PS5 vs Xbox Series X: How these consoles compare almost three years on
Looking to get a new game console but aren’t sure which direction to go in? We’re here to break down the differences between the PS5 and the Xbox Series X so you can decide which is the best console for you.
It’s been more than two years since the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X went on sale, and with so much support for both the still going PS4 and Xbox One, we wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t yet made the jump to the latest consoles just yet.
As both consoles have been on the market for some time, a lot has changed in terms of software, exclusive games and controllers. To make it easier to keep track of these changes, and to decide which console is right for you, we’ve provided a full breakdown of these consoles.
Read on to find out how the PS5 and Xbox Series S differ in terms of price, specs, games and online play, so you can figure out if you prefer Sony’s or Microsoft’s console in 2023.
Both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X launched at £449/$499. Neither of these consoles have had price cuts over the course of their life spans, but they can occasionally be found on sale, usually in a bundle.
There is also a digital-only version of the PS5, which does not have a disk drive and can be had for £359/$399. The specs and performance of the digital-only PS5 are the same as the disc-based PS5, making it an option for anyone who does not want a disc drive.
Microsoft also released the Xbox Series S for £249/$299, which has less than half the SSD storage space and less performance power. This is the option for those who aren’t interested in 4K graphics and don’t own a TV or monitor with an HDMI 2.1 port – the connection standard required to take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X’s more advanced features.
Both the Microsoft and Sony consoles have very specific designs. The overall aesthetic will come down to personal preference since the look of each console does not affect the performance.
The PS5 weighs in at 4.5kg and is more versatile in terms of positioning, with the option of setting it up vertically or horizontally. It looks like a Sony console, with a sleek and two-toned design.
The Xbox Series X is slightly lighter, at 4.4kg, and stuck with the angular theme Microsoft is known for. It’s arguable that the Series X is a little less aesthetically pleasing, more like a box speaker than a console.
However, both consoles will likely fit in with your décor and set-up thanks to the minimalist colours and size. They also offer a very similar port selection of HDMI, USB and Ethernet ports available.
Each of these consoles offers an incredible amount of power to ensure users will have a good few years of use in terms of performance power and technical capabilities.
For a more in-depth look at how the consoles compare, check out the specs breakdown below:
|Xbox Series X||PS5|
|CPU||8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU||8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU|
|GPU||12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU||10.28 TFLOPs, 36CUs @ 2.23GHz|
|Memory||16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus||16 GB GDDR6/ 256-bit|
|Memory Bandwidth||10 GB @ 560 GB/s, 6 GB @ 336 GB/s||448GB/s|
|Internal Storage||1 TB Custom NVME SSD||Custom 825 GB SSD|
|I/O throughput||2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)||5.5 GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9 GB/s (Compressed)|
|Expandable Storage||1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)||NVMe SSD Slot|
|External Storage||USB 3.2 External HDD Support||USB HDD Support|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive|
|Performance Target||4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS||4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS|
The consoles only really differ in terms of GPU and internal storage. However, Sony did upgrade the PS5’s firmware with support for additional storage via the NVMe M.2 solid-state drives, which means you can get additional storage if you do need it. Just be warned the process is a little fiddly and there’s a limited number of compatible SSDs on the market. You can find out which SSDs work with the PS5 in this guide.
In terms of the GPU, Microsoft wins by having more teraflops, but the difference is subtle enough that most players likely won’t notice, and it’s in no way a game-changer when comparing the two. Teraflops aren’t the best metric of performance, more of a metric for how potentially powerful the console could be.
Sony has upped its game with the PS5 DualSense controller, which feature haptic feedback. In our review, we noted this makes the controller feel very balanced and satisfying to use, the haptic upgrades and adaptive triggers help to transform supported games into more immersive experiences.
The company also revealed another addition to the DualSense family with the DualSense Edge Wireless controller, which will be released in January 2023. This controller will allow users to remap specific button inputs, replace stick modules with other designs, swap out stick caps and switch up the back buttons, making it one of the most customisable controllers on the market.
The Xbox Series X controller does not have as much impact as the Sony alternative. While there is no Haptic feedback or customisable features, it feels as comfortable and easy to use as the controller that came before it. The lack of new features is more noticeable if you’ve used a PS5 controller, but overall, it offers a serviceable experience.
Features and upgrades
Each console has been on the market for upwards of two years, so it’s not too surprising both Sony and Microsoft have upgraded their consoles over their lifetime.
Sony has updated the PS5 console a couple of times, the most recent revision coming in March of 2022. Voice chats are now known as Parties, and can be accessed via the new three-pronged Game Base menu.
Players can also pin five select titles to the screen permanently, which will stay in place regardless of what games are played or downloaded. In a previous update, Sony altered the PS5 firmware to allow users to add another SSD card to the previously dormant expansion slot, meaning that the console’s overall SSD storage has been increased.
Specific games have had their own upgrades; Horizon Zero Dawn can now be played at 60fps with graphics at their maximum setting, while some upgrades have improved the overall performance.
The introduction of VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) occurred in 2022, minimising issues such as visual artefacts and screen tearing.
Microsoft, meanwhile, launched the Xbox Series X with the Quick Resume feature that allows players to swap between active states of up to six different games at once. This offers players the means to jump into a game without waiting for the title to load, a feature the PS5 currently does not have.
In terms of upgrades, the Xbox Series X has improved its UI, upgrading it from 1080p to 4K resolution when connected to a 4K display, making scrolling the Home screen more visually satisfying.
Another upgrade that was bought in the Xbox Night Mode, which adjusts the brightness to keep the room dark and assist players sensitive to light. You can also toggle and adjust the light from your connected display, which is not ground-breaking, but a nice add-on in our experience.
Moreover, Microsoft plans on furthering its customisation options in the Xbox Home UI, with options for users to customise the layout with games, Pins and backgrounds.
The PS5 feels like a natural progression from the PS4; it sticks with the same tile system but with a new Command Centre, which puts all the relevant information – such as the game you’re currently playing, settings and the power options – in a convenient strip at the bottom of the screen.
Not every feature is to players’ liking, with the game trophies now presented as large icons, and the Cloud options hidden in the settings. These are not deal-breakers, but are less convenient than the presentation of the PS4 UI and take some time to adjust to.
Microsoft has done little to change the UI other than the planned customisation changes we mentioned previously. Anyone who disliked the Xbox One’s layout will find the same issues here. However, the speedy load times and the specific sections for Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft Store and My Games do make for a more streamlined experience if you’re jumping straight into a new game.
One of the biggest deciders when it comes to buying a new console are the exclusive games. Sony boasts an extremely impressive list of exclusive titles, with the critically acclaimed God of War and its PS5 sequel, God of War Ragnarök, one of the best games of 2022.
The PS5 has plenty of other titles such as Deathloop, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Death Stranding: Director’s Cut, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and more.
There are even more PS5 exclusives coming such as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Horizon Call of the Mountain, Forspoken, Death Stranding 2 and Final Fantasy XVI.
Microsoft had a lacklustre year in 2022 for exclusives, but the company has a few titles up its sleeve for 2023, including Forza Motorsport, Starfield, Ark II and Replaced.
Ultimately, the selection of games on offer will come down to personal preference, as you may find that playing the latest Spider-Man game is more important to you than the UI for each console. Overall, Sony does seem to be more consistent and has more standout titles, making the PS5 a very alluring console.
Both Sony and Microsoft have specific ways for users to engage in online play. While Microsoft’s own Xbox Game Pass is more notable than Sony’s tiered PlayStation Plus system, the quality of online play is similar and will come down to personal game preferences.
However, Xbox has edged out the PlayStation service thanks to the Xbox Gaming App, which is currently available on selected Samsung Smart TVs. The Xbox App allows users to stream hundreds of games without the need for a dedicated console, just an Xbox Game Pass subscription.
This will inevitably help more people get into gaming, as not only is it more cost-effective, but it could encourage more casual gamers to try out larger triple-A titles without needing to purchase the usual hardware.
All-in-all, both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are impressive and powerful consoles that have built upon the hardware that came before them to create a new and improved gaming experiences.
In a perfect world, we would recommend that you get the best of both worlds and buy both. However, not everyone has the money or the time, so it comes down to the selection of games offered by each platform.
While Sony beats out Microsoft with its incredible DualSense haptic feedback controllers, the Xbox Game Pass makes the Series X look very desirable, so you will want to take a long hard look at which exclusive games excite you most.
If you’re more interested in cloud gaming and getting a nostalgia fix from older games, you are better off with the Xbox Series X, as Microsoft has been working hard to expand its Games Library. However, if you’re looking towards the future and want to see what the next instalment of Final Fantasy or God of War looks like, the PS5 is brimming with exclusive titles and seemingly will be offering up tens more games over the coming year.
While the consoles edge each other out in certain areas, we think that you will have a blast on either console thanks to the incredible specs and support for features like ray tracing. Decide on the games you’re most interested in and you can figure it out from there.