Black Friday is one of the best opportunities to save on gaming purchases, including accessories made for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles. You can score some great deals from Microsoft and top brands like Turtle Beach, Razer, Astro Gaming, and PowerA. Black Friday is still to come, but you can already save on some of the best accessories for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.
With Black Friday approaching, it's crucial to understand the worthwhile deals and the products likely to be discounted. Microsoft is pushing backward compatibility across its latest consoles, which means almost everything works on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.
Accessories like headsets, controllers, and chargers are popular for Black Friday clearance. Games also continue to grow in size, and with storage space more limited than ever, look out for cuts on Xbox-compatible hard drives. The latest Xbox Series X|S family pushes new technologies only found in the best 4K TVs too, with retailers already slashing prices on many top models.
With retailers discounting products ahead of the big day, these are the Xbox accessories you shouldn't miss so far.
Microsoft's Xbox Elite Controller is one of the leading Xbox accessories out there, highly customizable and assembled from best-in-class materials. You can adjust swap out its components between various sticks, paddles, or pads, plus tweak how thumbsticks and triggers operate. You even get a handy carry case and a dedicated charging cradle. It recently got a rare discount at some retailers.
With both Microsoft and third-party accessory manufacturers expected to lower prices over the weeks ahead, we're keeping an eye on the best deals available for Xbox owners. We've already rounded up some attractive savings within top categories, likely to rival savings found throughout the month.
Xbox Stereo Headset | $55 at Amazon (Was $60)
Microsoft is back in Xbox audio with new official headsets, and its Xbox Stereo Headset is the most affordable offering designed for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One. It takes cues from its pricier Xbox Wireless Headset, with comfortable materials and convenient features like on-ear volume dials. It's one of the best budget headsets out there, now with a small pre-Black Friday saving.
HyperX CloudX Xbox Gaming Headset | $50 at Amazon (Was $70)
The HyperX CloudX has long held the crown in its price bracket, delivering punchy audio coupled with a noise-canceling microphone for online play. It's wrapped up in a premium finish, thanks to an all-aluminum frame and comfy memory foam ear cushions, but drops the needless gimmicks from some budget headsets. It's now discounted at an even more affordable price ahead of Black Friday.
Seagate has launched some hefty discounts on its official Xbox-branded hard drives, including its newest 2TB Game Drive designed for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. The capacity means five times the storage on many Xbox consoles, with slick black casing and a green LED strip ideal for any gaming setup. This 24% saving serves up its lowest-ever price to date.
Upgrading to an SSD for external storage brings improved speed over traditional hard drives, although at a premium, while still providing more space for games. You'll see reduced transfer and load times with the Samsung T7, with stellar performance and quality across the range. This hugely improves an existing Xbox One console and works on Xbox Series X and Series S, albeit with usual USB drive limitations. SSD prices have steadily fallen through 2021, making this an ideal time to invest.
PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus Bluetooth Controller | $33 at Amazon (Was $40)
It's been a massive year for Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming platform. Those on Android should consider the XP5-X Plus, a gamepad taking cues from the official Xbox controller, with an integrated clip for your smartphone. Best of all, there's a 3000mAh power bank inside to charge your device while on the move.
TCL 6-Series R635 55-inch 4K TV | $690 at Amazon (Was $950)
TCL remains a leader in great 4K TVs at lower prices. The R635, a device we named the best budget 4K TV for Xbox Series X|S, just scored another significant price cut headed into Black Friday. It doesn't have HDMI 2.1 support but offers 4K 60 FPS gaming, with a handy option to hit 120Hz when targeting a lower 1440p. You can also expect superb visuals for the price coupled with support for many popular gaming features.
TCL 5-Series S535 4K TV | $449 at Amazon (Was $525)
The 5-Series S535 is another even cheaper TV that still holds its ground. The lower cost still supplies a solid 4K HDR image with rich colors and a low response time for gaming. You're limited to 4K at 60Hz, coupled with a hit to image quality, but you can't beat this 4K TV within its price bracket.
LG C1 65-inch 4K OLED | $1,897 at Amazon (Was $2,100)
This is the best 4K TV for Xbox Series X and PS5, delivering incredible images and all the features you need. It has HDMI 2.1 support, enabling up to 4K resolutions at 120Hz, coupled with other latest-generation display features. With that premium OLED panel, you're experiencing the best rich colors with deep blacks, with the best image quality available on your console. The 65-inch model is already $200 cheaper ahead of Black Friday.
Download sizes for your favorite video games continue to grow, with external storage now one of the best investments for Xbox consoles. While already an essential item for Xbox One owners, Microsoft's latest Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S only magnify the issue with larger file sizes but the same restrictive storage capacities.
Events like Black Friday often bring unmatched savings, and many retailers have now dropped their best discounts. That makes it an ideal time to invest in some of the best external hard drives and SSDs for Xbox consoles, expanding your storage with more room for games. We've rounded up all the best value external hard drive and SSD deals currently live for Black Friday, all ideal for expanding Xbox Series X and Series S storage or adding more storage to Xbox One.
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 2TB external hard drive
Seagate is a leading name in external storage and this official Xbox-branded drive got an incredible price cut. That 2TB capacity can mean five times the available storage on many Xbox One consoles, evening tripling your space with Xbox Series X. You get a slick all-black shell with a green LED light bar, complementing any Xbox setup.
When considering the best Black Friday deals on external storage, it's crucial to consider whether you're looking for a hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD) for your Xbox. Hard drives provide the most affordable upgrade, providing more capacity for your dollar. But upgrading to an SSD means drastically improved speeds, cutting transfer and loading times in the process.
It's also worth considering which size external drive works best for you. Xbox consoles support anything from 256GB through 16TB, but many high-capacity drives prove overkill for the average user. Unless you're a digital hoarder, upgrading your storage by just a couple of terabytes (TB) proves sufficient over time.
And for Xbox Series X and Series S owners, be aware of limitations imposed on USB storage. Microsoft's next-generation SSD inside its new consoles means that while USB drives can store Xbox Series X|S Optimized games, they need to be moved to the internal storage when played. That feature is reserved for the Storage Expansion Card, designed to match the internal SSD, although backward-compatible titles do play on any device.
With that said, this is the best of the bunch this Black Friday.
Best Black Friday hard drive deals for Xbox
For most, a hard drive offers excellent value for money, upping your storage beyond the base configuration. While you miss out on the speed benefits granted by the best SSDs for Xbox, they're considerably more affordable.
WD easystore 1TB external hard drive | Save $42 at Best Buy
Western Digital is one to trust in external storage, and this 1TB entry from its easystore series provides one of the cheapest expansions for Xbox consoles right now. Over 40% savings drops this down for Black Friday while providing ample space for more games and apps.
Seagate Game Drive 2TB external hard drive | Save $23 at Amazon and Best Buy
This 2TB "Game Drive" packs Seagate's storage tech into an Xbox-branded shell designed to work best for console gaming. While it's no different from other drives in terms of performance, it's currently available at $70, down from $90, and almost matching its killer Prime Day discount.
WD 5TB Elements Portable external hard drive | Save $23 at Amazon
Expand your Xbox console with a serious storage upgrade, unlocking an additional 5TB of space for dozens of titles. While this may prove a little excessive for some, it's well suited to those with extensive game collections or cycling through Xbox Game Pass. While read and write speeds are mediocre, this is a cost-effective upgrade you don't want to miss this Black Friday.
The WD Black Game Drive gives you lots of storage to work with for storing your games on your shiny new consoles. With 5TB of space, there's room for more than 125 games on this drive alone, freeing up your internal storage for enhanced next-gen games.
Best Black Friday SSD deals for Xbox
SSDs deliver unparalleled performance, with their quick read and write speeds resulting in system-wide gains on Xbox Series X, Series S, and Xbox One consoles. Using these external drives cuts load times across most games, and those saved seconds accumulate over the years. And while strict storage requirements push Xbox Series X|S users to the Microsoft-approved Expansion Card, SSDs still reduce backward-compatibility load times and speed up transfer times to the internal SSD.
Seagate Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S
Best for Series X|S
While this SSD is unlikely to see huge Black Friday discounts, it's still the best money can buy for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The ultra-fast NVMe tech inside matches Microsoft's own internal SSD speeds, connecting through a dedicated proprietary port on the console. While that doesn't come cheap, it's the only storage that plays Xbox Series X|S Optimized titles. And as a heads up, this doesn't work with Xbox One consoles.
WD 1TB Gaming Drive Accelerated for Xbox | Save $70 at Best Buy
Western Digital brought its SSD tech to gaming with an Xbox-branded drive, enabling the benefits of speedier USB storage on Xbox consoles. It's ideal for cutting load times over a slower mechanical hard drive and ongoing discounts have knocked $70 off the price.
Samsung T7 500GB external SSD | Save $20 at Amazon and Best Buy
The Samsung T7 range demonstrates the latest in portable SSD technologies, including 1,050MB/s read and 1,000MB/s write peak speeds, far outpacing previous generations. This 500GB variant has been our top recommendation year-round, with savings through Black Friday keeping it below $100. It's lightweight yet premium in an aluminum casing and available in three color options.
Opting for a 1TB SSD comes at a premium, but this saving ahead of Black Friday grants more storage without the crazy price tag. We've opted for the previous T5 model here, undercutting the T7 despite sales on its successor, with peak speeds up to 540MB/s. That slowdown won't have a drastic impact on Xbox performance, with all the speed benefits and ample room for more games.
High-capacity SSD drives are often prohibitively expensive, but the Samsung T7 has seen its 2TB model discounted for a limited time, shaving the cost. You're still looking at the same 1,050MB/s read, and 1,000MB/s write speeds, integral to the series, but with more space to pack your collection.
Download Forza Horizon 5 ahead of release on console and PC.
What you need to know
Forza Horizon 5 preloads are now live on Xbox consoles and PC via the Microsoft Store ahead of its Nov. 9, 2021 release date.
Download sizes start at 103GB on Xbox Series X|S consoles and PC, while the Xbox One download clocks in at a larger 116GB.
Forza Horizon 5 preloads will go live for PC preorders via Steam at a later date.
Forza Horizon 5 developer Playground Games recently announced the project had "gone gold," an industry milestone denoting the end of development. While work on the title remains underway, with Forza Horizon 5 slated to receive updates for months to come, the title appears to be locked in for its Nov. 9, 2021, release date.
Crossing the finish line has seen Forza Horizon 5 preloads follow on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, providing an opportunity to download the title before release. Forza Horizon 5 clocks in at 103GB on the latest Xbox Series X|S consoles and Windows PCs, while the Xbox One version climbs to 116GB. Preloads will also follow for Forza Horizon 5 on Steam at a later date.
The preload is available to anyone with a Forza Horizon 5 preorder, plus those with an active Xbox Game Pass subscription, granting access from launch day. The Xbox app on iOS and Android also boasts similar functionality for Xbox console users. The game will be playable from Nov. 9, although early Nov. 5 access is available via the $100 Premium Edition.
The title is also among the first latest-generation experiences leveraging the new hardware to shrink installation sizes, thanks to considerations for new solid-state drive (SSD) storage.
"We've reduced the install footprint of Forza Horizon 5 on those systems by optimizing our assets for higher bandwidth streaming," stated Turn 10 Studios communications specialist Alan Walsh in a blog post. Forza Horizon 5 also pledges shorter load times Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, a common benefit to playing on these systems.
Forza Horizon 5 launches on Nov. 9, 2021, on Xbox consoles and PC. The title is now available to preorder starting from $60, with access also granted to all tiers of Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription service, alongside many of the other best Xbox Game Pass games.
Forza Horizon 5 is the latest project from Playground Games and continues the epic Forza Horizon adventure with a new roster of amazing cars and a brand-new location to explore: Mexico. Forza Horizon 5 launches on Xbox and PC later this year, and it's already available to preorder.
Is the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate the best value in all of gaming? It's possible. Ultimate bundles your Xbox Live Gold subscription, an Xbox Game Pass subscription for both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, and Xbox Cloud Gaming for on-the-go. Forza Horizon 5 will be available through Xbox Game Pass day one, including on consoles, PC, and the cloud.
Dolby Atmos is a type of surround sound that brings many improvements over standard audio.
When investing in premium entertainment systems, there are several high-end features being offered by manufacturers. While 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision are among those delivering significant visual enhancements, sound is still a crucial component of any movie or video game. Dolby Atmos is an increasingly popular addition, which promises to offer one of the best overall audio experiences available today. Here's how Dolby Atmos works and how you can get it.
What is Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is a type of surround sound technology developed by Dolby Laboratories, which aims to produce one of the most immersive audio experiences available on the market today. When combined with Dolby Vision — the visual technology counterpart — you get Dolby Cinema.
Atmos technology has gained a ton of traction over the last few years as a high-end solution. Though it was first unveiled at a cinema in 2012, it's now available in the home, on premium mobile devices, and (still) in commercial cinemas. Ultimately, Dolby Atmos aims to deliver true 3D audio, providing accurate positioning, depth, and detail through supported content.
How does Dolby Atmos work?
Soundbars and upward-facing speakers can be used to emulate the overhead speakers utilized by Dolby Atmos.
While its implementation can vary, Dolby Atmos has some key traits to distinguish it from other experiences. The most notable of these is the object-based technology driving Atmos, which allows files to output sound within a virtual three-dimensional space. By mapping sound to a 3D area, objects can be positioned and moved precisely within soundscapes. Supporting up to 128 individual channels, creators have the freedom to track a vast number of sources.
Unlike traditional 5.1 and 7.1 systems, where sounds are restricted to fixed channels and positioning, Dolby Atmos dynamically configures individual speaker outputs as the content plays. With this approach, audio is rendered in real time and interpreted for the speaker setup.
This object-based technology also introduces vertical height to audio, by allowing overhead speakers to be utilized. Whether a helicopter flying overhead, a car racing by or simply creating an enveloping environment, Dolby Atmos 3D mapping can offer distinct positioning and clarity. With Atmos enabled, you're going to get a much closer representation of what the content's sound engineers want you to hear.
How can I experience Dolby Atmos?
One of the other beneficial traits of Dolby Atmos is its adaptability, with different form factors which provide varying levels of audio quality. Factoring in sounds and their positional data, setups can scale the Dolby Atmos output, regardless of the limitations of any particular configuration.
Whether experienced through a weak mobile speaker or a top-of-the-line theater, the Atmos technology attempts to harvest the best results from the hardware in use. This allows content to easily translate between professional systems, home setups, and other supported speaker systems.
These are the most common ways consumers can experience Dolby Atmos today.
Dolby Atmos commercial usage
To witness Dolby Atmos firsthand today, one of the best (and cheapest) experiences you'll find is at a cinema. Select movie theaters across the world have been equipped with additional surround and overhead speakers and offer full support for the technology.
However, between a high initial setup cost and lack of supported content, the current return on investment leaves many companies cautious in rolling out the required hardware. Other examples of commercial usage include Ministry of Sound's London-based club, which uses Dolby Atmos to power a 64-speaker, 22-channel setup.
Dolby currently offers a tool on their website to search for cinemas utilizing the company's technologies. If living in a relatively large city, this can be used to track down cinemas that support Dolby Atmos near you.
Dolby Atmos in the home
While you won't be getting the same quality as a full cinema Dolby Atmos setup without spending an astronomical amount of cash, it's still possible to achieve similar results in the home. A range of consumer hardware is already widely available in various forms, even if you'll likely be paying a premium price tag. Here's a brief overview of the hardware required to get a home theater setup equipped with Dolby Atmos technology.
The one essential investment for a Dolby Atmos experience in the home is an audio/video (AV) receiver which supports the technology. Atmos-enabled AV receivers aren't hard to come by nowadays and don't come at a notably higher price point either.
Surround speakers are also a major component of a Dolby Atmos setup; however, depending on your current entertainment center, the cost can vary. Atmos builds on the existing technology of 5.1, 7.1, and 9.1 systems, meaning your existing speakers can be utilized as a part of your setup with a compatible AV receiver. Up to 34 speakers can be supported with Atmos home systems (even if that sounds a little overkill.)
To get the most out of Atmos, you'll also want overhead speakers integrated into your home setup. Provided you're happy climbing up to the ceiling and securing speakers on your ceiling, this can be an effective solution. If mounting multiple speakers on your ceiling seems a little complex, specially designed Dolby Atmos hardware is also available. Taking advantage of upward-facing speakers, these rebound sounds from the ceiling to emulate the effect of dedicated overhead loudspeakers.
If using a Blu-ray player to power your entertainment center, there's no need to upgrade. Most existing Blu-ray players can support a Dolby Atmos output and don't require an "Atmos-enabled" tag. Microsoft's Xbox One X|S and Xbox Series X|S consoles also support Dolby Atmos, through both supported games and videos.
TVs have jumped onto the Atmos trend, including those from LG, Sony, TCL, and Hisense. The built-in speakers do a decent job of providing a boosted audio experience, at least compared to what you usually expect from stereo TV speakers.
For those looking for a much simpler setup process, dedicated Dolby Atmos soundbars are a much more minimal, but equally effective hardware route. Integrating upward-firing speakers into a traditional sound bar, a single self-contained unit can emulate the vertical height and depth of Dolby Atmos technology. There are also Dolby Atmos headphones that make a great impression while gaming. The Xbox Wireless Headset is a prime example.
Xbox Wireless Headset
If you're a gamer who wants to combine Bluetooth and Xbox Wireless audio into a single headset's audio stream, this is the best-value option on the market right now. It's also set up for Dolby Atmos.
The adaptable nature of Dolby Atmos also extends to laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices, through both headphones and external onboard speakers. Lenovo was quick to jump on the trend after the Huawei MateBook X Pro got things started years ago; a bunch of the best Lenovo laptops feature Atmos, including the Yoga 9i 14 with rotating soundbar hinge.
The Dell XPS 13 and the Surface Laptop Studio both offer Atmos support; our collection of the best Windows laptops has more information. Watching content compatible with Atmos on these devices takes the listening experience to another level, even without a specialized external speaker setup.
Plenty of tablets and phones have also begun including Atmos, though it's generally reserved for flagships or upper-end offerings. The Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, and modern iPhone lineups come to mind in this arena.
Of course, having a device that is compatible with Atmos won't matter if you can't find any Atmos content; that leads us to the next question.
What Dolby Atmos content is available?
The first Atmos-enabled title was Pixar's Brave in 2012, and hundreds of theatrical releases have touted their improvements since. Film production with Atmos involved has exploded, working its way down to Blu-ray versions of most of your favorite modern movies. You can check out an official list of movies with Atmos on the Dolby website.
Video streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, and more can deliver Dolby Atmos, and some cable providers are even offering Atmos support if you buy the right subscription.
The music industry isn't to be left out, with Amazon Music, Apple Music, Vibe, Tidal, and more getting in on Dolby Atmos Music. Again, Dolby's website has an official list of music in Dolby Atmos to help you find what you like. Amazon's Echo Studio speaker was the first to officially support Dolby Atmos Music, though any device that can handle general Atmos content should work fine.
In the gaming industry, Atmos adoption is slowly becoming more common. It's mostly found in major AAA games, including Microsoft Flight Simulator, Metro Exodus, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Battlefield.
Best Buy has launched its Black Friday deals a few weeks early, bringing site-wide savings, including worthwhile discounts on a handful of Xbox accessories. It couples with the arrival of its Black Friday Price Guarantee, a pledge to guarantee buyers the lowest-possible price this holiday, now live across its latest wave of discounts. And those in the market for expanding their Xbox storage, Seagate has launched a lucrative deal on its Xbox external hard drives.
Current savings bring the 2TB Seagate Game Drive down to $70, slashing the official Xbox hard drive down to its lowest ever price. These storage solutions, officially licensed with Microsoft's seal of approval, can expand your console with room for dozens of titles. Seagate launched this Xbox Game Drive in tandem with Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, updated in a sleek all-black chassis, coupled with a green LED bar underneath.
It's the lowest we've seen to date, with Amazon since matching Best Buy's pricing in the U.S. It's also at the cheapest we're expecting through the Black Friday period, only solidified by Best Buy's current price guarantee.
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 2TB External Hard Drive
This Xbox-ready external hard drive quickly adds 2TB to your Xbox One or Xbox Series X. It's designed for Xbox, with a slick black chassis and green LED strip, and is now available at its lowest-ever price to date.
This Seagate Game Drive was designed with Xbox consoles in mind, leveraging external USB drive support for games and apps storage. It can triple the base storage included with Xbox Series X, translating to a five-times increase on cheaper Xbox consoles.
We often recommend hard drives without the Xbox branding, with many standard USB drives equally capable for gaming. However, this latest deal largely offsets the added tax of that Xbox logo, coupled with a distinct shell that matches current Xbox hardware. The all-black casing and green LED strip add a distinctive Xbox twist for any living room setup.
Like all the best hard drives for Xbox One, Seagate Game Drives deliver a seamless extension of the onboard storage. Plug-and-play compatibility makes it easy to expand older Xbox consoles, especially valuable as many blockbuster titles surpass 100GB on Xbox.
Expanding Xbox Series X|S storage is a little more complex, with Xbox Series X|S Optimized games requiring a custom but costly Xbox Storage Expansion Card. USB external hard drives like the Seagate Game Drive still work with the new consoles, but speed limitations mean they're only suitable for playing Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games. You can also store new Xbox Series X|S games, but you'll need to offload them to the internal SSD when played. You can check our roundup of the best SSDs for Xbox Series X|S if you're in the market for quicker storage solutions.
Tees, hoodies, and a custom Xbox controller from the UK label.
What you need to know
PLACES+FACE has teased an upcoming Xbox-themed capsule collection, including limited-edition tees, hoodies, and an Xbox controller design.
The upcoming collection drops on Oct. 22, via the PLACES+FACES web store.
London-based streetwear label, PLACES+FACES, has teased an upcoming collaboration with Microsoft. The imminent Xbox-branded capsule collection brings a new range of apparel, coupled with its take on the latest Xbox controller. The collection rolls out on Oct. 22, available via the PLACES+FACES web store.
The partnership brings hoodies and tees embellished with the signature PLACES+FACES logo, remixed with considerations for the classic Xbox insignia. Other products include a new cloud gaming pouch, a nod to Microsoft's mobile Xbox Cloud Gaming platform, plus a custom Xbox controller design. The limited-edition gamepad takes inspiration from film burn with a black-to-orange transition, a homage to the origins of PLACES+FACES, with playful use of its plus-shaped directional pad and the Xbox button.
Photography blog turned streetwear heavyweight, PLACES+FACES, marks the latest unexpected collaboration with Redmond's console empire. The lifestyle brand nears one decade since its inception, best known for its in-house apparel, club nights, and authority in the UK hip-hop scene. The brand previously collaborated with Kojima Productions in late 2019, marking the release of its debut project, Death Stranding, with a limited apparel range.
Each item in the collection also couples with a free month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft's premier gaming subscription, spanning Xbox consoles and PCs. The membership also grants access to Xbox Cloud Gaming, streaming full-fledged Xbox games to iOS and Android devices.
The Xbox Series X and Series S introduce significant storage gains, adopting custom solid-state drives (SSDs), poised to cut back loading screens to a minimum. Microsoft positions that high speed as fundamental to its next-generation vision, also introducing changes to storage. With that comes the arrival of a proprietary memory card-style SSD, while USB external hard drives take a backseat for backward compatibility. Here's what you need to know about your available storage options on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, and what each entails.
Expanding Xbox Series X, Series S storage: The TLDR
Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S pack shared custom NVMe SSD storage technology, bringing up to 40 times speed increases over the Xbox One family. The Xbox Series X ships with a 1TB internal SSD drive, while the Xbox Series S features a reduced 512GB capacity out of the box. In reality, Xbox Series X has just 802GB of space usable for games, with Xbox Series S offering just 364GB.
When your games library eventually fills the internal drive, Microsoft provides two primary routes to increase your available storage on Xbox Series X and Series S. It worked on the Xbox Seagate Storage Expansion Card, mimicking the internal SSD with identical performance. It also supports USB hard drives like Xbox One consoles, although this time with limitations attributed to slower speeds.
In brief — the list of Xbox Series X and Series S Optimized games needs high-speed storage, and only the internal SSD or official expansion card can deliver. While USB hard drives work fine, they only store those games, and you will need to transfer them to the SSD to play. However, backward-compatible titles, including Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, work fine on USB drives. Here's a handy breakdown of how USB drives compare to the SSD expansion card.
Seagate Expansion Card
USB external drive
Xbox Series X/S games
Xbox One games (upgraded)
Xbox One games (not upgraded)
Xbox 360 games
Original Xbox games
The challenges around storage space only grow for Xbox Series X and Series S, with top titles larger than ever. The latest blockbusters often surpass 100GB, with the added increased capabilities of the latest consoles unlikely to reverse that trend. While Microsoft states that on average, Xbox Series S titles should clock in 30% smaller than Xbox Series X, storage is far from plentiful on either device.
Xbox Series X, Series S Seagate Expansion Card
With Xbox Series X and Series S focused on processing capabilities and speed, games designed for the consoles require the full bandwidth of its custom storage technologies. Traditional USB devices fail to hit the mark, which led Microsoft to pursue a custom expansion card. In short, it's a fast proprietary memory card to expand your storage, guaranteed to meet the standards for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
Where to buy Xbox Series X, Series S Seagate Expansion Card: Price and size
The Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox, as expected, is more than your everyday hard drive. It costs $220 in the U.S. for the 1TB model, which fell in line with our previous predictions, given the average pricing for current PCIe 4.0 SSDs. That translates to £220 in the U.K., $300 in Canada, or €270 in Europe. While undeniably a premium device, it's a result of the bleeding-edge console hardware.
Microsoft and Seagate have teamed up on a compact expansion card for Xbox Series X and S consoles. It leverages the same custom SSD technology seen inside both devices as the only expandable storage solution capable of playing next-generation games.
The cards come in only slightly larger than your average USB thumb drive, with a sliding cover for safekeeping. They connect via a dedicated rear port on either console, which hooks up directly to the processor. That provides cutting-edge speeds, but the PCIe 4.0 tech used is also notoriously costly, driving up the RRP.
We continue to wait for more storage options beyond the 1TB Seagate Storage Expansion Card, with more capacities and brands expanded in the future. Microsoft remains quiet on when to expect new products, but we're hoping to hear more as the one-year anniversary for Xbox Series X and Series S approaches.
The Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X and Series S targets enthusiasts demanding the best, exactly matching Microsoft's baked-in solution. It guarantees the best across internal and external storage if you can take the hit.
How to use the Xbox Seagate SSD Expansion Card
Xbox Series X and Series S both feature a dedicated storage expansion port to accommodate the Seagate's official SSD expansion card.
The Seagate Storage Expansion Card connects to Xbox Series X and Series S via a dedicated, proprietary connector on the console's rear. The rectangular port sits adjacent to the HDMI output on both consoles, labeled with "STORAGE EXPANSION." Upon removing the included plastic cover, the SSD slides into the port, slightly protruding from the back I/O panel.
Microsoft allows external SSD cards to be inserted with the console turned on, enabling those with multiple expansion cards to hot-swap on the fly. When inserted, the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S will automatically recognize and configure your external storage.
Remove the protective sleeve included with the Xbox Storage Expansion Card.
Insert the Expansion Card into the Storage Expansion port.
Firmly press the Expansion Card until it emits a distinct click. Your Xbox console will automatically detect and configure the Xbox Storage Expansion Card, coupled with an on-screen notification.
Once configured to work with your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console, the Xbox Storage Expansion Card will add 920GB to your pool of available Xbox storage. You can copy, move, and install content between the internal SSD and the external Expansion Card.
Does Xbox Series X, Series S support USB external hard drives?
Microsoft supports almost all Xbox One accessories with Xbox Series X and Series S, extending to the existing storage ecosystem. That guarantees partial compatibility for external hard drives from the Xbox One era via USB connectivity. It makes them an ideal, budget-friendly alternative to the official Seagate Storage Expansion Card, especially when offloading titles from the internal drive.
However, USB drives don't match Microsoft's custom SSD speed, imposing significant limitations on their capabilities. Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox titles all run on an external USB hard drive with Xbox Series X and Series S. And provided previous-generation software doesn't receive Xbox Series-geared upgrades, it also runs on USB storage.
But Xbox Series X and Series S titles won't run on external hard drives due to slow transfer speeds, failing to meet next-generation demands. An internal SSD or an external expansion card is required for upcoming releases or older games updated for Xbox Series X or Series S.
But with the high price of the SSD expansion card, it's worth stressing that all Xbox Series X and Series S titles can be offloaded to an external USB hard drive. While some titles may not be playable from the slower storage, it's still possible to shift data between an SSD where your games can be playable and a USB for storage. Your USB hard drive's transfer speeds will determine how fast they move back and forth, but it's a useful way to cycle games from the internal SSD without investing in the $220 expansion card.
How to use a USB external hard drive with Xbox Series X, Series S
Most modern external hard drives work on Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, expanding your capacity for games, with speedier load times also obtainable via compatible SSDs. You'll need a USB 3.0 external drive to meet the requirements, ensuring high data transfer rates to run backward-compatible games over a USB connection. Compatible drives must also have at least 256GB of storage, although we recommend shopping for at least 1TB for future peace of mind. Don't forget that the best Xbox One hard drives and SSDs are also compatible with new Xbox consoles if you've recently made the upgrade.
The Xbox Series X and Series S feature USB-A ports, making it important to check whether an external hard drive uses the correct connector to hook up to the console. That's especially important with modern SSDs, more commonly using USB-C connectors to achieve the highest possible transfer speeds. The two consoles feature twin rear-facing USB-A ports, ideal for hiding external hard drives while freeing up the front port.
You'll also need to permit your console to format the drive, losing all data currently stored onboard. It's crucial to back up ANY stored files to avoid losing existing documents and data.
Your Xbox console will automatically detect external storage when connecting a USB external drive, with on-screen prompts to ease the setup process.
Best Xbox Series X, Series S external hard drives
If the SSD Expansion Card isn't for you, a vibrant ecosystem of USB-connected hard drives will meet demands for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox titles. These storage solutions all function with Xbox Series X and Series S today, multiplying your console's capacity, with plug-and-play access also guaranteed for older Xbox One consoles.
The best Xbox Series X hard drives start as cheap as a video game, with Toshiba offering reliable storage within performance demands below $50. That 1TB expansion can over triple your room across some consoles like Xbox Series S.
Expanding your Xbox storage doesn't need to be expensive, and this 1TB hard drive is one of the cheapest options out there. It's performant to support Xbox One games and older backward-compatible titles, while also ideal for offloading Xbox Series X/S games.
Go big or go home with this 4TB behemoth from Seagate, providing room for your full games collection for the average user. It offers four times the internal capacity that ships with Xbox Series X, proving an essential pickup today and all you'll need as a next-generation sidekick. While SSDs are incredibly costly in these sizes, slower hard drives remain affordable right now.
High capacity, low price
Seagate Portable 4TB external hard drive
Get more Xbox storage for all your gaming needs
This 4TB Seagate portable drive is all you need, hitting the highest capacity of its USB-powered drives. Formidable speeds and space for dozens of games make this ideal for any frequent gamer.
Opting for an SSD will boost your read and write speeds over a traditional hard drive, cutting load times across your favorite titles on Xbox One consoles. And while even the best external SSDs for Xbox Series X and Series S don't meet the demanded speed for Xbox Series X|S Optimized titles, that boost still comes in handy for backward compatibility or fast transfers to your internal SSD.
Need for speed
Samsung T7 500GB portable SSD
A storage speed boost that fits the budget
Samsung's T7 500GB external drive packs top-tier speed below $100. You're getting an over 50% boost in capacity with Xbox Series X while over doubling Xbox Series S. That speed won't match what's inside either console, but it's still a vast improvement over other USB drives. Encased in a shock-resistant metal finish; it fits stealthily beside any console.
A caveat: Play Xbox Series X|S games via USB drives
Titles developed with upgrades for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S need Microsoft-approved SSD storage, but diving into the technicalities, that's not always the case. The way Xbox Series X|S Optimized games are developed means that some don't require the full benefits of SSD storage and operate via USB-based storage devices. Under the hood, these titles essentially run as standard Xbox One games, only with some enhancements when booted on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S systems.
In reality, that means some Xbox Series X|S Optimized titles can be on USB hard drives, even if not formally intended. While entirely functional, this may impact performance or load times when running these titles on your system. You can identify these games through the following steps.
Open My games & apps on your Xbox console.
Navigate to your chosen game.
Press the Menu button.
Select Manage game and add-ons.
Select the File info tile.
If the fourth line of displayed text reads AppModel:XDK; Gen:Durango; and the sixth line reads ConsoleType:XboxOneGen9Aware; the game still runs on external USB hard drives.
If the fourth line of displayed text reads AppModel:GDK; Gen:Scarlett; and the sixth line reads ConsoleType: XboxGen9; the game doesn't run on external USB hard drives.
Various top Xbox Series X|S titles are among those compliant with USB drives, including Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Rocket League, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Minecraft Dungeons, to name a few. Check your Xbox games via the above steps for additional details on your library.
Seagate Expansion Card vs. USB: Which is for you?
When your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S runs low on storage, your decision to expand primarily hinges on whether to invest in the official Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox. With fast storage fundamental to titles designed for the next generation, this external SSD offers a seamless solution at a high price. The cost may deter some but reflects the reality of the hardware.
Investing in a USB external hard drive may be more appropriate when looking for an affordable alternative. Connecting USB devices is an easy way to store your games, even if the limitations mean you can't play without moving them to your internal SSD. It saves redownloading titles, provided you're happy to cycle them back and forth.
Games are getting bigger than ever, but the internal hard drive in your Xbox One is not. The majority of Microsoft's Xbox consoles now ship with 500GB or 1TB hard drives, unfit for a sizeable library, which makes it increasingly necessary to expand your Xbox One storage.
External drive support comes baked into Microsoft's Xbox One consoles, now a fast and affordable method to add more storage. It's relatively simple, boasting plug-and-play compatibility across most off-the-shelf USB hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs) on the market. That increased capacity means less time stressing about free hard drive space and more time playing video games. You get more space for the biggest blockbusters out there, and with the right drive, you can also expect a drastic reduction in load times.
The most popular video game releases now decimate any Xbox One drive space, with top franchises like Call of Duty, NBA 2K, and Halo all north of 100GB on consoles. While you can juggle your favorite titles, uninstalling and redownloading as desired, that's hardly feasible with large file sizes. External hard drives are the remedy, hugely expanding your virtual shelf for games, and incredibly affordable, too.
The Xbox One family mandates that all games be installed on internal storage, a change from the previous Xbox 360 generation, which allowed games to be played directly from the disc. The same now applies whether you buy physical discs or digital downloads, and with file sizes steadily growing, hard drive space is now a valuable resource.
Hooking up an external hard drive is one of the best ways to expand your Xbox One console when running low on storage space. While internal hard drives cannot be replaced or upgraded without voiding your warranty, external USB storage is simple and hassle-free.
External hard drives don't require extensive setup, with plug-and-play support across current consoles. They work with all games available on Xbox One, a luxury that doesn't translate to expanding Xbox Series X|S storage, making the process incredibly simple and affordable.
The result is additional space for Xbox games, allowing you to install more titles or make room for larger file sizes. It also helps counter the rapidly swelling file sizes across top franchises, regularly surpassing 100GB. You may also see improvements in loading time and performance, depending on the drive you choose.
Xbox One hard drive and SSD requirements
Xbox consoles support most modern hard drives on the market, including the most popular models from top brands like Seagate, Western Digital, and more. The baseline requirements include USB 3.0 support, now standard among even budget USB external hard drives. USB 3.0 support ensures data will transfer between your console and drive at a relatively fast rate. Compatible external drives work with all Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games, unlike the limitations imposed on some games designed for the new Xbox Series X|S consoles.
When choosing a drive, your first consideration should be storage space. Drives must also be at least 256GB to work with Xbox consoles, eliminating some entry-level capacities. The consoles also have a 16TB limit on external storage, far beyond the reasonable storage capacity of most drives on the market. For most, 1TB externals provide a welcome boost, ideal for those on a budget. Making an upgrade to 2TB offers more flexibility, while 4TB and 8TB prove overkill for many.
Hard drive speed should also be considered, roughly estimated by the drive's revolutions per minute (RPM). Theoretically, the faster the drive, the quicker games will install, load, and save. For example, 7,200 RPM drives are faster than entry-level 5,400 RPM drives, while 10,000 RPM drives provide a further boost. For those demanding the best storage speeds, solid-state drives (SSDs) lead the pack, delivering unrivaled performance on Xbox One, albeit at a higher price.
It is worth noting that all consoles, including the Xbox One X, pack a 5,400 RPM internal hard drive. However, limitations of the console's "SATA II" interface mean its full potential is rarely used, making any external 5,400 RPM drive faster than the internal drive in most situations. As for the Xbox One X, which uses high bandwidth "SATA III," internal load times are also improved over Xbox One S. While SSDs deliver consistent improvements over the stock internal drive, some external hard drives can also bring measurable gains with load times.
How to choose an Xbox One external hard drive
When choosing a drive, your first consideration should be storage space. The console has a 16TB limit on external storage size, making most drives compatible. For most, 1TB externals provide a welcome boost, ideal for those on a budget. Making an upgrade to 2TB offers more flexibility, while 4TB and 8TB prove overkill for many.
While countless external drives meet the requirements for Xbox One consoles, we have our favorites. Overall performance, value, and reliability are crucial to choosing the right hard drive or solid-state drive. Our guide to the best Xbox One hard drives and SSDs provides a full in-depth breakdown, including more sizes and price ranges.
Entry-level 1TB and 2TB drives are an excellent upgrade for first-time buyers. You're getting a sizeable upgrade that dominates the base 500GB hard drives in many consoles, providing ample room for new releases. They're also ideal when on a tighter budget, with prices starting below the cost of a new video game.
Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB portable external hard drive
An affordable upgrade to your Xbox One storage
Toshiba's 1TB Canvio Basics drives are simple, compact, and among the cheapest Xbox-compatible drives. Tripling storage of entry-level Xbox One consoles, it's the perfect upgrade to pair with internal storage.
Leap to 2TB with this Seagate drive, delivering a low-cost storage upgrade for a few extra bucks. It's barebones, cutting surplus software, so it's ideal for simple plug-and-play with Xbox One.
Upgrading to an SSD isn't for everyone, with the best options often demanding a hefty premium over their slower hard drive counterparts. The Samsung T7 lineup is currently a leading option for Xbox One, with high speeds and starting prices on the lower end. It's also the best SSD for Xbox Series X and Series S over a USB connection, with reduced load times even more apparent on these new consoles.
While Xbox-compatible SSDs aren't cheap, Samsung's T7 500GB external drive packs top-tier speed for less than $100. It doubles the base Xbox One's storage so that you can offload your most-played titles for that extra boost. Encased in a shock-resistant metal finish, it fits stealthily beside any console.
How to use an external hard drive on Xbox One
With an Xbox-compatible hard drive in hand, it's now time to connect it to Xbox One. Microsoft has made the process effortless over the years, with concise on-screen instructions throughout the setup process.
Connect the drive to a vacant USB port using the included cable. Once automatically detected, follow the on-screen prompts, permitting the drive to be formatted. By using the external hard drive on Xbox One, all prior data is erased.
Connect your external hard drive to an Xbox One USB port. An on-screen pop-up will display.
Select Format storage device.
Enter a name for the drive using the on-screen keyboard.
Select Install new things here to automatically install future games on this drive.
Select Format storage device. This will delete all data on the device.
Now configured for Xbox One, future games, and apps automatically install to your external drive. You can also add additional drives to your Xbox One console, using the same setup process.
How to move Xbox One games to an external hard drive
With your external drive installed and formatted, existing game installations can be moved. This allows games to take advantage of performance benefits without redownloading over Xbox Live. We recommend transferring all but the lowest-priority games.
Open the Settings app on Xbox One.
Navigate to the System tab.
Scroll over to the right to select the drive to move content from.
Select items you plan to transfer. If moving all items, choose Select all.
Choose Move selected to move the items between the console and drive.
Choose the external drive.
Press Move to initiate the transfer.
After you're done moving your games, the "My Games & Apps" menu will now display the total combined free storage and percentage of used storage on the left side of the screen.