Xbox energy saver modes could save you up to £5 per month in the UK

If you’re an Xbox owner in the UK or Europe it might be time to look at what energy mode your console is using. Rising energy costs across the UK and Europe mean the consoles’ Instant On standby mode could cost up to £5 per month next month for many households, as the energy cap on prices jumps a massive 80 percent in the UK alone.

Microsoft offers two power modes on its Xbox consoles. Instant On keeps Xbox One S and Xbox Series S / X consoles in a standby mode that consumes between 11-13 watts (depending on the model) and lets players instantly resume games. Energy Saver mode, by comparison, only consumes around 0.5 watts, but means you have to fully boot up the Xbox before resuming play.

Power usage varies per Xbox console.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

While Microsoft has made Energy Saver mode the default on Xbox consoles shipped since March, millions of Xbox One S and Xbox Series X / S consoles will be using the more convenient Instant On mode. Over time, this can cost quite a bit. If you keep an Xbox Series X in Instant On standby mode for 24 hours a day, it adds up to around £4.93 worth of monthly energy usage calculated at the upcoming UK price caps (52p per kWh). Thanks go to Alex Hern for highlighting the potential costs of the Xbox’s Instant On mode on Twitter.

Even older Xbox One S consoles consume around 11 watts in Instant On mode, so that’s £4.18 per month, and an Xbox Series S works out to £3.80 per month based on 10 watts of usage in Instant On. Enabling Energy Saver mode on any Xbox console will reduce usage to less than 20p per month. Naturally, using Xbox consoles for streaming movies or playing games have varying rates of energy use, too.

While the Energy Saver mode does mean you’re cold booting your Xbox every time you power it on, Microsoft has recently sped up the boot time of its consoles. The boot process is now 5 seconds faster on the Xbox Series X, and even older Xbox One models are booting faster with Microsoft’s changes. It means you’ll have to wait around 15 seconds from pressing the power button on an Xbox Series X / S console to playing a game, but those seconds could save you close to what a Netflix subscription costs per month.

If you’re a PS4 owner it might be worth looking at which standby mode you’re using too. The PlayStation 4 has different types of standby, rest, and off modes, and some include the ability to charge controllers or download software updates. The default “off” standby mode only uses 0.5 watts, but other modes can use up to 3.4 watts. The PS5’s default power saver mode uses 0.5 watts, but with networking enabled in the rest mode it can use up to 2 watts. So, that’s much less of a saving than switching modes for the Xbox, but may still be worth it given the unpredictability of energy prices in the coming months.

There’s less to worry about if you’re a Nintendo Switch owner. During active gameplay the Switch only uses 7 watts in TV mode, which is far less than the Xbox’s Instant On standby mode. When powered off, the Switch uses a maximum of 0.5 watts. And if you’re a PC gamer… well, it’s time to start praying for the energy prices in Europe to drop sometime soon.

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