Thoughts After Launch — XboxEra’s Staff Impressions on the Xbox Series X|S

It has been roughly one week since the launch of the Xbox Series X|S, and what a wild ride it has been! Life has not exactly been easy in 2020 and 2021 will likely not buck the current state of our day-to-day operations. But between that and delayed announcements, to consoles getting leaked sooner than their reveal, and finally to launch day—we finally get a little bit of fun in our lives with the launch of a new hardware generation.

With that being said, it has been a little over a week since November 10th, the coveted launch day, and we think it is a good time as ever to write out our thoughts on the Series X and S. Have a gander at our factual opinions below!

Solidus Kraken’s Impressions on the Series X

When I brought my new Series X home, I thought it was massive. Even if size comparisons match it up to the One X hardware in some way, it sure looked chunky, sitting in the little nook of my TV stand. It also had a bit of heft to it as well, but nothing I was not used to with my old One X console. But it was such a painless process to switch it all out. Besides the HDMI cable, I simply plugged in the non-polar power cable from my old console, turned on the box and watched as set up finished in quite literally less than 10 minutes—likely sooner had my internet been faster.

Those 10 minutes might not seem like much, but if you have ever had to set up an Xbox One console (or worse, factory reset one), you will likely recognize the pains of waiting upon waiting as the console’s old mechanical hard drive barely keeps up with all the fancy bells and whistles of the 2010s. The Series X chucks all that out the window and you have an experience that is equivalent to surprising, even shocking at times if this is your first look at a machine running on a solid state drive. The speed, the performance improvements in games, and the same functionality we have had before means that I got a much better system and I do not have to wait 7 years for Microsoft to gradually add functionality back to the console (the early Xbox One and PS4 years were awful because of this).

Sure, the UX is the same as before. The controller is much nicer, but we could have gotten new features like gyro and adaptive triggers. A little more could have been ready at launch, but if you want a no-nonsense console that will play games for at least 7 years, the Xbox Series X is the way to go.

Oh and you will not have to worry about the UI being the same—knowing Microsoft, it will likely get revamped next year much to the dismay of a lot of folks.

10k’s Impression on the Series X

The Xbox Series X is an engineering feat. It’s super quiet; inaudible in my living room when playing optimized games for it. It’s built solidly, efficiently, and blends in with other entertainment devices in the living room quite well. I am amazed at how much power this device is packing and in such a small form factor, all for $499 USD. It costs twice that to get a GPU on par with the Series X’s in Canada, alone.

Many new consoles are usually large and unrefined (see OG Xbox, Xbox 360 or Xbox One) and don’t look aesthetically pleasing until the slim revisions. Also, as we saw with the previous generation, both consoles got enhanced specs midway through the generation to match the demand for 4k HDR displays. The boxes felt lacking right from the get go on launch day until the enhanced consoles came out. Xbox Series X already feels like a second iteration console, not a launch unit. It’s small, sleek, and super powerful. This is the first time in since the Gamecube that I don’t feel like I own a console that needs to be upped in specs or replaced with a smaller revision in a couple years.

The controller is a refinement on an already great controller. The textured grips and triggers change everything. No longer do my sweaty hands slide around during heating gaming sessions. The controller is more contoured to human hands, and has a smaller curve to it. The triggers and bumpers are smaller but easier to press. The share button matches the feature set seen on the Nintendo Switch and Playstation consoles. The new dpad is clicky, responsive, and handles 2D platforming and fighters well.

It’s super fast and easy to use; the benefit of using almost the same OS as the Xbox One (there are some minor new features exclusive to the Series consoles). No features are missing from the Xbox One, and it feels nice not to start from scratch again.

My only minor gropes are features that can be added over time. Such as, a 1080p UI that should be 4k to look sharper on 4k sets and larger selection of dynamic backgrounds (game specific ones hopefully).

In conclusion, Xbox Series X feels like something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The price you pay for it easily matches a PC triple its price while offering the benefit of plug and play compatibility and no fuss with drivers, optimizations or getting just the right settings for your games.

Harm0nica’s Impression of the Series X

Having only seen pictures of the Series X prior to launch I had not realised the size of the unit.  I expected something halfway between the size of my One X and the unit I have now.  This concerned me the evening before launch day as I now had a problem with where I was going to locate it.   

I was even contemplating laying it down behind my TV if necessary, a ridiculous thought as it turned out.

As soon as I opened the Box I fell in love with the thing.  Lifting it for the first time I could just feel the quality.  These are not light consoles they are solid.

I stood the console up proudly on the floor to the left of my TV for the lengthy set up process with the intention of moving it to its final position later in the day. 

Surprisingly, using the Xbox App on my phone I was all set up and ready to go (including upgrading Yakuza: Way of The Dragon) in about 25 minutes and I realised that my Series X looks great where I put it originally so I intend to leave it there on display.

Having used the machine pretty extensively over the last week its temperature has not got to anything above lightly warm unlike my One X which could run pretty hot on occasion.

It also runs virtually silently which I find amazing.

To me the Series X is a sign that we are at the start of a massive evolutionary step forward with Xbox.

FairyEmpire’s Impressions on the Xbox Series X

On launch day, I was trying various games, old and new. Bright Memory, Tetris Effect Connected, DIRT 5, but also X360 titles and Xbox One games of all kind. One of them is Assassin’s Creed: Origins, for which I yet have to play the 2nd DLC before shelving it for good after going on and off it since 2017. I tried it and, to my excitement, loadings were insanely short and fast travel would only get 2-3 seconds with the game installed on the SSD. I put the game aside after this little test.

I tried dozens of different games since, from 3 generations of consoles. Big ones like Call Of Duty to small indies. On the 16th, 6 days after launch, I booted up Origins again, which I had not shut down on the 10th. Quick Resume kept it going. I rebooted the console mutiple times since. It even crashed twice during marathon races on DIRT 5. Doesn’t matter, the console kept my session of Assassin’s Creed: Origins for 6 days despite having played dozens of games since.

On top of the game performing better, this sort of stuff makes it so much easier to just jump back in and get a collectible or two down instead of having to dedicate a lengthy session to the game.

Jesse “Doncabesa” Norris’ Impressions of the Series X and S

It took a few days (thanks hurricane!) but I’ve now had a week with the X and S (my kid’s early Christmas present). I’m thoroughly impressed by both of them in pretty much every way. I can’t imagine going back to previous gen or mechanical hard drives at this point. While it will take years to see these boxes really push things it’s hard to not be taken by just how much more powerful and fast they are already. Loading a match in Battlefield V used to be a minute+ long affair. Now it’s no more than 15 and quote often 10 seconds to go in and out of one.

The design of each system is excellent as well. I haven’t heard a sound from either while they are in use, and the look and size of both seems almost impossible with how well they perform.

Overall it is pretty obvious that I am in love with both machines. The new controller is great as well. It is an improvement in every key metric for me when it comes to a controller. The fact that all of my old accessories including my Elite 2 controller came with me is awesome. This generation is going to be amazing.

Gaming generation tend to be long nowadays, and this one might even be longer thanks to the capabilities of the new consoles. Or we might just get mid-gen refreshes like with the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. But no matter what happens, the gaming industry has always proven itself to be full of surprises. The Xbox Series consoles you see today will definitely not be the same consoles 5 years from now. And that is what really makes them exciting.

Genghis "Solidus Kraken" Husameddin

I like video games, both old and new. Nice 'ta meetcha!

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