Review cover UPspec Gaming xScreen (Hardware)
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The Xbox Series S is a pretty compact new-gen console; so how about strapping a screen to it and making it an (almost) portable, on-the-go machine? Well, we have just the gizmo for that: the xScreen from UPspec Gaming.

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In the late-2000s, my brother showed me an intriguing accessory that he had fetched in a second-hand store for his PSOne: the Sony PSone LCD Screen. It had terribly large bezels and a rather small screen; but even then it emanated a unique charm as it essentially made the console an all-in-one system that doesn't have to be tied to a TV set. It could even be considered as a portable console and probably contributed to my budding love for such systems. 

Later consoles like the GameCube would also be graced by such add-ons but newer-gens seemed to have been deprived of such fascinating oddities. It was a personal downer as I look forward to such quirky mods for consoles to make the most (unexpected) use of these devices. Luckily, UPspec Gaming revived the console screen attachment concept with the xScreen for the Xbox Series S

The Australia-based startup launched a Kickstarter campaign last year to fund the project and it was successfully backed by fellow gamers. The units are now shipping to backers and UPspec Gaming was kind enough to provide a consumer unit to review. Given how I loved such mods for retro systems like the PSOne, I was thrilled to try out a dedicated screen attachment built for a current-gen console.

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First off, portable screens are nothing new. You can easily find the likes of the Vinpok Split or the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHP that deliver crisp 1080p images and hook your current-gen system to via HDMI. With such a setup, you can have your own makeshift ‘portable’ next-gen system (portable to wherever a power source is available)

However, what sets the xScreen apart is that it has been designed specifically for the Xbox Series S. This 11.6" IPS screen bears the exact  27.5 x 15.1cm dimension of the top of the console and sits neatly on top of it as a thin white slab. It plugs into the Series S with its in-built HDMI and USB connections; where the HDMI connection handles the screen and audio signals while the USB one powers the screen. Yes, there is no need for extra cables while using the xScreen as it is powered directly by the console.

Moreover, the colour of the xScreen closely matches that of the Series S. I say closely because while at a glance it will be hard to tell where the console ends and the screen starts, upon closer inspection you can tell the difference based on the slight colour tone difference. The dotted patterns on the sides of the Series S are also matched in the xScreen’s design which also bears such openings on its sides for the latches to attach to. The design of the xScreen has been well thought of to make the Series S look and feel as a complete unit with this mod on.

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Setting up the xScreen on your Series S is very easy. Align the HDMI and USB plugs on the xScreen to the corresponding port on the console and fit those in. Afterwards, you’ll need to ensure that the screen remains fixed to the console while plugged in and this is done with the included latches on each side of the console/screen. Other coloured options are available (sold separately for $10) and I particularly like the Kickstarter green one; although for a more seamless look, the included white latches are a good choice as they blend with the colour scheme. Having different coloured latches can be handy to quickly differentiate who's Xbox is who’s, in cases you have different xScreen-equipped Series S in your household/multiplayer party. 

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Once the attachment is done, the xScreen will endow your Xbox with a laptop-like configuration where you can close/open the screen 180° along its hinge. The latter is rather sturdy and stays in place at whichever angle you tilt the screen to. This laptop configuration also works to protect the screen when not in use as you can close the lid on top of the console. With some settings fiddling, you can even configure your Xbox to shut down when the lid is closed; which is a handy feature as it can help prevent overheating and potential damage to the screen when it is facedown.

The ability to flip the screen 180° also lets you use your Xbox while it is in a ‘standing’ position to add some viewing height should you need some. UPspec Gaming also sells dedicated $25 xScreen Stand Feet to keep your console stable in this configuration. These just clip onto the sides of the Xbox and provide an easy yet secure solution if you prefer using your console with some extra height.

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When I first powered on my xScreen-equipped Xbox Series S, I was overflowing with excitement as it brought me back to the days I discovered the Sony PSone LCD Screen; or my first experience with a portable screen on a home console. The xScreen also has some noticeable bezels but offers more screen real estate than the former. And with the screen sitting right on top of the console and enabling you to use the system on your lap gives a unique, up-close, personal experience that I cherish in gaming (and is one of the reasons I personally favour pocketable and handheld consoles).

The xScreen’s display also greatly adds to the experience as it delivers crisp 1080p images from the moment it is booted to the moment it is turned off. Games’ visuals are faithfully delivered with the colours feeling warm and details vibrantly pop while in action. The 1080p 60hz resolution of the screen is also well suited for this experience and the device handles it well.

Also adding to the experience are the integrated stereo speakers. They are of more than decent quality, enabling you to rely on them to enjoy your gaming soundtrack, without needing any external surround system.

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In fact, UPspec Gaming seems to have designed the xScreen to be used as an all-in-one device for a very portable, wireless-enabled system. It’s a plug-and-play device that’s easy to transport and perfectly fits the Xbox Series S. You can adjust the brightness, sound volume and screen settings from the hardware keys underneath the screen. There’s even a crosshair overlay (4 types in 2 colours) that can be handy in FPS games. The only limiting factor to the all-in-one aspect of the setup is a power source for your Xbox. You will inevitably need to be next to one in order to use your Xbox Series S at all.

But this focus on wireless might be a double-edged sword for some as with the xScreen attached, access to some ports on the Series S is hindered. Namely, it blocks the remaining USB port at the back as well as the ethernet port. As such, you’ll want to have a reliable WiFi connection while using the device on your Xbox Series S. Thankfully the storage expansion slot has been accounted for and is still easily accessible while the xScreen is mounted.

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UPspec Gaming also designed a handy, dedicated $60 EVA carrying case that fits your Xbox fitted with the xScreen as well as holds your power cable and controller. It really helps to neatly store and protect the set up and enables you to carry it all in one go. It’s probably the must-have accessory among the xScreen ecosystem that I would recommend, although I wish the casing had an opening for the power cable so that you can use your Xbox while it is housed within the case.

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When it comes down to it, the $250 price tag of the xScreen might sound steep, especially considering that the Xbox Series S is itself a budget new-gen console. But the xScreen is a niche device that will appeal to a specific subset of gamers/Series S owners. It won’t deliver visuals better than 1080p and isn’t as portable as a handheld gaming PC like the AYANEO NEXT. But if you’re looking to give some more love to your Xbox Series S, the xScreen will surely deliver on that.

In my case, UPspec Gaming has convinced me of using my Xbox Series S solely with the xScreen attached as it isn’t much space occupying in my space-limited studio; and is also a great fit for a lap desk like nerdytec’s Couchmaster CYWORX. Even if it is a niche device, we need more mods like the xScreen on the market to keep fostering some quirky and fun innovation in the gaming sphere; and I look forward to what UPspec Gaming will bring next!

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Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Crisp image quality
  • Design blends seamlessly with Xbox Series S console
  • No need for extra power source for the screen
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Mod hinders access to ethernet and one USB port when attached
  • No option to use while stored in storage case
8.8
out of 10

Overall

Bringing some renewed love to the Xbox Series S and reviving the quirky-yet-fun home console screen attachment concept, UPspec Gaming's xScreen delivers as a quality add-on that turns your new-gen console into a powerful standalone system.
Looks good to play at hotels and places alike, but not truly portable as we wish.

Reminds me of the portable PS1 and PS2 screens.
 
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This is exactly what I thought of when I first saw it (mostly for the PSOne as I've never come across the PS2 option)
The PS2 was kind of crazy for accessories and Sony even made a HDTV with PS2 built-in which I'm not sure if there's any advantage over a standalone PS2, but it's an option (expensive one at that).

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For the Slim model. There was also for the Launch model.

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And there was also the PSX, a PS2 with an XMB Menu.

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The PS2 was kind of crazy for accessories and Sony even made a HDTV with PS2 built-in which I'm not sure if there's any advantage over a standalone PS2, but it's an option (expensive one at that).

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For the Slim model. There was also for the Launch model.

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And there was also the PSX, a PS2 with an XMB Menu.

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here's hoping to see more such quirky add-ons for new consoles!
 
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Man it's really the modern PS1 all over again.

I do wish it had hdmi in like the PS1 had AV-in. I kind of wanted something like this on a wii u for the lols but the wii U has shit USB ports but I guess the gamepad works just as well
 
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would this fit the disk version of the series S? the one with no black ring on the top of the console? Is this available now cause I would love to have one,.
 
would this fit the disk version of the series S? the one with no black ring on the top of the console? Is this available now cause I would love to have one,.
the xScreen is already available and shipping. If you mean the Xbox Series X, then it won't fit as the xScreen has been designed to fit the Series S only.
 
the xbox I have looks identical to what the pictures on the website show but mine has a slot for a disk and just holes on top

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the xbox I have looks identical to what the pictures on the website show but mine has a slot for a disk and just holes on top

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that's the Xbox One S in your picture and the xScreen has been designed for the Series S. Unfortunately, the ports aren't in the same locations and the xScreen won't work for the One S.
 
EDIT: I take it back, the product's design makes no sense. The screen should be facing the other way. It's not like the Xbox is a laptop where there is a keyboard or trackpad on top of it. As it is, the screen is arbitrarily further away from you, just so you can see the top of the Xbox. Maybe it's so the fan keeps your face warm during the winter? lol

EDIT: Oh. This position single handedly saves the product as it solves the problem. The increased height makes it a lot more practical too. And the fan might even keep your hands warm, lol.

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EDIT: I take it back, the product's design makes no sense. The screen should be facing the other way. It's not like the Xbox is a laptop where there is a keyboard or trackpad on top of it. As it is, the screen is arbitrarily further away from you, just so you can see the top of the Xbox. Maybe it's so the fan keeps your face warm during the winter? lol
Not sure how such a configuration would work without exposing the screen to the outside or make it compact/foldable, except maybe with a rotating hinge but that could be more pricey to implement.
 
Odd there was no mention of the, seemingly, flimsy build quality as a "what we didn't like", I watched the video linustechtips made and the build quality seems really bad, especially at that pricepoint that would be something unacceptable, did you not notice those things or are you going to have a lottery on good or bad build?
 
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Odd there was no mention of the, seemingly, flimsy build quality as a "what we didn't like", I watched the video linustechtips made and the build quality seems really bad, especially at that pricepoint that would be something unacceptable, did you not notice those things or are you going to have a lottery on good or bad build?
I wouldn't say the quality is bad it's decent for most use, especially indoors or if you have the carry case, it helps too. Also I'm not sure if LTT got a consumer version (as I reviewed) or a pre-retail one which might have different build.
 
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  • SylverReZ @ SylverReZ:
    That sums it up right.
  • Megadriver94 @ Megadriver94:
    I am not it the loop on this, why take it so personally, though? Its just a video game and a work of fiction, at the end of the day.
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    I'm sure the devs don't mind refunding my .torrent for it
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    @Megadriver94, because these devs take child hood movies and make them look like shit expecting to profit off it
  • SylverReZ @ SylverReZ:
    @K3N1, That's what happens to every movie franchise.
  • Megadriver94 @ Megadriver94:
    Oh alright then, I can see what you are getting at.
  • Sonic Angel Knight @ Sonic Angel Knight:
    Sunday.... sunday dessert night :ninja:
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    With unreal engine their should be no excuse to make any animated figure look like complete shit whent hey have rights to it
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    The voice actor sounds like he didn't get casted for a tim Burton movie
  • linuxares @ linuxares:
    but you got to pay for the elvish voices
  • linuxares @ linuxares:
    and emotes... in a singleplayer game...
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    Damn the rights to LOTR is like all over the place lol
  • SylverReZ @ SylverReZ:
    Deserved
  • SylverReZ @ SylverReZ:
    At least we can point and laugh to an indie game that is not worth playing.
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    Last I read Amazon owns some rights you'd think a billion dollar company could fork more over for a decent game but their last game bricked GPUs so theirs that
    +1
  • linuxares @ linuxares:
    Be an e-commerce. Build a game that destroy the GPUs. Sell new GPUs. PROFITS!
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    Don't forget your 4090 we promise the next LOTR MMO will make it work for more than a year
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    Yay for user end replacement parts
  • SylverReZ @ SylverReZ:
    If your graphics card doesn't work with your game then don't blame us for shitty game performance.
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    At least @AncientBoi can run games released in his childhood
    +2
  • K3N1 @ K3N1:
    Marbles and pick up sticks 10/10
    SylverReZ @ SylverReZ: @K3N1, DOOM