It’s now been three weeks since I first got my hands on an Xbox series x. And while Yes, it’s technically a prototype system, I do think I’ve got a really good idea of what it’s like owning this next generation console.
So what do I think of the overall package and is it worth a day one purchase Time to find out.
Today, I’m free to give impressions of the entire experience of Xbox series x from top to bottom.
So let’s start with the stuff I haven’t been allowed to discuss until right now.
First up is the overall design of the series x undeniably sleek.
real subtle and unassuming industrial design setting up it’s a foot tall with a six by six footprint I wound up keeping mine standing behind my TV, if anything, so I could keep the top heat exhaust fan as clear as possible.
You’re going to need to give that area some open room regardless of how you position it.
The air coming out is warm but not any different than something like the exhaust fans on my game.
A lot of people have been teasing the series x for being bulky or Yeah, we’ve all seen that mini refrigerator meme, but I’ve actually come to really like the way this thing looks.
It’s neat and can pretty much blend in wherever it sits most impressive in the console design.
Has to be how quiet it actually runs.
I’ve never heard it rev up once during my entire time with it, which is a stark comparison to something like a ps4 Pro, which as you probably know, can sound like a damn Airbus when it’s been on for a while.
So what about the UI?
Well, the series x UI is nearly identical to the Xbox One’s interface.
But it’s incredibly faster in every sense of the word.
Zipping around through menus is obviously a much better experience compared to the Xbox One.
And even the One X. Things, barely skip a beat, it’s fast and it just feels great.
That said, because it’s not a departure from last gens UI.
Everything feels exactly the same.
So if you had any issues with things like layout organization, or just the overall sort of, you know, design logic of the way Xbox presents things, none of that has changed., for now.
Personally, I’ve spent three weeks navigating around this and my opinion on it hasn’t really changed.
I still think it could use some refinement, In the way it’s all sort of organized, but the fact that it’s so lightning fast does ease some of that frustration.
Okay, let’s talk about the controller a little more.
The introduction of that share button finally brings this console up to speed with quick access to snapping screenshots and recording gameplay.
Hooking up older Xbox controllers has been easy enough.
You just pair them like normal and you’re ready to go.
Using the new controller for three weeks did make me realize how much better I think it fits in my hands.
I really prefer the texture grips on the new one.
Plus the feedback feels just a bit sharper.
Microsoft supplied me with a one terabyte Seagate expandable drive that slots easily into the back of the series x via a proprietary port.
It can hold any generation Xbox game It works as simply as you could imagine, you pop it in and the game’s loaded on it will populate in your game title screen.
It’s worth noting that series X Games can only load off the internal drive, or this special expansion.
Number one, they can’t load off a USB three drive that you bring yourself.
Like the way it kind of worked in other xboxes however, legacy games can run with that USB drive priced at $220.
It’s definitely an expensive add on to your series x. But even though you’ll start out with roughly 800 gigabytes to work with, you should still be able to hold roughly 15 to 25 games right off that internal drive, of course, depending on their individual sizes.
Now it’s worth noting that of the three games Microsoft supplied that are series x optimized Their sizes ranged from 35, 72 and 99 gigabytes, so file size might become an issue.
Keep that in mind.
The overall feature set that series X, brings to the table definitely reinforces the console’s dependency on game pass and the focus of celebrating your back catalogue.
Because right now, the new stuff really isn’t here.
But if you’re looking for the best way to play most of your legacy Xbox games, series X is gonna be the way to do it.
Microsoft opened up back and pat on a lot of legacy games during this sort of preview phase that I’m in here and it covered a good amount of titles.
Gains were constantly being added during my testing.
Though a few games still never got support by the time I shot this video.
Most surprisingly, it was Forza Horizon four loading times on a lot of legacy games are substantially improved.
In terms of loading from a save, we’re talking around thirty seconds for Red Dead two, ten seconds for control and get this six seconds for Doom eternal.
Better yet series x automatically cloud syncs.
All your game saves.
So even if you’re revisiting a game you haven’t touched in years, it’s gonna boot up just like the way you left it.
Like I said, new series X Games have been scarce during this preview period.
But I did finally get the test out one of the first games to be available for the console.
Just in time to shoot this video.
Dirt five on series x looks fantastic.
And it was the first game I could try with a mode that supports 120 hertz.
Now keep in mind 120 hertz is just a refresh rate Doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guaranteed to get 120 frames per second.
Now you’re also going to need a display that can handle the hundred and 20 hertz signal and for 4k 120 you’ll need a display that supports the HDMI 2.1 standard Not to mention an HDMI cable that can handle that kind of throughput.
Not all of them can.
Thankfully, LG was kind enough to give me a absolutely beautiful cx or C 10 depending on how you say it.
Which is their brand new display that has four HDMI 2.1 ports that can each display 4k at 120.
I have to note you might need to update your TV’s firmware just to ensure total functionality, but it does work and it is awesome.
Dirt five has a separate mode for 120 hertz, which is accessible in the game’s video settings.
Safe to assume that this might become the standard like you kind of did with Xbox One X and ps4 Pro, where you’re given the option to choose which category you want to prioritize dirt five gives you three options in.
In this case when the Xbox is set to output at 120 hertz, you can choose image quality framerate or 120 hertz mode.
Comparing image quality and frame rate modes definitely showed a difference in that frame rate, though there are some small graphical details that are sacrificed so that the game can run more smoothly.
Though in framerate mode, there is a noticeable amount of screen tearing happening throughout a race.
Let me just add a quick side note about all this real quick.
If you want a painstakingly thorough breakdown of the performances of all of these modes, please check out digital foundries excellent video on that subject.
Nobody does it better than those guys, so be sure to watch it So what I learned from Digital Foundry is that when you put the game into 120 hertz mode, the output resolution drops down to 1440 P and makes a few other details sacrifices to achieve that amount of frame output.
Now of course, capturing footage at 120 hertz won’t do you any good.
But in this recording of my LG screen, hopefully you can see that 120 hertz mode nets a super smooth performance with no visible screen tearing that I could discern.
And for what it’s worth going back and forth between 4K and 1440p at 120 hertz Made it really tough to notice the compromises in the ladder configuration.
Hundred 20 hertz performance is going to vary by game.
And in reality, it’s not something a lot of TVs currently support anyway, this is a much more prevalent metric in the PC gaming scene.
Most gaming monitors settled in at 1440P, with refresh rates up to 144 hertz, and sometimes even higher.
And yeah, most people buying a series x won’t have TVs that can do 4k 120 and that’s okay.
It’s awesome to know it’s an option and it’s definitely cool to see it in action.
But would I buy a brand new TV just for an Xbox series X?
Not right this second.
But this LG CX also supports Nvidia G-Sync.
So if you have a GPU that supports that, yeah, maybe that’s more of a compelling I wish I could talk more about series X Games.
But at the time of this recording, I didn’t have many to really dive into.
I played a lot of Dirt 5, and it really is a gorgeous game that shows off an impressive amount of track effects, sprawling race locations, and dynamic lighting and weather conditions.
Loading times feel good with most races taking roughly 13 seconds to get going.
An optimized version of gears five arrived just before I began recording this.
And while the game plays incredibly smooth and looks great.
I actually almost immediately started experiencing some quick resume wackiness switching back and forth between that game and dirt five.
Sometimes quick resume would work fine, but other times, It would force either game to totally reboot, load back up without sound or or just freeze and crash.
To be totally clear, Microsoft did send a list of current issues with this build of Gears 5 and general quick resume wonkiness is definitely highlighted as a possible issue.
So they definitely know about this.
Aside from that little blip It’s no doubt that quick resume is still the star here.
It along with the impressive improvement to legacy games are probably the killer features for series x right now as far as I’m concerned, quick resume only takes 12 to 16 seconds or so to swap between games.
I’ve been able to reliably juggle between around 4 to 6titles, depending on what’s running.
It even works if you physically unplug the console and boot it back up, which is undeniably pretty cool.
Series x updates to existing games can bring along a variety of improvements with gears five it brings 4k HDR, variable refresh rates Up to 120 frames per second in the versus multiplayer mode.
Of course, these updates are going to vary by game.
And the idea is that smart delivery will prevent you from the need to guess whether or not you’re playing the appropriately optimized version of the game.
So during this preview event, the series X would let me pretty much download anything from my library and then I had to go and try and run it to see if it would work, or I had to check it against Microsoft spreadsheet of all their compatible titles.
With smart delivery.
This should not even be an issue with the final Xbox software.
That should all just seamlessly work under the radar.
So, what else is there to talk about?
Well, I’ve also been using Astros’ new second generation a 20 headset.
That will work with both the series x n PS five.
If you buy an extra USB dongle sound quality is actually pretty good, and it’s my early go to pick For anyone who wants to swap back and forth between Consoles or PC, and not have to unplug a bunch of wires I’ve been using it with my ps4 and series x and it’s pretty good and yes keyboard seemed to work fine too.
Don’t worry about that.
So yeah is Xbox series X a day one purchase Well, it’s gonna depend on what you’re looking for.
Like I said earlier, it really is the best place to play 360 and Xbox One legacy games, improve loading times, quick resume and edit features in some games are definitely welcome perks.
So you’re not going to get actual series x exclusives out of the gate.
And a decent PC with a game pass subscription.
Almost the same thing here.
So there it is a full preview look at the Xbox series x. I’m gonna continue playing around with this console leading up to launch will let you know if anything substantial changes between now and when those final review units start shipping out.
Be sure to watch for more videos as we get closer to the launch of both the series x PS5, and let me know what’s your next gen strategy as of right now.
Pay special thanks to Digital Foundry for their excellent analysis.
And Jeff Grubb over at gamesbeat for helping me figure out some weird 120 hertz issues.
That’s it for me.
Be safe and thanks for watching.