Xbox Series X review – is it still worth buying in 2024?

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Pros
  • Capable of 4K120
  • Backwards compatible
  • Xbox Game Pass is stellar
Cons
  • Few exclusive games
  • It hasn’t gotten cheaper

With Microsoft hinting to a new Xbox console coming our way, we’re going through our Xbox Series X review to help you decide if this is the right game console for you. 

Remaining the most up-to-date Xbox console currently available, is the Series X worth the price tag? Is it time to consider upgrading from the somewhat outdated Xbox One? We’re covering our thoughts on everything from the price, design and performance so you can make an informed decision based on our experience with the Xbox Series X. Let’s get into it.

A black Xbox Series X sat on a table next to an Avengers game.
The Xbox Series X and controller (Image by VideoGamer / Meg Coon)

Xbox Series X price and availability

Microsoft has always been impressive with its Xbox hardware ever since the early days, delivering competitively high quality performances with a smaller price tag than you would expect to have if you attempted to build your own gaming PC to meet the same abilities as an Xbox console. When we compared a new GPU and the latest Xbox, RTX 4080 Super Vs Xbox Series X, the entire Xbox console works out at nearly half the price of just the graphics card alone, the more affordable counterpart the RTX 4070 Super, a mid-range GPU, still having an MSRP of about $100 more than the Xbox. 

Xbox Series X

A black Xbox Series X console with a controller next to it.

CPU

8.8GHz, 8 cores

RAM

16GB GDDR6

Storage

1TB

Storage type

SSD

Frame rate

120 FPS

The Xbox Series X is currently available for $449 on Xbox’s official store with a $50 discount currently available, which remains relatively consistent with its MSRP, which was $499 as of its launch. In terms of Amazon, prices range from around $380 to $490 depending on the storage capacity you desire, or whether you want to buy second-hand. 

If you’re torn between which of the latest consoles you want, it’s worth mentioning that the Xbox’s MSRP is price matched to that of the PS5, which also launched with the price tag of $499 and is currently available via PlayStation’s official store at that price, making the Xbox Series X currently a little cheaper.

When compared to the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One, the Series X has several notable advantages making it worth the price, which we look at in more detail down below, with the biggest difference between the Series X and the Series S being that the X features a disc tray, unlike its Xbox Series S sibling. As well, one of the more incentivising pluses of an Xbox Series X is access to Xbox Game Pass. 

This is a subscription-based library of games accessible for Xbox users, which works a lot like Netflix but with games not films. In terms of pricing, this is an additional subscription fee to pay, either annually or monthly, on top of buying the console itself. But, it does allow access to the hundreds of games, which span many years and genres, with new and popular titles featured alongside older titles that have been optimized for Xbox players.

It definitely works out cheaper in the long run to have an Xbox Game Pass subscription if you are likely to enjoy playing many of the titles available. That being said, if you (like me) have spent over a decade accumulating disc copies of your favorite games from the original Xbox right through to the Xbox One, all of these discs are compatible with the Series X, meaning you’ll be able to save money by not having to repurchase your favorite titles. 

Xbox Series X design and features

The Xbox Series X has had a bit of a glow-up since its predecessor. The Xbox 360 and the Xbox One maintained a similar design, while the Series X has noticeably departed from the previous shape and size. Now a sleek cuboid, the Series X eradicates any issues that you may have encountered when storing the Xbox One. As someone with limited space to keep my Xbox near to my TV, I always found the design of the Xbox One difficult, having to keep it standing upright which ultimately ended up causing issues with the disc tray and fans.

The Series X is 15 x 15 x 30 (cm) in height, with the vents positioned on the top. The bottom has four rubber feet to prevent the console from slipping, and enables it to be stood up with a smartly-placed fan on top for optimized airflow of heat generated by the Series X. This new design looks smaller than the flat and wide Xbox One, it takes up less space, looks more modern with its matte-black finish and sleek, minimalist design. Microsoft have confirmed they currently have no intentions of releasing this console in any other colors.  

A black Xbox sat on a table next to a Captain America game in 2024.
Xbox Series X console and controller. (Image by VideoGamer / Meg Coon)

My favorite change that the Series X has over the Xbox One is the power button. The Xbox 360 featured a silver and green button, and then the Xbox One received a touch-button, which was not connected by the best wiring and meant (in my case) it began to exhibit faults and stopped working all together. But the Xbox Series X has returned to a fairly standard, discrete black button featuring the Xbox logo. You also have the expected eject button beside the disc drive at the bottom left of the front side of the console, a pairing button and a USB 3.2 port. The back face of the Xbox has a HDMI 2.1 output port, a power input port, two USB 3.2 ports, a storage expansion slot and a networking port. All of the rear ports have raised dots assigned to them (e.g. the power port has one raised dot, the storage expansion has four, the USB ports have three) so that while you’re blindly struggling with cables at the back of the console, you can be sure what port you are touching. 

A black PC with a Captain America logo on it.
The rear ports of the Xbox Series X console (Image by VideoGamer / Meg Coon)

One of the largest differences between this console and previous iterations, is the lack of the noise. Obviously, the frequency with which you clean out your console will obviously have an impact on the fans’ noise level, but straight off the bat the Xbox Series X is nearly silent. My previous Xbox One used to sound like a tumble dryer, just when turned on, and running games made it sound like a plane preparing for launch. When turning on, the Xbox recorded a noise level of about 32db and when launching Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, the Series X reached about 50db of sound at its highest, using IOS’ Decibel X: db Sound Level Meter. For context, the average person whispers at around 30db and a motorbike engine runs at around 95db, according to the CCD

In terms of how effective the fans are, the console matches my previous experience with the Xbox One’s heat generation, and does get a bit warm. That being said, with the fans kept free and unblocked, the generated heat did not appear to affect the Xbox’s performance when running graphically demanding games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Valhalla for an extended period of time, of about 5+ hours. 

A black Xbox controller sits on a table, still worth buying in 2024?
The latest Xbox Wireless Controller (Image by VideoGamer / Meg Coon)

The other notable change for the latest generation of Xbox, is the change to the controller. I have grown quite fond of the Xbox One (and previous Xbox 360) controller shape, which felt lighter and easier to maneuver thanks to its design that feels better molded to the hand. The previous generations had glossy-black controllers which came with the consoles, while the new controller has seen a matte-black finish to match the console’s redesign.

The controller is less curved and looks slightly more blocky. With that being said, the buttons, triggers and joysticks have not been moved or altered in a noticeable way, making it easy to slip back into gameplay without having to familiarize yourself with a new controller. The redesign feels discreet enough to match the aesthetic of the new generation, without changing the player’s relationship with the iconic controller.

Xbox Series X gaming performance

When setting up the Xbox Series X, the process has been made a lot simpler and easier by using the Xbox app. Once your Xbox is set up and ready to go, it will either be an underwhelming or a comforting sight to find the UI and dashboard of the Series X is very familiar. There have been some minor changes, but the dashboard is basically the same as you would find in the Xbox One. For some, this may be a bit disappointing, if you’re the type of person who likes a lot of change when you are upgrading from one console to another.

In my case, I was pleasantly surprised to find the same dashboard I had grown used to since the Xbox One’s update in 2020 that converged its dashboard and UI layout with the new interface of the Series X. It made for setting up, downloading applications and launching games quick and painless, something that Microsoft centred a lot of attention on; allowing you to pick up essentially where you left off. 

A screenshot of the Xbox Series X home screen.
Xbox Series X home screen source: Xboxwire.com

With the recognisable tiled layout, there are the expected customizable pins for your favorite apps and games on the home screen. Anything not directly visible on the tiles can be located by pressing the Xbox button on the controller, which will present you with the same interface for messages, settings, and games as you will potentially remember from the Xbox One. You can navigate through the dashboard quicker, which is beneficial and comfortingly familiar, but at the same time it is slightly disappointing the Xbox Series X didn’t have anything new to add, to give it the feel of truly being a next-gen console.

The Xbox Series X has come armed with the new Quick Resume feature, which in essence allows you to pause your game, turn off your console, go to the shop, come back and resume your gameplay in a matter of seconds, as near-instantly as though you had never stopped playing at all. From the dashboard, you can quickly select the game you had been playing and hop straight back in where you left off, skipping any title or load screens you’d have to wade through when relaunching a game. This also applies to any games you have open. You can suspend your gameplay and be back  in the Sci-Fi setting of Starfield in less than 17 seconds.

Another fun feature of the Series X is backward compatibility. What this means is, not only are your old Xbox 360 discs compatible with the new console, the games also run faster and lack the frame rate droppage you’d expect when running an arguably outdated game. This also applies to Xbox accessories, so if you happen to have stockpiled controllers or headsets from Xbox generations gone by, you’ll still be able to use them when you need an extra controller for a friend. 

In terms of older titles on Xbox Game Pass, I decided to revisit the nostalgia of the 2000s with some Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, a game I owned when I had an Xbox 360. Aside from the nice throwback to the Xbox 360 launching animation, Banjo-Kazooie has experienced several optimizations which allow for smoother frame-rates, overall faster running and loading speeds and higher quality graphics, that make it feel more like a title from the last decade, than a game from 2008. 

In terms of performance in new games, the Series X’s custom RDNA 2 graphics processor targets 4K graphics at 60fps, but does boast capabilities of reaching up to 120fps at 4K. While there’s clearly some clever AI upscaling in play here through FSR, it’s still impressive to see a console reaching these heights at this price point. 

To truly experience the Xbox Series X at its peak, and if you have the budget for it, you’re going to need to invest in an ideally large monitor or TV that is capable of supporting 4K graphics, with a high refresh rate. But with native 1440p graphics, or upscaled to 4K, at 60fps, you still get a decent experience with high quality graphics and smooth frame rates without fps drops or display issues. It’s worth noting that opting for higher frame rates in certain titles can mean a sacrifice in graphics quality. 

The Series X is also armed with an 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU, which works at a speed of 3.8GHz. With a faster processor and clock speed, the Xbox Series X has noticeably quicker loading times than that of the Xbox One. When running a title like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, my Xbox One would struggle, very loudly, for around 30 seconds before the title screen began to load. When launching The Elders Scrolls V on the Series X, that time was reduced to around the 5 second mark. This showcases the power of going from an older HDD to a dedicated NVMe SSD. 

When running Starfield on the Series X, we tested its framerate at 4K graphics. During open-world exploration, the graphics remained fairly consistent without any display faults, lag or screen tearing, that I noticed, and the framerate remained consistently around the 30fps mark, occasionally dropping to 28fps during combat or in graphically “busy” areas, i.e around fire or smoke. A framerate of 28fps doesn’t sound as impressive as 120fps, which the Xbox Series X does have the capability to reach in certain titles, but during my Starfield gameplay the graphical prowess of the Series X meant the resolution  This was with the graphics settings maxed and monitored using Xbox Game Bar’s overlay. The game is capped at 30fps on console after all. 

A game I was excited to put to the test was The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. Having played this on my Xbox One, where it comfortably managed 1080p at 30fps, I was eager to see the graphics upgrade the Series X promises. Capable of running at 1440p 30fps with Ray Tracing, which offers a crisp framerate of up to 60fps, the quality of the display is pretty good, but you do lose some of the clear and defined details in your gameplay. Changing the graphics settings to Performance mode is where we see The Witcher 3 in 4K at 60fps, which feels like an entirely different game to that I remember playing on the Xbox One. The Performance mode reduces the somewhat off-putting, vibrant colors that aren’t entirely realistic, as well as softens the lighting and brightness for a more lifelike and immersive playthrough. 

Lastly, I took a look at the remake of 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. One of the most popular games available on Game Pass, this title has been optimized to the standard of recent blockbuster-titles, so you no longer have to sacrifice modern graphics for the quality of the late 90s. When compared to gameplay on the PS5, which managed 4K at a framerate of about 115fps, we found the Xbox Series X kept a higher framerate, just reaching the enticing 120fps while maintaining 4K graphics.

The lowest we saw the Series X getting was a drop to 100fps, mostly during combat, which is hard to call disappointing. For reference, when running my copy of Outlast, an action-reliant horror game produced for the Xbox One, the game ran at a maximum resolution of 1080p, with framerate aspirations of around 60fps. So for a classic horror game, from days gone by, it was a great experience to play a twenty-year old game at a high framerate while maintaining up to 4K graphics. Not to mention, it’s available at no extra cost if you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription.

On the desk sits a black computer.
Xbox Series X in front of a PC (Image by VideoGamer / Meg Coon)

Should you buy the Xbox Series X?

Overall, the Xbox Series X has impressive graphical prowess and is a powerhouse of a console, offering high framerates without sacrificing resolution. The redesign gives the Series X a sleek and modern finish, veering from the previous designs of the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, while remaining aesthetically pleasing and on-brand. The redesign also sees fan placement changes which help to combat the heat generation of the Series X, which is unchanged from its Xbox One predecessor. The controllers have also seen a redesign but have not changed drastically, so if you are familiar with Xbox accessories, slipping back into gaming shouldn’t be difficult. 

Yes the Series X has a comparatively high price tag if you’re on a strict budget, but it is a powerful machine capable of delivering up to 4K graphics for nearly half the price of graphics cards capable of producing the same quality, making it a cheaper investment than building your own gaming PC. It also works out cheaper in the long run with its exclusive access to the Xbox Game Pass subscription, which gives you hundreds of titles for a monthly fee, games which have been optimized for the best experience for Xbox players. 

The Series X also supports any discs you may have collected over the years, reducing the cost of repurchasing your favorite titles to be compatible with the new console. Waiting for Prime Day or Black Friday may be a great idea if you’re not in a position to spend nearly $500, but I would suggest this console to anyone wanting to upgrade their hardware to a console that I would say is great value for money. 

Overall, the Xbox Series X has impressive graphical prowess and is a powerhouse of a console, offering high framerates without sacrificing resolution. The redesign gives the Series X a sleek and modern finish, veering from the previous designs of the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, while remaining aesthetically pleasing and on-brand. The redesign also sees fan placement changes which help to combat the heat generation of the Series X, which is unchanged from its Xbox One predecessor. The controllers have also seen a redesign but have not changed drastically, so if you are familiar with Xbox accessories, slipping back into gaming shouldn’t be difficult. 

Yes the Series X has a comparatively high price tag if you’re on a strict budget, but it is a powerful machine capable of delivering up to 4K graphics for nearly half the price of graphics cards capable of producing the same quality, making it a cheaper investment than building your own gaming PC. It also works out cheaper in the long run with its exclusive access to the Xbox Game Pass subscription, which gives you hundreds of titles for a monthly fee, games which have been optimized for the best experience for Xbox players. 

The Series X also supports any discs you may have collected over the years, reducing the cost of repurchasing your favorite titles to be compatible with the new console. Waiting for Prime Day or Black Friday may be a great idea if you’re not in a position to spend nearly $500, but I would suggest this console to anyone wanting to upgrade their hardware to a console that I would say is great value for money. 

About the Author

Meghan Coon

Meghan Coon is a Tech & Hardware Writer for Videogamer

xbox series x review

verdict

I would recommend an Xbox Series X to anyone looking for a robust console capable of supporting up to 4K graphics, while maintaining comparatively high framerates even in demanding titles. The only problem with the Series X is more of a problem with consoles in general, which Microsoft seems to be moving towards amending with hints at a new generation of Xbox hopefully on its way; you are restricted to games that are supported on Xbox with few exclusives to speak of. However, you're in prime position with Xbox Game Pass' incredible value for money, so it shouldn't be too big a blow.
8 Back compatibility allows you to use Xbox discs from past generation consoles Capable of running up to 4K at 60fps Access to Xbox Game Pass' stellar game library Has all the power of a a mid-range GPU without the high cost Price has remained the same as MSRP since its release The Xbox Series X has few exclusives with everything coming to PC