Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S – choose the right one

Which of the latest Xbox's is better in 2023?

A comprehensive Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S guide, comparing the key features and differences between these two consoles.

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Three years after the launch of the latest Xbox consoles, gamers are still torn up deciding which is better when it comes to the Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series X. If you don’t own one of these new consoles but want to keep up with the latest AAA game releases, it’s definitely time to get yourself an upgrade. When it comes to the Xbox Series S and Series X, it sort of comes down to if you’re after an upgrade that features a disc drive.

When it comes to next-generation gaming consoles, both Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S have a lot to offer. With their powerful hardware, extensive game libraries, and innovative features, both consoles offer a compelling gaming experience. So, in this article we’ll delve into the details of the Xbox Series X vs Series S, comparing their price, performance, design, and more. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a casual player, our aim here is to help you make an informed decision on which console suits your needs and budget.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S Specs

SpecsXbox Series XXbox Series S
Display (Max)8K, 120 fps1440p, 120 fps
Display (Targeted)4K, 60 fps1440p, 60 fps
CPUCustom Zen 2, 8-core, 3.8 GHzCustom Zen 2, 8-core, 3.8 GHz
RAM16GB10GB
Storage1TB512GB / 1TB
GPUAMD RDNA 2, 12 teraflops, 1.8 GHzAMD RDNA 2, 4 teraflops, 1.6 GHz
Price$500$300 / $349
Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S specs comparison table

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S Features

Design

When it comes to design, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S each have distinct appearances. The Xbox Series X takes on a compact PC-like design, with dimensions of 15.1cm x 15.1cm x 30.1cm and a weight of 9.8 lbs. Its sleek black chassis exudes a sense of power and sophistication. On the other hand, the Xbox Series S sports a smaller, more compact design, measuring 6.5cm x 15.1cm x 27.5cm and weighing 4.25 lbs. Its white exterior with black accents gives it a modern and minimalist look. At 60% smaller than the Series X, the Series S is actually the smallest Xbox ever.

The size and weight of the consoles are important considerations, especially if you have limited storage space or plan to transport your console frequently. The Xbox Series S‘s smaller form factor makes it easier to fit into various setups, such as bedrooms or smaller entertainment centers. However, if you prioritize the visual impact of your gaming setup, the larger and more imposing Xbox Series X may be more appealing.

A key dividing factor in the design has to be mentioned here: one has a disc drive, and one doesn’t. Its smaller form is achieved through the removal of its disc drive, so the Xbox Series S has been designed to only play digital games. If you find yourself as more of a traditionalist who prefers using discs, as well as getting a better graphics experience, the Xbox Series X is the one for you.

Performance

In terms of performance, there are notable differences between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. They might have a similar interface, but the two consoles are primed to achieve different levels of graphics performance. The Xbox Series X boasts more powerful hardware, featuring a custom Zen 2 processor with 12 teraflops of processing power and 16GB of RAM. This enables the console to deliver stunning 4K Ultra HD video and smooth gameplay at a variable refresh rate of up to 120 frames per second (fps). Additionally, the Xbox Series X supports ray tracing, providing realistic lighting and reflections in games.

On the other hand, the Xbox Series S, while not as powerful as its counterpart, still offers impressive performance. It features a custom Zen 2 processor with 4 teraflops of processing power and 10GB of RAM. The console is optimized for 1080p or 1440p displays, delivering excellent visuals and smooth gameplay at 60 fps.

Game Library

When it comes to gaming, the availability of a diverse and exciting game library is crucial. Both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S offer an extensive game library, with backward compatibility that spans multiple generations of Xbox consoles. This means you can enjoy a wide range of games from the original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on either console, through the purchase of the Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Of course, both devices also have access to a range of streaming services such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Video. As is usual with modern consoles, they can be used to stream your favorite movies and shows as well as offer access to new games and online multiplayer experiences.

Connectivity

Connectivity options play a crucial role in the overall gaming experience. Both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S offer similar connectivity features, including three USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, HDMI 2.1 out, and 802.11ac dual-band wireless. These features provide flexibility for connecting peripherals, such as controllers, external storage devices, and gaming headsets.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S price

One of the most significant factors to consider when choosing between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S is the price. The Xbox Series S comes at a more affordable price point of $299, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious gamers. On the other hand, the Xbox Series X is priced at $499, positioning it as a premium console with more advanced features. It’s important to note that prices may vary depending on your region and retailer.

Do the new Xbox consoles support Dolby Vision?

If you’re after the most accurate color, contrast, and brightness in your Xbox gameplay, then rest assured in knowing that you can achieve this with Xbox’s support for Dolby Vision. To enable this setting, you just need to head into Video Modes in Settings, and enable Dolby Vision for Gaming. For the best results, it’s recommended that have a wired connection from your Xbox to your TV, such as with a HDMI cable. However, it’s worth noting that you’ll only be able to leverage Dolby Vision if your display is compatible, so you might want to double-check this first.

✓ Marla’s thoughts

What is Dolby Vision?

Dolby Vision displays the creators intent when it comes to image colors, using HDR imaging technology developed by Dolby Laboratories for high dynamic range video. However, a lot of people can actually find this bland and like the extra color adjustments provided by the tv manufacturer, so you’ll have to compare the two results to see which one you prefer.

Is the Xbox Series X better than the Xbox Series S?

If you value top-of-the-line performance, 4K gaming, and a future-proof investment, the Xbox Series X is the ideal option. Its powerful hardware, extensive storage, and advanced features make it a powerhouse console for hardcore gamers and enthusiasts. Arguably, its high-end features seem to justify its high-end price tag, but if it’s worth the bigger investment seems to come down to what kind of display you’ll be playing on. If you’ve got a 4K TV that doesn’t fall short in high-end features, the Series X is likely worth choosing over the Series S.

On the other hand, if you prioritize affordability, a compact design, and smooth gameplay on 1080p or 1440p displays, the Xbox Series S is a fantastic choice. It offers a more budget-friendly option without compromising on performance or access to a vast game library, and Microsoft continues to provide an accessible console for gamers who just can’t afford to spend over $500 on a device, such as an Xbox Series X or a PlayStation 5.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.