I've been using the R12,000 new Xbox Series X for 2 weeks - it's fast and slick
- On November 10, two new Xbox consoles are scheduled to launch: The R6,999 Xbox Series S, and the R11,999 Xbox Series X.
- Though both consoles are capable of powering so-called "next-gen" games, the latter is more powerful and capable of powering higher resolution graphics.
- I've spent the last two weeks using the more powerful of the two next-gen Xbox consoles, and I'm happy to report that it's a sleek, modern-feeling console.
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Seven years after the ill-fated launch of the Xbox One, Microsoft is about to launch a new video game console that far better represents the vision of the Xbox.
I've spent the last two weeks using the R11 999, next-gen Xbox Series X — the more powerful of two new Xbox consoles that are scheduled to launch on November 10 in South Africa. It's a fast, sleek, modern-feeling console with a ton of power.
But you expect that much, right? We're talking about a R11,999 video game console in the year 2020. It better be fast and sleek and quiet and powerful.
What's been most critical to me as a daily user has been how easy it is to use the Series X. Nearly everything about how the console operates is an invitation to action.
Menus are snappy, and jumping from game to streaming app to game is a breeze. When you need to load a game or an app, they tend to load very fast. This last point cannot be overstressed: Game loads on the Series X are very fast. And load times within games — say, if you're killed by demons in "DOOM Eternal" or get beat up by some jerk in "Yakuza: Like a Dragon" — are even faster.
Not since game consoles switched to wireless controllers have I felt such a major change. Load times still exist, but they're minimized to such a point as to render loading screens comical. Outside of booting a game from zero, most game loads I've experienced on the Series X are below 10 seconds.
It sounds banal, and it is, but it's also a precious gift: Reclaimed time! That philosophy seemingly applies across the board with the next-gen Xbox.
If you're at all familiar with the operating system on the Xbox One, you'll be immediately familiar with the next-gen Xbox OS — it's more or less identical, but significantly faster. Jumping from the Home screen to the Xbox Store to a game is a near-instant process. It feels more like switching between apps on a smartphone than switching between software on a game console.
Notably, you probably won't be loading that many things from zero because of Quick Resume — a feature that keeps several of your most recent games/apps running, accessible from wherever you left off.
Think of Quick Resume kind of like a game save, but one that doesn't need to be loaded: You turn on the console, select the game you want to play, and jump back in right where you last were. This works for several games at once, and includes games from previous generations as well as new games made for next-gen consoles.
All of that said, what matters most about any new game console is what the experience is like playing games. There is no new "Halo" game to discuss here (that was delayed), nor is there any other monumental "must play" launch game that I've been spending time with.
Instead, I've been playing a few next-gen launch games ("Dirt 5" and "Yakuza: Like a Dragon"), and a smattering of games from the Xbox 360 and Xbox One generations. There are no huge revelations or precedent-setting changes to report here: Games on the Series X play as they did on the prior generations, albeit with much faster loads and occasionally improved visuals.
Even the controller is functionally the same — though much nicer to use.
In regards to visuals, I didn't see a huge difference between the Series X's and the current generation consoles'. I have a 4K TV with HDR support, and games from current generation consoles look great on it. Hell, Nintendo Switch games look great on it. Games on the Series X also look great on it, but not noticeably better.
Admittedly, I'm not a pixel peeper or a frame counter, and if you're looking for more on those details I'd suggest checking out Digital Foundry's excellent coverage.
My overall experience with the Xbox Series X has been overwhelmingly positive, and more reassuring than ever that Microsoft is back on solid footing with the Xbox console line. Whether or not I would suggest someone buy the new console remains to be seen, and I'll be putting the Series X through its paces in the weeks to come. We'll have a full review ahead of the console's launch on November 10.
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