Xbox Series X / S vs PlayStation 5: Our Verdict of Launch Month

Zoom in / LR: Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series S.

Sam Machkovech

Although this year’s newest consoles have been on store shelves for less than two weeks, we’ve already published tens of thousands of words about the Xbox Series X / S and PlayStation 5. Between Months From Technique Previews, Full of pictures unboxings, comprehensive review, coverage From Some From Larger release Games and MoreThen you can spend the whole day doing anything but reading our detailed thoughts on new Sony and Microsoft controllers. If you don’t have the time for all of that, we understand. This is why we’ve put together this practical summary that directly compares the most important features of both systems. Ultimately, we hope you know if it’s time to upgrade your console, and which path to take if it is.

Hardware design

Both the PS5 ($ 499 with a drive, $ 399 without it) and Xbox Series X ($ 499) are really big. The X-Series stuns as a compact, cube-shaped, with at least 6 inches of clearance on either side – making it a nightmare for the average entertainment center shelves. The PS5 gets a minimum clearance of 4.25 inches, but that comes at the cost of being 50 percent larger than the X Series in terms of overall size. Once you find a place to place either, the other differences boil down to your aesthetic preferences: Black stack with moderate green accentsor Zigzag tower with a spout collar?

Both are quiet (except for discs spinning in drives) but the PS5 has noticeable slight fan noise, while the Xbox Series X is literally quiet. Although we have seen reports of “file status” affecting some PS5 customers, we have not been able to replicate this noise issue.

While the cooling systems for these controllers are not identical, their silicon construction is similar enough to explain why they extract very similar amounts of energy. They have a maximum limit of approximately 205 watts in next-gen games, although they come close to 190 watts on average.

Meanwhile, the Xbox Series S ($ 299) is as quiet as its Series X sibling (due to, among other things, an identical 12-inch fan system), while shrinking to a form factor on par with the 2017 Xbox One X. We sat with her, the more we liked his “Bluetooth Speaker” design for a black ring on an otherwise white box – especially when it’s slotted into a crowded entertainment center. Its power draw is also impressive, with only 90 watts of the highest graphic console games.

Hardware power

Put aside all the talk of GCN compute units, RDNA 2 cores, Zen 2 Jaguar cores, and the like. When it comes to playing real games, the Xbox Series X and PS5 are practically indistinguishable. The third-party addresses available on both platforms look almost the same, and you’ll be hard-pressed to choose one over the other on blind tests.

Energy use of the X series
Resting mode16-30.5W
Rest Mode (With Download)33-55W
Idle in the menu62 watts
Netflix64 watts
4K Blu-ray playback64-76W
Gameplay (Spelunky X360)101-104 watts
Gameplay (Gears 5 XSX)170-198 watts
Install Dark Souls II from disc70 – 71.5W
Playing Dark Souls II (with a disc in the drive)103-105 watts
S-series energy use.
Resting mode8.6-17.5W
Rest Mode (With Download)16-18 watts
Idle in the menu31W
Netflix40 watts
4K Blu-ray playbacknot available
Gameplay (Spelunky X360)53W
Gameplay (Gears 5 XSS)50-85 watts
Install Dark Souls II from discnot available

Only one heading proves an exception at this point: Assassins Creed Valhalla. While the PS5 and Xbox Series X both target identical graphics settings and resolutions not at 4K (and they look good doing it), their Series X version is currently struggling to lock at 60 frames per second as does the PlayStation 5. That’s not enough data to announce that the PS5 is. It is the “most powerful” console, and we’ll come back to that question as we compare more third-party games in the coming months.

Compared to their predecessors, the games on the new consoles look better, as they benefit from higher resolution and graphic technologies such as Ray tracing (This is especially noted in meditations.) But depending on the game, the increase in accuracy is more marginal than you might expect for a $ 500 upgrade. The seven-year-old devices Sony and Microsoft are looking to replace have fared better than you expected, and the mid-generation upgrades released in 2016 and 2017 continue to hold up pretty well.

Where you will see a huge jump for 2020 controllers in frame rates. Games like Yakuza: Like a dragon, Spider-Man: Miles MoralesAnd and Assassins Creed Valhalla They look exactly the same when comparing screenshots across “last generation” and “next generation” systems. But the elevation from 30fps on older consoles to 60fps on newer consoles makes a big difference when watching these games in action.

PS5 power use
Resting mode28-32W
Rest Mode (With Download)42-45 watts
Idle in the menu67W
Netflix71-73W
4K Blu-ray playback76-79W
Gameplay (Downwell PS4)70-76W
Gameplay (Tony Hawk 1 + 2 PS4)116-130 watts
Gameplay (Miles Morales PS5)156-205 watts
Install Knack from disk124 – 134W
Playing Talent (with a disc in the drive)116-127 watts

In the case of some games like The PS5-exclusive adventure Demon souls, The extra 60 fps fluidity contributes to the atmosphere in incredible ways. But even this game is mechanically identical to its source, which dates back to PS3. And another exclusive from Sony, surprisingly charming Sackboy: Great Adventure, So similar between the PS4 and PS5 versions that we’d recommend anyone who loses a new console to rush to play that family-friendly game on their last-gen device.

All new consoles have extremely fast load times, thanks to the PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage standard. It’s not quite a return to the “hit power and get right in” days of cartridge games, but it’s close.

The PS5 appears to have a load time edge in some cases (like the aforementioned Assassins Creed Valhalla), But differences across next-generation controllers are slight at this point. Meanwhile, Xbox Series has Xbox Quick Resume features, enabling near-instant switching from game to game. On the PS5, you have to endure a (fast) loading from the main menu when switching to a new title, rather than resuming directly where you left off.

As of the time of publication, though, some X / S series games are choking on this quick resume feature. Hopefully, Xbox will fix those edge cases soon, because even with faster storage, the PS5 feels sluggish compared to without its own version of Quick Resume.

One important note: Xbox Series S was announced to be able to play Series X games up to 4K, and it has only been downsized to resolutions from 1080p to 1440p. In practice, this sales offering is somewhat misleading, as the visual reductions from X to S also include reductions in shadow resolution, LoD metering, ambient closing, and other features, depending on the game. For the most part, we saw identical frame rates between the X Series and Series S, which is arguably a bigger deal, however Assassins Creed Valhalla It remains a stark exception: only 30fps on the S-Series, compared to 60fps on the X-Series. Until we compare more next-gen X / S Series games, this issue remains a huge star mark for the S-series.

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