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
The battle between PS5 vs Xbox Series X is now in its third year, as Sony and Microsoft continue to pull out all the stops to win the hearts and minds of gamers across the globe. However, things have changed.
Sony released a PS5 Slim in November that refreshed the console’s design, shaving 30% off its total size, adding more storage space, and a modular disc drive. Not to be outdone, Microsoft also seems to be preparing an Xbox Series X Slim, following a significant Xbox leak that revealed the company’s upcoming plans.
It means that those who pick up the PS5 Slim – which will eventually replace the launch day models – will get more storage and a smaller form factor, making the PS5 and Xbox Series X a closer match than before.
But the question is: should you buy the PS5 or Xbox Series X?
It may seem like a simple choice, but it isn’t as easy as you might think. The reality is both consoles are incredibly well-designed and capable of playing some fantastic games. It would be wrong to deem one console better than the other, as both systems have strengths and weaknesses.
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There’s also little to separate them in terms of unique features or price. Ultimately, what will sway your purchasing decision the most depends on which games you’re interested in and maybe where your friends play. You may also have nostalgia for a certain gaming franchise, like Ratchet & Clank or Halo, or may have fallen in love with The Last of Us after watching the TV show.
You might even prefer the PS5 DualSense Controller over the Xbox Wireless Controller or simply be swayed by the aesthetics of one console over the other. Virtual reality could be something you’re interested in, too, which is only available on PlayStation 5 thanks to PSVR 2. Is PSVR 2 worth it, though? Not yet, but the potential is there.
However, the strategy of Microsoft as a whole is currently under scrutiny. The company is reportedly planning to put Xbox games on PlayStation 5, which would certainly make choosing a PS5 vs Xbox Series X a lot easier. Sony’s console would win by default.
Nevertheless, it’s time to have the two consoles face off in our in-depth PS5 vs Xbox Series X comparison, but remember, there’s no outright winner here. Some aspects are objectively clear, but a lot of it is subjective.
Once you’ve nailed down the system you’d like to buy, read our comprehensive breakdown of the PS5 Disc vs Digital and Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S to find out exactly which version is right for you. You might also be wondering whether to buy the Nintendo Switch vs OLED if you’ve been eyeing Nintendo’s console.
If you still can’t decide after reading our in-depth comparison, well, there’s no shame in buying both. That way you get to play everything that’s on offer and you’ll never miss out on the latest and greatest new game release. It might also be worth waiting for the PS5 Pro if you haven’t picked up a PlayStation 5 yet or even the Nintendo Switch 2.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: price 💰
The PS5 and Xbox Series X are a match in terms of price – in the US, at least. Sony raised the PS5 price in select markets in August 2022, and Microsoft followed suit in August this year, raising the price of the Xbox Series X in every country except Japan, Chile, Brazil, and Colombia.
Both consoles cost $499 in the US, then, but if you’re happy to ditch the disc drive, the PS5 Digital Edition is available for $399 or $449 if you buy the PS5 Slim Digital Edition. 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 generally harder to find in stock, and you’re at the mercy of Sony’s PlayStation Store pricing when it comes to games.
Even though its flagship console has gone up in price, Microsoft hasn’t announced a price hike for its digital-only console, the Xbox Series S, which remains at $299. A new black Xbox Series S was also released on September 1 for $349, which includes a 1TB SSD.
Unlike the PS5 Digital Edition, which is identical in terms of specs to the PS5 disc model, the Xbox Series S is a lower-specced machine, meaning you won’t get the same resolution and frame rates as the more powerful 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 as they won’t work here.
🏆 Winner: Tie. Microsoft’s console was cheaper than the PS5 in almost every country for a while, but now that the price has gone up the two consoles are a match when it comes to MSRP. 🏆
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: specs 🔍
The PS5 and Xbox Series X differ in specs, with Microsoft’s console having the edge in terms of raw horsepower. However, the PS5 is no slouch when it comes to graphics and performance, and developers tend to spend extra time to ensure that the PlayStation 5 version of a game is running at parity with the Xbox Series X version, if not better, due to Sony’s larger install base.
The differences between the two are often negligible, then, with one console running a game at a slightly 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. There are more Xbox Series X 120fps games, for example.
💙 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
📏 PS5 Slim specs:
💲 Price: $499
💿 4K Blu-ray disc drive: Yes (detachable)
📏 Size: H 14.1 x D 8.5 x W 3.7 inches
⚖️ Weight: 3.2kg
🤓 CPU: 3.5GHz, 8-core AMD Zen 2
💪 GPU: 10.3 teraflop RDNA 2 GPU
🐏 RAM: 16GB GDDR6
⏩ SSD: Custom 1TB SSD
💚 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 minor 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 on both systems, and 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, however. (A new PS5 update has recently added Dolby Atmos support for soundbars, speakers, and TVs.)
Another difference between the Xbox Series X and PS5 is storage space. The PS5 launch models have an 825GB SSD with 667GB of usable space, while the 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 and it’s cheaper to do so on PS5. 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 Slim changes this comparison, however, as the refreshed console comes with 1TB of SSD storage. That’s a match for Xbox Series X and adds more value to Sony’s machine than before.
The PS5’s SSD is also faster than the Xbox Series X, but load times are negligible between the two consoles in our experience, 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 bigger size, the PS5 is now lighter than the Xbox Series X at 3.9kg. The PS5 Slim increases that gap, as it’s just 3.2kg. However, it still has a bigger footprint.
🏆 Winner: Xbox Series X. It’s a win for Microsoft’s flagship console. The Xbox Series X is more powerful on paper, has a larger capacity SSD (PS5 Slim model aside), and has more 120fps games available. That’s not to say the PS5 isn’t a perfectly capable machine, but the Xbox Series X just pips it when it comes to specs. 🏆
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: size 📏
If the photos aren’t evidence enough, 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 of the 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 it needs a stand for both positions. The console's large size might make it challenging to find space for it in your home setup, but its enormous footprint at least ensures that it operates cool and quiet.
The PS5 Slim knocks 30% off the total volume of the original PlayStation 5. It’s 14.1 inches tall, 8.5 inches deep and 3.7 inches wide. It’s a big improvement, but the PS5 Slim is still a sizeable machine. Oh, and it doesn’t come with a stand if you want to position the console vertically.
🏆 Winner: Xbox Series X. The PS5’s futuristic design may be more eye-catching than the PC-like tower of the Xbox Series X, but its larger footprint makes it harder to fit in most people’s setups. The fact you need to attach a stand for both orientations is also a mark against it, so Microsoft’s console pips this category. 🏆
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: sales 📈
Sales aren’t indicative of a great console (many loved the Wii U despite the fact Nintendo’s system bombed at retail). But 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 initially hampered the success of both machines, particularly the PS5, which was more challenging to find than the Xbox Series X. However, the PS5 stock shortage has finally come to an end.
Xbox Series X|S console sales are estimated to be around 21 million, while we know that official PS5 sales have surpassed 40 million. That’s an excellent result for both companies considering the consoles’ were released in November 2020, but it’s the PS5 that is blazing the trail.
As supply has improved, PS5 sales have skyrocketed. The huge surge in sales could likely be down to the residual demand built up from consumers who haven’t been able to get their hands on Sony’s console yet, but it’s also because PS5 keeps dropping games people want to play.
🏆 Winner: PS5. Demand for Sony’s console continues to remain high and now stock is finally at a level where that demand can be met. Sony announced that PS5 sales have surpassed 40 million units, while Xbox Series X|S sales have surpassed 21 million. 🏆
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 exclusive games on PS5 or Xbox Series X? That’s something that only you can answer.
Sony’s exclusive titles are certainly impressive, ranging from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Horizon Forbidden West, Returnal, God of War Ragnarok, and The Last of Us Part 1. And there are more blockbuster releases on the way in 2023, like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
Microsoft’s lineup might not be as critically acclaimed, but there are some fantastic games that you won’t find on Sony’s console, like Starfield, Sea of Thieves, Hi-Fi Rush, Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite.
It’s important to consider which games appeal to you, then. But if Microsoft’s lineup of exclusives eventually comes to PlayStation 5, the decision might be easier than it once was.
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.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is still my pick of the two services, as it’s home to all of Microsoft’s first-party exclusives and Bethesda games, EA Play titles, and will include all of Activision Blizzard’s titles soon. You also get access to Xbox Cloud gaming.
🏆 Winner: PS5. Even though Xbox Game Pass is an extremely compelling service, Sony’s range of exclusive titles continues to deliver critically acclaimed experiences that can often only be found on PlayStation. Sony has also secured several third-party timed-exclusivity deals like Final Fantasy 16, which help strengthen the console’s library and overall appeal. 🏆
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 noting.
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.
Meanwhile, 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.
🏆 Winner: Tie. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X have a unique feature set. Quick Resume is a game-changer on Xbox Series X, but Game Help is also a clever feature on PS5 that can help you earn trophies or progress during difficult points in a game. It’s too difficult to pick an outright winner for this category. 🏆
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: controllers 🎮
Microsoft has opted for a more “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach with the Xbox 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.
👀 Want the smoothest gameplay possible? Check out all the PS5 120fps games
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.
In contrast to the Xbox Wireless Controller, 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 on a bowstring or feeling raindrops hitting your character as they fall from the sky. 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 as well as a pro option, the PS5 DualSense Edge Controller. However, we do wish the PS5 controller battery life was better but a new PS5 controller with a 12-hour battery life could be on the way.
🏆 Winner: PS5. The PS5 DualSense controller is a revelation. It’s easily the best PlayStation controller to date, and haptic feedback and adaptive triggers aren’t just a gimmick. While many will prefer the Xbox controller’s asymmetrical analog stick layout, the DualSense is packed with features that can add another layer to games. 🏆
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 if you can. That way, you never have to miss out if a game releases exclusively on one platform, and you can choose to pick online titles on the platform your friends prefer to play on.
If you can only pick one console, 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 some upcoming PSVR 2 games have piqued your interest, or the incredible value of 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 even older titles in Xbox Series X’s case).
Both consoles have continued to improve since launch, as you might expect. Microsoft continues to roll out system updates that add new functionality, like Discord voice chat, which is now also PS5. New features and quality-of-life updates address fan feedback and sometimes introduce new functionality.
There’s never been a safer choice to make as a gamer, then. Whichever system you choose, you’ll be satisfied with the hardware, games on offer, and value propositions like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus.
🏆 Overall winner: Tie. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X have their strength and weaknesses. While Sony’s console has better games, a more innovative controller, and is more popular with consumers right now, the Xbox Series X is a more powerful system, has a better overall design, and the value proposition of Xbox Game Pass still can’t be beaten. The good news is that you can’t go wrong when it comes to PS5 vs Xbox Series X. 🏆
Last updated: February 13, 2024