Xbox Series S/X and PS5: Specs and Features

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Alexander Gray

Both Xbox and PlayStation have released their new next-gen consoles. (Photo courtesy, Alexander Gray)

With the releases of the new next-generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles, we can now inform you of the features and the performance of each console.

This generation, we are starting with four consoles total, the Xbox Series S ($299), Xbox Series X ($499), PlayStation 5 ($499), and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition ($399). All consoles support 4K, 120fps (frames per second), ray-tracing support (in-game lighting that mimics the real-world properties of light), and HDR. 

“Ray-Tracing is amazing, but I don’t like how you have to move the frames down to get a better resolution,” said junior, Miles Holmes

The Series X and PlayStation 5 will support physical games (discs) and digital games, unlike the Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition which only supports digital games, requiring you to buy games from the Microsoft and PlayStation stores respectively. 

Storage-wise, the Series X comes with 1TB, the Series S comes with 500GB, and both of the PlayStations come with 825GB. It’s important to keep in mind that the operating system for the consoles takes up the storage, so usable storage will be less than the labeled storage. You may want to grab an external SSD (solid-state drive, digital storage which is faster than a hard disc drive (HDD)) for the new consoles, especially if you’re interested in the Series S since it only comes with 364GB usable storage. For reference, the new Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War has a 190GB install size, which is a little over half of the usable storage on the Series S.

In speaking of SSD, the new Seagate storage expansion cards for the Xbox Series S and X are ridiculously overpriced. Just a single 1TB SSD memory card will set you back $219.99. Sure, it’s faster than other external options, but why that much for an SSD when there are others out there that come with more storage. Also, don’t expect to install next-gen games on those external drives. As it currently stands, both PlayStation and Xbox do not support the playing of next-gen games on external storage; however, you can play last-gen games that are installed under the external storage. Unlike PlayStation, Xbox does support the install and transfer of next-gen games via external drives between consoles. Support for next-gen games on external storage will be added in the future.

“I found it a little confusing why they didn’t add support before the launch,” said Logan Gray.

Photo from Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War running on the Xbox Series X. (Photo courtesy Alexander Gray)
(Alexander Gray)

When it comes to exclusive launch titles, PlayStation has the upper hand. The launch titles for the PlayStation 5 includes Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon Souls, Godfall, Bugsnax, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. With the Series X and S, they are lacking new exclusive launch titles. The flagship launch title, Halo: Infinite ended up being delayed, so the only game that ended up coming out on launch day was Gears Tactics, a turn-based strategy. Other than that though, the studios as Xbox have been enhancing games for the Series S/X, adding ray-tracing, 4K support, and support for 120 fps. Current Series S/X enhanced titles include Gears 5, Gears Tactics, Forza Horizon 4, Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, and many other titles.

“Sony has all the games, so that’s why I have to be loyal to PlayStation,” said Gray.

Photo of both the new PlayStation 5 DualSense controller and new Xbox Series S/X controller. (Photo courtesy, Alexander Gray)
(Alexander Gray)

With the new consoles, we have also seen some redesigns to the controllers, with the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller seeing the biggest changes from its predecessor, the Dual Shock 4. The DualSense controller’s features include haptic feedback, a built-in mic, and adaptive triggers, along with the speaker, motion sensor, and built-in battery from the DualShock 4 controllers. The Xbox controller only had a few modifications with the shape of the controller, the D-Pad, and the addition of a share button. Both controllers however contain a USB-C port for tethered connections to the consoles.

“The PS5 controller is a lot bigger than the PS4 controller, but I like the adaptive triggers,” said Homles.

While Playstation has the upper hand in exclusives and controllers, Xbox has the upper hand in features. Both the new Xbox Series S and Series X come with three new features, Auto HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Quick Resume. Auto HDR expands the color range of all games on the new consoles, even if those games don’t natively support HDR. Then there’s Quick Resume, which lets you jump off and on games, right where you last left off from, and it is relatively fast too. No more having to go through the main menu and select which save to load up. And finally, there is Smart Delivery, which ensures you have the correct version of your game for the current generation. If you upgrade from a last-gen console, you will be given an upgraded title at no additional cost.

So, now that you know some information about the consoles, where can you find them? All I can say is happy hunting because as of this moment, they’re sold out. They will most likely have the consoles back in stock sometime before the year ends though, so keep an eye out for the new consoles.