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

Editor’s observe: At the moment, 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 think about this a evaluate in progress, and can replace it extensively over the following a number of weeks, including a ultimate evaluate rating when applicable. 

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 stored potential patrons properly knowledgeable because it was first teased underneath 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 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 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 charge
  • Simple app-based setup
  • Huge-ranging ecosystem, from cloud gaming to Sport Move

Do not Like

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

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 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 properly within the Xbox One line. 

If the PlayStation 5 is a games-at-heart machine, flexing its traditional 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 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 establishing 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 establishing a great good dwelling 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 make certain to undergo the setup choices fastidiously to keep away from sending an excessive amount of knowledge 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 smart, it is arduous to get easier 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 skin, save for a glowing, all-seeing eye… I imply small, light-up Xbox brand. There’s additionally a vertical optical drive slot and a virtually 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 great 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 hold a great 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 related, with the identical benefits and quirks. 

Multimedia and purchasing, from streaming apps to the Microsoft recreation and video storefronts, will get outstanding placement, almost as necessary because the video games. On the PS5, the menu is cut up into separate Video games and Media sections, firewalled from each other. 


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

My idea has all the time been that Microsoft desires your recreation console to be a malicious program 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 very excellent news for indie recreation 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 personal 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 maintaining 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 they usually 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 primarily based 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 drastically profit from having solid-state drives for storage, which lets video games load sooner than previous spinning-platter arduous drives. 

I have been capable of take a look at just a few video games optimized for Xbox Sequence X, together with Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4. Different video games might profit from sooner load occasions and fewer slowdown, however you should not search for a radically totally different expertise out of your again catalog simply but. That stated, the loading time enhance is a large profit and makes any recreation really feel sooner 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 believe 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 unique Xbox video games. 

Microsoft additionally brags about Quick Resume, its means to seamlessly bounce out and in of a number of video games, basically leaving each in a suspected state. As a busy grownup/dad or mum/worker, considered one of my obstacles to gaming is how lengthy it takes to show every part on and cargo video games up. It is a improbable function, though not fairly as instantaneous as alt-tabbing between browser home windows on a PC, and it does not but work constantly over a wide array 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 function known as Good Supply. Frankly, it is a fancy identify for precisely the sort of versioning I would count on 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 arduous drive, it will be sure to’re not downloading 4K textures and consuming up space for storing. I suppose I am going to 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 choice of software program accessible prelaunch is skinny. In Gears 5, I might undoubtedly inform the body charges had been larger and expertise smoother than the unique XB1 model. I would not name it a life-changing expertise, however there is a clear enchancment. 

Forza regarded 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 perhaps a 10-20% enchancment, not a very 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 can be cross-generational and subsequently 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 will take a minimum of a 12 months to start out seeing video games that really feel actually next-gen.


The whole lot that comes within the field. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Sport Move 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 Sport Move 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 an honest catalog of PC video games as properly. 

The unhealthy information is your Xbox expertise might be restricted with out it. The excellent news is this type of subscription bundle is forward-looking, gives 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 Sport Move Final membership in November. 

Sport Move embraces the DNA of PC gaming, the place you possibly can 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 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 Sport Move 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 necessary in the long term than the precise {hardware} field. 

That is a point I first made back in 2013, after I instructed the fixed-hardware lounge console would ultimately get replaced by small set-top containers constructed round cloud gaming. Why give folks a {hardware} field that may age rapidly, 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 rapidly every part 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 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 finished 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 might be arduous to seek out this vacation season. That stated, 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 affordable than sure phone-makers suggesting you drop $1,000 or extra on a barely newer telephone each 12-24 months. 

And for those who do not feel like $500 is the fitting quantity for you, I am happy to say I had a wonderful expertise with the cheaper Series S mannequin as properly. In addition to being a lot smaller and, in my view, having a greater aesthetic design, the Sequence S retains a lot of the greatest options for a way more affordable $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 an alternative topping out at 1440p. However that decrease decision means it could actually 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 complicated mechanical components that spin round and usually tend to break down. 

Now, I am unable to promise that future video games will not ultimately cut up off into Sequence X and Sequence S variations, with totally different visible options for every — however for those who’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. 

First revealed Nov. 5

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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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