The Xbox Series X and PS5 offered benchmark-breaking performance, cutting-edge graphics capabilities, and new gaming features—all for a fairly stonking price. This is precisely what you’d expect from new console debuts. Microsoft, meanwhile, has adopted a completely new strategy with the Xbox Series S: a lower-powered, scaled-back console created especially to target the general market.
Review of the Xbox Series S: What you must understand
The Xbox Series S’s selling point is the ability to play the same games as the £450 Series X on a device that is almost half as big and less expensive. This also applies to future releases of next-gen games, not just those from the Xbox game catalog of backwards-compatible games. Even the most demanding, gorgeous, and benchmark-raising Xbox exclusive flagship titles will need to function on the Series S as well.
Review of the Xbox Series S’s design and main features
You already know that the next-generation consoles are enormous. A cuboid monolith, the Xbox Series X is too large to fit in practically any AV cabinet. The PS5 may only just fit in if you have lots of room because it is broader and taller than you might expect. They are essentially gaming PCs that are packed inside a custom chassis with integrated, proprietary components because they require a lot of airflow.
The Series S isn’t very large. It comes in a tiny white box that resembles a shoebox in size. It actually resembles Nintendo’s style the most that Microsoft or Sony have ever created, and it somewhat reminds me of the infamous Wii-U. There is a large black grill on top (or the right side if you hold it vertically), but there isn’t much else to note. When it’s running, it’s surprisingly quiet as well—quieter than the Xbox One X and even quieter than my PS5 Digital, which is already scarcely audible.
Review of the Xbox Series S: Controller
You won’t be getting a cut-down controller, for one thing. It is the new Xbox Wireless controller from Microsoft that comes with the Series X, only it is Robot White rather than Carbon Black. The main improvements over the old Xbox controller include some new textures on the back grips and triggers, a redesigned dish-shaped D-pad, and the new share button for screenshots and video recording.
It’s still excellent even though it lacks the smarty-pants haptic feedback of the DualSense controller on the PS5. It has good stick tracking, is snappy, and has great rumble effects.
Games and improvements
The Xbox Series S comes equipped with a more potent Processor and SSD storage, much like the bigger Xbox Series X. Existing games are enhanced by these two hardware upgrades in conjunction with the 4 teraflops of GPU speed. The majority of games see a significant improvement in load times as a result. The Series S loads Destiny 2, which hasn’t yet been optimized for this console, in just 39 seconds. Forza Horizon 4 takes 42 seconds to load and load in, while optimized games like Sea of Thieves load in 20 seconds.
On the Series S, I’ve observed enhancements to current games that are comparable to those I saw on the Series X. The majority of games that are now 30fps-locked will more consistently keep these frame rates than an Xbox One S. Although Destiny 2 hasn’t yet been adjusted for the Series S, it feels more responsive and the menus feel smoother. Fast Resume, software, and storage
Storage space and a new Fast Resume function are two of the Xbox Series S’s main advantages over the Xbox One currently in use. I’m particularly happy Microsoft chose SSD storage for the less expensive Series S model because it improves load times and performance. Although having high speeds is fantastic, I don’t believe the
Series S has adequate capacity for the majority of people.
In the Series S, the available storage is limited to 364GB. The Series S is almost at capacity despite having six games installed. There is minimal room for more games because Call of Duty: Warzone and Destiny 2 alone take well over 100GB. Even if the average AAA game weighs in at roughly 50GB, that still only amounts to seven games.
I’ve found Gears 5 is 76.4GB on both the Series S and Series X, despite Microsoft’s claims that Xbox Series S game install sizes will be roughly 30% less than the Series X. I do hope that games will become much smaller, but for the time being, storage will remain an issue for many. The majority of games would benefit from this extended capacity, but you can unload them to USB storage and then switch them back to the internal storage when you want to play them.
The Xbox Series S design is fantastic, and for $299, it offers a lot of value. If you have an original Xbox One, you’ll notice the advantages of quicker load times, smoother gameplay overall, and higher frame rates.
If you go from an Xbox One, it feels much like upgrading a PC, similar to the Xbox Series X. All games and accessories function, and many of them will perform much better than before. Many games will benefit greatly from this upgrade, but don’t expect to purchase the Series S in order to enjoy the most cutting-edge visuals.
This console is currently a 1080p device. Why Microsoft said that the Series S is “built to play games at 1440p at 60 frames per second” baffles me. Whilst many of its own studios have chosen to optimize and target 1080p at the moment, and many outside developers are doing the same with Series S titles, that may be true in the future.
The Series S seems to have a lot of potential, but there aren’t enough titles to take use of all that this more compact Xbox is capable of. I’m hoping to see more titles support ray tracing, graphics customization options, and 120 frames per second on the Series S. Although there is a lot of potential here, it seems too soon to predict how the Series S will fare in this upcoming generation.
Some people may find it difficult to buy this because of the storage situation, and they may be influenced to get the Series X or even the $399 digital PS5. Yet until xCloud is actually something consumers can use reliably on their TVs, the Series S feels like the ideal system for Xbox Game Pass. More than 100 games are included in Xbox Game Pass, and the $299 cost makes it more accessible to explore this vast collection and play some older classics and even Microsoft’s newest games with smoother frame rates and significantly quicker load times.