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 in terms of price, specs, features and games
The battle between PS5 vs Xbox Series X has been waging on for two years now, as Sony and Microsoft vie for the hearts and minds of gamers across the globe.
But if you’re still on the fence when it comes to the current-gen consoles, which one should you buy? That’s a commonly asked question but not an easy one to answer.
The truth is it’s almost 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. Or at least that used to be the case…
Sony recently announced that the PS5 price is increasing in select markets, meaning the PlayStation 5 is up to 21% more expensive than an Xbox Series X in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Canada.
The price of the PS5 is unchanged in the US, but for now, it’s cheaper to buy an Xbox Series X than a PlayStation 5 outside of the United States. Microsoft has also confirmed that it has no plans to raise the Xbox Series X|S price, but that could change in the future. Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently hinted at a Series X price increase in the new year. For now, though, Microsoft’s console remains cheaper than the PS5 outside the US.
Ultimately, what will likely sway your purchasing decision depends on which games you’re interested in and where your friends play. You may also have developed brand loyalty to one platform over the other or have nostalgia for a certain gaming franchise like Ratchet & Clank or Halo.
You might even prefer the PS5 DualSense Controller over the Xbox Wireless Controller or simply be swayed by the design of either console. It’s all subjective at the end of the day.
Another deciding factor on which console you buy could be whether you can find a PS5 restock, as Sony’s console remains hard to find. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is a lot easier to purchase nowadays, and there’s always the Xbox Series S if you’re after a cheaper alternative and aren’t fussed about having the best graphical experience possible.
Without further ado, then, 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, but hopefully, this head-to-head will help you make an informed buying decision. And if you still can’t decide, well, there’s no shame in buying both. That way you get to play everything on offer!
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: price 💰
The PS5 and Xbox Series X are a match in terms of price – in the US, at least. 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, and you’re also at the mercy of Sony’s PlayStation Store pricing.
Sony refused to rule out a potential PS5 price increase in July, though we now know it will cost more to buy a PS5 in almost every market outside the US. With manufacturing and shipping costs continuing to rise, we’ve seen some companies like Meta raise the price of Quest 2 by $100 to offset the impact, and Sony has followed suit.
Microsoft hasn’t announced a price hike for the Xbox Series X, which means it’s officially cheaper than PS5 if you’re not in North America. Microsoft also has a more affordable Xbox Series S option for consumers to consider. 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: 8.6 pounds (3.9kg)
🤓 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.
The PS5’s SSD is faster than the Xbox Series X, but load times are negligible between the two consoles in our experiences, with both systems trading blows regarding boot speeds.
One area where the PS5’s specs have changed since launch is in the console’s weight. The console originally weighed 4.5kg, but two model revisions have knocked 600 grams off the weight of the disc model, making it significantly lighter. It means, despite its size, the PS5 is now lighter than the Xbox Series X at 3.9kg.
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.
Like the Xbox Series X, the PS5 is extremely quiet in operation – a far cry from the jet engine-like noise a launch day PS4 could produce under heavy load.
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, good sales numbers are 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 18 million, while we know that PS5 sales have reached 25 million. That’s an excellent result for both companies considering the consoles’ were 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. Sony has promised that PS5 stock will improve in time for the holidays, but that remains to be seen.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: games 🕹️
Fundamentally, it’s the games that should influence your decision as to 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, Returnal, God of War Ragnarok, and The Last of Us Part 1. 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, Forza Horizon 5 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 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.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is still our pick of the two services as it’s home to all of Microsoft’s first-party exclusives and Bethesda games, and could include all of Activision Blizzard’s titles soon. Call of Duty, Diablo and Overwatch will come to Xbox Game Pass if Microsoft’s takeover is successful, and Sony really doesn’t want Microsoft to own Call of Duty for exactly that reason.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: features 🤩
The Xbox Series X and PS5 may have similar specs, but each console includes a few unique hardware features 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 60fps 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 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 bowstring 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 an 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, or Xbox Game Pass has caught your eye?
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 of games (and more in Xbox Series X’s case).
Both consoles have also gotten better since launch, too. Microsoft continues to roll out system updates that add new functionality, like Discord voice chat, while PS5 is finally getting 1440p support.
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Updated: November 10, 2022