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

The Xbox Series X and Series S were released nearly three years ago. Despite their similar monikers, there are some vital differences between these consoles which you will need to consider before you dive headfirst into owning one.

These two consoles are remarkably different; from the price, all the way to the specifications and design. All these distinctive features add up, resulting in the Xbox Series X and Series S being designed for an almost completely different set of audiences.

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your Xbox One but you’re just not sure where to start, we’re here to help. We’re going to be breaking down how these two consoles compare in all the ways that matter so you can make an informed purchase. Let’s get right to it.


Xbox Series X currently retails for £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 costs a far more affordable £249/$299, but we’ve seen it drop down as low as £199.99 on Amazon UK, making it the far more affordable option. There are a number of compromises you’ll have to face when buying the cheaper Series S though, as you’ll miss out on a 4K performance and physical disk drive.

Microsoft has since unveiled an Xbox Series S console with a 1TB drive, which is priced at $349.99/£299.99. It has the same specs as the standard Series S console, but with added storage space.


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.

Given the size of this gaming monolith, the Xbox Series S is 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. 

The Series S 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 has also launched a new all-black version of the Xbox Series S with a larger 1TB hard drive, offering players a little more choice in terms of colour. But the more expensive Series X is still only available in black.


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

 Xbox Series SXbox Series X
CPU8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU4 TFLOPS, 20 CUs @ 1.55 GHz Custom RDNA 2 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 
Memory10 GB GDDR616 GB GDDR6
Internal Storage512GB / 1TB Custom NVME SSD1TB Custom NVME SSD
Optical DriveDigital only4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance TargetUp to 1440p @ 120 FPSUp to 4K @ 60 FPS (Up to 120 FPS at lower resolutions)

Our own testing shows that the Xbox Series S usually offers a 1440p performance, but has dropped down to Full HD for particularly demanding games. There’s no doubt that games on the Xbox Series X look substantially better, with more detail and a sharper image.

We’ve noticed that both consoles have struggled to run ray tracing in the vast majority of supported games, although you’ve got even less chance of it working with smooth performance on the Series S console.

On the bright side, there doesn’t seem to be a major difference in SSD speed. Both consoles are extremely fast at loading up games, so you needn’t worry about the performance downgrade here when opting for the Xbox Series S.


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 the likes of Seagate and Western Digital, although these can be fairly expensive.

The biggest difference between the consoles is the disk drive, or rather the absence of one on the Xbox Series S. If you opt for the cheaper Xbox, you’ll have to be dependent on the digital store and will be unable to use discount pre-owned games.

Xbox Series S
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)


The Xbox Series X and Series S can play the exact same games, meaning that you won’t be prevented from playing modern games if you do opt for the more affordable console.

Backwards compatibility plays a huge role in the new 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.

Image Credit (Bethesda)

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 2077Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Yakuza: Like a Dragon are just some of the games confirmed to support it.

Microsoft has been bolstering both consoles with the release of some exclusive titles. Some of the games slated to arrive in the near future include Forza Motorsport, Fable, Starfield, Avowed and more. All of these games will be available on Game Pass as well as in physical and digital stores.


Ultimately, the Xbox Series X and Series S are both fantastic consoles, but your choice will depend on what exactly you’re looking for. If you’re not looking to game in 4K and don’t mind the lack of a physical disk drive, the Xbox Series S is a very easy recommendation.

The Xbox Series X is appealing for a lot of reasons, but it does come with a much larger price. Supported games can run in 4K – provided that you also have a 4K monitor/TV to pair it with. If you do want to play Starfield and Forza Motorsport in 4K with all the bells and whistles, the Xbox Series X is the console for you.

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