I know it sounds strange to talk about “quality of life” when referring to the new Microsoft consoles, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, but I do it from the context of the user experience, compared to the generation that leaves us.
Graphically we are very aware of what they are capable of, due to their powerful technical specifications, with an 8-core Zen 2 CPU (7nm), a 12 TFLOPS GPU (4 in the S Series), 16 GB of RAM (10 GB in the S) and a 1TB NVME SSD for Series X and half for Series S. But all that doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t translate into something tangible, something “real world”.
Both consoles are capable of playing games with ray tracing, which is a lighting system that, in very simple words, makes everything look more realistic by simulating the bouncing of light rays on surfaces. This, in the world of computers, is currently very inaccessible, especially if you want to run it at 4K resolution, as in the case of the X Series and up to 2K (QHD, 1440p … etc) in the S Series. With that argument already, many of the most technically fixated gave their hearts to this new generation of consoles.
Another of the impressive things that these consoles show is to be able to run games at 120 frames per second in a stable way, with a dynamic resolution of course. Now, you have to have a television capable of that and today they represent the upper-middle-range market upwards. Still, they are full of these details that “shield” it for the future.
If on a technical level you want to know the differences between the X and the S, you have to ask yourself how much you care about playing in native 4K resolution (if you do not have a TV of at least 55 inches, it is not worth much), how much do you care about the unit of disk reading, which is only on the X, how much do you care about the size of the console – the S is fantastically small and light, while the X we will talk about – and how much do you care about base storage, because the S has the half of the X, 500 GB. Outside of that, the experience is the same.
And it is in that aspect where we want to put special emphasis: experience. It happens that everything runs very fast and the integration of the Xbox application on the cell phone is very complete. There are still on-screen keyboards, but you can quickly open the app and fill everything there more comfortably, as well as play remotely with a Bluetooth control connected to your mobile.
The order of your library of games, download things and more, everything is possible from the smartphone, in an ultra simplified way. Even the screenshots and videos you take go automatically to the cloud, so you can do whatever you want with them in the palm of your hand.
Features like Quick Resume are the icing on the cake because added to load times have been dramatically reduced: going from three-minute uploads on Xbox One X to 50 seconds on Series X makes switching between titles almost instantaneous But what do I want that for? I thought the same thing, but it happens that if I’m playing an RPG on a regular basis, the game doesn’t need to go through the complete process of menus and such to let me play immediately, just about 15 seconds of waiting is enough and that’s it, it leaves me exactly Where was it. If a friend arrives and we want to play FIFA or Madden, the same, a few seconds and we are already there choosing a team. In my tests, I feel that it depends on the titles, but it holds between five or six in memory.
Physically the control is better than that of the past generation, with a slightly larger body, less pointed triggers, and well-thought-out texturing for long gaming sessions. Yes, it still uses batteries (or batteries), which in the long run may be better because they last longer and over the years the autonomy does not deteriorate. To that, add a better directional pad and we have what will be, for many, the best controller on consoles today.
Continuing in the physical section of the matter, the Xbox Series X is a device that can be seen. It’s not your typical console that can melt into the background. It is a monolith the height of the forearm of a grown man, with the width of two and a half Xbox One X. What is that it is very symmetrical and elegant in its own style.
By the way, I have not managed to make it sound, at least not in a perceptible way with the available titles, which seems to me a fantastic advance compared to the entire past generation, which with more demanding games seemed like it was going to spread its wings and get out flying out the window.
The whole experience becomes round with Game Pass, which is the biggest attraction that the company has today in my opinion. This monthly payment platform with more than 100 games at your disposal and where titles are added every month, including the exclusive ones from Microsoft Studios, which every day seem to be more, is a goal. That, added to the high backward compatibility of the consoles, we are facing a system that you can enjoy on your PC, on your chair or wherever you can think of and it is compatible.
Each step, each decision, and very different from what was the launch of the Xbox One, is aimed at making the user experience better, with a focus on games, understanding everything else as tools that must contribute to this circle.
I feel that, for the first time, and at least outside of the United States, Xbox has what to stand up to the competition, with a clear value proposition and power directed towards the player, who must always be the center of this universe. The Xbox Series X costs $672 and the Xbox Series S costs $409.