The gaming console market is more competitive than ever, with both the PS5 and Xbox Series X packing a ridiculous amount of power and coming with a plethora of games. Here is the complete breakdown of these two consoles three years after launch.
As both consoles have been on the market for a couple of years, a lot of things have changed since they were released. From software updates to the launch of new controllers all the way to the selection of exclusive games. To make picking out your latest console even easier, we’re going to be running through a full breakdown between these consoles, so you can decide which is right for you.
Keep reading to find out how the PS5 and Xbox Series X differ in terms of pricing, specifications, software, games and online play, so you can decide if you prefer Sony or Microsoft.
The PS5 launched at £449/$499, but Sony has since hiked up the price to £479.99 in the UK. Microsoft has resisted the urge to hike up the price of the Xbox Series X, which is still available for £449/$499.
There is also a digital-only version of the PS5, which does not have a disk drive and can be had for £389.99/$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.
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 allows you to upgrade the storage via an M.2 SSD. You can find out which SSDs work with the PS5 in this guide, while we’ve also created a guide to show how to install an SSD inside a PS5. Microsoft instead supports official licensed memory cards, which are easier to install but can be pretty expensive.
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 features 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. 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 not the same level of haptic feedback or customisable features, it feels as comfortable and easy to use as the controller that came before it.
Features and upgrades
Each console has been on the market for upwards of two years, so it’s not too surprising that both Sony and Microsoft have upgraded their consoles over their lifetime.
Sony has updated the PS5 console a couple of times. 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 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) also minimised 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.
Arguably the biggest decider in picking a new console is the games selection that comes with it. While many games can be found on multiple platforms, some games are exclusives, meaning that if you want in on the action, you need to have the appropriate hardware.
The PS5 has a fair selection of exclusives, with the critically acclaimed God of War Ragnarök being one of the best games of 2022, although it was also available on PS4. Past exclusives also include Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Returnal and more.Sony has more games planned for 2023, too with titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Final Fantasy 16 on the way this year.
In comparison, Micros’s current exclusive offering looks pretty slim, with Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 being two of the only high profile games that were well received. But the future looks bright for Xbox, with a number of exciting exclusives in development including Forza Motorsport, Starfield, Fable, Avowed and more. All of Xbox’s exclusives will be available though the Game Pass, a monthly subscription service, too.
Both consoles also offer backwards compatibility with previous generation consoles, so it’s worth checking both libraries to see which takes your fancy the most.
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 new and improved gaming experiences.
While Sony beats out Microsoft with its incredible DualSense haptic feedback controllers, the Xbox Game Pass makes the Series X a cost-effective option in the long run, as you won’t need to shell out $70/£60 for new exclusives like you do with the PS5.
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, while upcoming titles such as Starfield look very promising.
However, if you’re already invested with the PlayStation ecosystem, and are eager to play the next entries of Spider-Man, God of War, The Last of Us, Horizon and more, then the PS5 is your best bet.
While the consoles edge each other out in certain areas, we think that you will have a blast on either console thanks to the powerful 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.