Xbox Series X Hands-On Round-Up: ‘Quiet as hell’ and a ‘noticeable upgrade’ Xbox Series X Hands-On Round-Up: ‘Quiet as hell’ and a ‘noticeable upgrade’
Microsoft has already started shipping the Series X out to select journalists across North America and Europe, and so we now have our very... Xbox Series X Hands-On Round-Up: ‘Quiet as hell’ and a ‘noticeable upgrade’

We’re just over a month out until the Xbox Series X is launched alongside its smaller sibling in the Series S. Much of the hype is undoubtedly focused on the former, with pre-order bungles leading to many gamers unfortunately missing out on a launch console.

The hype is still very much there, however, even in the face of a not-so-pleasant pre-order experience, and Microsoft has already started shipping the Series X out to select journalists across North America and Europe, and so we now have our very first-hand look at the best the console has to offer. Here’s what those lucky enough to receive an early Xbox Series X have to say.

xbox series x hands on

Yahoo! News

  • The Xbox Series X is zippy. That’s the word that stands out in my mind as I bounce among several active games via quick resume, die and respawn in under 10 seconds or load up an HDR version of an old favorite. Zip, zip, zip.

On Backwards Compatibility

  • In my experience, backward compatible games on Xbox Series X load three to four times faster than their Xbox One counterparts. Take Remedy’s Control, for example — booting up a scene on Xbox One takes 30 to 38 seconds, while the same scene on Series X consistently takes just 9 seconds, 10 at the most. This ratio rings true for most games I’ve tested, and it’s significantly changed the way I interact with the new console overall.

xbox series x hands on

On Quick Resume

  • This might be the coolest software feature of the Xbox Series X.
  • Quick resume allows players to toggle between several active games at once, rather than having to close out one title before loading another.
  • In my experience, games load between five and ten seconds, and my character is always exactly where I left them.

On the controller

  • It’s essentially an Xbox One controller, with a nod to the Elite in the D-pad, an extra share button and a flat face. For seasoned Xbox players, this one will feel like home.

On the hardware

  • The Series X looks nothing like Microsoft’s previous consoles. It’s a rectangular, black prism that stands at just under a foot tall, and about half as wide and deep. It has a trypophobic top highlighted in green, and a friendly, glowing Xbox logo in the upper left corner. Most importantly though, it actually looks great in a living room. It can be laid on its side for horizontal shelving, but I happen to like the tall-and-proud look. 
  • And so far, it’s quiet as hell.

xbox series x hands on

The Verge

On load times

  • The most significant and obvious improvement with existing games on the Xbox Series X is the massive changes to load times. I noticed load times drop in pretty much every single game I’ve tested over the past week. Games like Sea of Thieves, Warframe, and Destiny 2 have their load times cut by up to a minute or more on the Series X.
  • In Destiny 2, for example, I can now load into a planet in the game in around 30 seconds, compared to over a minute later on an Xbox One X and nearly two minutes in total on a standard Xbox One

On game performance

  • Not only do games load faster, but in many cases they also feel a lot smoother. 
  • Destiny 2 is a great example of a game that was held back by the weaker CPU and slow HDD in the Xbox One X. It’s a title that hit native 4K previously, but the 6 teraflops of GPU performance in the One X was bottlenecked by a laptop-like CPU and an old spinning hard disk. This meant the game was stuck on 30fps.

xbox series x hands on

On Quick Resume

  • It takes around five seconds to resume games where you left off, and I was able to switch between five games easily.
  • I even rebooted the Xbox Series X for an update and all of the games still quickly resumed. Most games I tested worked flawlessly with Quick Resume, but some aren’t supported.

On hardware performance

  • The Xbox Series X felt like I was playing on a familiar Xbox that’s a lot faster and more capable.
  • For running my existing Xbox games, the Series X feels like I’ve just upgraded my iPhone— everything feels smoother and faster
  • These games aren’t even optimized for the console and they’re already running better, so I’m excited to see what truly optimized games will offer in the coming weeks.

Gamespot

On backwards compatibility

  • In Final Fantasy XV, I enabled “Lite” mode in the enhancement options, which is also available on the Xbox One X. This prioritizes framerate, allowing the game to run up to 60 FPS with a few graphical compromises. On the Xbox One X, the game would often drop below 60 FPS. With the Xbox Series X, from what I can tell, the game ran at a consistent 60 FPS the entire time.

On hardware performance

  • On the topic of backwards compatibility, you’ll be happy to know that first-party games will support cross-gen multiplayer. I can confirm this from my time playing competitive matches in Halo 5 online using the Series X.

xbox series x hands on

On load times

  • Simply put, the Xbox Series X loads games much, much faster than the Xbox One X.
  • The Xbox Series X cuts down on initial load times by 70-80% of the time it takes for the Xbox One X. 

On the hardware

  • The new controller offers some subtle, but noticeable improvements over the current Xbox controllers.
  • It certainly towers over the other current-gen consoles in terms of height, whether you stand it up vertically or lay it sideways.

Venture Beat

On the design

  • The Xbox Series X is handsome, and I mean that in a modern sense.
  • Once you do get the Xbox Series X set up, it’s mostly going to blend in with everything else in your home.

On the controller

  • The new Xbox controller is basically the old Xbox controller. 
  • I don’t think this controller is that much heavier than the most recent Xbox controller revision. The difference is in the weight distribution. Microsoft put all of the mass into the grips of the controller, and it feels wonderful.

xbox series x hands on

On loading times

  • It is a very noticeable upgrade when launching and loading backward-compatible games.
  • My No Man’s Sky save loaded in nearly 30 seconds on the Xbox Series X. On the One X, it loaded in 1 minute and 19 seconds.

On the hardware

  • This is the console we should have had years ago

What are your thoughts on the above and are you getting an Xbox Series X? Sound off in the comments below!

Gaetano Prestia Editor in Chief

Founder of Fenix Bazaar, and Aussie games industry veteran, formerly of MMGN.com and NineMSN. Way too invested into the Xbox ecosystem to look back now. I am Xbot. Resistance is futile. GT: BalladOfGaetano