The latest generation of Xbox consoles are undoubtedly the most PC like game consoles ever released in terms of gaming performance. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S both feature hardware that is very similar to that of a mid to high-end gaming computer.
Traditionally game consoles have been strictly for gaming, and computers were much more versatile. This is still the case with the latest generation consoles from Microsoft. Sure, the Xbox Series X | S has a web browser with limited functionality and the ability to use a keyboard and mouse in addition to a controller, but that is where it ends. There is no ability to install Windows or run any kind of desktop software applications.
Xbox Series X | S Limitations vs Gaming Computer
Xbox Series X as a PC – What is Possible
The Xbox Series X can handle the following PC tasks with ease.
- Gaming (surprise, surprise)
- Basic web browsing
- Email vs webmail
- Some browser-based applications, such as Google Docs, will work with a few limitations
- Streaming Netflix or other Xbox-approved streaming video services via their official app
Xbox Series X as a Gaming Computer Replacement
The Xbox Series X is a competent gaming system at a very competitive price. As expected, it can handle virtually any gaming task that you could want to use a computer for. Notable exceptions include the lack of proper support for ultrawide monitors or the ability to use more than a single display.
Most game titles that are available on Steam are also available on Xbox via Xbox Live. If you are only focused on gaming, Xbox is a suitable replacement for a PC. You can even use a mouse and keyboard with your latest generation Xbox as well.
For some games, this can make a huge difference. In fact, based on my personal experience, using an Xbox Controller in competitive first-person shooter (FPS) games puts you at a significant disadvantage over keyboard and mouse players. For gaming, the price of an Xbox Series X or Series S is a sweet deal for sure. A gaming computer of a similar price point would have significantly less performance.
Web Browsing on Xbox Series X | S
The latest generation consoles from Microsoft have Microsoft Edge installed on them. This enables them to support basic web browsing functionality. The majority of websites work just fine on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S using the Microsoft Edge browser.
You can also use the web browser for accessing web-based email services such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook Online. Many browser-based games will also work properly on the Xbox Series X.
Some people have reported having success using Google Docs on their Xbox Series X. However, based on my first-hand experience, Xbox struggles with document editing. The lack of ability to save to the filesystem from within the browser appears to cause some stability issues.
The additional support for using a keyboard and mouse makes web browsing a better experience. Most people would not want to be browsing the web using a game controller.
Using Xbox Series X as a PC – Limitations
Despite significant hardware similarities between PCs and Xbox Series X | S consoles, the software side is completely different. The Xbox consoles run a locked-down operating system that has no ability to install 3rd party applications.
This means that you can’t install Microsoft Office, Photoshop, or other Windows software on your Xbox. It also means that you can’t install Google Chrome or the web browser of your choosing. You can browse the web with the limited version of Microsoft Edge that comes with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, but that is about it.
How To Use Microsoft Edge On Xbox Series X
One of the primary improvements made with the release of the Xbox Series X is the new Chromium-based web browser.
Switching between games and the Microsoft Edge web browser is a breeze. Here are the steps to access Microsoft Edge on your Xbox Series X.
- Turn On Console & Go To Main Menu
- Click On My Games & Apps
- Go to All Apps To Find The Edge Browser
From this point, you will be able to use the Microsoft Edge browser that comes included with your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S.
Turn Xbox Series X Into PC
It is not possible to turn an Xbox Series X into a true gaming PC. Despite rumors about a Windows Mode for Xbox and even some websites that show installing Linux on much older generation Xbox consoles. These are simply not real and rather just examples of bad clickbait floating around on the web.
The closest to a PC that an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S will likely ever come is the ability to use a web browser. Apart from a basic web browser, there is no computer-like functionality to be found on your Xbox.
Running Windows on Xbox Series X | S
The Xbox shares many hardware similarities with a gaming computer. They have the same basic parts, including RAM, CPU, GPU, and PSU. Despite the similarities, they differ in a key way.
It is not possible to install Windows or any other desktop operating system on an Xbox Series X or Series S. This is by design and not an accident at all. Microsoft Xbox is meant to be a closed ecosystem that they maintain full control over. You will not be running Steam or other Windows-based apps on your Xbox.
Should I Buy an Xbox Series X or a Gaming PC
Xbox consoles are strictly designed for gaming. In sharp contrast, gaming PCs can also be used for other PC functions in addition to gaming.
If you only care about gaming, get the Xbox Series X, hands down. If you want to game and also get some work done, do some content creation, or even just have access to a wider library of games, a PC is the better choice.
If your sole reason for wanting to purchase the latest generation console is gaming, you are in good company. A recent survey showed that 95% of game console owners appreciate the simplicity offered by console gaming and have no interest in PC like functionality. If Microsoft were to make the Xbox Series X a full fledge PC, they would alienate a huge percentage of the console market.
The lack of PC functionality also helps to keep the price point lower. The amount of gaming power packed into a box that costs less than $500 is truly incredible. To get similar gaming performance on a PC would require spending significantly more money.
For some gamers, this matters to them greatly, and to others, it makes no difference at all. Of course, the gaming PC can also be used for other PC functions in addition to gaming.
Conclusion: Xbox Series X vs Gaming Computer
The gaming performance gap between consoles and PCs has been busted. Beyond that, consoles are still consoles, and PCs are still PCs. If you want PC functionality, buy a PC. If you want a streamlined, high-performance gaming experience at an affordable price, the latest generation consoles will not disappoint. However, do not expect to use Xbox Series X | S as a PC. A gaming console and a PC are not the same things despite the hardware similarities.