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Xbox Series X vs Xbox One X: will it be worth the upgrade?

Xbox Series X vs Xbox One X
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Xbox One X vs Xbox Series X: that is the question. If you're picking between a high-end (but current-gen) Xbox console and its fast-incoming next-gen successor, it might not be obvious which way to go.

Do you choose the cheaper, but still powerful Xbox One X, and miss out on exclusive next-gen games – or fork out for a massively powerful Xbox Series X console that may be more advanced than your current TV setup can do justice to?

Microsoft’s mid-gen refresh of the Xbox One – and answer to Sony’s PS4 Pro – is the best games console when it comes to sheer computing chops. It’s for console players who want the best of the best in terms of specs, and native 4K and HDR support, but the upcoming Xbox Series X will have something to say about that when it releases this year.

So, here's a break down of everything we know about the two consoles so far, including price (or rumored price), specs, and existing or expected games to help you weigh up whether it'll be worth upgrading from the Xbox One X to the Xbox Series X.

If you're more interested in the rumored disc-less alternative to the Series X, you can check out our Project Lockhart guide too.

UPDATE: We've seen a number of new Xbox Series X games announced for the console, after a gameplay reveal showcase that included our first look at Assassin's Creed Valhalla in action. For the full list of games (and whether they should sway you), read on below.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox One X price

Xbox One X

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Both Sony and Microsoft are being coy on price, and for good reason. The Xbox Series X price and the PS5 price came out on top in a Twitter poll of the most important factors for those looking to pick up a next-gen console. Neither company intends to repeat the mistakes of the widely overpriced ($599!) PS3 in 2006, or that of the original $499 Xbox One. Some rumors have suggested the next Xbox will be around $499, but that's just speculation.

In other words, we don’t know the price of the next-gen Xbox yet, but head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has stressed that Microsoft won’t be making the same mistake that crippled their start to the current console generation. Speaking with The Verge, Spencer said “we will not be out of position on power or price,” so expect the RRP to be more competitive this time.

In terms of the Xbox One X launch RRP of $499 / £449 / AU$649, you can do an awful lot better than that nowadays. At time of publication, some of the best Xbox One X deals see you picking up the console for less than $300 with a month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in the US or the console and every numbered Gears game for £299 in the UK. However, expect the Xbox One X to be reduced even more when Xbox Series X pre-orders launch later this year.

Xbox One X vs Xbox Series X specs

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Series X boasts seriously impressive specs, and they paint an exciting picture for next-gen gaming. Here’s what we know:

  • CPU: Eight-core 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT) custom AMD 7nm
  • GPU: 12 teraflops 1.825GHz (locked)
  • RAM: 16GB GDDR6
  • Frame rate: Up to 120 fps
  • Resolution: Up to 8K
  • Optical: HD Blu-Ray disk drive
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD

With a 12 teraflop GPU capable of up to 120 fps, the Series X is twice as powerful as the One X. It’s also got the computing muscle to support ray tracing, the demanding lighting tech only available on cutting-edge Nvidia RTX graphics cards right now.

The Xbox Series X will include a super-fast NVMe SSD, which opens up all sorts of possibilities: part of its storage system can be used to boost load times by up to 40 times and Quick Resume allows users to jump between multiple games at once without closing each game.

Meanwhile, here are the Xbox One X specs:

  • CPU: Eight-core 2.3GHz custom AMD
  • GPU: Six teraflops 1172 MHz
  • RAM: 12GB GDDR5
  • Frame rate: Up to 60 fps
  • Resolution: Up to 4K
  • Optical: HD Blu-Ray disk drive
  • Storage: 1TB HDD

The innards of the premium Xbox ensure it’s the most powerful console available today and the best way to play with native 4K and HDR. That said, its 1TB mechanical hard drive holds it back: it’s slow and can hold disappointingly few triple-A titles. For a console aimed at those who accept nothing less than the best of the best, there can only be one winner in this category.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox One X games

Halo Infinite

(Image credit: 343 Industries)

Beyond Halo Infinite, Hellblade 2 and Cyberpunk 2077, there wasn’t much to get excited about in terms of confirmed Xbox Series X games – until now. The month of May has seen a number of new titles confirmed for the next-gen console, meaning there are now 20+ games to look forward to on Xbox Series X. At the time of publication, they are:

While that may not be much so far, the Series X’s impressive specs in combination with the excellent value of Xbox Game Pass gives early adopters a ready-made library that benefits from faster load times, better graphics, and higher resolution.

Backwards compatibility is confirmed for the Series X, which allows you to play games from previous generations on your new system, but Microsoft has gone a step further with Smart Delivery. Consider this ‘forwards compatibility’ in the sense that when you buy a compatible game, it’s unlocked on all supporting hardware. For example, Cyberpunk 2077 supports Smart Delivery, so owners of the game on Xbox One X will benefit from a free upgrade on Series X.

That means if buying a One X has cleaned you out, you can buy the likes of Halo Infinite – which launches on Game Pass day one – safe in the knowledge that it’ll be there for you on Series X when you’ve cobbled together the cash. 

Until then, there are plenty of Xbox One games to enjoy in gorgeous 4K, like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Metro Exodus, and Forza Horizon 4. But thanks to backwards compatibility, many current-gen games and older should be available on Series X.

Xbox One X vs Xbox Series X verdict

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Micosoft)

The Xbox Series X is an increasingly enticing prospect. While we don’t know if it’ll be the most powerful console by the end of the year, its graphical grunt combined with the excellent Game Pass subscription service means Xbox fans should be getting seriously excited. 

For early adopters, the Series X’s lack of exciting launch games is ameliorated by an instant collection of great games thanks to Game Pass and backwards compatibility. And with Smart Delivery, those looking to upgrade from their One X can buy supported games now and upgrade for free to the Series X version once they can afford the new unit.

Since the cost of the One X will plummet once the Series X launches, there are few reasons to buy a new version now. Even then the better value prospect is the cheaper, but less powerful, Xbox One S. So, really, it’s less a battle between the Xbox One X vs Xbox Series X: instead, Microsoft seems to be ensuring a harmonious, flexible transition between consoles for those that want the best of the best from an Xbox.