Today's launch of Xbox Series X and Series S marks the official start to the next console generation. Here is practical information along with tips and other details.
Microsoft has two new consoles in black and white, respectively. Unlike Sony's PlayStation 5, there are several hardware differences besides the built-in disc drive (UHD Blu-ray). Specifications below.
Xbox Series S costs $300/€300 and Xbox Series X costs $500/€500. For more information on pricing and launch dates in various regions check here.
Series X is optimized for 4K gaming, whereas Series S is optimized for 1080p/1440p gaming. Both consoles support HDR10 and Dolby Vision (no Dolby Vision for UHD Blu-ray), and Dolby Atmos audio. In 2021, Microsoft will for the first time add support for Dolby Vision + Atmos gaming. Support for 8K will be added via a later firmware update but do not expect 8K in games. For the first time, Xbox now also supports ray-tracing for more realistic lighting and reflections.
HDMI 2.1 features
The HDMI 2.1 port outputs 4K at up to 120fps (frames per second) but it will depend on the specific game. There is VRR support for smoother gameplay, but it will again depend on the game. ALLM can automatically switch your TV into Game mode. All these features require that your TV supports HDMI 2.1 too.
Both consoles are backwards compatible with games from all previous Xbox generations meaning that you can play these games; possibly in higher resolution and frame rate (if the game has unlocked resolution/framerate). However, games must be optimized for Series X/S if you want to enjoy next-gen graphics. Look for the logos.
Some next-gen games will be more expensive ($70 / €80). On the other hand Microsoft's subscription game service, Game Pass Ultimate ($15/month), will today get an expanded game library with EA Play as well as other titles in the near future.