to 120 FPS but it comes at a cost. On 120 FPS games run at dynamic 4K rather than native 4K. Most next-gen and cross-gen games will run at 4K 30 FPS with ray tracing or dynamic 4K 60 FPs without ray tracing. In the end, it all depends on the games and how much power they need. It is a good console for 3rd party games. Getting this much for $500 makes it a good deal.

The console is silent even when running games at 4K and high FPS. It barely makes sounds when running games. It’s a good improvement over Xbox One and Xbox One X. Series X also remains relativity cool when playing games. Even after long gaming sessions, the console does not become too hot. As more games are released to push the limit of the console we will see how it handles heat and noise. Considering the vents on Xbox Series X and its design I think that the console will perform better.

So Much Power and Not Much to Do

Despite being the most powerful console there is not much to do. All the Xbox Series games are playable on the Xbox One. There is not a single next-gen game available at launch for the console. All of its games are either cross-gen or optimized Xbox One games. The optimized Xbox One games run at 4K 60 fps and that’s about it. After the release, we got some 3rd party cross-gen games but these games are not enough to show the true potential of the console. Xbox lacks good exclusive games at launch. Xbox lags in exclusive games making it a platform with no exclusive games. Despite not having good exclusives, there is not even a single third-party true next-gen game to test the console. The quality of Microsoft exclusive games is also questionable, so there is not much to expect.

To top it all off, Microsoft has said that they won’t abandon their old consoles. So all the Xbox’s first-party games would release on Xbox One for at least three years. Games will look good and will have better frame rates. That would be all that Xbox Series X has to offer with its first-party titles. There won’t be any exceptional mechanics and new advancements in games. The Medium was the only true next-gen game with something new to offer. It has now been delayed leaving Xbox with nothing to showcase its console. Halo Infinite has also been delayed due to its disappointing showcase. Microsoft is working on its platform building and old-gen support is part of it. Is Xbox Series X worth it for what it’s offering?

Is Xbox Series X Worth A Buy?

Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next-gen console that acts as a successor to Xbox One. In reality, Xbox Series X feels more like a continuation of Xbox One rather than a successor. There aren’t many changes in the console other than sheer power and SSD. Its controller is the same and does not bring something new to the table. The controller of Xbox Series X offers little changes that don’t do anything exceptional. It does not have a single next-gen launch game. Xbox is relying on third-party games and which isn’t working well for them. It has more teraflops than PlayStation 5 but it’s not going to impact the overall experience.

Series X’s SSD works quite well and it has more free space compared to its counterpart. The console adds extra support to Xbox One games making them run and look better on Series X. Quick Resume is an added benefit that makes it more accessible. The overall power and performance is a massive improvement over the Xbox One. At the time of this writing, there is not a single game that requires Xbox One to play. Game Pass is one of the main selling points for the Xbox. Microsoft is relying on their services and third-party games for the success of the Xbox Series X. Until Microsoft release next-gen games for Xbox Series X, it will have to rely on third-party games to keep players interested.

Is Xbox Series X Your Type of Console?

Now let’s answer the question “Is Xbox Series X Worth it?” If you are looking for a console with a good price to performance ratio, then it might be the console for you. If you are looking for a console that offers a cheap alternative to buying games then Series X might be an option. In case you are a fan of Xbox then it still might be the console for you. However, if you are looking for a console with exceptional exclusives then it might not be the console for you. It is also not the console for players who are looking to play next-gen games at launch. In short, it is the console for players who are into the Xbox brand and anyone who wants to have both next-gen consoles.

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