Xbox Series X
Engadget

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.


We have an unboxing and an advance review of the Xbox Series X, the next generation gaming console coming from Microsoft on November 10.

The Xbox Series X is the higher-end model of the two new Xboxes that Microsoft is launching simultaneously. It's a rugged, box-shaped console designed from the standpoint of quietness and cooling, with high performance including 4K120fps, ray tracing, and 12TFLOPS of graphics processing power, as well as the compatibility of the self-proclaimed "fourth-generation console"*.

While the PS5 is compatible with the current PS4 and appeals to new experiences not found in the previous generation, such as the unique new DualSense controller, the Xbox Series X and S features such as Quick Resume, which lets you pause and resume multiple games, as well as smooth, high-definition resolution for older and current-gen games, positioning them as the most comfortable way to play past legacies and future new releases, and the best way to enjoy the Xbox Game Pass all-you-can-play service.

*The "compatibility" from the first generation to the 360-generation is basically a whitelist formula of only titles that have been verified and converted by Microsoft, not all of them.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

Compared to the PS5 box, the height and width are quite small, but the depth (thickness) is large, and the ratio is the same as the shape of the console itself.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

Series X logo and 1TB SSD notation. Only the 1TB model will be available at launch.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

The sides of the box show off the design and performance: 4K 120FPS, up to 8K HDR, "Velocity Architecture" with storage and memory controllers and DirectStorage APIs for fast loading, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) to match TVs to fast gaming monitors, 1 TB SSD, etc.

Aside from 4K 60fps, we thought that 120fps was "on spec", but games of their own, such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Gears 5's competitive mode, which can be thanked for high frame rates above 60 and low latency (low latency), have already been announced to be 120 fps support.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

The back of the box features an Xbox sign, the back of the Halo series' protagonist, Master Chief. The new game, which has been a long time coming, was supposed to be released at the same time as the console, but has been pushed back to 2021 and not in time. Get here before it's too late, Chief! (And he is treated as a savior in the play.)

Halo Infinite delayed to 2021, misses Xbox Series X launch simultaneously

Xbox Series X
Engadget

I got myself together and opened it. It's not a simple package that feels like you're pulling it out, but rather, it's designed to be opened with a snap, like a treasure chest.

The black mass of intense presence and the familiar catchphrase "JUMP IN" on the strip. JUMP IN!

Xbox Series X
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On the strip that you'll inevitably have to remove first to get the device out, you'll find the name of each part, the connection instructions, and the QR code for the setup app.

With the iOS / Android Xbox app, you can complete the setup and account syncing process without the stress of entering your login information and password using the controller.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

Black coffin-like body. Black packaging.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

When you're guided through the opening and open the package as if you're "peeling off a gift wrapper," you'll be treated to this green exhaust grille, an iconic Xbox Series X console design feature.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

Boom!

Xbox Series X
Engadget

HDMI 2.1 cable, power cable, and controller are in the small box at the back of the console.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

Xbox Series X
Engadget

Extra. There is a slot in the back for an optional SSD expansion card to be inserted into the rear of the console, and you can use USB connected SSDs and HDDs, and if you connect the one used in the Xbox One generation as it is, you can play with it. However, the speed depends on the SSD or HDD side, so it's not so fast.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

The optional SSD card is fully compatible with the "Velocity Architecture", which integrates the memory, controller, and storage of the unit to gain speed, and features the same speed as the internal storage.

If you don't mind a lower speed, you can use the USB SSD in combination with the unit's 1TB SSD to store the games you normally play, and then save the games you don't play often but don't want to re-download to an external SSD. We pray that the genuine SSD will be reduced in price by the change of the market environment sooner or later.

Xbox Series X
Engadget

For now, I'll briefly give my impressions of the Xbox Series X. This is a preliminary judgment using only part of a version that is not yet in production.

Surprisingly quiet. The sound component is calm.

  • Eerily quiet in standby or at low loads. The Xbox series was highly regarded for its quietness at the time of the current Xbox One X, but the Series X is even quieter.

  • As an active air-cooling system, of course, there is a sound of fans spinning and blowing air, and to say it's "silent" would be an exaggeration, but whether it's due to the solid silent design of the 13cm aperture fan, the ability to generate airflow even at low speeds, or the overall thermal design, the only sound is a low blowing sound that you can barely hear if you listen closely in a normally quiet room.

  • The level of noise is so low that you can barely hear if the unit is running or off by putting your ear close to it. Unless you're under a high load, you can barely hear it unless you go out to listen very close or stop the background noise in the room and listen carefully.

  • When I stopped a fairly quiet desktop PC that I normally leave on and don't care about, I could barely hear the low sound and it was the background noise coming from a slightly opened window (in a residential area at night).

  • However, this could be due to the fact that there isn't a lot of software that is at maximum load yet. In high-load situations with the pre-release Xbox Series X optimized software, of course, the fans go all out and blow hot air.

  • Even when the fan noise is normal under high load, it is low and hard to notice, with little wind noise, sudden changes in sound, high-pitched components, and resonant sounds that are hard to hear. Rather than quietness at low loads, we like the fact that there are fewer unpleasant sounds even at this high load.

  • According to Microsoft's unit designers, the targeted noise level itself is the same as the Xbox One X. However, by tuning the components of the sound generated, the company has aimed to make the same airflow and cooling performance more unpleasant to the ears.

Comfortable with Quick Resume

  • After playing through the game, the "Quick Resume", which sounds like a modest sales pitch, is really pleasant.

  • Quick Resume is a technology that doesn't quit when you switch games, but instead saves the memory state to storage and then returns to the point where you left off next time. It's a per-game hibernation, a sort of state save that saves to the SSD.

  • While the game launch itself is faster since it's a next-gen console, it's still infinitely more comfortable to "suddenly start where you were playing" because cold booting interrupts things that can't be skipped, such as the publisher's animation logo, the developer's logo, the game engine's splash screen, the don't steal game warning screen, etc., and the "campaign/competition" and "continue/new game" selections occur.

  • Although Microsoft has boasted that it switches "in an instant" in traditional demos, "an instant" is either an exaggeration or only for certain games, by all accounts. I've tried it on various next-gen and older games, and the standard switching time is about 12 to 16 seconds. There is a wait while watching the screen. Still, it's clearly more comfortable than loading from the startup screen. Depending on the game and the situation, it can be faster than 10 seconds.

  • However, since it's a new feature, some games may behave strangely or not support it. Games seem to recognize that it's the resume of the previous generation consoles, and basically all games are supported, but if you play an online game that requires you to connect to the game company's server, for example, when you return to the game after a long time with Quick Resume, of course, the session has been cut off and you're back in the lobby, or there can be a loss of unsaved progression that isn't auto-saved. Microsoft is working with developers on how to deal with these cases.

Compatibility benefits both current and previous generations

  • Excellent compatibility with current generation games that you regularly play now, as well as 360 generation games that you forgot about. Many current-generation titles are more comfortable with improved internal rendering resolution and frame rate even without optimization.

  • In particular, games that choose between "4K high-resolution graphics priority mode or full HD and smooth frame rate priority mode" for Xbox One X / PS4 Pro are often smoother than Xbox One X in 4K mode, which makes us appreciate the next generation. For example, Monster Hunter World.

  • On the other hand, if the game is locked at 30fps and the current generation of games had a decent frame rate, it's only as effective as sticking to 30fps.

  • Games from the Xbox 360 era, if you fire up the console now, the polygon games look particularly coarse and the colors look fuzzy, we realize the beautifying effect of memory, the Series X uses a mysterious technology to bring the game to 4K HDR. The high-resolution textures that were only visible in the original game when the camera was up close are used in the distant scenes as well, making it look like a 4K remastered version of the game, even if the remastered version of the game is not available or has no hope of being released. Even older generation games are more comfortable with reduced in-game load times.

Microsoft has said that "gamers are the main focus, we won't force people to switch to next-gen consoles", and for its own titles during the generational shift, it's making sure that they run on Xbox One without exclusivity to get people to buy next-gen consoles. And it has professed a PC game-like approach to next-gen consoles, with more comfortable 4K assets, layouts, and higher frame rates.

The console's UX also has next-gen-only features such as Quick Resume, but the look and feel are consistent with the current generation and mobile apps, so it doesn't feel much like a completely different next generation. The controller is still easy to use with the traditional design, with more non-slip grip and triggers, slightly smaller and easier to hold, and only a new share button added. There are no features like an entirely new variable resistance trigger.

However, when you actually use it regularly, it's really comfortable in terms of practicality, with its quietness that doesn't bother you even if you leave it on, its ability to handle "ultra" settings on a PC with ease, and its quick resume, which means you can play games at the same time and not have to wait too long.

With the Xbox One generation, the Xbox's presence in Japan was drastically reduced and it was the kind of console that people who loved it so much would choose out of sheer determination. But these days, with games from domestic publishers now supporting multiple platforms and fewer tragedies of being left behind, Game Pass is now available in Japan, and xCloud is scheduled to launch next year, this generation seems to have thawed out of its ice age.


This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.