Compliments of the season to you! Christmas 2020 is here, and that means countless gamers across the world will likely be setting up a brand-new Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S this week. Exciting times!
Before you get hands-on with your new console for the first time, however, there are a few things you might want to know about setting it up in order to make your day one experience as smooth as possible. Let's take a look...
1. The Xbox App Makes The Series X Setup Process Easier
The Xbox Series X allows you to use the new Xbox App for Android and iOS as part of the setup process, and ultimately it saves time by giving you the option to customise settings on your phone while your console prepares itself for a first-time use. It's not a major timesaver, but it's certainly a welcome option.
And don't forget, the Xbox App also provides plenty of other cool features such as the ability to activate Remote Play between your Xbox Series X and your phone so you can play your console on the go.
2. You'll Be Downloading A Lot Of Games On Day One
The Xbox Series X and S allow you to carry over your backwards compatible titles on an external drive, and we highly recommend you do this if possible, or you'll be spending lots of time downloading games. You can also network transfer your games from Xbox One to Xbox Series X|S, but it's typically a slower process.
Keep in mind that next-generation optimised games are fairly sizable for the most part, and even if you already have the likes of Forza Horizon 4 and Gears 5 stored on your external drive, you'll need to redownload their next-generation versions all over again, so don't expect to play everything on day one.
3. Familiarise Yourself With The Series X Display Settings
If you've only ever owned a base Xbox One or an Xbox One S, you've probably never paid much attention to the console's display settings. But this time, depending on the TV or monitor you're using, you'll want to use this feature to activate the likes of 120Hz, VRR, HDR10, Auto HDR, Dolby Vision and much more.
Even if you're using an older 1080p TV with very few bells and whistles, we recommend at least checking these settings once, as you'll want to make sure everything is set up correctly to get the most out of your console.
4. Playing Games At 4K, 120Hz Might Require A TV Firmware Update
If you're one of those gamers who are lucky enough to own a TV that can handle 4K, 120Hz via HDMI 2.1, there's a chance you might run into some issues when activating this feature on the Xbox Series X.
This is exactly what happened to us with our LGNANO866 TV back at launch in November, which produced a green tint across the screen and played havoc with the console's variable refresh rate setting at 4K, 120Hz. The solution? We downloaded a manual firmware update for our TV from the web (it didn't work when we attempted an automatic update through the TV), installed it via USB, and this solved the issue instantly. Keep this in mind!
5. Look For The X|S Logo & Use The Next-Gen Filter
Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One games actually look very similar in terms of how they're presented in your games library and on the Microsoft Store, so there's one key thing you need to look for - the X|S logo.
You'll find this on game tiles and when searching for new games, and it indicates that the title has been specifically optimised to run on Xbox Series X|S, rather than just through backwards compatibility.
And if you're really struggling? Microsoft has added filters to the Store and your library allowing you to display just the games that have been optimised for Xbox Series X|S, giving you the clearest view possible.
6. Running A Game In Standby Will Slow Your Downloads
It'd be wise to expect less-than-optimal download speeds over the Christmas period in any case, but keep in mind that if you're running a game in standby, both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S may suffer from even slower download speeds. In fact, Microsoft is working on a feature to make you aware when this is happening.
Of course, one of the most exciting new features of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S is Quick Resume, which allows you to jump between games near-instantly with no loading times, but running a game in standby works a little differently - the slow downloads issue only appears to affect the current game you're playing.
So, if you've got a big batch of downloads ready to go, make sure that you fully exit the current game you're playing via the Menu button on the Xbox controller, and it should help to ease those slow download speeds.
7. Most Xbox One Accessories Work With The Xbox Series X
The Xbox team is very committed to backwards compatibility with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, and one of the big benefits of that is that the majority of accessories for Xbox One also work with the new consoles. From standard controllers to racing wheels to plastic guitars, you can get most of them working with no fuss.
This also extends to things like the official battery pack for the Xbox One, which seamlessly slots into the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S controller. Just keep in mind that the new controller uses a USB-C connection rather than micro-USB, so if you already have one of these batteries, you'll need a USB-C cable to go with it.
Got any other tips to add to the list for new Series X owners? Drop them in the comments below.