Xbox Series X Review & Specification

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X impressed in every respect in our test: users can look forward to smoothing 4K gaming and, thanks to the integrated SSD, very short loading times. The console remains whisper-quiet and the power consumption is okay. The new controller is also fun: The roughened surface of the handles offers a better grip for sweaty hands and the new share button in the middle of the controller makes it easier to take screenshots or videos quickly.

  • Pros:
    Powerful hardware for 4K gaming at 120 FPS
    Very quiet
    Has a UHD Blu-ray drive
    Partly backward compatible with Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One
    Quick setup via app or manually
  • Cons:
    Relatively heavy at 4.4 kg
    Controllers do not have an integrated battery (but standard batteries)
    Only supports WLAN 5 (802.11ac standard)

Xbox Series X in Review: 4K gaming with 120 fps

Microsoft opened the console dance in 2020 with the release of the next-gen console Xbox Series X. We have tested the console extensively and are impressed. In our test report, we not only give our practical impressions but also state measured values ​​for power consumption, volume, and heat development of the console.

Once unpacked and picked up, the weight is immediately noticeable, because at 4.4 kg the Xbox Series X is a real stunner. In terms of workmanship, there is nothing to criticize. All edges and surfaces of the plastic housing are neatly worked and there are no unpleasant burrs or sharp edges. Overall, the entire design looks very valuable and stable.

Whisper quiet and powerful

In contrast to its little sister, the Xbox Series S, the Series X has a large SSD with 1 TB of storage space. Microsoft had this specially developed for the Xbox Series models. Microsoft has reserved 200 GB of storage space for the system. Accordingly, you have 800 GB available for games. Anyone who has a large collection of games or who often plays several titles in parallel could run out of storage space with the usual installation sizes of 30 to 70 GB per game.

For this reason there is a slot on the back of the Xbox Series X for special memory expansion. These come from Seagate at the market launch and should offer the same performance as the built-in SSD optimized for the console. Microsoft and Seagate promise a module with 1 TB of storage space for now. More will be added later. Alternatively, you can connect a USB 3.1 hard drive to the Xbox to install older titles. For performance reasons, the Xbox Series X games require the internal SSD or the special Seagate memory expansion.

Even if the loading times have become shorter thanks to the SSD, they are still noticeable. So if you thought that every game would start in seconds, you will be disappointed. Nevertheless, the acceleration of the loading speeds is clear and an additional benefit compared to older consoles.

Since the Xbox Series X comes with a UHD Blu-ray drive, you can play older titles that you still have disc versions. The console can also be used as a UHD Blu-ray player in the home theater.

The powerful processor (including CPU and GPU) lets you experience your games in 4K resolution and HDR. The Xbox Series X has more power than the smaller Xbox Series S, so the manufacturer promises the Series X games in 4K with up to 120 fps. 8K videos with HDR should also be possible. For this you need a television with a “real” HDMI 2.1 port and at least 40 Gbps bandwidth. In the detailed view of our television leaderboard you can see the devices with full HDMI 2.1 support.

A further development of the previous gamepad

The new controllers are comfortable to hold and are a mixture of the well-known Xbox gamepad and the elite controller. The new control pad, for example, now lets you perform movements more precisely and returns loud clicks. In general, the controller lies very comfortably in the hand and thanks to the roughened surface of the handles it stays there even if the hands get sweaty.

Unfortunately, Microsoft still ships its controllers with batteries. In this point, the competition is a step ahead and uses long-life batteries. At least: If you already use a battery pack for your Xbox One controller, you can continue to use it in the new Series X gamepad.

Heat development, volume, power consumption: Xbox Series X is a real quiet stepper

Much has been speculated about the heat development of the Xbox Series X in advance. We took photos of the console using a thermal imaging camera while the system was running. It can be seen that the Xbox Series X warms up all around, but does not develop any alarming temperatures. Even after long gaming sessions, the case got noticeably warm, but the console continued to run stably and didn’t even crash in the test.

This proves that the new cooling concept works well, as long as you leave the console enough room to breathe. However, if you set it up so that it does not draw in cold air, but can more or less only process its own warm air, sooner or later there could be a build-up of heat.

We also love how quiet the Xbox Series X is. It starts very quietly and is hardly or not audible during operation: We measure a maximum of 0.3 sone here. The Xbox Series X becomes a bit louder when playing Blu-ray videos due to the built-in drive and reached a maximum of 1.1 sone in our volume measurement. Curious: we found the feedback noises from the controller louder than the console’s fans when playing games without sound.

The idle power consumption is around 40 watts, if you scroll through the menus, the Series X draws around 75 watts. When watching videos, the consumption is between 50 and 75 watts. But of course the main focus is on the games. We measured between 166 and 180 watts in the computationally intensive Gears 5. The power consumption during the gaming measurements varies because individual sections place different demands on the hardware. Overall, we did not find any outliers up or down here. Measured against the very high performance, the power consumption is completely okay.

Setup: Comfortable and quick

The look of the new console has been sufficiently discussed on the internet and divides the following. Set up vertically, the Series X looks like it came out of a fantasy role-playing game. It reminds us of the dark tower from the series of the same name. Put the Xbox on its side, which can easily be reminiscent of an old radio. However, since the console is then around 30 cm wide and 15 cm high, you must also reserve enough space for this case.

The connections on the back are easy to reach, making the console very easy to wire up. It took us less than 10 minutes for our commissioning until the Series X showed the first images on the television. Whether you set it up vertically or horizontally depends on the space and personal preferences and both have their charm.

In addition to the manual setup, you can now do it all quickly and easily using an app on your smartphone. The process only takes a few minutes and the Xbox Series X is ready to go. This may be a relief, especially for gamers who own an older Xbox. However, the manual preparation of the console only takes slightly longer.

The start sequence up to the user interface is now much faster thanks to the SSD and we measured around 14 seconds. The gain in speed is immediately and clearly noticeable here. Anyone who sees the new dashboard for the first time and already owns a Microsoft console will immediately feel at home here. Browsing through the menus is now felt much faster. The new “Quick-Resume” feature enables gamers to quickly switch from one title to the next. All you have to do is press the Xbox button on the controller briefly, select the next game, and in seconds you’ll be in the new game.

Downward compatibility: Some classic games can also be played

Microsoft has already announced in advance that the new generation of consoles will be backwards compatible with the previous models. However, there is still no list of which titles of which console generation will run on the new Xbox.

The special thing about the downward compatibility: Older games also benefit from the current hardware, as they automatically run at a higher refresh rate. In addition, the Series X loads the content faster and, if desired, automatically gives older titles high dynamic range effects using Auto-HDR. In addition, the resolution should also be increased to up to 4K.

We have tested the backward compatibility with the following Xbox 360 titles: Costume Quest, Dead Space 3 and Monkey Island 2. All titles ran without problems and but a short update of the respective game may be necessary.

XBOX SERIES X: MICROSOFT’S NEXT-GEN CONSOLE

CPU

Custom Zen 2 CPU with 8 cores at 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz with SMT)

GPU

Custom RDNA 2 GPU with 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs at 1.825 GHz

Random Access Memory (RAM

16 GB GDDR6 with 320 bit wide bus

SSD

1 TB Custom NVME SSD

connections

1xHDMI 2.1 port, 3xUSB 3.1 ports (Gen. 1), WLAN 802.11ac, Gigabit LAN

Video

4K with up to 120 fps, Dolby Vision

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby TrueHD with Atmos, Windows Sonic

HDR

up to 8K HDR (theoretical)

optical drive

4K UHD Blu-Ray

Dimensions

Length: 15.1 cm, width: 15.1 cm, height: 30.1 cm

Weight

4.4 kg

 

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