Following a major leak last week involving their plans for the next generation of consoles, Microsoft officially revealed the Xbox Series S, an alternative option to the much anticipated Xbox Series X. Along with this reveal came details on both upcoming systems. In this article, I’ll be going into the main differences between both Xbox Series consoles.
1. What do they look like?
Both the Series X and the Series S appear to be going for a simplistic modern design where they look like solid boxes. In the case of the Series X, Microsoft decided on a form factor that resembles a boxed tower-like obelisk colored in black. As for the Series S, the design falls mostly in line with the later versions of Xbox One consoles with the main difference being the black-colored circle indicating the presence of the main system fan on the almost-entirely white Series S. Additionally, the Series S is about 60% smaller than the Series X.
2. Is there a disk drive?
One of the main draws of consoles in this modern age is the idea of collecting and sharing games. The only real way to share games amongst your friends, though, is by physically giving them the disk that you purchased. Herein lies one of the big differences between the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S. The Series X, much like almost every system that came before it, has a Blu-ray drive that will be able to take not only Xbox Series X games but also Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games. Now regarding the Xbox Series S, it is being released without a disk drive, making it so the only games that can be played on the system must be downloaded via an internet connection.
3. What’s the resolution?
Both the Series X and the Series S are boasting an upgrade in visual fidelity and performance over the Xbox One systems. The Xbox One family of consoles primarily output a 1080p resolution except for the Xbox One X, which managed to reach 4K, while framerates (the amount of rendered images per second) reached up to 60 frames per second. With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is targeting 4K resolution with framerates up to 120 frames per second, while the Xbox Series S will be targeting a 1440p resolution with up to 120 frames per second as well for games. Basically, the team at Xbox is hoping to have similar performance and graphical fidelity across both systems with the only real difference being the maximum output resolutions for games.
4. How much storage space?
Storage space has become vitally important to gaming as video games have only gotten bigger in scope and quality. The prime example of this being Call of Duty Modern Warfare (2019) taking up 200gb of drive storage after several updates. That might be one of the most extreme examples, but with games consistently reaching sizes of 50gb or more, storage should be a big factor in a console purchase. The Xbox Series X is releasing with an internal solid-state drive at 1tb of storage whereas the Xbox Series S is releasing with a solid-state drive at 512gb. Both systems will also support proprietary SSD expansion cards specifically optimized for them. Also worth noting is the Quick Resume feature that looks to be present on both consoles despite the difference in storage drives.
5. What’s the price? (in USD)
The price of a new system is always important, especially at the beginning of a new generation. The Xbox Series X will be sold at $499 while the Xbox Series S will go for $299 making a huge difference in cost between the two Microsoft systems. It has gotten pretty clear that Microsoft wants the Series X to be their flagship console while the Series S looks to be an entry point for people who just want a next-gen system without a huge blow to their wallet.
In summary, the Xbox Series X will be a tall black console priced at $499, with a 1tb SSD and Bluray drive, that outputs up to 4K resolutions at up to 120 frames per second. The Xbox Series S, on the other hand, will be a smaller white console priced at $299 with a 512gb SSD and no disk drive, outputting games at up to 1440p resolutions with framerates reaching up to 120 frames per second. Both Xbox Series systems differ a lot and target different types of consumers. I think the Xbox Series X will be great for more enthusiastic gamers, while the Xbox Series S will be a great entry-level system for those looking to get into the next generation of consoles.