Ranking Every Xbox Console From Worst to Best

Ranking every Xbox Console

The Xbox brand of consoles has had somewhat of a rollercoaster-like lifespan over the past two decades. With four generations of consoles, and quite a few iterations and differing versions across those four generations, Microsoft’s green brand has experienced being on the winning and losing end of this so-called “console war”. At the moment, Xbox is definitely on the uptick, but sometimes it’s nice to go back through the brand’s history and determine which console was the best.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to go back and rank all the major versions of the Xbox console over the past twenty years. Crucially, we’re not going through every limited edition version of the console, otherwise the Halo 4 version of the Xbox 360 would sweep this entire list. Either way, here’s the definitive ranking of every major model of Xbox console ever made.


9. Xbox One

Base Xbox One console
Base Xbox One console

Release Date: November 22nd, 2013
Price: $499/£429

The console that was so bad it managed to lead to a CEO being ousted from Xbox, the Xbox One was a third generation fumble for Microsoft, an experience that Sony knew all too well with the PS3. On paper, the Xbox One was marketed as an all-purpose media unit of sorts, allowing players to experience the best of gaming, movies, TV and music on one device, but the results left a lot to be desired.

Ahead of launch, the Xbox One couldn’t shake the reputation of being a media player first and foremost, with the only launch games that were available for the Xbox One being a mediocre Dead Rising game and a selection of sports titles. In the end, the Xbox One was massively outclassed by the PS4 in terms of library and overall user experience, and it has taken Microsoft a decade of acquisitions and subscription services to recover the ground that was lost.


8. Xbox 360 E

Xbox 360 E
Xbox 360 E

Release Date: June 10th, 2013
Price: $299.99/£199.99+

The Xbox 360 version you probably forgot about, the Xbox 360 E was announced during the same showcase that the Xbox One was revealed. Similar in specs and scope to an already released iteration of the Xbox 360, which we’ll talk about later on in this list, the only real change made to the Xbox 360 E was external, as it was designed to look more like the Xbox One. Read: bulky, black and not that nice to look at.

Considering that the Xbox 360 E launched right at the end of the Xbox 360’s lifecycle, with Microsoft moving on to the Xbox One practically immediately afterwards, the Xbox 360 E’s impact on the legacy of Xbox is minimal at best, which is why it’s so low down on this list. It’s a great console, especially if you happened to be a PS3 owner who wanted to see what Xbox had to offer late in the seventh generation, but it didn’t leave a mark like other Xbox consoles did.


7. Xbox One S

Xbox One S
Xbox One S

Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Price: $299+/£250+

Anything would have been an improvement over the Shockmaster-esque debut that the Xbox One had, so the Xbox One S was a welcome upgrade to the base Xbox One model. Offered with three different storage capacities, meaning players of all price ranges could get involved, and adorned with a white casing that didn’t look like a bulky VHS player from the 1970s, the Xbox One S was a vast improvement over the original.

Introduced in 2016, the Xbox One S replaced the original 2013 launch model of Xbox One, giving the ailing console a sleek visual overhaul, and perhaps most crucially, HDR and 4K support. All told, it was a decent upgrade to the first version of the Xbox One, while still being cheaper than the original Xbox One was at launch too. As upgrades or mid-generation console refreshes go, the Xbox One S was pretty decent.


6. Xbox One X

Xbox One X
Xbox One X

Release Date: November 7th, 2017
Price: $500/£450

The definitive version of the Xbox One, the Xbox One X improved again on the Xbox One S by offering almost a full upgrade to most of the core processes, making it a more powerful console. On stats alone, the Xbox One X might have even been more powerful than the PS4 Pro, making it (for a time) the best place to play console games. Or, third party console games at least. PlayStation still had Spider-Man and God of War, obviously.

Either way, the Xbox One X was leaps and bounds ahead of where the Xbox One was back in 2013. Coupling the improvements made on the consoles with Xbox’s growing market share and popularity, thanks to systems like Xbox Game Pass, and the Xbox One X was a statement of change within the gaming industry. It still wasn’t the best console Microsoft have ever made, but it definitely left an impression.


5. Xbox Series S

Xbox Series S
Xbox Series S

Release Date: November 10th, 2020
Price: $299/$249

Microsoft made a bold decision when they decided to split their current generation across two consoles, with the intent of providing a “next-gen” experience at two different price points. In theory, the Xbox Series S is a fantastic console, allowing those who don’t have 4K TVs or are just interested in playing Game Pass games the chance to get their foot in the next-gen door, so to speak. At the end of the day, the more accessible the medium is, the better.

In execution, the Xbox Series S mostly achieves this goal, marketing itself as an affordable alternative to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, while still offering a fantastic gaming experience. That being said, there’s the sense that now, three years into the Xbox Series X & S lifecycle that the Series S is holding the Series X back. With games like Baldur’s Gate 3 being delayed due to the fact the Series S version wouldn’t have parity with the Series X version, the bloom seems to be off the rose with the Series S.


4. Xbox

OG Xbox
OG Xbox

Release Date: November 15th, 2001
Price: $299/£249

The OG. You know Microsoft wanted to treat the Xbox like it was a big deal when it was unveiled by Bill Gates and The Rock, and it certainly made enough of an impact for Xbox to still be around 20 years later. Microsoft’s first foray into the console gaming market, the original Xbox managed to be a record-breaking console, selling 1.5 million units in the US alone before the end of 2001. Considering the Xbox only launched in November 2001, that’s an impressive feat.

While the original Xbox didn’t match up to the absolute juggernaut that was the PlayStation 2, it still managed to outsell the Nintendo GameCube and SEGA Dreamcast, and boasted some impressive exclusives like Ninja Gaiden Black, the Halo series, Fable, Jade Empire and Blinx The Time-Sweeper. The only real issue that held the original Xbox back was the massive Duke controller, which was seemingly only built for anyone with hands the size of Andre The Giant, but they did listen to feedback and release a smaller version down the line.


3. Xbox 360

Xbox 360 console
Xbox 360 console

Release Date: November 22nd, 2005
Price: £299/£209

Arguably Xbox’s most iconic console, the Xbox 360 was a massive achievement for Microsoft, offering a massive library of third-party hits and excellent first-party exclusives like Halo, Gears of War, Forza Horizon and more. Sure, not everything about the 360 was a rousing success, such as the gimmicky Kinect (even if it did sell like gangbusters), but on the whole, the Xbox 360 was a widely beloved console adopted the world over.

Unfortunately for Microsoft though, the original version of the Xbox 360 was subject to plenty of controversy when it launched, thanks to the prevalent issues regarding the so-called Red Ring Of Death. The console’s heating issues would cause the inner tech of the console to bend and warp, ultimately leading to the red light on the console and the dreaded error message on the TV. Fortunately, Microsoft rectified the issue later on, but the Red Ring nearly tanked the 360 before it began.


2. Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X console
Xbox Series X console

Release Date: November 10th, 2020
Price: $499/£449

You might think it’s recency bias that the Xbox Series X is this high up on the list, but the fact of the matter is that Microsoft’s big black console is their most feature complete console to date, with a library of games spanning four generations at this point. Xbox Game Pass has also grown massively in size and scope since the release of the Xbox Series X, making it a brilliant place for players to make their console gaming home.

Currently going head to head with the PS5 over which is the most powerful console, the Xbox Series X is a huge step above the previous generation of Xbox consoles. The only minor downside being the removal of a few ports compared to the Xbox One, and the need for proprietary storage solutions because AAA games are too darned big these days. On the whole, the Xbox Series X is a fantastic console, but if it wasn’t for the massive improvements that Microsoft made to the Xbox 360, it’d be their best ever effort.


1. Xbox 360 Slim

Xbox 360 Slim
Xbox 360 Slim

Release Date: June 18th, 2010
Price: $299/£199

Many people still consider the Xbox 360 to be Microsoft’s console gaming highlight, and while that may be nostalgia talking, it’s hard to argue with the level of success and brand recognition they received in the latter half of the 360’s lifecycle. A lot of that success could be attributed to the game’s that were on offer, but the real star of the show was the Xbox 360 Slim, which massively overhauled the console’s core systems to create the best version possible.

Gone were the days of the Xbox 360’s prevalent overheating issues, as the Slim version offered a radically different cooling system that helped to mostly make Red Rings of Death a thing of the past. Combine that with the fact that the Xbox 360 Slim was smaller, quieter and offered more storage space, and you can see how much better this version of the console is. With those kinds of improvements, it’s no wonder the Xbox 360 Slim is the best console Microsoft have ever made.

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