The release of the next-gen Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S is just around the corner. Both consoles are set to launch on November 10. Pre-orders are available, though they are likely sold out everywhere right now.
With the imminent release of the consoles, you may be wondering what are the main differences between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Are they really that different? Which one is better for you? We’ll answer all those questions and more in this article.
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Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S
Xbox Series X vs S price
Price is going to be a huge deciding factor for a lot of Xbox fans. With the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic being felt around the globe, the Series S will be more appealing to many customers. A lot of people are tempted to upgrade to a next-gen console, but want to save a few hundred bucks that could go elsewhere.
The Xbox Series S is priced at $299.99, whereas the Xbox Series X costs $499.99. This is a huge difference in price between two consoles that will both be able to run next-gen games. Although the Xbox Series S may not have the extraordinary specs of the Series X, it’s still a fantastic next-gen option for people who don’t want to spend as much. We can’t forget the fact that the Xbox Series S sports a fast SSD either. This, plus Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox All Access, is making Microsoft look like a top contender in this console war.
Xbox Series X vs S design
When looking at the form factors of Xbox Series X vs Series S, the main differences are size, color, and orientation. There are design elements of each of these consoles I love. I wish I could combine elements to make a smaller, sleeker console that still had all the power of a $500 console, but that’s just not how it works. Let’s take a look at the beefy Series X first.
For the first time, Microsoft is going for a sleek tower look with the Xbox Series X. Nevertheless, the console is very large. Depending on your entertainment center, this big, vertical design may not work out well. You can flip your Series X horizontally, but there’s a stand involved and it doesn’t look the best. It will take up a lot of space regardless. For those who have entertainment centers that tend to cater to thin horizontal consoles, you may need to rethink your space.
The controller that comes with the Xbox Series X is fully black as well to match the console.
Whereas the Series X has a fan grill on the top, the Series S has a fan grill on the front, which kind of makes it look like a speaker. It’s worth pointing out that the Series S will be much easier to turn horizontally and fit in tighter spaces. You don’t have to look at the circular fan grill on the front if you don’t want to.
While the Series X is completely black, the Series S is primarily white except for that black fan grill circle on the front. I quite like the look of white consoles, but I realize they will show a lot more dust, dirt, and scrapes than black consoles. The Series S comes with an all-white controller to match the console.
Xbox Series X vs S optical drive
This difference is pretty straightforward. The Xbox Series X comes with an optical disc drive that will support 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays. The Xbox Series S, in all its tiny glory, has no room nor budget for a disc drive. So, if you get the Series S, you will only be able to purchase and play digital copies of games.
Xbox Series X vs S storage
Before we get into the specs of both next-gen consoles, I’ll go over the storage differences between the two. The Xbox Series X comes with a 1TB SSD, whereas the Xbox Series S comes with a 512GB SSD. This puts the Series S at a disadvantage, considering how large digital downloads have become in recent years. Call of Duty: Warzone is over 100GB, so depending on which games you’ll want to play, that 512GB SSD could fill up pretty quickly.
Luckily, both the Xbox Series X and the Series S offer expandable storage options. There is a 1TB Microsoft expansion card slot within each console. There are other external storage options as well.
However, if you decide to save $200 and buy the Series S, but you then have to spend money on more storage space, is it worth it? Just something to consider when making your purchase decision.
Xbox Series X vs S specs
Out of all the differences between the Xbox Series X and Series S, the specs are what’s most important. Sure, you might be saving $200 by buying the Series S, but what are you losing out on in terms of power?
Both consoles are powered by a custom AMD Zen 2 CPU. The Series X will run at 3.8GHz per core, whereas the Series S will run at 3.6GHz per core. The biggest difference in specs between the two will be its graphics processing power. Although both consoles will support ray tracing, variable refresh rates, and variable shading, the Xbox Series X is clearly more powerful than the Series S.
Both the Xbox Series X and the Series S are equipped with AMD RDNA 2 GPU’s, but the difference lies in the number of compute units (CUs) and teraflops (TFLOPS) of processing power. The Xbox Series X will have 52 CUs at 1.825GHz with 12 TFLOPS of processing power, whereas the Series S will have only 20 CUs at 1.565GHz with 4 TFLOPS of processing power. The Series S can get away with using less CUs because it doesn’t have to hit as high of a target resolution as the Series X does.
The Series S can only go up to 1440p resolution natively at 60 frames per second (up to 120 frames per second). On the other hand, the Series X has to support 4K, so it needs all 52 of its CUs to run 4K natively at 60 frames per second (also up to 120 frames per second). If you don’t care about playing games in 4K though, this raw power may not be as important to you.
If you want a more in-depth look at the specs of each next-gen console from Microsoft, check out:
- Everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X
- Everything you need to know about the Xbox Series S
Xbox Series X vs S games
Both next-gen consoles from Microsoft will be able to run all-new, next-gen games. Although games may not look as good on the Series S, they will still run perfectly fine.
Both consoles will also support Xbox Games Pass as well. That means all the titles in that catalog will be available to you at launch, if you choose to purchase a subscription or buy your console through an Xbox All Access plan.
Should I buy the Xbox Series X or S?
The Xbox Series X is more powerful and has more internal storage, but it’s more expensive. If you have the extra money to spend on the Xbox Series X, I think it’s well worth the investment. If you don’t feel like splurging $499.99 for a next-gen console, plus all the new next-gen games you’re inevitably going to buy, check out Xbox All Access. You can purchase a new Series X and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for only $34.99 a month plus tax. To me, this is a great offer from Microsoft that allows you to get the best of the best without breaking the bank.
The Xbox Series S is a less powerful, digital-only console, but it’s more affordable. The Series S is also the smallest console Microsoft has ever made. However, you might end up spending $100-200 on storage later on, depending on how large the games you play are. If you prefer the smaller, less bulky design, and want to initially save money with your next-gen purchase, the Series S is the one for you. The Xbox All Access plan is available for the Series S too. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is honestly a great deal, so bundling it with a next-gen Series S for only $24.99 a month plus tax is a smart deal.
Honestly, whichever next-gen console you decide to get, you’ll be happily gaming on much faster hardware than the previous-gen consoles.