The future of Xbox is now! The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S represent Microsoft in the ninth generation of game consoles. They’re both cut from the same fabric, but what are the key differences and, just as importantly, which Xbox console is right for you? That’s what we’re looking at in this Xbox Series X vs Series S comparison.
While the two consoles can play similar games and use similar accessories, there are some fundamental differences between the flagship Series X ($499) and the more affordable Series S ($299).
For a full breakdown of each machine, be sure to check out our reviews below. Here, we’re looking at how the two stack up against each other to see what’s best for your gaming needs.
Our Verdict: Xbox Series X Review | xbox series s review
Xbox Series X vs Series S: Design
The Series X and Series S may come from the same family, but each has its own style and design features.
First, size. xbox series x one Elder boy. It’s not as gargantuan as the PS5, but its heavy, obelisk-like chassis makes a powerful presence around your TV. The Xbox Series S is significantly smaller (and lighter), though both have a large fan and grill to draw out the heat. Both consoles run on a whisper, so you won’t need to worry about fan noise.
The Xbox Series S is a more traditional rectangle-style cuboid like previous Xbox consoles and looks flat at best. While the Series X can be placed horizontally as well, it looks ridiculous; Almost looks like it was pushed in by mistake. Finding a place for this in a tight entertainment setup can be a pain. The shorter Series S, meanwhile, is far easier to adjust and looks equally classy no matter what.
If you want to play the game on disc, you have to print on Series X.
Ports are mirrored on both consoles: Power, Ethernet, two USB-A 3.2, and HDMI out. On the front, there’s another USB-A port, a power button within the Xbox logo, and a button for connecting controllers. The console also has a storage slot on the back for proprietary expansion cards.
Apart from the color scheme – matte white with black grille for the Series S and matte black with green accents on the grille for the Series X – the disc drive is the only other significant design diversion. Or in the case of the Series S, the complete absence of one. If you want to play games on disc or watch 4K Blu-rays, you’ll need to splash out on the Series X.
Xbox Series X vs. Series S: Controllers
The Xbox wireless controller that comes with the Xbox Series X and Series S is functionally the same regardless of which console you buy. The only difference is the color scheme – black for the Series X and white for the Series S.
Best Xbox Series X and Series S Accessories
I talked about the controller in detail in my Xbox Series X review, but in short, it’s an iterative progression from the Xbox One family of controllers, with an improved D-pad and a new share button, but otherwise near-identical overall. is design.
Speaking of, any Xbox One controller you own (including Xbox Adaptive Controller) is compatible with all Direct Series consoles. While there’s something to be said for the next-gen upgrades found in the rival PS5 DualSense controller, Microsoft deserves credit for making sure older gamepads don’t become obsolete.
display and storage
The Xbox Series X and Series S are built on the same fundamental architecture, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the same processing grunt from both machines. The $200 question is: What raw power boost do you get for the extra cash with the Series X versus the Series S?
The Series X runs on custom AMD eight-core Gen 2 CPU (3.8GHz peak) and AMD’s Navi-based RDNA 2 graphics chip with 12 teraflops of GPU power and 52 compute units clocked at 1.825GHz. The Series S has the same basic architecture, but pushes the CPU back to 3.6GHz peak per core, while the GPU is slashed to four teraflops and 20CU at 1.565GHz.
The hardware disparity results in a different target resolution – native 4K (2160p) for the Series X and Quad HD (1440p) for the Series S.
In practice, neither console sticks to those goals 100% of the time because the resolution will dynamically scale based on the game you’re playing. The difference is that the Series S will occasionally drop down to 1080p to compensate for the lower processing power, while the Series X only scales down to 1440p in extreme cases.
It’s the same story with frame rates. Both consoles technically support 120Hz gaming, but 60 fps is the baseline for the Series X, while some high-profile games on the Series S – especially third-party games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla – have 30 fps. By. Likewise, the Xbox Series X is capable of rendering a greater level of detail over longer distances, although with the overall resolution, these aren’t things you’ll notice unless you actually have both consoles close to each other. walking beside.
However, the same cannot be said about the frame rate difference. Once you’ve sampled 60fps, playing in 30fps is like playing in slow motion.
Ultimately, your experience with any console will largely depend on the game you’re playing. As an example, Gears 5 is an incredible demonstration of both systems’ potential, with multiplayer pushing at 120fps and the campaign hitting 60fps on consoles at maximum native resolution.
The Series X and Series S also support ray-tracing to provide realistic shadows, lighting and reflections, as well as heavily customizable Auto HDR. The trade-offs with the Series S are pretty much felt again, as you’ll have to sacrifice resolution numbers and on frame rate caps to experience any additional visual flair.
Also, while both consoles offer Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), only the Series X is promised to get 8K support in the future.
Both consoles technically support 120Hz gaming, but 60fps is the baseline for the Series X, while the Series S can sometimes drop to 30fps.
One area where the Series X and Series S are largely comparable is loading times. Microsoft has fitted its consoles with custom SSDs designed around its so-called Velocity architecture.
This means that booting up games or zipping on an open-world map is blazingly fast on Xbox Series systems compared to previous-gen machines. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, for example, takes a full minute to load on the Xbox One, but less than 30 seconds on the Series X and Series S. First-party games tend to be even faster, with sub-15 or even sub-10 seconds a reality for some games.
The two Xbox consoles also support Quick Resume, which lets you suspend gameplay for up to five games at a time and switch between them without restarting from the title screen. It’s not available for every game, but if you want to quickly swap between some of the covenant minigames in Halo: Master Chief Collection and driving through the Great British Countryside in Forza Horizon 4… well, now You can do this on Series X or Series S.
Minuscule storage is a real issue with the Series S.
Storage aggregate is where things fall apart once again. The Xbox Series X is outfitted with a 1TB SSD with 802GB of usable space. The Series S drops down to just 512GB, with 364GB of usable space. With some individual games at 100GB and above, that’s not a lot to play with. This is somewhat mitigated by optimization. Some game files on the Series S weigh slightly lighter than their Series X counterparts, but the difference is usually only 10-15 GB.
Thankfully, you can expand the storage on any console with a compatible SSD card. Microsoft has partnered with Seagate on the first batch of 1TB modules that can be interchanged between the Series S and Series X. The downside is the expansion card Cost of a Homestead $219, which effectively bumps the price of the Series S with additional storage to the same MSRP as the Series X.
Features and Software
No matter which console you choose, the software experience will be nearly indistinguishable. The Series X has a few additional options for resolution in the Settings menu and the capture options on the Series S are more limited. But otherwise, the Dashboard, Microsoft Store, and even companion smartphone apps are compatible with every system without a hitch. real warning.
Microsoft’s subscription offerings are also available for both consoles. Those who just want to play online have the option of Xbox Live Gold for $9.99 per month (or $59.99 for a year), but the far more lucrative Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s Netflix of games.
The $9.99 per month Xbox Game Pass subscription gives you instant access to a vast library of games. This includes big AAA titles, indie hits and retro classics from first and third-party developers, as well as every Xbox Game Studios title on release day.
For those who want to go all-in, the $14.99 per month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offers everything that includes a PC-specific library of games, Android smartphones (and soon iOS and PC), EA Play and Xbox One. There is cloud streaming for Live Gold. .
While you won’t be able to play 4K Blu-rays or regular Blu-rays on the disc-less Series S, it otherwise matches its big brother with its multimedia suite. You can get Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, YouTube, Spotify, Twitch and more on both consoles. Furthermore, while the Series S maxes out at 1440p for gaming, it is capable of streaming Netflix content supported in 4K HDR.
Xbox Series X vs. Series S: Games
There may be a power gap between the two consoles, but as far as actual games go, there are no titles that can’t be played on either machine. This includes brand new games for the next generation of machines, as well as Xbox Series X/S-optimized games that extend beyond the Xbox One…