PS5 vs Xbox Series X: which console is right for you?
Our in-depth PS5 vs Xbox Series X comparison explains the differences between the two consoles
When it comes to PS5 vs Xbox Series X, which console should you buy? That’s a commonly asked question but not an easy one to answer.
The truth is it’s impossible to deem one console better than the other. That won’t stop people from defending each plastic box online with all their might, but that sort of tribalism doesn’t help anyone make an informed decision.
The reality is both consoles are incredibly well-designed and capable of playing some fantastic games with little to separate them regarding features or price. What will likely sway your purchasing decision depends on which games you’re interested in and where your friends play. It’s as simple as that.
There’s also the issue with finding a PS5 restock, which could be a deciding factor as Sony’s console remains hard to find. Nevertheless, it’s time to have the two consoles face off in our in-depth PS5 vs Xbox Series X comparison. Remember, there’s no outright winner here.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: price 💰
The PS5 and Xbox Series X are a match when it comes to price. Both consoles cost $499, but if you’re happy to ditch the disc drive, the PS5 Digital Edition is available for $399. However, as we pointed out in our PS5 disc vs Digital comparison, it’s cheaper to go with the standard PS5 in the long run. The Digital Edition is also much harder to find in stock.
Microsoft also has a more affordable option, the Xbox Series S. The smallest Xbox ever made costs $299 but is a lower specced machine, meaning you won’t get the exact resolution and frame rates as Xbox Series X. That doesn’t mean it isn’t next-gen ready – the Xbox Series S can play all the latest games, many of which run at 120fps. Like the PS5 Digital Edition, there’s no disc drive – so bear that in mind if you have an extensive collection of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games on disc.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: specs 🔍
The PS5 and Xbox Series X differ in specs, and it’s factually accurate to say that Microsoft’s flagship console has the edge regarding raw horsepower. However, PS5’s no slouch when it comes to graphics and performance.
The differences between the two are often negligible, with one console running a game at a higher resolution or a more stable frame rate. There’s an argument that the best-looking games of this generation so far are on PS5, but visuals aren’t everything.
Here are the official PS5 specs:
💿 4K Blu-ray disc drive: Yes
💪 Size: 15.4 x 10.2 x 4.1 inches
⚖️ Weight: 9.9 pounds (4.5kg)
🤓 CPU: 3.5GHz, 8-core AMD Zen 2
💪 GPU: 10.3 teraflop RDNA 2 GPU
🐏 RAM: 16GB GDDR6
⏩ SSD: Custom 825GB SSD
And here are the official Xbox Series X specs:
💿 4K Blu-ray disc drive: Yes
💪 Size: 11.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches
⚖️ Weight: 9.8 pounds (4.45kg)
🤓 CPU: 3.8GHz, 8-core AMD Zen 2
💪 GPU: 12.0 teraflop AMD RDNA 2
🐏 RAM: 16GB GDDR6
⏩ SSD: Custom 1TB SSD
It’s clear from each console’s specs that there are some differences between Sony and Microsoft’s machines, most of which favor the Xbox Series X.
The Xbox Series X has a more powerful GPU, capable of 12 teraflops of computing power compared to 10.3 teraflops on PS5. The Xbox Series X also has a slightly faster CPU at 3.8GHz than the PS5’s 3.5GHz CPU. Other than that, though, the systems are a close match when it comes to power. You’ll be able to play games at 4K resolution and 120fps if you have a capable HDMI 2.1 display. Both consoles also support variable refresh rate (VRR), auto low latency mode (ALLM), and high dynamic range (HDR). The Xbox Series X is the only console with support for Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and Dolby Vision Gaming.
Another difference between the Xbox Series X and PS5 is storage space. The PS5 has an 825GB SSD with 667GB of usable space, while Xbox Series X has a 1TB SSD with 802GB of usable space. You’re getting 135GB of extra space on Xbox Series X then, but you can expand both systems' storage. Check out our PS5 SSD upgrade guide and best SSD for PS5 round-up if you’d like more space for your games.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: size 📏
If the specs aren’t clear, the PS5 is the bigger of the two consoles by some margin. The Xbox Series X is 11.9-inches tall, 5.9-inches wide, and 5.9-inches deep. The result is a tower-like design akin to a compact gaming PC that can be positioned vertically or horizontally. A large vent on the top of the console is where most heat is expended, and it’s whisper-quiet when in use.
The PS5 is the biggest console Sony has ever made. It stands 15.4-inches tall, 10.2-inches wide, and 4.1-inches deep. Like the Xbox Series X, it can be positioned vertically or horizontally but requires a stand. The console’s large footprint means finding space for it in your home setup might be tricky, but its enormous size at least ensures it’s quiet when in operation.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: sales 📈
In my opinion, sales aren’t indicative of a great console (I loved the Wii U despite the fact Nintendo’s system bombed at retail). Still, they’re a sure sign that a platform will get support from developers and, consequently, more games.
Thankfully, neither Microsoft nor Sony need to worry about the sales of Xbox Series X and PS5 as both consoles are flying off the shelves. Unfortunately, supply issues have continued to hamper the success of both machines, particularly the PS5, which remains more challenging to find than the Xbox Series X.
According to VGChartz, Xbox Series X|S console sales are estimated to be around 15.49 million, while we know that PS5 sales have reached 21.7 million. That’s an excellent result for both companies considering the consoles’ released in November 2020.
When supply improves, we’ll likely see a surge in sales to compensate for the residual demand built up from consumers who haven’t been able to get their hands on a console yet.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: games 🕹️
Fundamentally, the games should influence your decision of which console to buy. Do you prefer the exclusives on PS5 or Xbox Series X? That’s something that only you can answer.
Sony’s exclusive titles are impressive, ranging from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Horizon Forbidden West, and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Microsoft’s lineup might not be as widely acclaimed (even though it was crowned Metacritic’s game publisher of the year), but there are fantastic games that you won’t find on Sony’s console, like Sea of Thieves, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Halo Infinite.
It’s important to consider which games appeal to you, then. The good news is that Sony and Microsoft each have subscription services – PlayStation Plus Extra and Xbox Game Pass – that offer hundreds of games for players to jump into on day one, so you’ll always have something to try.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: features 🤩
The Xbox Series X and PS5 may be similar in terms of specs, but each console includes a few unique hardware features that are worth celebrating.
Quick Resume on Xbox Series X lets you suspend multiple games at once, so you can return to where you left off at a moment’s notice, while Auto HDR and FPS Boost inject new life into backward compatible games by adding high dynamic range to older titles and boosting a game’s frame rate from 30fps to either 60 or 120fps.
PS5 owners can take advantage of Activity Cards, which let you jump straight to a game’s multiplayer mode or tackle a particular quest. Some PS5 games also include Game Help, short tutorial videos that help you get past a tricky section or earn a trophy.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: controllers 🎮
Microsoft has opted for a more “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach with the Series X pad, refining the existing design of the Xbox One controller to make it more ergonomic and accessible to more hand sizes. Xbox One controllers targeted the 5th to 95th percentile of hand sizes, while the new Xbox Wireless Controller now extends to fit the 3rd percentile, meaning millions more people can comfortably hold it.
The Xbox Wireless Controller – as it’s officially known – also has a brand-new D-Pad, a dedicated share button, and tactile micro bumps that provide more grip during those heated gaming sessions.
Sony’s DualSense controller is a radical change to the PS4’s DualShock 4. The touchpad, speaker, motion controls, and lightbar will be familiar to PlayStation 4 owners, but the DualSense also includes a built-in microphone, haptic feedback, and adaptive triggers.
Haptic feedback and adaptive triggers let you feel in-game actions, like pulling back a bow string or the feeling of raindrops hitting your character. It’s a huge leap over the traditional rumble features we’ve been used to and has been widely adopted by almost every developer making games for PS5.
It’s easy to see why so many people believe the PS5 DualSense controller is the best feature of the PlayStation 5, and it helps that there are now several PS5 controller colors to choose from.
Should I buy a PS5 or Xbox Series X? 🤔
If you’re serious about video games, you’re best off buying a PS5 and Xbox Series X. That way, you never have to miss out when an exclusive game releases on either platform, and you can choose to pick up online titles wherever your friends prefer to play.
If you can only pick one, there are more things to consider. You might prefer the design of the Xbox Series X over the PS5 or be more comfortable using a PlayStation controller. Perhaps PSVR 2 has piqued your interest?
The comforting thing is that no matter which console you choose, you’re getting a system that’s home to countless fantastic games, can act as a media center, and is backward compatible with the last generation (and more in Xbox Series X’s case).
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Updated: August 2, 2022