It may not seem like it, but we are on the cusp of the new console generation. While Sony has not yet revealed the juiciest of details for the PlayStation 5 (we hope it will, soon!), Microsoft has pulled the trigger and unloaded everything the customers will need to know about both the Xbox Series X and Series S.
You’ve decided that, going into the next generation, you want to go with team green and give them your money. The big question is, which Xbox do you get?
Both the Series X and S will release to the general public on November 10, that’s around 2 months away from now. Pre-orders will start on September 22, with the Series X retailing for $499 and the Series S going for $299. These are very aggressive prices by Microsoft and although they probably won’t confirm it, they’re sure to be selling both at a loss. Whatever the case, for the technology you’re getting, these are highly competitive prices.
Apart from price, one factor potential buyers usually look at are the specs – which is more powerful, does it have this, can it do that. For the sake of discussion, let’s check out what both next-gen consoles from Microsoft have to offer.
There’s a lot of technical mumbo jumbo in there but the main differences boil down to the following points:
- The Xbox Series X will perform at 4K 60fps (up to 120fps) while the Series S will perform at 1440p 60fps (up to 120fps)
- The Xbox Series X will ship with a 1TB SSD while the Series S will ship with a 512GB SSD
- The Xbox Series X will have an optical drive while the Xbox Series S won’t have one
It’s not exactly a surprise, but the Xbox Series X simply dwarfs the Xbox Series S in terms of power and capability. This is by design. While the spec sheet alone can give some potential buyers an informed choice, more discerning customers have a lot of other questions that they want answered other than “Which is more powerful?”
We’ll dive a bit deeper and actually look into those “other” questions and hopefully, by the end of this, you’ll know which Xbox is the right one for you.
Do you have an existing physical library of games from previous Xbox generations (OG, 360, One)?
One of the easier questions to answer. If you do AND you want to play them again at some point in time (because why not), the Series S is NOT for you, for obvious reasons.
The Series S is an all-digital machine, meaning it won’t have a disc drive installed on it. If you’re hoping to play something from your collection like Lost Odyssey or some of your other physical format games, that’s just not possible with the Series S unless you have it on your digital library.
Not having a disc drive installed also greatly limits your options in the long run. If you suddenly want that physical game for whatever reason, you can just kiss that thought goodbye.
Do you watch your movies via Blu-Ray discs because you’re “old-school” like that or do you just stream away?
See answer above.
Do you have a ‘good’ internet connection?
Apart from the obvious benefits, having a good connection is somewhat a necessity nowadays. A lot of games churn out patches and updates left and right, with some games even requiring a connection before you can even play it.
Being an all-digital console, you’ll obviously need a connection that can allow you to download full sized games at any given point in time. The biggest culprits of large install sizes like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare are hundreds of gigs worth. Imagine downloading that on a 1 or 5Mbps connection.
If your connection is less than ideal, the Series S will be a tough option to consider unless you’re cool with leaving your machine downloading the game for the next 2 or 3 days. Also, in the off chance that the Xbox Servers go down and you’re currently downloading that game you’ve been wanting to try, well… try again in a couple of hours. Or tomorrow.
Do you really, REALLY care about Native 4K that much?
You do? Good for you. News flash, not everyone does. Chances are, a majority of players actually prefer 1080p or 1440p games but at 60fps or more.
If 4K resolution is a deal breaker for you, then you’ll need 2 things – a 4K capable TV and an additional $200 for the Series X. Based on the spec sheet, the Series S won’t do that for you.
If you game on a monitor, there’s a chance that your monitor is also not 4K capable, just because of how absurd capable and “good” 4K monitors cost. Monitor gaming is indeed a thing and if it is your thing as well, the Series S should be perfect for you.
The Xbox Series S will UPSCALE to 4K, but it won’t pump out Native 4K. In short, your 4K sets won’t be wasted with the Series S, but will obviously just look better when paired with the Series X. Some people actually notice these small differences, no matter how small or negligible it is.
Microsoft has also confirmed that the Series S will not run the Xbox One X backwards compatibility enhancements but will instead use the Xbox One S version.
The Series S will also support Raytracing, so there’s that.
Do you plan on subscribing to Game Pass?
Of course you do. Game Pass is one of the most important aspects of going green. In fact, we’d like to think of it as the “Real” Series X for Microsoft.
Game Pass is the best deal in gaming right now and with the addition of EA Play, it just got better. Game Pass not only lets you arm yourself with a huge catalog of games at your disposal, it also lets you enjoy Microsoft’s first party games for free. On day one.
Whichever box you choose to go with, Game Pass shouldn’t even be a question.
Do you care about storage space?
Alright, maybe the better question is – Do you hate deleting and downloading your games over and over again?
If you don’t care about playing just a couple of games at a time, deleting one after you’re done, then you’re probably cool with the 512GB SSD of the Series S.
If you’re a pack rat and want to keep everything at your beck and call, the Series X is the clear choice.
Both Xbox variants will support expandable memory, but take note that these are proprietary expansions we’re talking about, so they’re not going to be cheap. For a 1TB SSD that’s compatible with the system, you’re looking at an average price of close to $200 give or take, so unless you’re swimming in cash, you’ll be stuck with the out of the box storage options for a bit.
Do you care about actual physical storage space?
As you can see, the Xbox Series X is a chunky boi. Compared to a PS4 Pro, the Series X looks to be maybe 2-3 times as thicc. We can only assume that the PS5 will be bigger than the Series X based on estimates.
The Series S, on the other hand, is surprisingly compact. Its about half the size of the a normal PS4 in terms of height and with the technology inside, that is indeed an impressive machine right there.
Not everybody will have the space to get the more powerful machine even if they wanted to, so this is an actual consideration for a lot of people. Even if you have space, these machines are pumping out ridiculous amounts of power, meaning it’ll not only have to be a “space” per se, but a properly ventilated space at that.
In this case, there’s no question that the Series S will be a good choice for a lot of people. It can also serve as a DJ turntable if you’re into that sort of stuff.
At the end of it all, while the Series S is a tempting choice (and it really is!), there are also quite a number of considerations that go along with dropping $299 for some next-gen action. Obviously, if cash isn’t a factor, there’s no better choice than the Series X, future-proofing yourself for the next generation with a highly capable machine.
Whichever box you decide on getting, Microsoft has nowhere to go but up coming from the current generation and it’s looking to be a fun ride which we, as gamers, should all enjoy.
The Xbox Series X and Series S will be releasing on November 10 for $499 (around PHP25,000) and $299 (around PHP15,000) respectively.