The Xbox Sequence X is fine-tuned to perfection with out surprises

Editor’s notice: Right now, only a few native Xbox Sequence X video games can be found to check, and on-line companies and options will not be stress-tested till the console is extensively accessible to the general public. For these causes, we take into account this a assessment in progress, and can replace it extensively over the following a number of weeks, including a remaining assessment rating when acceptable. 

The Microsoft Xbox Series X is a console with out surprises. A few of that comes from the regular stream of particulars, tech specs and recreation lists which have saved potential patrons properly knowledgeable because it was first teased below the codename Project Scarlett greater than two years in the past. However a lot of it additionally comes from Microsoft’s willpower to not repair what wasn’t damaged. 


  • Helps as much as 8K decision and as much as 120Hz refresh fee
  • Simple app-based setup
  • Huge-ranging ecosystem, from cloud gaming to Recreation Go

Do not Like

  • Loses the optical audio output
  • Restricted next-gen recreation library at launch
  • Consumer interface stays cluttered

Simply the identify itself, Xbox Sequence X — following Xbox One X and Xbox One — factors in direction of regular progress versus a grand leap into uncharted territory. 

However the $500 (£450, AU$749) Xbox Sequence X is a distinct beast at launch, in comparison with its 2013 predecessor, the Xbox One. There is not any extra Kinect digicam. No HDMI-in port proper subsequent to the same old HDMI-out port, again when the Xbox One needed to be your cable field. 

Gone are gimmicks and extras (aside from a semiproprietary slot for an costly Seagate growth drive). The one loss I am lamenting is the optical audio jack, an Xbox One characteristic lacking right here. Sure, it isn’t for everybody, however AV folks need what they need.

Learn extra: Xbox Series S review: The console making next-gen gaming more affordable

Dan Ackerman/CNET

If something, Microsoft’s Xbox Sequence X is a reductive evolution, fine-tuning and perfecting what labored so properly within the Xbox One line. 

If the PlayStation 5 is a games-at-heart machine, flexing its basic gamepad prowess on the expense of all else, then the Xbox Sequence X is a extra well-rounded console-as-ecosystem, leaning into multimedia, group, cloud gaming and cross-platform continuity. 

Arrange, merely


A view from the Xbox setup app. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

For Microsoft, all these years making every little thing from Home windows to MS Workplace to Floor Laptops extra consumer-friendly has paid off, as a result of the onboarding course of for organising and signing into the brand new Xbox is amongst its most polished options. 

Setup by way of the Xbox app (iOS, Android or Home windows 10) is a breeze. It jogs my memory of organising sensible house equipment. Activate the console itself and it broadcasts its personal Wi-Fi sign, which the app picks up on and makes use of to finish the setup. Simply be certain to undergo the setup choices rigorously to keep away from sending an excessive amount of information to each Microsoft and third-party publishers. 

Precisely how a lot continuity is there going from the Xbox One and One X and the brand new Sequence X? Not solely are you able to switch most of your machine settings from the older console to the newer one (by way of the app), however my Logitech Concord distant seamlessly began controlling the Sequence X after I hit the button for its predecessor. 

The obelisk 

Design sensible, it is laborious to get less complicated than a giant black field. I’ve described it as a Soviet-era constructivist workplace block as reimagined by Syd Mead. If I had been casting it in a dystopian movie, I would use it because the headquarters of the key police. According to Microsoft’s own designers, they did not need anybody to say, “That appears like a microwave.” 

It is practically featureless from the skin, save for a glowing, all-seeing eye… I imply small, light-up Xbox emblem. There’s additionally a vertical optical drive slot and an almost hidden USB-A port. Aside from that, the primary visible characteristic is a barely concave black-and-green grid excessive, which acts as a fan vent. 

And this factor kicks quantity of actually scorching air out of that vent. I spend loads of my time with high-end gaming PCs, so I do know a bit about system warmth and exhaust, however I used to be nonetheless stunned. I would maintain quantity of headroom free above the console if you are going to stand it up vertically. 


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

UI and expertise 

Turning on the Xbox Sequence X, you will see solely minor tweaks to the present Xbox One menus. They’re remarkably comparable, with the identical benefits and quirks. 

Multimedia and buying, from streaming apps to the Microsoft recreation and video storefronts, will get distinguished placement, practically as essential because the video games. On the PS5, the menu is break up into separate Video games and Media sections, firewalled from each other. 


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

My idea has at all times been that Microsoft desires your recreation console to be a computer virus for the illusive lounge PC idea. The corporate says that Universal Windows Platform apps will run on the Xbox Series X and S (as they at present do on the Xbox One), which makes it simpler to develop for each PC and Xbox on the identical time, which is particularly excellent news for indie recreation builders. 

That is to not say the expertise is seamless. The Xbox interface strikes shortly, however is just too busy and never precisely intuitive. A handful of most up-to-date apps present up on the high, however diving deeper requires going into submenus or creating your personal set of pins. Attending to the system settings is a multiclick course of, and never as simple to entry as on earlier iterations of the Xbox OS. A part of this feels deliberate — like a Vegas on line casino retaining you on a looping path and away from the exits, the interface right here steers you in direction of group and commerce. 

Muscle for gaming

The Xbox Sequence X and PlayStation 5 price the identical (of their top-end configurations), they’re arriving inside days of one another and so they play loads of the identical video games. They’re additionally very comparable on the within, every with a customized AMD Zen 2 CPU and a GPU primarily based on AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics structure. You possibly can learn a much deeper dive into the components of both new game consoles here, however the important thing takeaway is each the brand new PlayStation and Xbox are constructed across the identical {hardware}. Each additionally vastly profit from having solid-state drives for storage, which lets video games load quicker than outdated spinning-platter laborious drives. 

I have been in a position to take a look at a couple of video games optimized for Xbox Sequence X, together with Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4. Different video games could profit from quicker load instances and fewer slowdown, however you should not search for a radically completely different expertise out of your again catalog simply but. That mentioned, the loading time enhance is a large profit and makes any recreation really feel quicker and newer. No main new-for-holiday-2020 video games had been accessible of their Xbox Sequence X optimized variations as of this writing, which is about one week earlier than the system goes on sale. 


Dan Ackerman/CNET

My CNET colleague Eric Franklin factors out that some again catalog video games are a pure match for the Sequence X: “I feel the largest profit comes from video games with unlocked body charges,” he says. “One thing like Sekiro or Monster Hunter: World that ran at 30 frames per second on Xbox One X can now run at 60 fps on Sequence X. That’ll be an enormous profit.” The corporate guarantees near-universal backwards compatibility for Xbox One and Xbox 360 video games, plus a pleasant chunk of authentic Xbox video games. 

Microsoft additionally brags about Quick Resume, its potential to seamlessly leap out and in of a number of video games, basically leaving every one in a suspected state. As a busy grownup/guardian/worker, one in all my obstacles to gaming is how lengthy it takes to show every little thing on and cargo video games up. It is a implausible characteristic, though not fairly as instantaneous as alt-tabbing between browser home windows on a PC, and it does not but work persistently over a big selection of video games. However I strongly assist the mission to take away a great deal of get-into-the-game friction. 

Additionally extremely touted is a characteristic known as Good Supply. Frankly, it is a fancy identify for precisely the sort of versioning I would anticipate in any new {hardware}. Mainly, if there is a newly optimized model of a recreation you already personal accessible for the Sequence X or Sequence S, it will get patched to the suitable model in your next-gen console with out you having to do something about it. Even higher, you probably have the Xbox Sequence S, which has a smaller laborious drive, it will ensure you’re not downloading 4K textures and consuming up cupboard space. I assume I am going to by no means work in advertising, as a result of it could by no means have occurred to me to name that out as a particular characteristic. 

Just like the PS5, the number of software program accessible prelaunch is skinny. In Gears 5, I might undoubtedly inform the body charges had been greater and expertise smoother than the unique XB1 model. I would not name it a life-changing expertise, however there is a clear enchancment. 

Forza seemed nice beforehand, and as soon as patched to the Xbox Sequence X/S model, it actually shined, with some nice lighting and reflection results. However once more, it is possibly a 10-20% enchancment, not a very completely different expertise. 

The TL;DR model: The Day 1 library for both of those new consoles is generally older video games retrofitted to point out off some new visible options or new video games which can be cross-generational and due to this fact developed with older {hardware} in thoughts. You are an early adopter for bragging rights — the stuff that may actually knock your socks off will come later. The primary console launch I coated as a reviewer was the Sega Dreamcast in 1999, and this has been largely true for each console era since. It’s going to take at the least a 12 months to start out seeing video games that really feel really next-gen.


The whole lot that comes within the field. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Recreation Go is the key weapon

Past the {hardware}, the Xbox Sequence X is constructed round a subscription software program mannequin. 

Certain, you can provide the corporate $500 for the console itself, however what it actually desires is your $15 (£11, AU$16) a month in perpetuity for Xbox Recreation Go Final. (Skip the cheaper non-Final plan, as a result of you then’ll want a separate Xbox Reside subscription.) It features a Netflix-like catalog of on-demand video games, plus on-line multiplayer, entry to some cloud-based video games and a good catalog of PC video games as properly. 

The unhealthy information is your Xbox expertise can be restricted with out it. The excellent news is this type of subscription bundle is forward-looking, provides a ton of fantastic content material and is properly price signing up for. EA Play, an identical assortment of EA video games, is being added to the Recreation Go Final membership in November. 

Recreation Go embraces the DNA of PC gaming, the place you possibly can entry your Steam or GOG or Epic Recreation Retailer library from any gaming laptop computer and leap proper again in wherever you had been in a recreation. For instance, I’ve performed Gears 5 on PC, on the Xbox One, by way of Xbox cloud gaming, and now on the Xbox Sequence X and Sequence S. Each time, my cloud-based save syncs proper up, with no further motion required on my half. That sort of continuity removes a serious friction level for me. 

Between Recreation Go video games on PC, Xbox cloud gaming (Microsoft’s beta-ish cloud service), and even distant play via the iOS or Android Xbox app, the companies ecosystem turns into extra essential in the long term than the precise {hardware} field. 

That is a point I first made back in 2013, after I advised the fixed-hardware lounge console would finally get replaced by small set-top containers constructed round cloud gaming. Why give folks a {hardware} field that may age shortly, when you possibly can improve cloud-based gaming servers as wanted and provide entry on a subscription foundation? I’ll have been off by a console era or two, however contemplating how shortly every little thing from telephones to laptops age, the thought of locking your self into 2020 {hardware} for the following seven-plus years feels prefer it’s near changing into an outdated enterprise mannequin in a brand new world. One caveat: This requires somebody to essentially nail cloud gaming and all of the lag and high quality points it comes with, and nobody has actually finished that but. 


The lineup: Xbox Sequence S, PS5, Xbox Sequence X. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The $500 query: Do you have to purchase an Xbox Sequence X?

Just like the PS5, the Xbox Sequence X is a giant funding, but preorders sold out in minutes and we anticipate all new consoles can be laborious to search out this vacation season. That mentioned, if the lifecycle of recreation consoles stays within the seven- to eight-year vary, it is also an unimaginable worth in the long term. Microsoft and Sony asking for $500 each seven years feels much more cheap than sure phone-makers suggesting you drop $1,000 or extra on a barely newer telephone each 12-24 months. 

And when you do not feel like $500 is the correct quantity for you, I am happy to say I had a wonderful expertise with the inexpensive Series S mannequin as properly. In addition to being a lot smaller and, for my part, having a greater aesthetic design, the Sequence S retains many of the finest options for a way more cheap $300. 

The Sequence S can stream media at 4K in HDR. It has half the SSD capability and does not do native 4K recreation output, as a substitute topping out at 1440p. However that decrease decision means it may well nonetheless deal with the ray-tracing and different new recreation eye sweet, regardless of a much less highly effective GPU. I performed the identical handful of video games on each the Sequence X and Sequence S, by way of a 65-inch LG OLED, and located little or no sensible distinction within the expertise. The Sequence S additionally lacks the optical drive, however I am a well known optical drive skeptic, preferring to skip advanced mechanical elements that spin round and usually tend to break down. 

Now, I am unable to promise that future video games will not finally break up off into Sequence X and Sequence S variations, with completely different visible options for every — however when you’re an informal gamer, have a smaller TV or simply wish to spend much less, I am very comfy recommending the Sequence S. As a long-time PC gamer who likes to play every little thing on the highest decision and element settings, I will be choosing the Sequence X myself. 

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Hey, I'm Sunil Kumar professional blogger and Affiliate marketing. I like to gain every type of knowledge that's why I have done many courses in different fields like News, Business and Technology. I love thrills and travelling to new places and hills. My Favourite Tourist Place is Sikkim, India.

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