There’s never been a console like the Xbox Series S .Not to be confused with the Series X, this much smaller and much cheaper next-generation Xbox doesn’t just sacrifice an optical drive, it’s significantly less powerful than its bigger sibling and aims for upscaled 1440p resolution instead of true 4K.The results are mixed.Depending on how you plan to play, the S might make a ton of sense, and it’s only $300 instead of $500 for the X.
But for anybody who’s serious about gaming on Xbox, its shortcomings may leave you kicking yourself for not springing for the Series X instead.
The Series S’s hardware is similar to the Series X’s RDNA2 architecture, but its CPU is clocked down and it has less RAM.In short, it’s a 4-teraflop console versus the Series X’s 12.1.Think of it like a base model car with a V6 and very few options, compared to the fully-loaded V12 that is the Series X.
Xbox Series S and Series X Comparison Photos 56 IMAGES The difference between the S and the X is, well, black and white.
It’s significantly smaller, even smaller than the Xbox One S, but there’s no disc drive, so there’s no way to install disc-based games or watch Blu-rays.
I wouldn’t call it ugly, but its shape and appearance is slightly awkward, in a sort of adorable way.The large black air vent on the top makes it resemble a speaker more than a console.
On the front there’s the offset power button and one USB 3.2 port.On the back it has all the same ports as the Series X: the HDMI out port, two more USB ports, an ethernet port, a storage expansion slot, and of course power – thankfully there’s no brick! Of course, sharing ports with the Series X means there’s none of the Xbox One’s TV passthrough or optical audio here, either.
The difference between the Series S and Series X is black and white.
“ For a controller, it uses the same exact one that the Series X does, and it’s compatible with just about all of the Xbox One’s accessories .
Xbox Series X/S Controller Review By Mike Epstein Loading
Verdict: The new iteration of the stalwart Xbox Wireless Controller doesn’t quite feel like a “next-gen” controller in the same way that Sony’s DualSense does because of its lack of flashy new features.However, subtle changes to the D-pad and the new share button have improved it in minor ways that will resonate with every game you play, regardless of which generation of Xbox you’re using it with, and an excellent choice for gaming on PCs, phones, and tablets.
Read the full Xbox Series X/S Controller Review
Setup and transferring games from an old Xbox is easy , especially with the slick smartphone app.And at first glance, the Series S seems capable enough, though it’s clearly a step down from the Series X in image quality.I connected the Series S to the same LG B9 4K OLED TV I use with the Series X, and to my eyes the upscaled image quality was noticeably muddy compared to the crisp, clean, native 4K of the Series X.
As always, you get what you pay for there.It actually looked better connected to a 1440p gaming monitor with no upscaling.
FRAME-GREAT However, I was pleased to see that Gears 5 Versus Multiplayer and The Falconeer are able to run at 120fps , if you’re willing to take a hit in resolution, just like on the Series X.I did see some minor screen tearing and mild framerate choppiness in The Falconeer at 120fps, and in Gears 5’s Versus at 120fps as well as the 60fps campaign I spotted noticeable dips here and there.It wasn’t anything major, but it’s a worrying warning sign that a brand-new console is already missing a few steps.
I should note that almost no games have ray tracing enabled yet.
When that comes it will definitely have some effect on performance.
Through all of that, the Series S maintained the same whisper-quiet noise level as the Series X, registering just 38 decibels in Dirt 5, while its temperature topped out at 55 degrees Celsius in the same game.On the Series X it was 40db and 42.5 degrees, respectively.Both outclass the Xbox One X, which blasts out 62 decibels and 56 degrees Celsius.
Don’t Miss Our Xbox Series X Review By Ryan McCaffrey Loading
Verdict: We can only assume that the Xbox Series X will wow us with new and spectacular next-gen games eventually, because there isn’t much to judge it on right now.
But in the meantime, no matter what current games you throw at it, your loading times will be drastically cut, your framerates will be smoother, and your resolutions will be higher.This bold and minimalistically designed box is quiet, compact for both the power it packs and especially how it compares to the PS5, capable, and loaded with convenience features like instantly resuming and cycling between any of your recently played games.Compared directly to the PlayStation 5’s specs, it flat-out gives you more power for the same price.It’s going to be a joy to see what developers actually do with it in the coming years.
Read the full Xbox Series X review
The interface is basically identical to what we’ve had on Xbox One for years now, so it’s an unexciting upgrade there but it’s dependable and full-featured.
The main advantage the Series S has over the comparably powerful Xbox One X is that its loading times are identical to the Series X – and that is to say, very, very quick.And that includes the wonderful Quick Resume feature that allows you to resume right where you left off in any of the last several games you’ve played.It’s all just as life-changing on the Series S.
STORAGE WARS The downside, though, is that you’ve only got a woefully small 364GB of usable space to install games and apps on, and that can go quick.I was at 96% capacity with a total of eight games – five beefy blockbusters and three smaller indie games.That’s even with Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system that lets developers tailor their games specifically to the Series S.Gears 5, for instance, is only 55.1gb compared to 71.9gb on the Series X because the S doesn’t need the full 4K textures.Confirmed Xbox Series X Games 117 IMAGES Your mileage may vary, of course.
If you play a lot of smaller indie games off of Game Pass, you can still load up a bunch of them.Sure, you can expand the storage using the slot on the back, but the 1TB Seagate expansion card is a horrible buy with the Series S.If you’re willing to spend another $220 on one of those, you’d be much better off just buying a Series X instead.If you’re willing to spend another $220 on a 1TB expansion card, you’d be much better off buying a Series X..