November is going to be a big month in the gaming world. Microsoft brings both the Xbox Series X and Series S to market. It is very likely that the Sony PS5 and its discless sibling, the PS5 Digital Edition, will touch down at around the same time.
While Sony consoles have a lot going for them, we’ll focus on the Xbox pair. Thanks to the recent revelations, we can now see how the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S hold up against each other in terms of features, performance, price, availability, and looks. Wondering which new Xbox console to buy? Go right this way and we will explain everything to you …
Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S: Price
Given the Xbox Series S is lower than the Series X, you’d expect it to be cheaper. And you’d be right.
The Series S costs £ 249.99 ($ 299, € 299, AU $ 499). That’s a lot cheaper than the £ 449 ($ 499, € 499, AU $ 749) Xbox charges for the X Series.
Prices are the same as the original Xbox One and Xbox One S, and at first glance, it seems to us that it is pretty good value for money. If you’re interested, pre-orders for the Xbox Series X will begin on Tuesday, September 22nd.
Even better, Microsoft will roll out its Xbox All Access subscription service in 12 countries including the UK and Australia (US gamers are already benefiting from this). Instead of paying upfront, the service lets you pre-order an Xbox Series X for £ 28.99 ($ 33.99; AU $ 46) per month based on a 24-month contract. You can get your gloves on a box-fresh Series S on the same basis, but with lower payments – just £ 20.99 ($ 24.99, AU $ 33) per month.
Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S: Specifications
The X series is the larger and more powerful console on paper. According to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, it is four times as powerful as the Xbox One X. Inside there is 12.15 teraflops (TFLOPS) of GPU power.
Compared to the 8-core 1.75 GHz CPU of the Xbox One or the 8-core 2.3 GHz CPU of the One X, the 8-core 3.6 GHz custom AMD Zen -2 Series X chips improve every aspect of gameplay. We promised there was practically no loading time, so you can start a game and get started almost immediately. Amazing.
The X Series also offers variable rate shading and hardware accelerated DirectX ray tracing for better graphics. Fast resumption means you can turn games on and off without delay (pick up where you left off).
The ports give you HDMI out, and Microsoft has confirmed that it comes with an Ultra High Speed HDMI cable. This is useful when the display of your choice supports HDMI 2.1. This way, gamers can also enjoy frame rates of up to 120 fps and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) technology.
Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox Series X does not have an HDMI input or an optical digital output. Both are found on the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S. The HDMI input was introduced in Xbox consoles so you can plug it in and control a set-top box, though many thought it never would was implemented correctly.
However, the loss of optical output could have a greater impact on users. If you want to enjoy home theater sound from your Xbox Series X, you need an AV receiver or soundbar with HDMI connectivity.
There is no point in holding this back now. I think pic.twitter.com/SgOAjm3BuPSeptember 8, 2020
So how about the S series? According to an article on Xbox Wire by Liz Hamren, director of platform engineering and hardware for Xbox, the S Series “delivers four times the processing power of an Xbox One console.” On paper, it’s 12.15 TFLOPS for the X Series compared to 4 TFLOPS for the Xbox Series S.
The S series is “similar in the CPU” to the X series, but not identical. The Xbox Series X uses an 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU running at 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz with SMT enabled), while the Series S uses the same CPU running at 3.6 GHz (3.4 GHz with SMT enabled) .
The ‘X’ is powered by a 52CU (Compute Unit) RDNA GPU at 1.825 GHz, while its cheaper sibling has a 20CU, 1.565 GHz GPU.
The big difference between the two consoles, however, is the resolution. Xbox claims its fans are prioritizing frame rate over resolution. Therefore, the Xbox Series S was developed for games at 1440p and 60 frames per second with support of up to 120 fps. The Xbox Series X can run 4K games at 60 fps.
And we now know that the S Series doesn’t run Xbox Series X enhanced versions of older games. Instead, the S series gets by with crazy Xbox One S versions of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. In other words, the series doesn’t run older Xbox titles in 4K, which the Xbox Series X can do.
The Xbox Series S also has to make do with a 512 GB solid-state hard drive. This seems tiny, especially when you compare it to the 1TB of Series X storage. Both consoles support optional Seagate Storage expansion cards, but we don’t know how much these will cost.
All eyes will be on how both consoles stack up when it comes to loading games and switching between them. Will the Xbox Series S derating be obvious?
In audio, both consoles support spatial sound, including Dolby Atmos, and support Dolby Vision through supported discs and streaming apps from Disney +, Vudu, and Netflix.
According to Dolby, gamers can expect superb contrast and depth that “goes beyond traditional HDR games” – which is believable given the difference between HDR10 and Dolby Vision in movie playback. It should also bring “10x higher black levels”.
Dolby Vision for games will be available in Series X and S in 2021, while Dolby Atmos will be available from launch.
Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: Design and Build
The X series measures 30.1 x 15.1 x 15.1 cm (hwd) compared to the 6 x 30 x 24 cm of the Xbox One X. Its weight is 4.45 kg compared to 3.69 kg of the older machine.
We don’t have the exact dimensions or weight of the S Series, but as you can see from the video above, it’s quite a bit smaller than the X Series. In fact, it’s almost 60 percent smaller, which means it’s not just that Smallest Xbox to date, but can also fit in the body of a Series X. This should make them more portable and easier to toss a bag in a friend’s house.
The two consoles also look very different. The S Series is finished in what Xbox calls Robot White and much less imposing than the X. It also has a side cooling vent (the bit that looks like a speaker grille) while the X lets air out of the top.
The new Xbox wireless controller comes standard with both machines and features a streamlined design, new textured surfaces and a hybrid D-pad.
What do you think? Which console do you prefer?
Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S: verdict
The X and S are two very different sentences. Sure, they both connect to the internet, both play the same games, and both give you access to video and music streaming services. But what is right for you really depends on your needs.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to disc format, don’t mind the drop in resolution, performance, and budget not exceeding £ 249 / $ 299 / AU $ 499. The Xbox One S looks like the console to you. It’s also the most portable of the two that could affect someone looking for a more flexible gaming lifestyle.
However, if you want the ultimate next-gen Xbox experience, then you probably have to go for the Series X. On paper, it’s bigger and more powerful, though only time will tell if this translates into a richer user experience. If games look better and load faster than the S, the Xbox Series X might be the only option. It also has a drive on board so you can play Blu-rays and CDs too.
All of this extra power comes at a price, however – £ 200 (or USD 200 / AU $ 250) to be precise. Once we’ve had time with both consoles, we can definitely tell you whether the Xbox Series X is worth it versus the Series S.
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