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Hey, so, Microsoft sent us a working Xbox Series X - really. It powers on, it plays old games, it plays new games, it does that awesome quick resume thing where you can jump between all the games you have open (right from where you left it). It's also kinda hot to touch at the top, but also it's really quite cold at the bottom - that's just how air circulation works, folks. And you know what? It's pretty damn impressive.
Before I begin it should be worth pointing out that this review is based on a 'non-final' experience, and some things may change by the time you get hands-on in only 5 days time.
So, let's get into the nitty gritty - this is the GAMINGbible Xbox Series X Deep-Dive Review.
Console Design and Features
Right away, you can't get away from the fact this this thing is chonky. The brutalistic next-gen box is really tall, it's really thick, and it's also, unsurprisingly, really quite heavy. While being a huge monolith, it's clear that this design was to help increase airflow through the console.
Yes it isn't perfect, but with it being built for practicality as opposed to being a bit of an art piece there isn't much to complain about. On top of that with the tactical input indicators at the back of the console to help those with accessibility issues navigate the console, it just further highlights that Microsoft wants anyone to be able to game with ease.
You can find out more about our thoughts on the console design here.
Taking advantage of the console's Velocity Architecture, players can hop between three to seven games (depending on game size and console generation) and load back in exactly where they left it in a matter of seconds.
While this new feature might sound like a bit of a gimmick, after spending a few weeks with it I can safely say that it's quite a game changer. For people much like myself that frequently hop between a multiplayer game and a singleplayer game this is just perfect. Rather than waste time waiting for a game to completely boot up you can hop straight back in right where you left off.
Yes there were a few moments where the feature crashed a game or two, but it is worth re-iterating that this is still in the preview stage so any bugs will likely be ironed out before release.
Click here if you want a more in-depth look at the Quick Resume feature.
The New Controller
As you'd expect with any new console generation, there's a brand-new controller - although at a passing glance it's hard to notice. The new controller doesn't bring a whole host of obvious changes to the already pretty spot-on Xbox One controller but does add a few quality of life improvements such as a dedicated share button.
It's clear Microsoft didn't want to mess with an already working formula when it comes to the controller design. Again the focus was to make something that can be accessible to as many players as possible. But sadly that came with the sacrifice of doing anything innovative. With that said, the Elite series controllers are still some of the best controllers out there and with the Series X working with back compat controllers you should be all set.
Nevertheless you can find out more about the new controller here and what it has to offer.
Load Times and Externals
Load times with the Xbox Series X SSD drive are an absolute game changer. I was able to try out some pretty big current-generation titles and compare them to the most powerful current-gen console, the Xbox One X, to see how much more powerful the new machine truly is. Let me tell you, these speeds will make the world of a difference to your day-to-day gaming time.
Not only is the internal SSD a game changer, but so is the Xbox Series X proprietary expandable drive. The 1TB Seagate Expansion Card brings back the nostalgic feeling of having memory cards, but it will set you back quite a fair bit with its pricing. The main reason to grab is so that you can install next-gen games as they sadly won't run off a normal external hard drive.
You can find out more about the ins and outs of the consoles SSD and 1TB Seagate Expansion Card here.
There are a few things I didn't quite get to in this coverage, like how the new UI is lovely despite being similar to the one seen on Xbox One. It has been streamlined, swapped it's hard edges for curved ones, and runs much smoother with a few nice added touches.
There's also the new Xbox app which runs you through the console set up and makes transferring your old console to the Series X a breeze - I mean, all your Xbox saves are on the cloud now if you have Xbox Live Gold (also included with Game Pass Ultimate), so it was never going to be a challenge. And then there's Auto-HDR and 120hz - huge features that are brilliant to behold in person, but hard to convey in an article or through the medium of Facebook and YouTube video (Honestly, seeing HDR in a game that came out for the original Xbox or Xbox 360 is kind of mindblowing, and adds a whole new lease of life, at least visually, to some classics). Oh, and that some backwards-compatible games will play better with practically doubled frame rates and 16x anisotropic filtering to tidy up textures is coming to almost all BC games - it's all so *chef kiss*.
My time with the Series X has been a really positive one, and in every single way the console has shown how much of an improvement it is over the last generation consoles.
Now I just need to see some true next-gen games.
This Xbox Series X console was provided to GAMINGbible by Microsoft for review purposes and may not represent the final Series X experience.
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