After seven years, a new generation of consoles is finally coming: Microsoft is bringing two consoles into the market with the Xbox Series X and Series S. Sony’s Playstation 5 is also available in two versions, which only differ in terms of the UHD Blu-ray drive. Otherwise, the disc version of the PS5 and the digital edition is identical. Heise online was able to compare all models in detail for two weeks.
What You Say For Xbox Series X and S
In many respects, the Xbox Series X is the most sophisticated of the new consoles: With 12, it has a little more hardware power than the Playstation 5 and was the quietest in our volume tests: Even when playing titles like the one that was already optimized for the new console Gears 5, the Microsoft console stayed below 0.2 sone – practically inaudible. Externally, too, Series X with its cuboid shape makes a more robust impression than the Playstation 5, whose workmanship does not always look optimal.
Compared to the Playstation 5, the Series X also scores with improved backward compatibility: It plays most games of the Xbox One generation and even some titles from previous consoles. An Auto-HDR mode also supplements HDR images for games that do not officially support it.
The results are mixed, but at least there is an option. We also found the quick resume function to be very practical: players can freely switch back and forth between several games without losing their game progress. On the PS5, however, games restart every time you switch.
The Series S also supports these software functions. However, the hardware of the smaller Microsoft console is significantly weaker: It only has 4 teraflops and a lower CPU speed. It is based on the new AMD architecture, but in some respects it is not really more powerful than the Xbox One X from the current generation. At 300 euros it is also more expensive than the One X and comes without a drive.
The Series S only targets FullHD or 1440p resolution when gaming and benefits from low power consumption: It consumes only half of the Series X. With Red Dead Redemption 2, the Series S only draws 60 watts, with Dirt 5 around 70 watts – the Playstation 5 also needs more power.
With its narrower profile and low power consumption, the Series S is best suited for beginners who place less value on graphics and resolution. Both Xbox consoles can also use Microsoft’s Game Pass: an excellent game subscription with numerous high-quality blockbuster and indie games that costs 10 euros a month. The subscription service is currently not available for the PS5.
What You Say for the Playstation 5
The Playstation 5 dares a little more than the Xbox Series X: It starts with the controversial design, but also affects the new gamepad. It’s called Dualsense and is equipped with a whole host of additional functions. The incredibly precise and expressive vibrations of the new Playstation gamepad are particularly impressive. The variable triggers, which can change their resistance depending on the game situation, also make a big difference to other gamepads.
You have to keep in mind that in most cases you will be playing the same games on Xbox Series X and Playstation 5: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, the new FIFA – they will all technically move from Series X to Playstation 5 only differ slightly, if at all. The small differences in performance between the two consoles will, at best, result in small differences in graphics quality.
The new Playstation gamepad with its outstanding force feedback has a significantly greater impact on the gaming experience than such details. So we would prefer to play all of the games mentioned on the Playstation 5 – at least if they are properly adapted to the Dualsense.
With the Playstation 5, you have the choice between a variant with and one without a UHD Blu-ray drive. A price difference of 100 euros is aggressive: Sony wants to persuade as many buyers as possible to buy the digital edition. It’s a bit narrower and, in our opinion, less bulky than the disc version, but the lack of a drive also means a loss of flexibility – for example, when you buy games, you mainly rely on Sony’s own store. If you want to buy games from independent retailers or used them, the disc version may be cheaper in the long run.
Now which console is the best?
We would like to have an Xbox Series X with the games and the dual sense gamepad from the Playstation 5. Unfortunately, in the real world we have to make a decision – and commit ourselves to the Playstation 5. The new Sony console has the slightest disadvantage in terms of technology and software features, but for us, the impressive gamepad makes the bigger difference.
Despite the Bethesda takeover by Microsoft, we also see Sony ahead of the game when it comes to exclusive games – especially since it is currently still unclear whether games like The Elder Scrolls 6 will really come to the Playstation.
At the start, Sony has several interesting titles on offer with the remaster of Demon’s Souls, Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Sackboy: A Big Adventure – Microsoft has nothing new. God of War: Ragnarök and Horizon: Forbidden West have also been announced. Especially for gamers who also have a gaming PC, the Playstation 5 is the better choice: You can also play the Xbox exclusive titles on the computer, which is only possible in exceptional cases with Playstation exclusive titles.
But the Series X is not a categorically wrong choice either: It is a strong piece of hardware that, unlike the PS5, can also be inconspicuous in the living room. In combination with Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription, you can play a bunch of great games relatively cheaply. The Series S is particularly suitable for this.
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Both Xbox and Playstation fans should consider whether they really need the next-gen consoles for the launch: For the time being, most games will also be developed for the Xbox One and Playstation 4. We therefore urgently advise against paying more than the officially required 300, 400, or 500 euros for the respective next-gen consoles at retailers like eBay. Playstation 5, Xbox Series X, and S will not reach their full potential for months or years anyway.