The latest Xbox ushers in a new generation of gaming – yet power up the device and it still feels familiar. That’s a good thing. These two new consoles are faster, more powerful, and (at least one) offers true 4K gaming.
“I think aesthetically, Microsoft has made some good choices this generation,” said Devindra Hardawar, Senior Editor at Engadget. Like me, he’s been playing with the latest generation Xbox console.
“They’re basically gaming PC’s in consumer boxes, that fit under your TV,” said Hardawar.
This time around, there are two models to choose from: the $300 Xbox Series S and the $500 Xbox Series X.
The S is all digital, small, and more affordable, but not as powerful. It comes with a 512-gigabyte hard drive.
The X offers the fastest processing speeds – Microsoft says it’s the fastest Xbox ever – along with native 4K gaming and a Blu Ray disc drive so you can play physical media like movies and game discs.
“All these systems are running solid-state storage drives, there are no more spinning discs, they’re incredibly fast,” said Hardawar.
Microsoft sent me the S series box to review. It is small and compact and fits nicely into an entertainment center. It turns on fast and everything feels speedy, but something tells me the X is the better buy here. You get way more processing power and double the drive space. When I downloaded a popular game it was nearly 100 gigabytes, which means your storage might not last that long.
“I think the Series X is the thing every gamer would actually want, the question is do you want to get it now or just wait a little,” agreed Hardawar.
One feature I really liked: the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This is a subscription service that runs about $15 a month and includes access to over 100 games. Many, you’ll actually want to play.
“It’s also great if you have kids, because then they can also just go get whatever they want and you don’t have to worry about multiple games that maybe they’ll stop playing after an hour or something,” said Hardawar.
My kids love playing Minecraft, so the Xbox platform is sort of a no brainer for our family. I am obsessed with a game called Tetris Effect. Many of the games you already own will work on the new console as well.
The new consoles are quiet, sleek and appeal even to this casual gamer. It seems that Microsoft didn’t attempt to reinvent the Xbox, they just gave it the additional power, faster load times and cutting edge graphics today’s gamers expect.
Also, Microsoft has a program called All Access, which bundles the console of your choice along with the subscription game service. The Xbox Series S runs $24.99 a month for 24 months and the Xbox Series X runs $34.99 a month for 24 months. After that, you keep the box.