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Xbox Series X and Series S review: no-nonsense, next-generation gaming

They’re superfast, they’re frictionless and you get access to Xbox Game Pass. But not much else, from the controller to the interface, has changed – and launching without a single new game is just bizarre

The world was a different place in 2013, when Microsoft launched the Xbox One. Back then, the company was pitching consoles as living-room entertainment centres, with picture-in-picture display and built-in Skype and TV integration. The new Xbox models – the Series X and Series S – are comparatively no-nonsense. They’re powerful, fast, home to the good-value Xbox Game Pass subscription, and make playing games as frictionless as possible. Rather than making a statement, the new Xboxes want to get out of your way.

The Series X, the more powerful model, is a black monolith with green detailing on the top vent. (It won’t win any design awards.) The more eye-catching Series S is a slimmer white machine with a contrasting round black vent. The X has a disc drive, 1TB of storage for downloaded games and the ability to output in true 4K resolution on cutting-edge TVs; the S has no disc drive, 512GB of storage and is optimised for 1440p resolution. You would need a cutting edge 4K television to benefit from the X’s superior visual prowess. On the TVs that most people own, there won’t be much of a difference in what you see on screen.

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