The Xbox Series X Review: Ushering In The Next Generation of Game Consoles

What makes a console generation? The lines have been blurred recently. We can state that the Xbox Series X, and its less-powerful sibling, the Series S, are the next generation consoles from Microsoft. But how do you define the generation? Just three …

What makes a console generation? The lines have been blurred recently. We can state that the Xbox Series X, and its less-powerful sibling, the Series S, are the next generation consoles from Microsoft. But how do you define the generation? Just three years ago, Microsoft launched the Xbox One X, the most powerful console in the market, but also with full compatibility with all Xbox One games and accessories. With multiple tiers of consoles and mid-generation refreshes that were significantly more powerful than their predecessors – and in some cases, their successors – the generational lines have never been this blurred before.

None the less, the time for a “proper” next generation console has finally arrived, and Microsoft is fully embracing its tiered hardware strategy. To that end, Microsoft is launching not one, but two consoles, with the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S, each targeting a difference slice of the console market both in performance and price. Launching on November 10, 2020, the new Xboxes bring some serious performance upgrades, new designs, and backwards compatibility for not only the Xbox One, but also a large swath of Xbox 360 games and even a good lineup of games from the original 2001 Xbox. The generational lines have never been this blurred before, but for Microsoft the big picture is clear: it’s all Xbox.

Xbox Series X Unboxed: Our First Look At Microsoft’s Next Gen Console

After over a year of official teases, naming, and plenty of performance details, Microsoft is on the cusp of launching their first proper new generation of the Xbox since the Xbox One launched in 2013. Set to be released on November 10, 2020. Microsoft is going all-out on their next-generation Xbox, and they have been gracious enough to send us one for review. Sadly, that review will have to wait until close to the 10th, but they are allowing some unboxing and photos today of the new hardware, which we thought we would share with you.

The new console is a somewhat radical departure from the previous generation, with Microsoft moving to a vertical tower design that’s shaped, well, like a box. Dressed in a flat black finish, it should fit quite well in most TV setups, and hopefully blend into the background. Design is of course a subjective measure, but the Xbox team has stuck with an understated design. The console can be used either vertically or horizontally, but the asymmetrical Xbox logo on the power button will be pointed the wrong way if it is used on its side.

For the console’s default standing position, the new Xbox features a round podium to keep it elevated, allowing more airflow into the device. And for horizontal use, there are four rubber feet on the one side. Unlike some previous gen Xbox models, there will be no accessories needed to change the orientation, which is nice to see.

The top of the Xbox Series X features a wide-open cooling grill, with some Xbox green highlighting that can be seen from the right angles. It looks pretty good. Cooling is also helped by some wide vents on the rear of the device. With 12 TF of performance, cooling was clearly one of the key design features, and there is plenty of room for airflow.

The console’s dimensions are almost exactly a 1:2 ratio, with the short sides being 151 mm / 5.94 inches, and the long edge being 301 mm / 11.85 inches. Compared to the outgoing Xbox One X, it is much taller, as the former generation console was only 60 mm tall, but the square design means it takes up a very small footprint, despite having around 50% more volume than the Xbox One X. Though it does look a bit strange when laid out horizontally, since it is much shallower than you would expect a console to be.

With the new console comes a new revision of the Xbox controller. Comparatively, this updated controller has not changed much from the previous generation, and all of the previous-generation controllers will work with the new Xbox if you have a custom one you enjoy. The new design has some subtle changes, with more texture on the grips for better control, and an updated D-pad which now includes a full circle on the D-Pad which should improve usage. There is also a new share button in the center of the controller which lets you share game clips and screenshots more easily. The controller is still powered by two AA batteries, which are included, with Microsoft opting to keep selling the rechargeable kit as an optional accessory.

The console ships with a controller, batteries, a power cord, and a high-speed HDMI cable in the box. There is no power brick, as the power supply is internal, so the power cord is the same standard connector as shipped with the Xbox One S and One X. The rear of the unit also features a couple of USB ports for connecting storage and accessories, as well as an Ethernet jack, and the new Storage Expansion port for adding additional NVMe SSD storage without having to dig into the console itself. Somewhat sadly, but also likely to not be missed, there is no longer an HDMI input port, unlike the Xbox One range.

We will have a much deeper review coming up, so check back soon. If there is anything you’d like to see tested, let us know in the comments.

After over a year of official teases, naming, and plenty of performance details, Microsoft is on the cusp of launching their first proper new generation of the Xbox since the Xbox One launched in 2013. Set to be released on November 10, 2020. Microsoft is going all-out on their next-generation Xbox, and they have been gracious enough to send us one for review. Sadly, that review will have to wait until close to the 10th, but they are allowing some unboxing and photos today of the new hardware, which we thought we would share with you.

The new console is a somewhat radical departure from the previous generation, with Microsoft moving to a vertical tower design that's shaped, well, like a box. Dressed in a flat black finish, it should fit quite well in most TV setups, and hopefully blend into the background. Design is of course a subjective measure, but the Xbox team has stuck with an understated design. The console can be used either vertically or horizontally, but the asymmetrical Xbox logo on the power button will be pointed the wrong way if it is used on its side.

For the console's default standing position, the new Xbox features a round podium to keep it elevated, allowing more airflow into the device. And for horizontal use, there are four rubber feet on the one side. Unlike some previous gen Xbox models, there will be no accessories needed to change the orientation, which is nice to see.

The top of the Xbox Series X features a wide-open cooling grill, with some Xbox green highlighting that can be seen from the right angles. It looks pretty good. Cooling is also helped by some wide vents on the rear of the device. With 12 TF of performance, cooling was clearly one of the key design features, and there is plenty of room for airflow.

The console's dimensions are almost exactly a 1:2 ratio, with the short sides being 151 mm / 5.94 inches, and the long edge being 301 mm / 11.85 inches. Compared to the outgoing Xbox One X, it is much taller, as the former generation console was only 60 mm tall, but the square design means it takes up a very small footprint, despite having around 50% more volume than the Xbox One X. Though it does look a bit strange when laid out horizontally, since it is much shallower than you would expect a console to be.

With the new console comes a new revision of the Xbox controller. Comparatively, this updated controller has not changed much from the previous generation, and all of the previous-generation controllers will work with the new Xbox if you have a custom one you enjoy. The new design has some subtle changes, with more texture on the grips for better control, and an updated D-pad which now includes a full circle on the D-Pad which should improve usage. There is also a new share button in the center of the controller which lets you share game clips and screenshots more easily. The controller is still powered by two AA batteries, which are included, with Microsoft opting to keep selling the rechargeable kit as an optional accessory.

The console ships with a controller, batteries, a power cord, and a high-speed HDMI cable in the box. There is no power brick, as the power supply is internal, so the power cord is the same standard connector as shipped with the Xbox One S and One X. The rear of the unit also features a couple of USB ports for connecting storage and accessories, as well as an Ethernet jack, and the new Storage Expansion port for adding additional NVMe SSD storage without having to dig into the console itself. Somewhat sadly, but also likely to not be missed, there is no longer an HDMI input port, unlike the Xbox One range.

We will have a much deeper review coming up, so check back soon. If there is anything you’d like to see tested, let us know in the comments.

Sony Announces PS5 Pricing: $499 For Regular Console, $399 For Digital Edition

At Sony’s PlayStation 5 Showcase this afternoon, the final (and much awaited) pieces of the puzzle with regards to the console’s launch have dropped: pricing and a release date.

Sony’s next-generation console will launch on Thursd…

At Sony’s PlayStation 5 Showcase this afternoon, the final (and much awaited) pieces of the puzzle with regards to the console’s launch have dropped: pricing and a release date.

Sony’s next-generation console will launch on Thursday, November 12th. The full version of the console, which includes a Blu-ray disc drive, will launch at $499. Meanwhile the “Digital Edition” of the console, which foregoes optical storage entirely, will release for a surprising $399, a full $100 cheaper despite only giving up a disc drive.

This will put Sony’s launch 2 days after Microsoft’s own Xbox Series X/S launch, which is taking place on Tuesday, November 10th. The $499 price tag for the two companies’ respective flagship consoles will put them in direct competition, while the PS5 Digital Edition/Xbox Series S divide should prove far more interesting – if not a bit frustrating for consumers trying to make the best choice. The discless PS5 is every bit as powerful as its disc-capable sibling – making it a spoiler of sorts at $399 – whereas the Xbox Series S gets a significantly weaker GPU than the Xbox Series X. However at $299 the slimmed down console is cheaper still, and still gets to run next-gen games.

Next-Gen Console Specs
  PlayStation 5 PlayStation 5
Digital Edition
Xbox Series S Xbox Series X
CPU 8 Core AMD Zen 2
@ 3.5 GHz w/SMT
8 Core AMD Zen 2
@ 3.6 GHz
@ 3.4 GHz w/SMT
8 Core AMD Zen 2
@ 3.8 GHz
@ 3.6 GHz /wSMT
GPU 36 CU AMD RDNA2
@ 2.23GHz
20 CU AMD RDNA2
@ 1.565 GHz
52 CU AMD RDNA2
@ 1.825 GHz
GPU Throughput (FP32) 10.28 TFLOPS 4 TFLOPS 12.15 TFLOPS
Memory 16GB GDDR6
@ 14Gbps
10GB GDDR6
@ 14Gbps
16GB GDDR6
@ 14Gbps
Memory Throughput 16GB@448GB/sec
(256-bit)
 8GB@224GB/sec
(128-bit)
2GB@56GB/sec
(32-bit)
10GB@560GB/sec
(320-bit)
6GB@336GB/sec
(192-bit)
Storage 825GB PCIe4 x4 SSD 512GB PCIe 4 x2 SSD 1TB PCIe 4 x2 SSD
Storage Throughput 5.5GB/sec 2.4GB/sec
Storage Expansion NVMe Slot
PCIe4 x4
Xbox Storage Expansion Card (1TB)
Disc Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray No No 4K UHD Blu-Ray
Manufacturing Process TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
Launch Date 2020/11/12 2020/11/10
Launch Price $499 $399 $299 $499

Or if you’re in the mood for a PC (a platform we’re particularly partial towards), over the next couple of months we will be seeing new hardware launches there as well, including NVIDIA’s $500 GeForce RTX 3070, and AMD’s new RDNA2-based Radeon RX 6000 video cards. So there is no shortage of gaming hardware to be had this fall – at least if you have the cash.