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Everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X

Our guide to Microsoft's X-tremely powerful flagship console.

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The Xbox Series X has been out since 2020 if you can believe it. But the most powerful gaming console Microsoft’s ever made still has a lot going for it in 2024. Especially with the huge catalogue of epic Xbox games you can now play.

If you're looking to level up from your Xbox One to the latest system, want to kick off your gaming adventure on one of the best consoles around, or have a Series X you just want to learn more about — you’ve landed at the right place. That’s because we’ve answered some of the most asked Xbox Series X questions out there in this extensive guide.

We’ve also compared the Series X’s features and specs against the budget-friendly Xbox Series S, so you can decide which machine suits you best. Game on!

That’s right. There's not just one type of next-gen Xbox out there — there's two! While the Series X might be the one most people have heard of, the smaller Xbox Series S is no slouch and still gives you incredible performance but for a lot less money.

Let's find out what each of these Microsoft Xbox consoles offers and what sets them apart...

The Series X is Microsoft's flagship gaming console and the successor to their Xbox One X. With a whopping 12 teraflops of processing power under its hood and even more improved hardware, the Xbox Series X delivers rapid load times, stunning graphics, and ultra-smooth gameplay. This, coupled with its support for true 4K gaming, makes it pretty future proof too!

But one of the coolest things about the Xbox Series X is its backwards compatibility. Meaning you can play thousands of games from your Xbox One, Xbox 360, and even the original Xbox on the Series X. All with enhanced visuals and performance thanks to Xbox Smart Delivery.

Then there’s Xbox Game Pass, which lets you access an enormous library of games for a monthly subscription fee. Making it even easier to dive into your old favourites and play brand new titles — even on the day they're released. Or unlock more with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to get Xbox Live Gold online multiplayer and Xbox Cloud Gaming access. This allows you to stream Xbox games on other devices like your phone, tablet, or PC — so you can keep playing on the go!

And how can we forget Quick Resume? This is a really handy feature that lets you switch between your favourite games in seconds and pick up exactly where you left off when you boot up next time. Then when it’s time to kick back after a marathon gaming session, just put a blockbuster Blu-ray into the disc drive and watch all the action unfold in glorious 4K Ultra HD.

The Xbox Series S is basically a more affordable version of the Series X that makes next-gen gaming accessible. It can run all the same games, but as it's an all-digital console without a disc drive, you have to download them from the Microsoft Store instead or play by adding an Xbox Game Pass subscription. All your favourite titles, saves, and backups will be stored safely though. And you can save some room in your place without any physical games piling up too!

The Xbox Series S is also far more compact than the Series X (60% smaller, in fact), so you can find a neat place for it next to your TV. Its more portable size also makes it a whole lot easier to unplug and take to a friend's house for some multiplayer fun.

But its petit proportions come at a cost, as the Series S doesn't pack all the bells and whistles of the Series X. While the CPU is the same, it's GPU isn't as powerful — with the Series S console targeted to run games on 1080p or 1440p displays. So, if you want to make the most of your 4K TV, you'd be better off going for the Series X. The standard Xbox Series S only has 512 GB of storage too, although this can be expanded (and there’s a pricier 1 TB version now available).

Want to learn more about the Xbox Series S? Check out our 5 things to know about the Xbox Series S article.

New Xbox Series X|S consoles are on the way!

At the recent Xbox Games Showcase 2024, Microsoft announced that two new all-digital versions of their Xbox Series X and Series S consoles are coming.

There will be an Xbox Series X Digital Edition, designed to give you all the power of the standard Series X but without the disc drive. And then there's a new version of the 1 TB Series S — available in Robot White. Or if you want a Series X with a massive 2 TB of SSD storage, that's in the pipeline too.

The Xbox Series X starts from around £459, while you can snag a Series S (512 GB) from as little as £249. For an Xbox Series S (1 TB), you'll be looking at about £299. Or if you want some extra gaming accessories with your new Xbox like a second controller, Game Pass Ultimate subscription, headset, or included game — shop our Xbox bundles that'll save you some cash.

We’ve not only broken down the Xbox Series X’s incredible specs below. We’ve put them side-by-side with the Series S’ features too, so you can see how these consoles stack up:

Specifications Xbox Series X Xbox Series S
Disc Drive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
None (digital only)
Storage 1 TB SSD
512 GB or 1 TB SSD
CPU 3.8 GHz, custom AMD 8-core Zen 2
3.6 GHz, custom AMD 8-core Zen 2
GPU 12 teraflop custom RDNA 2, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz
4 teraflop custom RDNA 2, 20 CUs @ 1.565 GHz
Memory (RAM) 16 GB GDDR6
10 GB GDDR6
Display (Targeted) True 4K at 60 FPS (up to 120 FPS)
1440p at 60 FPS (up to 120 FPS)
Display Out HDMI 2.1
HDMI 2.1
Ports USB 3.1 (x3), Ethernet (x1), storage expansion slot 
USB 3.1 (x3), Ethernet (x1), storage expansion slot
Weight 9.8 lbs / 4.4 kg
4.25 lbs / 1.93 kg
Dimensions 15.1 x 15.1 x 30.1 cm
6.5 x 15.1 x 27.5 cm

How much storage does the Xbox Series X have?

Microsoft's Xbox Series X has 1 TB of built-in SSD storage, which gives you plenty of space for storing loads of top titles, downloadable content, and game saves.

How to upgrade storage of the Xbox Series X

You won’t have to worry about running out of room on an Xbox Series X or Series S. That’s because you can easily expand their storage using an external hard drive like the Seagate 2 TB Gaming Hard Drive for Xbox — freeing up space for more of your favourite games. All you have to do is plug the hard drive into one of the console's USB ports and follow the on-screen setup instructions.

Or for a more seamless storage upgrade, go for an Xbox SSD expansion card that neatly slots into the back of each console. These range from as little as 512 GB to a massive 2 TB:

How much memory does the Xbox Series X have?

The Xbox Series X comes equipped with 16GB of GDDR6 memory, allowing for blazing fast load times. This means you can play even the most demanding games without any lag or slowdowns holding you back — especially when playing against your mates online.

For Xbox Series X|S, Microsoft refined their Xbox Wireless Controller to offer improved performance. It’ll feel familiar if you’ve played on Xbox controllers before, but it’s a little smaller than the previous Xbox One gamepad so it sits more comfortably in your hands. It's also got an updated D-pad and textured grips on the triggers, bumpers and back-case — so you'll be well in control when taking aim at the enemy or accelerating out of fast corners.

And you can capture screenshots and game clips instantly with the new share button. Then you can send them straight to your phone to post on socials or YouTube. Or share your razor-sharp skills and stats directly with your Xbox friends!

Xbox Series X controllers have Bluetooth connectivity too, meaning that you can quickly pair with, play on, and switch between other devices like your Windows PC or mobile phone.

How do I turn my Xbox Series X on and off?

To turn on your Xbox Series X, make sure it's plugged in and press the Xbox logo button on your controller or the power button on the front of your console. You'll then see the Xbox logo appear on your screen to indicate that the console's booting up.

To turn off your Xbox Series X, press and hold the Xbox button on your controller until a menu pops up on your screen. You can then choose to turn off the console or restart it. You can also switch it off from the console itself by pressing the power button. Or for a full shutdown, hold the power button down for 10 seconds.

How do I connect my Xbox Controller to my Xbox?

To get your Xbox controller wirelessly paired up to your Xbox Series X, just follow these steps:

  1. Turn on your Xbox Series X console.

  2. Press the Xbox button on your controller to turn it on.

  3. Press the Pair button on your Xbox console (next to the USB port). The Xbox logo light should start flashing.

  4. Hold the small Pair button on the top of your controller until the Xbox button starts flashing (to indicate it's searching).

  5. Within a few seconds, your controller should connect to your console and the light on the controller will stop flashing.

You can also use a micro-USB or USB-C cable to quickly connect your Xbox controller and console. And if you've got an old Xbox One controller you want to use with your Xbox Series X|S, good news — they're compatible! Perfect for when friends are over for some multiplayer fun without having to fork out for another controller.

Can I connect an Xbox Controller to my PC?

You sure can! There are loads of PC games that let you play using an Xbox controller. Perfect for first-person shooters and racing games where a keyboard or mouse doesn't quite cut it.

There are three ways you can hook your Xbox controller up to a Windows computer:

  • Via USB cable: You can use a micro-USB or USB-C cable (depending on which type of Xbox controller you have) to connect your controller to your PC.

  • Wireless connection: While some PCs have Xbox Wireless built in, most will need an Xbox Wireless Adaptor to work with your controller. All you'll have to do is plug it in, switch on your controller, and press and hold the Pair buttons on the adaptor and controller until their lights stop flashing.

  • Using Bluetooth: If you've got a Bluetooth-supported Xbox controller and a PC with built-in Bluetooth, you can get them easily paired.

How do you fix stick drift on an Xbox controller?

Stick drift is super annoying and can stop you from enjoying your favourite games. But before you go buying a whole new Xbox controller, try the following steps to get rid of stick drift on your current one:

  • Clean the controller: Dirt and dust buildups can mess with the sensors on your controller, causing it to register movement you’re not actually making. Try using a dry cloth to get rid of all that grime first, then get a can of compressed air to blow leftover debris out of the joystick ports. Rubbing cotton buds dipped in isopropyl alcohol on them can work wonders too.

  • Check the dead zone: The dead zones on a controller are the areas where the joysticks don’t register any movement. You can sometimes fix stick drift by adjusting the dead zone slider, which you'll find in the settings menu on your Xbox.

  • Update controller's firmware: An update might do the trick too. Just head to your ‘Profile & system’ settings, select ‘Devices & connections’, then choose your Xbox controller in ‘Accessories’. Select the three dots to check your firmware and perform an update if available.

How do I factory reset my Xbox Series X?

If you're looking to sell or gift your Xbox Series X to someone, you'll want to make sure it’s been reset to its factory defaults. That way, it'll wipe all your data so that the next user won't be able to access it. But a factory reset might also be required if you're having some issues with your Xbox Series X.

Here's how to reset your Xbox console:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.

  2. Go to 'Profile & system', then choose 'Settings, 'System', and 'Console info'.

  3. Select 'Reset console' and you'll see two options to choose from.

  4. Choose 'Reset and remove everything' to delete all your data, including accounts, saved games, and settings. Or choose 'Reset and keep my games & apps' if you want to keep your installed games and apps.

How do I game share on my Xbox?

Game sharing lets you and a friend or relative share digital games you've bought on your Xbox consoles, including titles you've got access to with Xbox Game Pass. This lets both of you save money and have access to even more games!

But before we explain how to set this up, just be sure that you trust whoever you're going to be game sharing with. That's because you'll have to add your account to their console and vice versa.

Here's how to game share on Xbox Series X and S consoles:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.

  2. Go to 'Profile & system', select 'Add or switch', and then choose 'Add new'.

  3. Sign in using your friend or relative's Microsoft account.

  4. Return to the 'Profile & system' tab, select 'Add or switch' again, and choose your friend's account you just added.

  5. Press the Xbox button on your controller again and go to 'Profile & system'. Select 'Settings' this time.

  6. Navigate to 'General' and select 'Personalisation'.

  7. Choose 'My home Xbox' and then select 'Make this my home Xbox’.

And that's it. You'll now be able to access your friend or relative's game library on your Xbox console. They'll be able to access yours if you repeat the steps above on their console. To play titles you've bought on your own console, just log back into your own Xbox account.

How do you refund a game on Xbox?

If you've changed your mind about a digital game you bought on your Xbox, you can request a refund from Microsoft. A request won't guarantee a refund, but if you haven't accumulated much play time and submitted your request within 14 days of your purchase — you'll probably get your money back.

Here's what you'll need to do:

  1. Go to account.microsoft.com and sign into your account.

  2. Choose 'Payment & billing' from the menu.

  3. Select 'Order history' and find the game you want to refund.

  4. Choose 'Request a refund' and follow the on-screen instructions.

Your Xbox refund might take a few days to have approved and processed, so don't expect the money to arrive in your account straight away.

Any more questions?

We hope you're now feeling pretty clued up on the Xbox Series X! To stay in the loop with the latest Xbox announcements and gossip, check out our Xbox news section here on TechTalk. And for even more shopping advice, read our gaming console buying guide or talk to one of our experts over a video call with ShopLive.

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