The Xbox Series X is much more powerful than the Series S. It uses its specs to significantly reduce load times and boost overall game performance and visual fidelity, while features like Quick Resume, Smart Delivery, and backwards compatibility give it an edge.
- Much faster load times
- Dolby Vision + Atmos support
- backward compatibility
- 4K / 60fps gaming (4K / 120Hz support)
- Exclusive library not available
- Minimal UI improvements
- A compatible TV is required for the full visual experience
The Xbox Series S is a great option if you want to avoid the huge financial outlay required to own a full-fledged next-gen console, but it has significantly less storage space, prioritizes 1440p resolution for games, and works without the 4K HD Blu-ray drive of the Xbox Series X. X.
- The smallest Xbox ever
- Completely silent in operation
- Cheaper than the Series X.
- Smooth frame rates
- Outputs at 1440p while gaming
- 512GB SSD fills up quickly
- There is no drive
- The user interface can be confusing at first
The battle between Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S is a very difficult debate to understand if you are a first-time buyer. The pair are constantly heralded side-by-side when promoting new games, but once you start looking into the details, the vital differences start to emerge. Therefore, before you go shopping, you should consider some additional details beyond your budget to make sure you are buying the console that will benefit you the most.
So, while Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S may look similar at first glance, they both display huge differences, which should be noted carefully while shopping. One of the main differences to consider outside of your budget is whether you spend more time with digital or physical media and whether or not your current setup hosts one of the best gaming TVs for getting the most out of whatever console you buy.
If you’re looking for more information about both consoles, our Xbox Series X review highlights the console’s advantages alongside our Xbox Series S review. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more next-gen, it might be worth checking out. PS5 vs Xbox series X guide.
Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: The main differences
If we had to highlight three major differences between the consoles, these are: Xbox Series X has a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive capable of playing physical games and movies, while Xbox Series S does not.
The Xbox Series X has a large 1TB SSD that can store about 16 games on average, while the Xbox Series S has a 512GB SSD that only stores about four to five, though both can be expanded. 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB storage expansion card from Seagate. Finally, the Xbox Series X renders games in native 4K at 60 frames per second, while the Xbox Series S targets 1440p.
Other than that, they both have the same user interface, the same controller, and the same Xbox Velocity architecture that enables features like Quick Resume. They both have the same media apps like Netflix and Prime Video, but more importantly, they can play exactly the same games. From what we’ve seen, people are drawn to the sheer power of the Xbox Series X. But don’t overlook the benefits of the less expensive model. Both work well and both can serve different audiences.
Let’s break it down further. The first is the Xbox Series X, Microsoft’s flagship console. It is capable of 4K graphics and is currently one of the most powerful consoles available. On paper, these specs are impressive, and it has a compact tower-style design that can be unique and unobtrusive. It’s pricey, though, at $499 / £449 / AU$749, about the same suggested retail price as the PS5.
The Xbox Series S is an affordable and less powerful alternative for you. However, it’s digital only, so you’ll be at the mercy of the Microsoft Store for any purchases you make. However, Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s Netflix-like subscription service, Xbox Cloud Gaming (only available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers), allows players to stream games and eases some digital-only restrictions.
In general, the Series S’ price point is aimed at those who are willing to trade in power for a much better price.
Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: Price
The Xbox Series X costs $499 / £449 / AU$749 and was launched on November 10, 2020. Equipped with the latest technology, this console is compatible with the PS5, which also costs $499. The price point may be too pricey for some, but it puts the Xbox Series X in a strong position to compete with Sony’s hardware.
The Xbox Series S launched alongside the Series X and is priced significantly lower at just $299.99 / £249.99 / AU$499. The $200 savings would be very attractive to the cost conscious consumer. That’s significantly cheaper than the PS5 Digital Edition too, which retains the base PS5 specs but initially came in at $399.99 / £359.99 / AU$599 instead.
For now, it appears that these prices will remain the same. Between the Oculus Quest 2 and PS5 price hikes, console manufacturers have been raising prices recently, citing high inflation globally. Thankfully, the Xbox PlayStation won’t follow as the prices go up, and we’ve seen Nintendo assert the same for the Nintendo Switch. But Xbox isn’t ruling out price hikes in the future, so we’ll keep it updated if anything changes.
Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S: Specs
The Xbox Series X is a beast of a console that really brought us into the latest generation of gaming.
Xbox Series X specs.
CPU: Octa-core 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT) Dedicated AMD 7nm GPU: 12 teraflops 1.825GHz (closed) RAM: 16GB GDDR6 Frame rate: Up to 120fps Resolution: Up to 8K Optical: Engine Blu-Ray HD Storage: 1 TB NVMe SSD
With a 12 teraflops GPU capable of up to 120 frames per second, the Xbox Series X is twice as powerful as the Xbox One X, Microsoft’s previous flagship console for the last generation. It supports many exciting new generation features such as ray tracing, variable rate shading, and support for 8K resolution.
The Xbox Series X makes waiting when you start playing games or loading new levels a thing of the past, thanks to a custom-engineered, ultra-fast NVMe SSD. The SSD is part of the console’s new Velocity Architecture, which allows multiple games to be suspended in the background while you’re playing something completely different. As a result, everything becomes more responsive and fast.
Microsoft is also trying to make latency a thing of the past on Xbox Series X. Forward-thinking features like Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), connectivity improvements for the Xbox console, and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) support take full advantage of TVs with HDMI 2.1 support.
Xbox Series S specs.
CPU: Octa-core 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT) Dedicated AMD 7nm GPU: 4 teraflops at 1,550GHz RAM: 10GB GDDR6 Frame rate: up to 120fps Resolution: 1440p with 4K visual upscaling: No Storage Drive: 512 GB NVMe SSD
The Xbox Series S packs a lot of power into a small box. The console targets 1440p resolution instead of native 4K (some games support native 4K resolution, though), and is capable of gaming at 120 frames per second. It has a nearly identical CPU to the Xbox Series X, but the GPU is considerably less powerful, coming with 10GB of GDDR6 RAM instead of 16GB.
This may sound like a huge compromise on paper, but remember that the Xbox Series S targets 1440p/60fps instead of 4K/60fps. This means that it needs less power to reach its pixel count, but it can still deliver all of the new generation features Microsoft is focusing on like ray tracing and 120fps.
There’s no disc drive, of course, and storage is nearly halved compared to the Xbox Series X. Admittedly, that’s for a digital-only model, but Microsoft undoubtedly hopes people will take advantage of Xbox Cloud Gaming. This does not include any downloads, as the games are streamed from Microsoft’s remote data servers.
However, the storage of both consoles can be expanded. Microsoft sells a special expansion card that plugs into the back of the console, and it’s available in 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB options. The best Xbox One games can also be stored on a standard external hard drive to help free up space.
Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X also support Spatial Sound, including Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, via streaming apps at launch. Dolby Vision support for games was introduced after launch and is now available.
Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: Games
Here’s what you need to know: Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S can both run exactly the same games, though they’ll undoubtedly look better on Xbox Series X. The compromises we’ve typically seen on Xbox Series S mainly focus on the resolution drops to 1440. pixels than 4K, and it is possible that more subtle changes that probably will not be noticeable.
Both consoles offer full backwards compatibility with Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games. Some FPS boost The games aren’t supported on Xbox Series S though, while others see greater benefits on Xbox Series X.
So while we’re still awaiting the release of some of the biggest new-gen exclusives like Fable 4, there’s still plenty to play around with, especially if you already have a large library of titles. If you own a lot of physical copies, keep in mind that these won’t work on the Xbox Series S, due to the lack of a disc drive.
If you’ve been hoping to get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for even cheaper, we’ve got good news. While this is currently only being tested in the Republic of Ireland and Colombia, Microsoft is looking to launch a family plan for Xbox Game Pass, allowing you and four players to jump-start for a monthly cost of €21.99 – which works out to around $21.99/£21.99. 19.99 / AU$32.99
Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: The verdict
Microsoft might be on to something here. By offering two consoles aimed at different audiences, consumers finally have more choices and more ways to enter the Xbox ecosystem. If only the best is the best, pick the Xbox Series X, but be prepared to pay a premium. Want to usher in the next generation without breaking the bank? The Xbox Series S is a great entry point, thanks to the attractive price.
Microsoft seems to have created two attractive versions of its console, without one looking less attractive than the other. Crucially, it can now battle the PS5 on two important fronts: price and performance. The Xbox Series S costs significantly less than the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition.
In creating an argument for Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S, Microsoft has basically done its best to turn consumers’ heads where it may not have done before, was a head-to-head battle between Xbox Series X and PS5. And that’s definitely a win for Xbox as a whole.
Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S – Frequently Asked Questions
Is Xbox Series X better than Xbox Series S?
In terms of performance and power, the Xbox Series X offers a better range than the Series S, which is reflected in its price. However, this does not mean that the Xbox Series S is weak. Despite sporting a smaller footprint than the Series X, the Series S still manages to pack nearly the punch and performance of a home console. But, overall, the Xbox Series X takes the biscuit as its more powerful console.
Does Xbox Series X have a disc drive?
The disc drive is one of the main factors separating the Xbox Series X from the Xbox Series S. The Xbox Series X has a disc drive, which appeals to gamers who still rely on a lot of physical media rather than digital downloads. But, the discless Xbox Series S helps keep the price down, so if you’re not too fussy about physical media, a disc drive might be one of the things that influence your decision.
How much storage space does the Xbox Series S have compared to the Xbox Series X?
If storage is one of your primary concerns when shopping for a new console, the Xbox Series X may be a safer option. While the Series S still hosts a generous 512GB of memory, which drops to around 300GB once you get into system software. The Xbox Series X offers a bit more with its starting 1TB of storage, dropping to the 800GB mark with system software in mind. Then, of course, there’s always the option of adding an SSD or external hard drive to your console for a storage boost.