After months of speculation, Microsoft went ahead and made it official: The company plans to launch the Xbox Series S, a less-powerful version of the Xbox Series X that will only cost $299 instead of $499. Even more intriguing: it comes out on November 10 — the same day as the Xbox Series X.
The big trade-off between the two consoles comes down to resolution; the Xbox Series S will output graphics at a lesser 1440p instead of true 4K. But don’t write this off as a watered-down budget machine.
If the Xbox Series S performs the way Microsoft promises, it’s shaping up to be a compelling option for all but the most hardcore of gamers.
Here’s why Xbox gamers should consider opting for the cheaper Series S come November.
Xbox Series S Specs
Specs aren’t everything when it comes to gaming tech, and resolution is not the end-all, be-all when it comes to visual quality (just ask any digital camera manufacturer). By running at a lower resolution, the Xbox Series S will be compatible with all the same games while supporting HDR output and 120 FPS framerates just like the Xbox Series X.
Many have already argued that the difference between 1440p and 4k is already pretty minimal, and there are many more who have argued that things like HDR and high framerates make that disparity even less noticeable (especially on a TV smaller than 60-inches).
Furthermore, the Xbox Series S will not be saddled with running next-generation games on last-generation tech. While it only features 10 gigabytes of RAM instead of 16, the Xbox Series S is built on the same custom Velocity architecture as the Xbox Series X, using less powerful versions of the same CPU and GPU. In theory, this means the Xbox Series S should still be able to render the same light effects and textures as the Xbox Series X, just at a lower resolution.
Aside from that, the only other sacrifice is that the Xbox Series S won’t come equipped with a 4K Blu-ray disc drive, but to be fair, the vast majority of us have already moved on to downloading and streaming our content anyways.
Another pro of the Xbox Series S is that it’s a fraction of the size of the Xbox Series X, making it a less conspicuous addition to your living room.
Should You Buy the Xbox Series X or the Series S?
In order to make this decision, you need to answer two questions:
- How important is it to you to save $200?
- How much value do you place on 4K graphics?
It’s been a tough year for many people financially, and Xbox’s decision to offer a budget version of their console seems very wise in retrospect.
Even still, there are those who argue that 4K graphics are objectively better, which is valid (to an extent). But are those graphics so much better that it justifies spending an extra $200 to get the Xbox Series X? Unless you spend hours watching 4K vs. 1080p comparisons on YouTube, the answer is a resounding no.
Ultimately, what we’re saying is this: Considering the Xbox Series S over the Xbox Series X once pre-orders launch on September 22 isn’t the craziest idea, and it doesn’t make you a Luddite… we promise.
Be sure to check back for more info on pre-ordering, along with any other key details that may surface between now and November.