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What the critics are saying after being hands on with the Series X

The verdict is in for Microsoft's newest generation of Xbox, the Series X.

Just days before its worldwide release on November 10, Microsoft sent its newest console out to an exclusive few reviewers to get a taste of its state-of-the-art technology — including 12 teraflops of processing power, visuals up to 120 fps, and a NVMe SSD that provides lightning-speed loading times.

It was the latter that seemed to impress many reviewers. "When it comes to next-gen titles, we found the few loading screens we were presented with lasted mere seconds," said Techradar. Agreeing with this assessment, The Guardian stated: "Both consoles [Series X and S] benefit from a superfast SSD — and this is what really changes the experience when you're playing. Instead of waiting an age for games to load, you can nip between different games as quickly as changing channels on a TV."

Series X has a big body to hold its big-time processing unit, but that didn't seem to bother the critics. Although it's rather bulky, reviewers like Ryan McCaffrey of IGN praised the Series X for its minimalistic style. "To my eye, it's easily the best [design] in Xbox history," McCaffrey claimed. "...it's big enough to confidently tower in your entertainment center while compact and subtle enough that it doesn't dominate it." McCaffrey also lauded the console's whisper-quiet fans: "Kudos to Microsoft's engineers for making the Series X almost inaudibly quiet. Even playing games in 4K at 60 frames per second, this stoic ebony obelisk barely whispers."

One new helpful feature of the Series X, pointed out by Techradar, is the addition of raised bumps that identify the ports on the back of the machine. This not only helps the visually impaired but also those with limited space, struggling to reach around and find where to plug in that darn HDMI.

Some features of the Series X are tried and true, such as the controller's familiar design, though with a few added improvements. The controller now has textured grips and a share button, and according to Eurogamer, the d-pad is "vastly improved." "The improvements may feel subtle when you first go hands-on, but going back to the original Xbox One controller afterwards demonstrates how cumulative changes over time produce a much better product," was Eurogamer's take.

If there's one thing most reviewers of the Series X are united on, it's the lack of any exciting exclusive games at launch. "The delay of Halo Infinite means there are hardly any exclusive games designed to take advantage of all of this power until next year," said IGN. However, Series X still retains its backward capability, so players can enjoy the console's powerful new processor and high-resolution graphics with some old favorites. "Just about everything from the Xbox One will work, and the substantial catalog of Xbox 360 games and handful from the original Xbox that were brought forward to the Xbox One carry over to the Series X too."

While IGN suggests taking advantage of the Series X's backward capability while waiting for new games to arrive, Techradar's advice is to utilize Xbox's subscription service. "To truly get the most out of the Xbox Series X at launch, we advise picking up an Xbox Game Pass subscription that enables you to access hundreds of games for a monthly fee — we found it helps soften the blow of this poor launch lineup."

The Series X is the fourth-generation console from Microsoft, whose success story began in 2001 with the launch of the original Xbox. The company sold over one million consoles in three weeks — though most of its success at the time could possibly be attributed to the console's exclusive rights to the hit FPS title Halo. Yet Microsoft's biggest achievement could arguably be the launch of Xbox Live in 2002, which revolutionized multiplayer gaming by allowing players to interact and compete with other gamers from around the world.

Next came the XBox 360 in 2005, which included the Kinect motion-sensor feature and, unfortunately, one serious tech fail. "The Red Ring of Death" plagued a number of the Xbox 360's customers — a serious hardware issue that shut down some consoles for good ... and cost the company $1 billion. The issue was fixed with the improved Xbox 360 S in 2010. The last Xbox console released was the Xbox One, which saw a number of controversial issues in its pre-release announcements, including its Digital Rights Management policy which restricted consumer ownership rights. The company quickly reversed the policy after the negative reactions from the public, and Xbox One went on to receive mostly positive reviews. 

Will the general public agree with the critics' reviews of the Xbox X Series? Find out when the newest console launches on November 10.