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

Editor’s word: At the moment, only a few native Xbox Sequence X video games can be found to check, and on-line providers and options will not be stress-tested till the console is broadly accessible to the general public. For these causes, we contemplate this a overview in progress, and can replace it extensively over the following a number of weeks, including a last overview 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 sport lists which have stored potential patrons effectively knowledgeable because it was first teased beneath the codename Project Scarlett greater than two years in the past. However a lot of it additionally comes from Microsoft’s dedication to not repair what wasn’t damaged. 

Simply the title 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 unique beast at launch, in comparison with its 2013 predecessor, the Xbox One. There isn’t any extra Kinect digital camera. No HDMI-in port proper subsequent to the standard HDMI-out port, again when the Xbox One wished to be your cable field. 


  • Helps as much as 8K decision and as much as 120Hz refresh price
  • Straightforward app-based setup
  • Vast-ranging ecosystem, from cloud gaming to Sport Cross

Do not Like

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

Gone are gimmicks and extras (aside from a semiproprietary slot for an costly Seagate enlargement drive). The one loss I am lamenting is the optical audio jack, an Xbox One function lacking right here. Sure, it is not 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 effectively 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, neighborhood, 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 part 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 a superb good 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 ensure that to undergo the setup choices fastidiously 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 once I hit the button for its predecessor. 

The obelisk 

Design smart, it is exhausting to get less complicated than an enormous 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 almost featureless from the surface, 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. Apart from that, the primary visible function is a barely concave black-and-green grid excessive, which acts as a fan vent. 

And this factor kicks a superb quantity of actually sizzling air out of that vent. I spend plenty 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 shocked. I would maintain a superb 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 may see solely minor tweaks to the present Xbox One menus. They’re remarkably related, with the identical benefits and quirks. 

Multimedia and purchasing, from streaming apps to the Microsoft sport and video storefronts, will get distinguished placement, almost as vital 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 concept has all the time been that Microsoft desires your sport console to be a computer virus for the illusive front room 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 sport builders. 

That is to not say the expertise is seamless. The Xbox interface strikes rapidly, however is simply 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 individual set of pins. Attending to the system settings is a multiclick course of, and never as straightforward 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 neighborhood and commerce. 

Muscle for gaming

The Xbox Sequence X and PlayStation 5 value the identical (of their top-end configurations), they’re arriving inside days of one another and so they play plenty of the identical video games. They’re additionally very related on the within, every with a customized AMD Zen 2 CPU and a GPU based mostly on AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics structure. You may 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 enormously profit from having solid-state drives for storage, which lets video games load quicker than previous spinning-platter exhausting drives. 

I have been capable of take a look at a number of video games optimized for Xbox Sequence X, together with Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4. Different video games might profit from quicker load instances and fewer slowdown, however you should not search for a radically totally different expertise out of your again catalog simply but. That mentioned, the loading time increase is a big profit and makes any sport 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 most important 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 capability to seamlessly bounce out and in of a number of video games, primarily leaving every one in a suspected state. As a busy grownup/father or mother/worker, certainly one of my limitations to gaming is how lengthy it takes to show every part on and cargo video games up. It is a incredible function, though not fairly as instantaneous as alt-tabbing between browser home windows on a PC, and it would not but work persistently over a big selection of video games. However I strongly help the mission to take away a great deal of get-into-the-game friction. 

Additionally extremely touted is a function known as Sensible Supply. Frankly, it is a fancy title for precisely the type of versioning I would count on in any new {hardware}. Principally, if there is a newly optimized model of a sport you already personal accessible for the Sequence X or Sequence S, it’s going to get patched to the suitable model in your next-gen console with out you having to do something about it. Even higher, when you’ve got the Xbox Sequence S, which has a smaller exhausting drive, it’s going to be sure you’re not downloading 4K textures and consuming up space for storing. I assume I will by no means work in advertising and marketing, as a result of it might by no means have occurred to me to name that out as a particular function. 

Just like the PS5, the number of software program accessible prelaunch is skinny. In Gears 5, I may 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 appeared 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 completely totally 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 are 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 lined as a reviewer was the Sega Dreamcast in 1999, and this has been largely true for each console era since. It will take at the least a yr to start out seeing video games that really feel really next-gen.


Every thing that comes within the field. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Sport Cross is the key weapon

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

Positive, 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 Sport Cross Final. (Skip the cheaper non-Final plan, as a result of then you definately’ll want a separate Xbox Stay 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 effectively. 

The dangerous information is your Xbox expertise will likely be restricted with out it. The excellent news is this sort of subscription package deal is forward-looking, affords a ton of fantastic content material and is effectively price signing up for. EA Play, an analogous assortment of EA video games, is being added to the Sport Cross Final membership in November. 

Sport Cross embraces the DNA of PC gaming, the place you’ll be able to entry your Steam or GOG or Epic Sport Retailer library from any gaming laptop computer and bounce proper again in wherever you had been in a sport. 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 type of continuity removes a significant friction level for me. 

Between Sport Cross video games on PC, Xbox cloud gaming (Microsoft’s beta-ish cloud service), and even distant play by way of the iOS or Android Xbox app, the providers ecosystem turns into extra vital in the long term than the precise {hardware} field. 

That is a point I first made back in 2013, once I advised the fixed-hardware front room console would ultimately get replaced by small set-top bins constructed round cloud gaming. Why give folks a {hardware} field that may age rapidly, when you’ll be able to improve cloud-based gaming servers as wanted and supply entry on a subscription foundation? I could have been off by a console era or two, however contemplating how rapidly every part from telephones to laptops age, the concept of locking your self into 2020 {hardware} for the following seven-plus years feels prefer it’s near changing into an previous 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 executed that but. 


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

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The $500 query: Must you purchase an Xbox Sequence X?

Just like the PS5, the Xbox Sequence X is an enormous funding, but preorders sold out in minutes and we count on all new consoles will likely be exhausting to seek out this vacation season. That mentioned, if the lifecycle of sport 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 precise quantity for you, I am happy to say I had a superb expertise with the cheaper Series S mannequin as effectively. Moreover being a lot smaller and, in my view, having a greater aesthetic design, the Sequence S retains a lot 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 would not do native 4K sport output, as an alternative topping out at 1440p. However that decrease decision means it could nonetheless deal with the ray-tracing and different new sport 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 widely known optical drive skeptic, preferring to skip complicated mechanical components that spin round and usually tend to break down. 

Now, I can not promise that future video games will not ultimately break up off into Sequence X and Sequence S variations, with totally different visible options for every — however when you’re an off-the-cuff gamer, have a smaller TV or simply need to spend much less, I am very comfy recommending the Sequence S. As a long-time PC gamer who likes to play every part 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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