Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (2023)

The research

  • Xbox Series X vs. Series S: What's the difference?
  • Deciding to upgrade from an Xbox One
  • Choosing accessories for the Xbox Series X|S
  • Subscriptions
  • Games we’re playing right now
  • Footnotes
  • Frequently asked questions

Xbox Series X vs. Series S: What's the difference?

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (1)

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (2)

The Xbox Series X and Series S offer a lot of the same experiences. But with a $200 price difference come some legitimate differences in capabilities. Here’s what to know about the key points:

  • Game selection: The two consoles can play the same new games, and both are backward compatible and capable of playing virtually any game that you could play on an Xbox One (which, in turn, also means hundreds of Xbox 360 games and a handful of original-Xbox games). Without a disc drive, though, the Series S can’t play physical games, including those for Xbox consoles you already own.
  • Resolution: Both consoles output a 4K video signal, so watching videos on a 4K TV should be the same on either machine. But if you expect to play games in 4K, you should choose the Xbox Series X. The Series X is designed for games with resolutions of up to 4K (and it theoretically supports 8K resolutions for video content), while the Xbox Series S has less-powerful graphics hardware that game developers appear to be targeting for 1080p and sometimes 1440p visuals.
  • Other graphics quality: The Xbox Series X and Series S have the same basic graphics capabilities, including support for variable refresh rate, variable rate shading and ray-traced visuals, a more advanced and realistic way to create lighting and visual effects. The Xbox Series X features a 12.1-teraflop GPU and 16 GB of RAM, while the Xbox Series S features a 4-teraflop GPU and 10 GB of RAM. So far, this has manifested most obviously in resolution differences between games on the Series S versus the Series X and the PlayStation 5. But some games have already omitted ray tracing if you’re playing on a Series S.
  • Disc drive: The Series X includes a slot-loading UHD Blu-ray drive, and the Series S is completely discless. If you have a lot of Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray discs, plan on buying used games, or just prefer physical media, the Xbox Series X is your only real option. If you intend to buy games new and digitally via the Xbox Store and online, and to rely more heavily on Xbox Game Pass, the lack of a disc drive in the Series S won’t be a problem.
  • Base storage: The Xbox Series X includes a 1TB storage drive, which offers about 800GB of usable space. The Xbox Series S has a 512GB drive with about 360 GB of usable space.
  • Expandable storage: Both the Series X and Series S include a slot that allows for expandable storage in the form of cards using the CFexpress connection standard. The only officially licensed models (from Seagate) retail for $140 for 512 GB, $220 for 1 TB, and $400 for 2 TB. However, the Series X and Series S still support external USB drives, the same way the Xbox One does, and any Xbox One–formatted drive will work right away on the new consoles.
  • Size: The Xbox Series X is a sort of tall block, measuring approximately 6 by 6 inches at the base and about 12 inches tall. The Series S, meanwhile, is 11 by 5.9 by 2.6 inches—it’s the smallest Xbox ever, and it’s designed to be set vertically or horizontally.

Deciding to upgrade from an Xbox One

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (3)

If you have an Xbox One and need a huge, generation-introducing exclusive to get you on board, you may not find it on the Xbox Series X and Series S yet. Exclusives like Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite provide some major visual improvements for Series X and S owners, and over the coming years, the Series X and S will provide new games that are simply not possible on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 including—we think—2023’s Redfall (from the creators of Dishonored and Prey) and Starfield (from the creators of Skyrim and modern Fallout games). We’re also seeing more and more examples of enhanced experiences on the Series X|S and PlayStation 5, including Battlefield 2042, which features double the player counts and larger multiplayer levels on the new consoles.

After more than a year ofconstant use, however, the biggest, most immediate changes from the last generation of consoles come from major quality of life improvements, the biggest of which is a much snappier, speedy experience from top to bottom.

Setup and load times

When you boot up the Xbox Series X or Series S for the first time, it should become apparent right away how much things have changed. Previously, first-time setup for a console generally involved a lot of laborious manual entry of account names and passwords via an on-screen keyboard, followed by navigating settings drop-downs with a controller. Now, you can handle most of the process via your Android phone or iPhone and the newest version of the Xbox app. Your phone can then communicate via Wi-Fi Direct with the new consoles and even restore settings, preferences, and game files from your existing console and cloud storage. Based on multiple instances of “first-time” setup with the Series X and Series S, the process took just a few minutes, start to finish.

Once your new console is set up, the differences in responsiveness and speed will be immediately apparent. Both of these new consoles boot up from powered off to the console dashboard in around 15 seconds (we timed it) and from standby to the console dashboard in around three seconds. Switching to apps is impressively fast, and they load almost instantly (internet connection notwithstanding). With regard to the fundamental user experience, both the Xbox Series X and Series S provide a dramatic performance improvement over the last generation of consoles. If you’ve been using an Xbox One for years, the difference is, to be blunt, shocking—think of it like buying your first new phone in seven years. It’s that level of improvement.

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (4)

Though the interface is much faster, the design of it on the new Xbox consoles is very similar to that of the previous console generation. This robs those upgrading from previous Xbox consoles of some of the new-car-smell fun of exploring a new user experience, but this iterative approach has provided a feature maturity and stability within the OS. Features like full external storage support, game level support and customization for features like Auto HDR and FPS Boost, and robust variable refresh rate support (which Xbox told us ranges from 30 to 120 fps) are already present, and the Series X and S have already received several updates. This includes a 4K dashboard for the Xbox Series X, an automated night mode to adjust UI colors depending on the time of day and even reducing the brightness output of the console and its status lights, and more. We also like little things like bonus animated dashboard backgrounds, including a special Xbox 20th anniversary theme enabled when you connect a limited edition 20th anniversary controller to your console.

Better graphics on old games, great graphics on new games (eventually)

The Xbox Series X and Series S are more graphically powerful than previous consoles in a variety of ways. In most titles, you can expect higher resolutions, higher frame rates, and more detailed characters and environments compared to the same games on Xbox One or PlayStation 4, all with better image quality. Effects should also be more pronounced and sophisticated, as graphics hardware in these consoles can pull off greater amounts of fancy tricks like smoke and fog that have physical properties and lighting that creates shadows and reflections more like you’d find in the real world.

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (5)

(Video) Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S (full comparison)

That last element is particularly likely to improve as the generation progresses. Both the Xbox Series X and Series S (and the PlayStation 5) feature hardware-accelerated ray tracing, a type of graphics rendering that allows for much more sophisticated visual effects and lighting. Ray tracing has been referred to for years as the “holy grail” of video game graphics, and developers have only scratched the surface of what they’ll achieve with it in the next several years. Several games, such as Resident Evil: Village, and The Medium use ray-traced reflections in the world, for example, while the current-generation version of Cyberpunk 2077 uses ray-traced shadows—at least it does on Series X (and PS5). Even though both the Series X and Series S support raytracing, those effects are absent in many games on Xbox Series S, including those found in Cyberpunk 2077 and The Medium. With ray tracing enabled, the Series S finds it difficult to reach a full sixty frames per second in Resident Evil Village, though it’s playable at those lower frame rates (and you can always disable ray tracing if you prefer).

Faster performance, higher frame rates

The Xbox Series X and Series S have powerful CPUs—in the neighborhood of four times as powerful as their predecessor in raw speed and the number of cores and threads, to say nothing of seven years’ worth of efficiency and other improvements. This means faster user interfaces and much faster load times,1 as well as more sophisticated character and game behaviors, and just more stuff on screen at any given moment.

The biggest improvements are most apparent in frame rates, which should hit 60 frames per second much more often this generation than last. The more frames per second, the more often the controller and the game are communicating. So a new Series X or Series S should feel like it responds faster and more reliably to your inputs. And when games can’t maintain consistent frame rates, support for variable refresh rates should help keep those games from feeling unresponsive. Recent examples here include Battlefield 2042, Elden Ring, and Psychonauts 2, all of which offer 60 FPS modes on Series X and S unavailable on the Xbox One.

These improvements have come to a number of existing titles originally released for the Xbox One; Gears 5, the entirety of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps have all received 120 FPS updates for the Xbox Series X and Series S.

Controls also feel more responsive, in part because Xbox has rewritten the software behind its controllers with a feature called Dynamic Latency Input (DLI). Microsoft released its own figures for its DLI improvements for the campaign in Gears 5, showing that the delay between a player’s controller input and the response on screen has improved an average of more than 30% on the Xbox Series X versus the Xbox One X. In versus mode, that jumps to an estimated 57%, which runs at double the frame rate of the game on previous-generation systems.

Faster storage delivers much shorter load times

All games and saves on an Xbox Series X or Series S are stored on a much newer and much faster type of storage—called NVMe—than the platter-based hard drive the Xbox One uses. This new storage helps provide some of the most obvious improvements to the overall user experience and games for this new console generation, with a night-and-day difference in console startup, game boot-ups, and in-game load times.

Quick resume acts like the ultimate pause button

Using their fast storage access, the Xbox Series X and Series S allow you to suspend almost any game by creating a snapshot of it in system memory. You can then start another game, watch a movie, or even turn off and completely unplug your console. The next time you start the game in question, it’ll pick up exactly where you left off. It’s a lot like switching between open apps on a smartphone, and you can do it with several games at once. Games already boot up faster on the new consoles because of their storage speed, and if you’re playing more than one thing, switching between games using quick resume saves a lot of time and frustration because you skip any menus and save/load screens that you might otherwise be forced to navigate. And in the time we’ve been using the console, every time we boot up a game for the first time in weeks only to load up exactly where we left off in seconds is a delightful experience.

Quick Resume has become more reliable over time, though there are still occasional, unavoidable issues. For titles like the 2018 remaster of Dark Souls, which uses an “always online” server system—or its spiritual successor, 2022’s Elden Ring—Quick Resume just about always results in a server disconnect, which boots you to the title screen (much like leaving the game idle for too long would).

You can still play your old games—and they’ll look better

If you want to get the new system but don’t see many new games you’re interested in, virtually all of your old games will work on the new consoles. The Xbox Series X and Series S offer nearly blanket backward compatibility, meaning that your existing libraries of Xbox One–compatible software (which in turn includes hundreds of Xbox 360 and original-Xbox games) will run on the Xbox Series X and Series S. (The exception is Kinect software and hardware. None of that will work on the new console.) What’s more, every Xbox One–compatible piece of software will, according to Microsoft (and independently corroborated by multiple outlets), run and look better on these new systems than it did on previous-generation consoles. The Auto HDR feature, which uses an algorithm to tweak a game’s picture to take advantage of modern televisions’ ability to show brighter images with better contrast, leads to a beautiful new sense of vibrance in games like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2. There are a few games where this feature results in image quality that looks a little funny, but it can be disabled on a per game basis.

Microsoft also offers FPS Boost for selected titles, the official term for a proprietary software technique that allows the Xbox Series consoles to effectively double the targeted framerate of backwards compatible games without the need for official patches from the original developer. For some games, this means 60 FPS or thereabouts for the first time on consoles. For others, it means 120 FPS with supported televisions.

Even when Microsoft isn’t delivering improvements at a system level, many developers have continued to patch older titles with improvements for these new systems. One example out of many: In 2021, Rebellion Software updated their 2017 release Sniper Elite 4, boosting the resolution and frame rate for Xbox Series players (PS5 players received an update for that version as well). These updates are often free, including, for example, the recent update to 2019’s fantastic Resident Evil 2: Remake, which arrived alongside free updates for Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 3: Remake. And Xbox’s Smart Delivery feature seamlessly ensures that you’ll play the best version of a game available to you—which sounds obvious but unfortunately is not, as PlayStation multi-platform releases now routinely maintain separate installations of PS4 and PS5 versions.

Choosing accessories for the Xbox Series X|S

Controllers

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (7)

(Video) Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S in 2022 (Honest Review)

Every Xbox One accessory you may have purchased since 2013 (with the notable exception of the Kinect) will work with the Xbox Series X and Series S. Every first- and third-party controller, every fight stick, every driving wheel, every media remote, and every already formatted storage device is compatible with the new consoles. Those controllers will need a firmware update, however; the consoles will tell you this when you connect a controller that needs it, and the firmware update works both wired and wirelessly. After the update, previous generation controllers will also see improved latency with the new consoles.

Headsets

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (8)

The most comprehensive headset option for the Xbox Series X and S is the new Xbox Wireless Headset. It connects via the proprietary wireless standard used by the Xbox One and Series consoles (and also supports Bluetooth for mobile devices), and can independently adjust chat and game volume. But you’ll probably want to use the Xbox Accessories app to tweak its EQ, which sits a little too heavily on the low end.

However, you don’t need a new headset if you already have one you like. Gaming headsets using ⅛-inch connectors like our gaming headset pick, the HyperX Cloud Alpha, will continue to work as they have for years if you plug them directly into the Xbox Series X or Series S controller. And full USB audio support for game sound and chat—as well as chat/game audio balance, for headsets that support it—is finally available on officially licensed headsets.

Just like the PlayStation 5, the Xbox Series X and Series S lack the optical audio output that the Xbox One and other previous-generation consoles included, so gaming headsets (and audio receivers) can’t receive optical audio as they could in the past. However, Microsoft has worked with many headset manufacturers to offer firmware updates to enable proper USB support for the Series X and Series S in their existing headsets. If you have a headset that uses USB, perform a quick Google search to make sure it’s officially supported.

Storage

The internal storage of the Xbox Series X and Series S could fill up quickly if you download and play a lot of games (and don’t want to delete and redownload them). The Xbox Series X’s drive, rated at 1 TB, has 802 GB of available storage space at launch, accounting for both the actual formatted size of the drive and the system files and cache space allocated to the console’s operating system. The Series S, meanwhile, ships with 364 GB of available free space.

For the Series S, storage space could be a particular challenge. For example, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War takes 190 GB of storage, more than half of the Series S’s included storage.

If you need to buy more space, you have three options. The fastest, most compatible option is the officially licensed Seagate Storage Expansion Cards, which are just as speedy as the Series X and Series S’s internal storage. That performance comes at a cost, though. The 1TB option has a suggested retail price of $220, while the newly announced 512GB and 2TB options are $140 and $400 respectively. This is also the only add-on storage option that can run Series X– or Series S–exclusive software directly—unlike the PS5, you cannot install a standard PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive in the Xbox Series consoles. The Xbox Series X|S expansion drives are based on the CFexpress standard, and there are reports of CFexpress to NVMe adapters allowing users to use their own drives to expand their console storage. We’re investigating this option and will update with more information when we can.

Occupying the middle ground—meaning, plenty fast but more affordable—are external SSD drives. You can choose our portable SSD pick, the Western Digital My Passport SSD, something similar, or a plain SSD attached via a USB-to-SATA cable. As Digital Foundry discovered, with backward-compatible games this option is almost as fast as the new consoles’ internal drive.

If you’re most concerned about storing a lot of games for later, a USB hard drive like the Toshiba Canvio Flex is your most affordable option. Load times will be only somewhat better than on the Xbox One, and you can’t play Series X and Series S software on such drives, but you can’t beat the price per gigabyte.

Any drives you’re already using with an Xbox One console will work on the Xbox Series X and Series S. Plug them in, and any Xbox One, Xbox 360, or original-Xbox games you have installed will appear automatically and be playable barring any required updates.

Subscriptions

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (9)

Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate

Xbox Game Pass is the best deal in video gaming. Xbox Game Pass is sort of like Netflix: A flat subscription fee buys you unlimited access to every game on Game Pass, which sees new titles rotate in and other titles rotate out over time.

The service is a trove of hidden gems, and it provides access to many higher-profile, well-received indies. But all of Microsoft’s first-party games—that is, games paid for or owned by Xbox—arrive on Game Pass the same day they launch. This means membership gives you immediate access to every Forza title, every Gears of War game, every Halo title (including 2021’s Halo Infinite), and more.

In March of 2021, Xbox also completed its acquisition of Zenimax Media and with it Bethesda Studios, the publisher of Doom, Wolfenstein, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and other major series like Prey and Dishonored. The Game Pass library includes almost every game from those teams, and will include every subsequent game from those studios upon release—many of which will be exclusive to Xbox and PC. The same is expected to happen when Microsoft completes its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which includes the teams behind games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo.

(Video) Xbox Series X vs Series S

There’s also a streaming component included with Game Pass, which allows subscribers to stream any game on the service to Android and iOS phones, and through browsers like Chrome and Safari. And current Xbox One owners can play the Series X versions of games like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 via cloud streaming.

For $15 per month, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes access to all the Game Pass games on your console, the PC version of Game Pass with additional PC-exclusive titles, and Xbox Live Gold together in one package, so we don’t think you should pay for Xbox Live Gold on its own.

Monthly retail
price
Online multiplayer
access
Game Pass
game library
on your console
Game Pass
game library
on your PC
Contract term
Xbox Live Gold$10None (discounts for prepaying)
Game Pass$10None
Game Pass Ultimate$15None (discounts for prepaying)
All Access (with a Series S console)$25Two years
All Access (with a Series X console)$35Two years

Xbox offers a lot of monthly plan options. Game Pass Ultimate is an excellent value for anyone who would be getting Xbox Live Gold anyway. And Xbox All Access, which allows you to buy a console with monthly payments, is a surprisingly good value.

However, it’s important to keep an eye on the games coming to Game Pass while you’re subscribed, as there have been periods where fewer high-profile games come to or debut on the service. For example, 2022’s big Xbox exclusives Redfall and Starfield were both recently delayed to the first half of 2023, while Forza Motorsport 8 has been pushed out until Spring of 2023. Game Pass is a great deal as long as there are things coming that you’re interested in playing—if you’re not, and you haven’t paid for months in advance, it makes sense to cancel your subscription until you see games you’d like to play.

Xbox All Access

Instead of paying all at once for a new Xbox, you can get one through the Xbox All Access program. For $25 per month for the Xbox Series S or $35 per month for the Xbox Series X, you receive the console and an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription under a two-year contract obligation.

The overall price for the Series S All Access plan is $600; for the Xbox Series X, the total is $840. That’s actually a deal. With the Series S it’s like 0% financing and a few dollars off Game Pass Ultimate every month, whereas with the Series X it’s like 0% financing and a total of $35 in savings. If you pass a credit check, it’s a lower up-front cost for a new-generation console. But, as we said in our discussion of Game Pass, there might be months where there are fewer games coming that you’re interested in playing, and with All Access, you can’t suspend your subscription while you wait for things to improve. All Access is a good deal, but it’s worth mentioning.

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (10)

Games we’re playing right now

One of the best things about Xbox Game Pass is the library of older Xbox 360 games available. The Fable trilogy still holds up, partly due to backwards compatibility enhancements like FPS boost and resolution increases, and we’re revisiting it to get excited for the new Fable game—which still doesn’t have a launch date, but we’re waiting patiently. Similarly, for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, all of the Mass Effect games are included via EA Play, and they’re great if you’re looking to invest in a longer and more story-driven series. We’re using the Mass Effect Legendary Edition to replay them, as it wraps up all three original games in one, and optimizes them with 4K and frame rate improvements, along with quality of life changes. We’re also playing 2017’s Prey from developer Arkane Studios. Prey received an FPS Boost update last year and received a resolution boost over its original release as well, and it’s a great way to experience Arkane’s brand of immersive action gameplay driven by creative problem-solving and decision-making while taking the sting out of the delay of Arkane’s upcoming Redfall (and it’s on Game Pass).

Choosing the Right Xbox: Series X or Series S (11)

We’re also playing Tunic, which is kind of like Elden Ring if your character was a cute little fox: You fight difficult enemies that respawn when you rest at shrines and bonfires, you venture through the game with minimal instructions, and you die a lot. But its challenging gameplay is met with a colorful art style, non-bloody combat, and an adorable protagonist who dresses like Link from The Legend of Zelda, making the experience feel more relaxing than frustrating. Tunic is included with Game Pass.

Footnotes

    Frequently asked questions

    When will the Xbox Series X and Series S be easy to find?

    The Xbox Series X and Series S launched on November 10, 2020, and have been in short supply ever since. This supply shortage, which also affects Sony’s PlayStation 5, PC graphics cards and other components, as well as microprocessors used in vehicle production and other electronics-based devices, is widespread, related to Covid-19 and other production problems. The Xbox Series S has become somewhat easier to find, and the Series X is somewhat easier to find than it has been, but stock is unlikely to be consistently availablethroughout 2022.

    How much does the new Xbox cost?

    The Xbox Series X is $500, and the Series S is $300. Microsoft also offers the Xbox Series X and Series S via its Xbox All Access plan, which is a 24-month commitment that includes Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and a console for $35 (Series X) or $25 (Series S) per month.

    Is the new Xbox backward compatible with older games?

    The Xbox Series X and Series S are backward compatible with all but a handful of Xbox One titles which were based around the no longer supported Kinect sensor. The Series X and Series S will also play the hundreds of Xbox 360 and Xbox titles that Microsoft made the Xbox One backward compatible with as well. Almost all backward-compatible titles will have a variety of graphical enhancements.

    Will my apps still work?

    Every Xbox One app is compatible with the Xbox Series X and Series S save for the BBC iPlayer and the now defunct Oneguide.

    Will my old Xbox accessories work?

    Every Xbox One accessory other than the Kinect should work on the Series X and Series S.

    Can I move my Xbox One games and saves to an Xbox Series X or Series S?

    If you have an Xbox Live account on an Xbox One that has been connected to the internet, your game saves already live online in the cloud, and they will be available while you’re signed in on your Xbox Series X or Series S. You can also transfer games and saves from an Xbox One console to an Xbox Series X or Series S over your network or via a USB hard drive. And if you have an Xbox 360 but don’t have an Xbox One, good news: Microsoft is making cloud saves for Xbox 360 owners free, separate from your Xbox Live subscription.

    For backward-compatible games on the Series X and Series S, your saves from a previous-generation Xbox should work. That should also apply to games that support Smart Delivery. For games with an Xbox One version separate from the Xbox Series X and Series S version—such as NBA 2K21 or Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War—save compatibility falls on the developer to implement (or not).

    How big are the Xbox Series X and Series S?

    Series X:

    • Dimensions: 6 by 6 by 12 inches
    • Weight 9.8 pounds

    Series S:

    • Dimensions: 11 by 5.9 by 2.6 inches
    • Weight. 4.25 pounds

    Does the new Xbox support 4K?

    You’re going to hear a lot about 4K if you’re shopping for video games or a TV. It represents the most current standard in high-definition video, with 3840×2160 pixels—four times the resolution of 1080p. Both the Xbox Series X and Series S support 4K resolutions, meaning that the signal sent to your television can be up to 4K. Also, video apps such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video can play back 4K titles (with HDR). However, the Series S is not designed to play games at 4K.

    Does the new Xbox have 4K/UHD Blu-ray?

    The Xbox Series X has a UHD Blu-ray drive, which can play back both standard Blu-rays and UHD discs. It supports Dolby Vision in video apps like Netflix, Vudu, and others, but it does not support Dolby Vision for UHD discs. The Xbox Series S does not have a disc drive, so it can’t play back Blu-ray discs.

    Do I need a new HDMI cable?

    The Xbox Series X comes with an HDMI 2.1 cable, and you should use it. HDMI 2.1 is required for features such as 4K 120 Hz visuals along with HDR. If you attempt to use a non–HDMI 2.1 certified cable with either console, you might experience problems such as a blinking black screen or even no signal at all.

    Will my current audio receiver or speaker system work?

    If your receiver or soundbar uses HDMI for audio, you should be fine with the Xbox Series X or Series S. However, neither new console includes an optical port, which could be a problem for older soundbars or receivers. Whereas previous consoles included an optical audio port (a somewhat D-shaped port) to connect to some audio receivers and soundbars, the Xbox Series X and Series S lack this option. You probably have other options for your circumstances, including connecting to your TV with HDMI and then using its optical output, eARC support for soundbars (which is like pass-through for HDMI), or USB audio support for officially licensed headsets on the Series X and Series S.

    However, you’ll need an HDMI 2.1 receiver for compatibility with 4K resolution at 120 frames per second—and even that is no guarantee that it will work correctly.

    Do the Xbox Series X and Series S support HDMI-CEC?

    The Xbox Series X and Series S both offer support for HDMI-CEC with supported televisions and other AV equipment, which, judging from our tests so far, includes the ability to turn displays on or off or to be turned on when their respective video input is selected on supported TVs, as well as to control the volume of an attached HDMI-CEC audio device.

    Do the Xbox Series X and Series S support Bluetooth?

    The Xbox Series X and Series S do not support Bluetooth connectivity, though their controllers do support Bluetooth for PC or phone play.

    Do the Xbox Series X and Series S support Wi-Fi 6?

    The Xbox Series X and Series S support gigabit LAN connections and 802.11g/n/ac wireless connectivity but do not support Wi-Fi 6.

    Does the new Xbox support Dolby Vision?

    The Xbox Series X and Series S both support Dolby Vision in compatible apps, including Netflix, Vudu, Disney+, and others. As of Fall 2021, the Xbox Series X and S support Dolby Vision in games on supported televisions, including at up to 120hz. Some games will use the Xbox’s AutoHDR feature to output in Dolby Vision, while other games this holiday are expected to natively support the feature. However, as we mentioned above, the Xbox Series X does not support Dolby Vision for UHD Blu-ray playback.

    What output formats does the new Xbox support?

    The Xbox Series X and Series S can output signals with 1080p, 1440p, and 4K at up to 120 Hz to supported displays. Both consoles are capable of 8K output at 60 Hz, but this option is not enabled at launch, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

    Does the new Xbox support variable refresh rate, and at what frame rates?

    The Xbox Series X and Series S support variable refresh rates from 30 Hz up to 120 Hz.

    (Video) Xbox Series X vs Series S: Choose Wisely! (Specs, Price, Graphics)

    Does the new Xbox support Dolby Atmos and/or DTS:X?

    Out of the box, the Xbox Series X and Series S both support Dolby Atmos for home theaters, in compatible televisions and home theater receivers. Dolby Atmos for headphones requires a license. Many headsets that support Atmos include a license, but if yours does not, you can buy one separately. DTS:X and DTS Headphone:X are supported through the DTS Sound Unbound app on Xbox Series X and Series S consoles.

    (Video) 10 reasons to BUY XBOX instead of PS5, Switch or PC! 🔥🚀🤯

    FAQs

    Is there a noticeable difference between Xbox Series X and S? ›

    The Series X is designed for games with resolutions of up to 4K (and it theoretically supports 8K resolutions for video content), while the Xbox Series S has less-powerful graphics hardware that game developers appear to be targeting for 1080p and sometimes 1440p visuals.

    Is it worth getting Series X or Series S? ›

    If you have a 1080p TV and no plans to upgrade anytime soon, the Series S is the way to go — and when you do get a 4K TV, it'll still be a good stopgap system thanks to upscaling. Otherwise, get the Xbox Series X, even if you have to put off your purchase and save up for it.

    Is it worth getting a Series S if I have an Xbox One X? ›

    Basically, though, the Xbox Series S will provide an improved experience across the board, just not at a 4K UHD resolution. The SSD speeds alone make the Xbox Series S a far better experience than the Xbox One X, and the massively boosted CPU leads to higher frame rates in most games.

    Is Xbox Series S good enough? ›

    It's a great option if you want to avoid the sizable financial outlay required to own a full-blown new-gen console, but there are some drawbacks. It has significantly less storage, prioritizes 1440p resolution for gaming, and does without the 4K HD Blu-Ray drive of the Xbox Series X.

    Is Xbox Series S worth buying in 2022? ›

    The only advantage that Series X has over the Series S is the higher resolution and the refresh rate. However, it also costs $200 more to get. Considering the depressed economy and other factors, the Xbox Series S retains its worth quite well in 2022.

    Is it worth buying an Xbox Series S right now? ›

    To sum everything up, you should buy the Xbox Series S if you: Want to experience next gen gaming but don't want to bankrupt yourself in terms of the price and energy usage. Are happy not being able to use discs for either games or movies. Don't have a 4K TV or just generally don't care about resolution.

    How many games can Series S hold? ›

    Yes, solid-state drive technology is still relatively expensive, especially in larger sizes, but, to give you an example, we managed to fit nine games on the Xbox Series S' internal drive. Just nine. One of them isn't even optimised for the console, it's a standard Xbox One title.

    Is Xbox Series S good for beginners? ›

    It makes a perfect gaming console for newbies to experience the console quality gaming. However, existing gaming console users, especially those with stock of Xbox game discs, would find this digital-only model less attractive.

    Why are people buying Xbox Series S? ›

    The most appealing part of the Xbox Series S is its price. Current-gen systems are expensive, and gamers can expect to pay $499 for the flagship consoles from both Sony and Microsoft. The Xbox Series S costs $299, making it cheaper than even the PS5 Digital Edition which costs $399.

    Why is Xbox Series S easier to buy? ›

    Simpler manufacturing process. Ultimately, the reason why the Xbox Series S is so much easier to obtain than the Xbox Series X or the PS5 boils down to differences in their manufacturing processes.

    Can Series S run all games? ›

    As it turns out, the Series S console is backward compatible but only for Xbox One S games. This means, Xbox One X titles won't run on it. “Xbox Series S was designed to be the most affordable next-generation console and play next-generation games at 1440p at 60fps,” Microsoft confirmed to VGC website.

    What is the lifespan of an Xbox Series S? ›

    Xbox Series X and Series S
    Left: Xbox Series X with controller Right: Xbox Series S with controller
    TypeHome video game console
    GenerationNinth
    Release dateWW : November 10, 2020 CHN: June 10, 2021
    Lifespan2020–present
    26 more rows

    Is Series S sold at a loss? ›

    Speaking at the WSJ TechLive event on 26th October, Xbox head Phil Spencer admitted its Xbox Series X/S consoles are sold at a loss, with the expectation that revenue will be made up elsewhere on accessories and games.

    What games run best on the Series S? ›

    Here's our picks for the very best games to play on Xbox Series X|S, at a glance:
    • Forza Horizon 5.
    • Halo Infinite.
    • Gears 5.
    • Assassin's Creed Valhalla.
    • Gears Tactics.
    • Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
    • Sea of Thieves.
    • Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
    13 Oct 2022

    Can you play 2 games at once on Series S? ›

    The new Xbox Series X and Series S allow you to quickly suspend and switch games via the Quick Resume feature. Here's how to play multiple games at one time, without having to relaunch or reload. If you like to bounce between a few games at a time, Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Series S have a treat for you.

    Is Xbox Series S weaker? ›

    The Xbox Series S sports an AMD RDNA 2, 4 teraflops, 1.6 GHz, which is much less powerful than the beefy AMD RDNA 2, 12 teraflops, 1.8 GHz found with the Xbox Series X.

    Which Xbox is best for beginners? ›

    Xbox Series S: For the beginner and casual gamer

    As we said in our review, it's the ideal option for the masses with support for a large backlog of Xbox titles, the ability to play next-gen titles and plenty of horsepower. The main things to know?

    Is the Xbox Series S underpowered? ›

    The Xbox Series S Is Underpowered

    If you can only afford the Series S, you may be disappointed. It has less RAM and storage than the Series X, can only achieve 1440p as opposed to 4K, runs the processor slower, and only plays digital games.

    How weak is Xbox Series S? ›

    The Xbox Series S sports an AMD RDNA 2, 4 teraflops, 1.6 GHz, which is much less powerful than the beefy AMD RDNA 2, 12 teraflops, 1.8 GHz found with the Xbox Series X.

    Is a Series S better than Xbox One? ›

    Xbox Series S vs Xbox One S: Conclusion

    Even if the Xbox One S is tempting you on a nice deal, we'd recommend you try and stretch to the Series S, which isn't selling out so can generally be found fairly easily. You'll get a much more powerful console for almost the same price - it's that simple.

    What's so great about the Xbox Series S? ›

    Games load significantly faster with the custom SSD in the Xbox Series S. More playing, less waiting. With Quick Resume, you can seamlessly switch between multiple different titles and resume instantly from where you left off. "The most affordable and efficient next-generation machine."

    Does the Xbox Series S have worse graphics? ›

    You'll be able to get a higher frame rate with the One S, but that's at the expense of resolution. If you're used to playing in 4K, 1440p might look soft to you. But that will depend on the size of your screen and your visual acuity. Xbox All Access isn't a terrific deal with the Xbox Series X.

    Will Xbox Series S run all games? ›

    Most Xbox One games are playable on Xbox Series X|S. Additionally, games can look and perform better, and select titles offer faster frame rates, auto HDR, and improved screen resolution. A small number of titles playable on Xbox One aren't compatible with Xbox Series X|S.

    What is worse in the Xbox Series S? ›

    The amount of RAM is also different across machines. The flagship console has 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, while its stablemate has 10GB. Ray tracing is supported by both, but while the Series X is able to run games at a 4K resolution natively, the Series S is effectively locked at a maximum of 1440p for gaming.

    Which console has the longest lifespan? ›

    5 Consoles That Lasted The Longest (& 5 That Lasted The Shortest)
    • 6/10 Longest: Atari 2600 (1977 - 1982)
    • 5/10 Shortest: Dreamcast (1999 - 2001)
    • 4/10 Longest: NES (1983 - 2003)
    • 3/10 Shortest: Gizmondo (2005 - 2006)
    • 2/10 Longest: Master System (1986 - Present)
    • 1/10 Shortest: Virtual Boy (1995 - 1995)
    11 Jan 2020

    Does the Xbox Series S overheats? ›

    Xbox Series X|S overheating fix for 2022. To fix the Xbox Series X|S overheating issue, users should: Set the Xbox up in an open space with plenty of access to cool air. Though it can be tempting to put the Xbox in a TV cabinet for convenience's sake, it can severely impact airflow, especially if you close the doors.

    Can Xbox Series S handle next gen? ›

    Speed, performance, community, fan favorite games — Xbox Series S delivers all these benefits in the smallest Xbox ever. It offers everything gamers need for a next-gen gaming experience and nothing they don't.

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