Microsoft announced their Xbox Series X console last year with immense power for it to be classified as next-gen gaming. Microsoft has built the Xbox Series X to look like a PC while creating a similar gaming experience with its fast SSD storage, more powerful CPU, 120hz support, and backward compatibility support that goes all the way back to the original Xbox.
Built like a PC
Xbox Series X resembles in many ways a PC with its design which does not make it look out of this world compared to its direct competitor i.e., the PlayStation 5, which looks unique with its dual-tone design and its feature-packed controller. The Series X is a black box with sharp corners similar to that of a PC. Not much has changed with the controller as well except for the D-Pad.
Series X can be placed both vertically as well as horizontally, but it looks best when placed vertically. But placing it horizontally gives the flexibility to keep it under a T.V. or entertainment unit as it can blend into most entertainment units because of its black color.
The console has a lot of ports on it as well, on the rear it has two USB ports, an Ethernet port, a storage expansion slot, and an HDMI 2.1 port which allows the console to the game at 4k and up to 120fps. At the front, there is a single USB port with a 4k Blu-ray drive. The console does not feature a USB-C port or even Wi-Fi 6 which is disappointing in 2021.
Due to its PC like design, the cooling system on the Series X is also top-notch with an exhaust fan on the top side of the console with a green coating that makes it seems as if the console has a LED top with all the heat being exhausted from the top it would seem that the console would be very hot, but that was never the case.
The new thing that is added to the console is the Storage Expansion slot that allows the user to quickly add an external storage card to the series x that works directly with the internal storage of the console. The Controller has also received a few upgrades notably; an updated D-pad, textured grips, a USB-C port, and a new share button (similar to the PS4). The controller by default runs on AA batteries, but it has rechargeable functionality with its play-and-charge kit that is purchased separately.
Storage & Software
Xbox Series X comes with a 1TB SDD by default out of which 802GB is usable, the rest is stored for system data. The use of SSD allows the Series X to have noticeably better load times across all games. Microsoft is also providing a proprietary storage expansion slot that can be used to expand the storage of the Series X which has been made possible with their partnership with Seagate who is the only manufacturer at the time that provides the storage expansion card.
Microsoft with the Series X has also introduced a feature called "Quick Resume" which allows switching between game titles in less than or up to 10 seconds (Xbox reserves some SSD storage to use this feature effectively).
The Xbox Series X dashboard remains the same as the Xbox one with a few visual tweaks here and there. The Xbox dashboard is more responsive compared to the Xbox One. The Microsoft Store interface has also changed making it easier to navigate. The new and improved dashboard allows the Xbox Series X to boot up in just 20 seconds.
Sharing Clips and Screenshots has also been made easier with the introduction of the Share button on the Series X controller, but it is not as responsive as the PlayStation 5. The recordings & screenshots still take a lot of time as it first has to get uploaded to Xbox Live Service, and then it could be shared.
The Gaming Experience
The Xbox Series X comes with a total power of 12 teraflops in its GPU providing a smooth gaming experience to a min of 60fps and if optimized can be even taken as high as 120fps (Gears 5 has a 120fps mode, but turning on 120fps hits the game resolution similar to the PS5).
The backward compatibility support is also very impressive and that too gets a major boost even for Xbox 360 games that run smoothly at 60fps along with HDR on the Series X enhancing the gaming experience which was not possible earlier with the Xbox One X.
Frame rates are one thing game visuals have also seen a major improvement with this new generation of consoles with the help of ray tracing, games for example Watch Dogs: Legion runs at 30fps on the Series X with ray tracing enabled and it is a treat to look at with the beautiful shadows, light reflections, etc.
The Series X's CPU, SSD, and GPU provide a rich gaming experience with faster load times and better frame rates. The console also provides a PC-like feel with its looks and hardware accessories.
Microsoft also provides its Game Pass subscription that lets the user play hundreds of games for a small monthly fee with access to all Xbox exclusives on day one without any hidden charges. Though Microsoft has announced many exclusives that are yet to be launched like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Fable, etc. to name a few.
Even though the PlayStation 5 has a new UI, a better controller, in my opinion, more next-gen exclusives games. Microsoft has nailed the power that is required to ensure that the game that the console is running looks good and plays smoothly without any hiccups.