Sony PS5 vs. Microsoft Xbox Series X: Best high-end game console for 2021

Because the PS5 and Xbox Sequence X close to their one-year anniversaries, competitors between the console kings stays fierce. Whereas the bottom {hardware} stays the identical (except for internal cooling tweaks in some new PS5 models), new software program updates have added options, like more storage options and expanded cloud gaming access

That is of little consolation to the scores of avid gamers who nonetheless cannot discover one among these consoles in inventory. Whereas shortages had been to be anticipated through the preliminary launch, each the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Sequence X are nonetheless onerous to get, and that scarcity is anticipated to proceed by means of the vacation 2021 season. The bottom line is to remain abreast of restock alerts, so control our PS5 restock tracker or Xbox Series X restock tracker — or see in the event you can snag an equally onerous to get Halo Infinite Xbox Series X.


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There are different choices, too. Nintendo’s up to date OLED-screen Switch is coming in October, and if yow will discover one, there’s the $300 Xbox Series S, which is a scaled-back version of the Series X supposed for 1440p gameplay slightly than 4K.

This chapter of the console wars is very vital. Not as a result of 4K-and-beyond-resolution video or ray-traced audio for extra pure sound are must-have options, however as a result of the gaming panorama is extra difficult and fragmented for the reason that earlier era of bins got here out.

Learn extra: PS5 review: Exclusive games power Sony’s space-age console

Along with competing with PCs, consoles now face challenges from new hardware-free cloud gaming providers equivalent to Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and Nvidia GeForce Now, in addition to Microsoft’s own Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming. To a lesser extent, in addition they compete in your time with cellular game-subscription providers equivalent to Apple Arcade.


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Set up an M.2 SSD in your PS5 with a heatsink improve


Each platforms made a giant leap in energy over their predecessors. They’re primarily based round roughly related AMD Zen 2-architecture processors plus AMD Radeon Navi-generation graphics processors with 16GB of reminiscence. They each help ray-tracing, decompression acceleration, whizzy new proprietary SSD implementations and a complete lot extra. 

Design-wise, the PS5 is predominantly white, slender and curvy (which Sony’s PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan calls “bold, daring and future-facing”), whereas the Xbox Series X is a boxy, black tower. However each consoles have the same complete quantity, roughly 447 cubic inches for the PS5, whereas the chunky Xbox Sequence X is about 432 cubic inches. 

Learn extra: Xbox Series X review: Game Pass is the secret weapon

Because the November 2020 launch, Sony has leaned into platform-exclusive video games like Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Returnal, whereas Microsoft has pushed its expansive Xbox Game Pass catalog, together with entry to new video games like The Ascent, Outriders and the upcoming Halo: Infinite. 

Sony has additionally opened up the storage choices for the PS5, first permitting PS5 video games to be saved (however not performed) from an exterior SSD, and extra not too long ago unlocking the system’s internal M.2 slot so that you can set up your personal secondary inside drive. Just like the consoles themselves, nevertheless, the best M.2 drive choices for the PS5 stay onerous to seek out in inventory.

Under are key takeaways from every platform in addition to an up to date specs comparability. 

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Except for its hanging design, the very first thing that stands out with the PS5 is the brand new DualSense controller. Sony has changed rumble with extra sensation-specific haptic suggestions and adaptive triggers, which delivers a a lot better gaming expertise, so long as builders choose to help them. Plus, it is obtained new audio system and mics for chat in addition to a USB-C connection. The PS5 jumped to solid-state storage, too, making it a greater match for big sport downloads. 

Whereas lots of its most-important video games overlap with the Xbox’s, it does have quite a few exclusives, together with Gran Turismo 7Horizon Forbidden West (a timed unique for the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn), Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, plus extra timed exclusives for a superb variety of new titles. 

On the draw back, the PS5 has a comparatively small 825GB solid-state drive. Its NVMe SSD enlargement slot is standard-ish, however as a result of it wants to satisfy particular area, thermal and energy necessities, just some M.2 drives will match, and a built-in heatsink is required. The excellent news is that you would be able to retrofit some M.2 drives with a heatsink, and all of the major SSD manufacturers offer a compatible model.

Read our PS5 review.


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Design-wise, it is onerous to get less complicated than a giant, black field: Our evaluation described the Sequence X as a Soviet-era constructivist workplace block as reimagined by Syd MeadAccording to Microsoft’s own designers, they did not need anybody to say, “That appears like a microwave.” They seem to be OK with comparing it to a fridge, although.

Microsoft additionally made controller enhancements, that are extra about decreasing latency (with its Dynamic Latency Enter tech) than tweaking really feel and suggestions like Sony. One other new, enticing characteristic is Smart Delivery, which precludes you from having to pay to play a sport on the Xbox One in the event you’ve already ponied up for a Sequence X model, and it’ll robotically serve up the fitting model in your field. 

Past the {hardware}, the Xbox Sequence X is constructed round a subscription software program mannequin. 

Certain, you may give the corporate $500 for the console itself, however what it actually desires is your $15 (£11, AU$16) a month in perpetuity for Xbox Sport Move Final. (Skip the cheaper non-Final plan, as a result of then you definately’ll nonetheless want a separate Xbox Dwell subscription.) It features a Netflix-like catalog of on-demand video games, plus on-line multiplayer, entry to some cloud-based video games and a good catalog of PC video games as properly, together with some day one releases. Frankly, it is the only most compelling factor concerning the platform, and in addition a key step towards a way more subscription-heavy future for avid gamers.

Read our Xbox Series X review.



PlayStation 5 Xbox Sequence X
Processor 8-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2-architecture CPU at as much as 3.5GHz 8-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2-architecture CPU at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT)
Graphics AMD Navi/RDNA 2-family GPU with 36 CU as much as 2.23 GHz (10.3TFLOPS, FP unit unknown) AMD Navi/RDNA 2-family GPU with 52 CU at 1.825GHz (12TFLOPS FP32)
Video reminiscence 16GB GDDR6 with 256-bit interface (448GB/sec) 16GB GDDR6 with 14Gbps 320-bit interface (10GB at 560GB/s allotted to GPU, 6GB at 336GB/s allotted to remainder of system with 3.5GB for GPU)
Storage 825GB SSD at 5.5-9GB/sec; NVMe SSD slot; help for USB SSD 1TB NVMe SSD PCIe 4.0; proprietary 1TB SSD add-on module; USB 3.2 exterior SSD help
Optical drive Sure, 4K Blu-ray Sure, 4K Blu-ray
Most output decision 8K 60fps; 4K 120fps 8K 60fps; 4K 120fps
Audio 3D, accelerated by customized Tempest Engine {hardware}; for headphones solely at launch, supplemented by digital encompass for speaker audio Dolby Atmos help, audio ray-tracing
New controller options Haptic suggestions, adaptive triggers, USB-C connector Share button, Dynamic Latency Enter
VR help Sure, suitable with PSVR headset No
Console streaming Sure (Distant play) Sure (Console streaming)
Backward compatibility PS4 video games, some peripherals Xbox One and supported Xbox 360 and Xbox video games
Subscription tie-in PS Now and PS Plus Xbox Sport Move, Xbox Sport Move Final
Dimensions 15.4 x 4.1 (3.6) x 10.2 in./390 x 104 (92) x 260 mm 5.9 x 5.9 x 11.9 in./151 x 151 x 301 mm
Value With optical drive: $500, £450, AU$750; with out optical drive: $400, £360, AU$600 $500, £450, AU$749
Cloud gaming Through PS Now Coming to Xbox Sequence X, S and Xbox One | Sony PS5 vs. Microsoft Xbox Sequence X: Finest high-end sport console for 2021


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