The Xbox Series S is a great entry point into new- word gaming for those who have no compunctions about buying games digitally or subscribing to Xbox Game Pass. It’s a great option if you want to avoid the sizable fiscal disbursement needed to enjoy a full- blown new- word press, but there are some downsides. It has significantly lower storehouse, prioritizes 1440p resolution for gaming, and does without the 4K HD Blu- Ray drive of the Xbox SeriesX.
- +The smallest Xbox ever made
- +Compact design, powerful specs
- +Completely silent in operation
- +Faster load times
- -Targets 1440p resolution when gaming
- -512GB SSD fills up fast
- -No disc drive
- -UI can be overwhelming at first
Xbox Series S two-minute review
The Xbox Series S may challenge the average buyer to spot the difference between Microsoft’s flagship system, the Xbox Series S, but upon near look, it’s blatant why the press is significantly cheaper. It’s designed to take the same generational hops as the Series S, like hostingsuper-fast cargo times, shaft dogging, and advanced frame rates while maintaining its low price to suit every budget. But, because of its price, some notable negotiations are worth flashing back .
Indeed though the Xbox Series S is praised for its digital-only figure, there’s significantly lower storehouse than the Xbox Series X. The lower press also targets a 1440p resolution rather than 4K, but this upscales when connected to an Ultra HD display. still, the press is primarily designed to run at lower judgments , another essential element to note.
Microsoft’s more affordable Xbox also does down with the 4K HD Blu- Ray drive of the Xbox Series X, making this a digital-onlyaffair.However, this alone could be a deal- swell, and means you are at the mercy of Microsoft’s store pricing when it comes to buying new titles, If you’ve amassed a large library of physical games over the times.
We have streamlined our Xbox Series S review to reflect our prints after using the press for nearly two times. Microsoft has rolled out a many welcome advancements to the Series S, and we now eventually have exclusive titles that take full advantage of the tackle’s power like Halo horizonless and Forza Horizon 5.
These cutbacks might be too important for some druggies, also, but it makes the Xbox Series S a much cheaper and lower hefty device as a result. Crucially, it’s still able of playing new- word games, making this a great entry point into the Xbox ecosystem.
During our time with the Xbox Series S, we tested dozens of games – from last- word Xbox Series X/ S optimized successes including Halo The Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizon 4, Doom Eternal, and Gears 5, to launch titles like Yakuza Like a Dragon.
Each bone impressed us, with smoother frame rates, increased judgments ( when compared to Xbox One, and Xbox One S), and briskly cargo times, indeed if the games did not look relatively as enough as they did running on the Xbox Series X. But that is substantially due to Xbox Series S targeting a lower resolution.
That said, for gamers who have no compunctions about buying games digitally, or subscribing to Xbox Game Pass, you ’re getting the full suite of coming- word features on Microsoft’s cheaper press Quick Resume, Auto HDR, 120Hz, you name it. The Xbox Series S is a great option for those wanting to witness new- word gaming, without the sizable fiscal disbursement needed to enjoy a full-bloated press.
As we have indicated to formerly, there are downsides toconsider.However, or have amassed a large collection of Xbox One games over the times, the Xbox Series S’s lack of slice drive may put you off, If you prefer to buy games physically.
You only get a 512 GB SSD, too, as there is no advanced- capacity option. And while the press’s SSD is dramatically faster than the old mechanical drives in the Xbox One X and Xbox One S, it can fill up presto. The five games we mentioned above nearly took up the entire 512 GB SSD on our review unit( you only get 364 GB of usable space), leaving us with just 30 GB of storehouse to play with.
That means if we wanted to install a game of that size to the system’s internal drive, we would probably have to cancel commodity first( or also buy the Seagate Xbox storehouse expansion card, which costs nearly as important as the Xbox Series S itself).
The Xbox Series X utilizes its important specs to significantly reduce cargo times and increase overall game performance and visual dedication. But, while features similar as Quick Resume, Smart Delivery, and backward comity give it that redundant boost, it’s hard to deny that it’s lacking in crucial areas, specially significant UI advancements and witching exclusive launch titles.
What may discourage people from buying Microsoft’s more affordable Xbox is the fact that it labors at 1440p for gaming. This lower resolution is a establishment favourite in the PC gaming space due to the superior image quality it provides over 1080p, and the lower quantum of graphical grunt it requires from inventors to achieve. This has allowed Microsoft to produce a lower- spec machine that still boasts coming- word features.
still, the drop to 1440p from native 4K can be conspicuous, If you enjoy an Xbox One X. The Xbox One X could deliver games like Forza Motorsport 7 at 4K/ 60 fps and is still able of some luxurious illustrations. It’s easy, also, to suppose that the Xbox Series S is a step reverse – still, it’s able of a lot further than Microsoft’s growing Xbox One X, indeed if it does not always beat it in terms of resolution.
Looking at the system internals, the Xbox Series S separates itself from the One X with its extensively more important CPU and further technically able GPU, courtesy of AMD’s RDNA 2 armature which enables slice- edge features like shaft dogging. Yes, the Series S has smaller teraflops than the Xbox One X( four compared to six), but teraflops are no longer the defining factor in how GPU power is determined.
For Xbox One possessors looking to upgrade without breaking the bank, the Xbox Series S is a great option, if you can accept what it’s been designed toachieve.However, still, we suggest considering the Xbox Series X rather, If you’ve formerly got the Xbox One X and a 4K display at home. Read on for our full Xbox Series S review.
XBOX SERIES S: PRICE AND RELEASE DATE
- Xbox Series S release date: Out now (released November 10, 2020)
- Xbox Series S price: $299.99 / £249.99 / AU$499
- Can be bundled with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $24.99 / £20.99 / AU$33 a month
The Xbox Series S is available now for$299.99/£249.99/AU$ 499 and was released on November 10, 2020. That is the same release date as the Xbox Series X, though the price is significantly cheaper than the Series X’s price of$ 499/£ 499/AU$ 749. Thankfully, Xbox will not follow PlayStation with price hikes, so while Xbox does not rule out unborn price hikes just yet, this is not changing anytime soon.
Keep in mind still that, without a slice drive, you will not be suitable to buy habituated games or trade games with your musketeers you are dependent on the Xbox Store for any purchases, which means you will not always get the stylish deal.
That issue is negated kindly if you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass( a separate expenditure, but exceptional value nevertheless), or if you only buy the occasional game at full price around launch. Still, it’s not ideal for those who calculate on physical game deals or trade- sways to fund their favorite pastime.
Xbox Series S is also available on Microsoft’s Xbox All Access subscription service in select regions, including the US, UK, and Australia. Xbox All Access packets the press with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on a 24- month plan( giving you access to the ultimate for the duration) for$24.99/£20.99/AU$ 33 a month, with no outspoken costs – that is a good deal which proves cheaper than buying the press and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate independently.
Of course, Microsoft is not the only one with newer tackle out. Sony released the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition soon after the Xbox Series S and Series X dropped, so if you are still on the hedge also it’s worth checking out our PS5 review before committing.
XBOX SERIES S REVIEW: DESIGN
- Looks great when placed horizontally or vertically
- Can comfortably fit into any setup
- The console and controller look great in white
While the tackle powering the Xbox Series S is brand-new, the Xbox Series S design is evocative of the now- discontinued Xbox One S each- Digital Edition.
The Xbox Series S has a distinctive black addict articulation, nearly like a speaker tulle, on the top that breaks up the swathe of white which encases the rest of the press, and it’s where the maturity of heat is exhausted. It’s the lowest Xbox that Microsoft has ever made, with a plain frontal face that sports a single USB harborage and a power button. It’s a clean, understated, and functional design.
For anchorages, you ’ll find an HDMI2.1 affair, two USB3.2 anchorages, an Ethernet harborage, a storehouse expansion niche, and an AC input. maybe commonly, the Xbox Series S does not have a harborage for Kinect, Microsoft’s now-defunct stir- seeing camera, or a HDMI input for string boxes. still, that the Xbox Series S only vessels with a High- Speed HDMI string, not an Ultra High- Speed HDMI string.
With weight and size, the Xbox Series S measures in at6.5 x15.1 x27.5 cm and4.25 pounds( around 2 kg). Its size should insure it fluently fits into utmost entertainment center closets and on television daises, and it’s light enough to pack up and bring to a friend’s house or take with you on holiday .
As we mentioned over, the Xbox Series S is lower than the Xbox One S. That is an emotional feat considering that it’s packing a 4 TFLOP GPU and an octa- core Custom Zen 2 CPU that needs to be cooled.
While some might not like the way Microsoft has mimicked its own design from the last generation, we are okay with it. It’s nice to have some durability, especially in products that are announced as a family of bias, although it’s fairly straightforward and artificial- suchlike in its appearance.
XBOX SERIES S REVIEW: PERFORMANCE
- Upscaled 4K looks great, and native 1440p is a nice compromise
- Offers smooth and fluid 120fps gameplay
- Xbox Velocity Architecture is fast… but not instantaneous
The Xbox Series S’s strong suit is its value proposition – it’s a compact hustler. It can offer either upscaled 4K gaming, native 1440p resolution, or a 1080p picture.
Its GPU, while not as important as the one in the Xbox Series X, can upmarket games to 4K( in a analogous way to the Xbox One S) and still run games at 120 fps at 1440p, but you will need a HDMI2.1- biddable television if you want to keep the resolution at 1440p. It’s also able of shaft dogging, and loads games briskly than ever, thanks to Microsoft’s Xbox Velocity Architecture.
Combine Velocity Architecture with the 10 GB of GDDR6 memory and erected- in SSD, and you ’ve got all the material of a important press. More still, Microsoft lately gave a performance boost for Xbox Series S games, which frees up hundreds of fresh megabytes of memory. Crucially, this should help ameliorate plates performance.
CPU: 8-core 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT) custom AMD 7nm
GPU: 4 teraflops at 1.565GHz
RAM: 10GB GDDR6
Frame rate: Up to 120fps
Resolution: 1440p with 4K upscaling
Optical: No disk drive
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Usable storage space: 364GB
But do you actually need a 4K television? And likewise, do you need one that supports HDMI2.1 for its 120Hz refresh rate? Let’s walk through all the scripts.
still, the Xbox Series S uses a fashion called supersampling to produce better- looking images, indeed on lower-able displays, If you are using a 1080p television. Supersampling is a complex process, but the introductory idea is that the game is rendered at a advanced resolution, and also the press downscales the image to match the affair of your television.
The end result is a conspicuous boost in image clarity andanti-aliasing( the junking of jaggies and pixelated edges) and means that gamers who are not using a 4K or 1440p-able screen will still profit from bettered image quality from the Xbox SeriesS.
utmost folks though, we anticipate, will be pairing the Xbox Series S with a 4K HDR television – potentially one with a 120Hz native refresh rate, although the maturity of displays vended over the last many times are likely to only support 60Hz at 4K and 1440p. still, then’s how to enable 120Hz on Xbox Series S, If you do have a able display.
Hook the Xbox Series S up to a 4K panel, and the press uses a fashion called upscaling to convert anon-native 4K signal to 4K. While there is a stark difference between rendering in 4K, and rendering in 1440p and also upscaling to 4K – especially if you’ve got a keen eye for detail – it still makes games on the Xbox Series S look better than if the press was locked to a 1440p affair.
It’s worth noting that the Xbox Series S can render some games in native 4K if a inventor chooses to enable that option. Just be apprehensive it’s done on a game- by- game base, and is not commodity you ’re going to see on every game on the system.
The corollary then’s that the press can use HDR( high dynamic range), which enables a wider color palette, advanced peak brilliance, and better discrepancy situations. Skies look bluer, the lawn looks greener and colors pop in everyscene.However, you are in for a treat, If you have not had the occasion to game in HDR yet.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a display that is biddable with HDMI2.1, you can enable 120 fps at 1440p without having to drop down to 1080p resolution. To enable 120 fps, simply pop into the press’s audio and visual settings, where you can choose from colorful frame rate and resolution options.
It’s enough straightforward, but it’s worth noting that not all games can hit 120 fps, though Microsoft has amassed a handsome collection of titles since launch including Halo horizonless, Gears 5’s multiplayer, and Call of Duty Vanguard. Check out the full list of Xbox Series S games with 120 fps support.
Indeed if you do not invest in a new television, you are still going to see the benefits of the new SSD and Microsoft’s Xbox Velocity Architecture. The ultimate is amulti-step result that combines the Series S’s custom NVMe SSD, tackle- accelerated relaxation blocks, a brand-new DirectStorage API subcaste, and Sampler Feedback Streaming( SFS).
That is a lot to parse, but the gist of it’s that data is stored in a more effective way, and can be loaded into memory briskly thanks to both the physical storehouse medium and the software algorithms that Microsoft has enforced to load the data.
The result is significantly faster cargo times compared to Xbox One X – we are talking about games that now load in a matter of seconds. The SSD also enables features like Quick Resume, which we ’ll get to shortly. Of course, the one area that is less emotional then’s the stingy 512 GB of storehouse capacity, which utmost people will fill up presto.
While 500 GB was sufficient beforehand on during the last press generation, game train sizes have expanded exponentially in the times since, making anything lower than 1 TB of storehouse feel like a raw deal. It gets worse when you realise that you can not pierce the full 512 GB of storehouse. The system zilches takes up 148 GB of space, meaning you’ve only got 364 GB of usable storehouse to play with from the onset.
By the time you’ve installed four or five games, you will need to start allowing about what to uninstall, which is noway a fun experience. While Microsoft claims that games on Xbox Series S will be over to 30 lower due to not having 4K texture lines, this wo n’t stop the system’s internal drive from fleetly filling up.
The good news is that Microsoft has released an add- on storehouse result at launch, in cooperation with Seagate, that can add 2 TB, 1 TB or 500 GB of redundant storehouse if you run out of room. The bad news? The 1 TB Seagate Storage Expansion Card costs$219.99/£219.99/AU$ 359 – plutocrat that could be spent on buying an Xbox Series X rather, which has 1 TB erected- in storehouse and better 4K support.
XBOX SERIES S REVIEW: CONTROLLER
- More tactile than before thanks to careful refinement
- Triggers are shorter, controller is easier to grip thanks to new textured finish
- Share button is a welcome addition, and the 360-degree D-pad feels great
- Still uses AA batteries, unfortunately
Coming from the Xbox One Controller, you’d be forgiven for allowing that the Xbox Wireless Controller for Series X/ S is not that different. still, it’s now more comfortable and easier to use than ever ahead, due to subtle changes in the regulator’s ergonomics.
Its overall confines have been tweaked ever so slightly, reducing the size of the regulator as a whole, but not to the point where it’s conspicuous to the average stoner. It means further hand sizes can use the new Xbox pad comfortably. Other changes include a textured and dull finish on the handles, triggers, and fenders, that help you get further purchase on the regulator during tense gaming sessions.
presumably the biggest change for the regulator itself, however, is the new D- pad, which has been revised to be a full 360- degree pad that feels great on the thumb. Each direction clicks with a satisfying sound and tactile feedback( though some might find it noisier than they’d like). Its smooth finish makes pulling off half- circle reaches in fighting games a real pleasure.
Another minor change is that the triggers have been docked to make them more accommodating for lower hands. These triggers still have haptic feedback in the form of grumble motors, but it’s not the same as the adaptive triggers in the PS5 DualSense regulator, which can change resistance on the cover.
The new Share button does exactly what you’d anticipate – it captures and shares moments in your game for posting in your Xbox Feed or on social media. One click takes a shot, while holding the button down longer captures a 15-alternate videotape( you can acclimate the duration in the Capture settings).
It’s much easier than on the Xbox One, where you had to press the home button doubly and also X or Y, but it takes some getting used to if you ’re habituated to the old way.
Overall however, it’s substantially what you flash back , with two asymmetrical analog sticks, the menu and view buttons that fill in for launch and elect, and the four face buttons( A, B, X, Y).
The Xbox Series S regulator keeps its3.5 mm audio jack and expansion harborage at the bottom, but it now uses a USB Type- C charging harborage rather of microUSB. You will also find the pairing button at the top, which you use to sync the regulator to the press, or for pairing when using Bluetooth.
The new Xbox pad is still a comfortable regulator to play with, but its biggest weakness is the fact that it still uses AA batteries. That is rather of a rechargeable lithium- ion cell like the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller or Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 houses. We set up a brace of AA batteries lasted for around 10 days or so of heavy gaming.
still, you can also pick up Microsoft’s play- and- charge tackle, which comprises a rechargeable battery and USB- C string, If you are floored by the idea of a regulator using AA batteries in2020.99(£20.99/AU$29.95) to save you plutocrat in the long term( you can also use rechargeable AAs).
While the tackle is obviously an redundant expenditure that may annoy some, there is an element of inflexibility at least – and you are also not at the mercy of a lithium- ion cell battery, which can degrade over time, and which is more expensive to replace should anything go amiss.
Our advice? Pick up rechargeable batteries, or Microsoft’s play- and- charge tackle, if you plan on doing further than 40 hours of gaming a week.
XBOX SERIES S REVIEW: FEATURES
- User interface feels a bit overcrowded and, in some places, slow
- Quick Resume feels really cutting-edge
- Smart Delivery ensures you get the best possible version of a game
- Good selection of streaming apps, plus Dolby Vision and Atmos support
still, and you are upset that the process of setting it up might be confusing, do not be, If it’s been a many times since you bought an Xbox press. Setting up the Xbox Series S proved to be a streamlined process, thanks in no small part to the new- and- bettered Xbox app for Android and iOS. We have indeed seen disharmony come available for all Xbox Series S players.
You ’ll need to download the Xbox app from the App Store( opens in new tab) for iOS or Google Play Store( opens in new tab) on Android bias, and log in to your Microsoft account. Once you are in, power on the press and type in the law you see in the app, which appears on your television screen – this pulls in all your data without you having to class it all in. You will still need to enter a many details via the press, like Wi- Fi word, but also you are out to the races after staying for an update to land.
The UI that greets you when you ’ve finished setting up the Xbox Series S will be incontinently familiar to anyone who is used an Xbox One in the last three months. The’ new’ Xbox Dashboard rolled out in August 2020, and is the same across both Xbox Series X and S and the aged tackle. It is n’t the most intuitive of interfaces, however.
There is a lot of information on display at formerly, and it’s fair to say there is a small literacy wind when it comes to figuring out how to navigate the UI effectively. The strike to the new consoles having the same stoner interface as the One series is that the Xbox Series S doesn’t feel any different right down. It does not feel that new, indeed if navigating the dashboard feels snappier than before thanks to the redundant power underneath the hood.
also, the new UI still presents some of the same problems we have noticed in the history with Xbox One’s interface some images on the screen take a many seconds to load as content is pulled from the internet, and it’s generally a bit too busy for utmost tastes, with far further information on the screen than you actually need at one time. Look past the UI, still, and you will begin to see some areas where the Xbox Series S really innovates, though they are actually more subtle.
We can anticipate farther changes to come for the UI,too.However, Microsoft lately rolled new Xbox Series X homepage layouts but suckers are not happy, If you are an Xbox Insider. While this introduces some quality of life changes, some players were not so keen on the” pipe clutter” this introduced, while others are not fond of advertisements still taking up homepage space. As a point presently in beta testing, this could change, so we’ll keep this streamlined as we learn more.
Smart Delivery from the Xbox Store means you will always get the stylish possible interpretation of a game when you download it, or if it’s upgraded in the future. Your save data also carries over seamlessly, indeed if you jump back and forth between your old Xbox One/ One X/ One S and new Xbox SeriesS. It’s contemporaneously backward and forward comity, which is reassuring.
Jumping between multiple games is now possible thanks to Quick Resume, a new point that allows the Xbox Series S to hold multiple game countries in the memory at one time, so you can jump back and forth between games without having to reload them.
The number of games that can be suspended varies – we had as numerous as eight in gyration at one point – and it will not work with every title, especially those with ever- changing online worlds, like ocean of stealers. It’s a handy, time- saving point that is only possible thanks to the press’s SSD, and game countries are saved indeed if the press is fully powered down.
Incipiently, we’ve to talk about the press’s multimedia capabilities. As a streaming device, the Xbox Series S carries most major services. That goes between Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and others that are available on being Xbox One consoles, plus some that are new to the platform, including Apple TV Plus. There is also region-specific apps similar as Hulu in the US, and Sky Go in the UK.
penetrating these requires navigating to the Apps section of your library. Or, if you constantly use particular apps you can jut them to the home screen or produce a specific group that can be penetrated from the Xbox companion. We noticed that, like games, apps stayed in a suspended state when we darted between them.
It’s important to note that while the Xbox Series S only labors at 1440p resolution when you are gaming, the press is able of displaying streaming apps in 4K HDR. That means the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will affair in 4K if you are using a compatible display.
As on the Xbox One X, some of these services are available in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, giving you access to advanced HDR and 3D compass sound independently, but you may have to pay for a advanced subscription league in order to pierce those formats.
XBOX SERIES S REVIEW: GAME LIBRARY
- Scarce launch lineup with few exclusives
- Backwards compatibility with three generations of Xbox consoles
- Xbox Game Pass is a great way to instantly build up your library
We will not hash words then the Xbox Series S’s game library got off to a bad launch. With the detention of Halo horizonless, there were not any first- party exclusives available at launch on the Xbox Series S, other than titles that have preliminarily been available on Xbox.
further third- party and first- party exclusives have since arrived like The Medium and Microsoft Flight Simulator, but Microsoft’s first- party affair is sluggishly catching up. Halo horizonless, Forza Horizon 5, Psychonauts 2, predicated, and As Dusk Falls are each now available.
rather of releasing new gests on day one, Microsoft substantially decided to ameliorate the being library of games via Xbox Series S optimizations. Games like Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and ocean of stealers have all been optimized to either increase their base resolution or frame rates or to offer lesser visual dedication.
still, head to’ My Games & App’>’ Games’> and also elect’ Group by press type’, If you want to snappily see which games have been optimized for the Xbox Series S. You can also see all the games optimized for Xbox Series X/ S at a regard.
still, the Xbox Series S will be charming because it supports four generations of Xbox titles, stretching all the way back to the original Xbox, If you are someone who loves having access to the entire library of Xbox games once and present. Being suitable to jump back and forth between Xbox 360 classics like Viva Piñata and Red Dead Redemption to further ultramodern- day blockbusters is comforting.
It’s nice not having to break out the old tackle or track down an old CRT television but the caveat then’s big. Because the Xbox Series S does not have a slice drive, you will need digital performances of those aged games in order to play them – and for that reason alone, Xbox Game Pass is great.
On it, you will find over 100 games available to download on the Xbox Series S, with a blend of new first- party titles like Halo The Master Chief Collection, Gears 5, and Forza 7, and some indie gems from the Xbox 360era.However, Game Pass is really satisfying, If you are someone who loves the Xbox Games with Gold program but wished you had a many further options to download.
While Game Pass can not make up for that lack of exclusives, it does enable you to pad out your library and gives you a chance to see some of the stylish former- word games in a new light. You also get access to all of Microsoft’s first- party games the day they release, which represents a huge long- term saving in itself.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can also stream games via Xbox Cloud Gaming. It means that rather than take up storehouse space, you can play games incontinently without having to stay. This is a great option if you simply want to try commodity out, but we still prefer gaming natively as opposed to via the pall due to increased input quiescence and some image issues that can do.
still, we have got good news, If you are hoping to get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for an indeed cheaper price. While this is presently being trialled in just the Republic of Ireland and Colombia, Microsoft is looking to launch an Xbox Game Pass family plan, allowing you and four players to jump in for a yearly cost of€21.99 – which comes to around$21.99/£19.99/AU$32.99