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Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: Which next-gen console is right for you?

Microsoft’s duo of next-gen consoles are almost here, and Trusted Reviews now has full verdicts on both of the gaming consoles after spending a number of weeks putting them to test. 

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are both excellent pieces of hardware, but arguably serve to accommodate two completely distinct audiences with their varying specs, price points and overall vision for the future of gaming. One is digital-only, while the other a more traditional powerhouse we’d expect from a new generation. 

If you’re currently waiting on the sidelines unsure of which upcoming console is right for you, we’ve broken down all the major differences between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S to make that decision a little bit easier. There isn’t a wrong answer here, it’s simply about what sort of experience you’re looking for. So, let’s dive right in. 

Related: Best Xbox Series S/X Games 

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S price – How much do they cost?

Xbox Series X will cost £449 / $499. That’s a fairly high price, but you do get native 4K support in return to make it worthwhile.

The Xbox Series S will cost a far more affordable £249 / $299, but will be limited to a 1440p performance. You’re still getting a slew of high-end features here though, including ray tracing, speedy SSDs and the same CPU as the Series X. The only major differences to the Series X are the lack of disk drive and a weaker GPU.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S Specs – What’s the power difference?

We’ve compiled the full comparison of technical specifications for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S below. You’ll notice that some features are rather uniform, with the biggest gulfs coming in the GPU performance and amount of memory available on the SSD. System memory also shares a rather big difference, although 10GB is nothing to be sniffed at. 

  Xbox Series S Xbox Series X
CPU 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU 4 TFLOPS, 20 CUs @ 1.55 GHz Custom RDNA 2  12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 
Memory 10 GB GDDR6 16 GB GDDR6
Internal Storage 512GB Custom NVME SSD 1TB Custom NVME SSD
Optical Drive Digital only 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target Up to 1440p @ 120 FPS Up to 4K @ 60 FPS (Up to 120 FPS at lower resolutions)

Related: Yakuza – Like a Dragon Review 

Xbox Series S

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S Design – How do they look?

The Xbox Series X sports the most unconventional console design we’ve seen in decades, resembling a traditional PC far more than anything else on the market right now. To be honest, it’s a welcome change, even if some players might have trouble fitting it under their television. It’s almost tiny compared to the PlayStation 5, and its angular design means its rather easy to slot into an existing entertainment centre. 

Given the size of this gaming monolith, the Xbox Series S will be a much smaller affair considering its relative power in comparison. It is 60% smaller than the Xbox Series X, and it is roughly two and a half controllers tall in terms of height. It’s a small yet powerful little beast, and should be much easier for fitting under your television. 

It has a single USB port on the front alongside a small button for syncing controllers and other peripherals. Perhaps the most striking part of the design is the large black vent on the chassis, which is unusual.

Microsoft is making an obvious effort to differentiate both consoles on the market, making it clear to casual consumers the difference between power, features and the general offering of both consoles. Otherwise, it stands to muddy waters which are otherwise very easy to navigate. Given its asking price, the Xbox Series S will be a very tempting proposition for those who don’t fancy breaking the bank. 

Related: Call of Duty – Black Ops Cold War 

Halo Infinite

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S games – What games will they play?

The Xbox Series X and Series S will be able to play the same games at launch, although it is still unclear when and if Microsoft will decide to develop titles than can only be played on the more powerful platform. We imagine this won’t come into fruition for a number of years, since the company doesn’t want to shut anyone out of its growing ecosystem.

Backwards compatibility will play a huge role in the next-generation of consoles, with Microsoft standing at the forefront thanks to its implementation of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Play Anywhere. A number of Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles are already playable and enhanced on Xbox One, all of which will be playable on the new series of machines. 

The “optimised enhancements” you receive for certain games will differ depending on the console you’re playing on, too. Games will still receive ample improvements, but they will always peak at 1440p and a certain level of performance, likely because the horsepower simply can’t compete with its older sibling.

You also need to remember Xbox Smart Delivery, which grants you the same game across all platforms regardless of where it’s purchased. This includes all of your saves, achievements and other important information that might be associated with online and serviced-based titles. Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Yakuza: Like a Dragon are just some of the games confirmed to support it thus far.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S Features – What can I expect from each console?

Aside from the difference in technical specs, the core experience across Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are almost identical with features like Quick Resume and fast loading times enabled by the SSD both being supported. The latter can fluctuate across both systems according to our testing, although the general consensus is that each console is incredibly fast regardless of the difference in power. 

The SSD storage of both consoles can be upgraded by purchasing bespoke expansion cards from Seagate, although these are very expensive at the time of writing. If you’re picking up a Series S and plan to expand the storage, it might be worth just cutting your losses and picking up the Series X for all the added benefits that come with the more powerful console.

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S Verdict – Which console should you buy?

This decision will depend on what you’re looking for in a next-gen console. If you are satisfied with an experience that peaks at 1440p and don’t mind about the lack of a physical disc drive, the Xbox Series S is the way to go. 

It’s a brilliant machine, although the mediocre SSD size makes it a difficult pill to swallow without spending an extra chunk of cage to upgrade. Because of this flaw, if you don’t mind spending a few extra pennies, the Xbox Series X is definitely the ideal machine. 

The console is larger, but boasts more storage, more enhancements and will be able to output the latest games at 4K/60fps with no issues at all. If your eyes are set on the PS5, I can see the Series S being a ideal second machine for Microsoft exclusives, as owning both flagship consoles might be a tiny bit overkill. 

 

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