Xbox Series S Review: Impressive Hardware, Tiny Package


Specs and Size

The Xbox Series S may be small in size, but don’t let its compact design fool you – it packs a punch when it comes to specifications. Powered by a custom 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor and an RDNA 2-based GPU, this console delivers impressive performance and stunning visuals.

With a storage capacity of 512GB, the Xbox Series S provides enough space to store your favorite games and media. While the limited storage may seem like a drawback, it is compensated by the console’s quick resume feature, allowing you to seamlessly switch between multiple games without losing progress.

Furthermore, the Xbox Series S supports resolutions of up to 1440p at 120fps, ensuring smooth gameplay and incredibly detailed graphics. The console also boasts advanced features such as hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which brings lifelike lighting and reflections to supported games.

Despite its impressive hardware, the Xbox Series S remains incredibly compact, measuring just 10.8 inches tall and 5.9 inches wide. This makes it an ideal choice for gamers with limited space or those who prefer a more minimalist setup. Its sleek white design and black accents give it a modern and stylish look that will blend seamlessly with any entertainment center.

Design and Build Quality

The Xbox Series S impresses not only with its powerful hardware but also with its sleek and appealing design. The console features a clean, minimalist aesthetic that is sure to appeal to gamers of all ages. Its compact size and lightweight construction make it easy to fit into any gaming setup or carry with you on the go.

The console is predominantly white, with black accents and a black vented grille on top. This color scheme gives it a modern and sophisticated look that will complement any living room or gaming area. The smooth matte finish adds to the overall premium feel of the console.

In terms of build quality, the Xbox Series S feels solid and well-constructed. It doesn’t have the heft of its larger counterpart, the Xbox Series X, but it doesn’t feel flimsy either. The materials used are of high quality, which ensures that the console can withstand the rigors of regular use and transportation without any issues.

The console features a USB 3.2 port on the front for convenient connectivity of accessories and controllers. It also has an HDMI 2.1 port, an Ethernet port, and an expanded storage slot on the rear for expanding the available storage capacity. These ports are strategically placed for easy access and cable management.

The Xbox Series S comes with a matching white controller that feels comfortable and ergonomic in hand. The responsive buttons and precise analog sticks enhance the overall gaming experience. Additionally, the controller features a share button, which allows for easy capturing and sharing of gameplay moments. The controller uses Bluetooth technology for wireless connectivity, ensuring a seamless and lag-free connection.

Controller and Accessories

The Xbox Series S comes bundled with a wireless controller that offers a seamless gaming experience. The controller follows the same design language as its predecessors, ensuring familiarity for long-time Xbox users. It features an ergonomic design with textured grips, making it comfortable to hold for extended gaming sessions.

The controller has all the necessary buttons, including the iconic D-pad and the responsive analog sticks for precise control. Additionally, it has a dedicated Share button, allowing players to easily capture and share their favorite gaming moments with friends and the wider gaming community.

Furthermore, the controller utilizes Bluetooth technology, enabling wireless connectivity to the console without the need for additional adapters. This eliminates the hassle of tangled wires and provides players with the freedom to move around during gameplay.

In addition to the controller, there are various accessories available for the Xbox Series S that can further enhance your gaming experience. One notable accessory is the Xbox Play and Charge Kit, which includes a rechargeable battery pack and a USB-C cable. This allows you to charge your controller while playing, ensuring you never run out of power during intense gaming sessions.

Another accessory worth considering is the Xbox Wireless Headset. With its immersive spatial sound technology and comfortable fit, this headset brings your games to life with crisp audio and clear communication. The wireless connectivity ensures you can enjoy a lag-free experience, and the adjustable microphone allows for easy communication with teammates or friends.

For those looking to expand their gaming library, the Xbox Series S is compatible with previous-generation Xbox One accessories, such as controllers, headsets, and storage devices. This backward compatibility ensures that you can continue using your existing accessories without any issues.

Overall, the controller and accessories available for the Xbox Series S enhance the gaming experience and provide users with the tools they need for hours of immersive gameplay.

Performance and Graphics

The Xbox Series S is a powerhouse when it comes to performance and graphics. Thanks to its custom AMD Zen 2 processor and RDNA 2-based GPU, the console delivers impressive performance that can handle the most demanding games with ease.

With support for up to 1440p resolution and a smooth frame rate of up to 120fps, the Xbox Series S provides a visually stunning gaming experience. Games are rendered with incredible clarity, sharpness, and detail, bringing every scene to life. The HDR (High Dynamic Range) support further enhances the visual quality, with vibrant colors and improved contrast.

One of the standout features of the Xbox Series S is its hardware-accelerated ray tracing capability. Ray tracing brings realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows to games, immersing players in a more lifelike and visually immersive experience. This feature enhances the overall graphics quality and creates a more realistic and immersive world for gamers to explore.

In addition to visuals, the Xbox Series S also excels in performance. The console boasts impressive load times, thanks to the advanced SSD (Solid-State Drive) technology. Games load quickly and seamlessly, allowing players to jump into their favorite games without any significant delays.

Furthermore, the Xbox Series S features Quick Resume, a feature that allows gamers to switch between multiple games almost instantly, without losing their progress. This means you can easily jump between different games or resume your gameplay without any long loading times or interruptions.

Overall, the performance and graphics capabilities of the Xbox Series S deliver an exceptional gaming experience. Whether you’re playing the latest AAA titles or exploring indie gems, the console ensures smooth performance and stunning visuals that will immerse you in the world of gaming.

Game Library and Backward Compatibility

The Xbox Series S offers a vast and diverse game library that caters to all types of gamers. With a combination of exclusive titles, third-party games, and backward compatibility, the console ensures there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The console is part of the Xbox ecosystem, which means it shares its game library with previous Xbox consoles. This backward compatibility feature allows you to play thousands of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and even select original Xbox games on the Xbox Series S. Whether you want to revisit your favorite classics or discover hidden gems from previous generations, the console has you covered.

In addition to backward compatibility, the Xbox Series S also boasts a growing library of exclusive titles. These games are specifically designed to take advantage of the console’s hardware capabilities, delivering enhanced visuals, improved performance, and innovative gameplay mechanics. From action-packed shooters to immersive RPGs and thrilling adventure games, the Xbox Series S offers a wide range of exclusive titles to keep you entertained for hours.

Furthermore, the Xbox Game Pass subscription service brings an extensive catalog of games to the Xbox Series S. With a monthly fee, you gain access to a vast library of games, including both first-party and third-party titles. This subscription service allows you to explore a wide variety of games without the need to purchase them individually, providing excellent value for money.

Overall, the combination of backward compatibility, exclusive titles, and the Xbox Game Pass makes the Xbox Series S a compelling choice for gamers looking for a diverse and extensive game library. Whether you want to revisit classics or dive into new and immersive experiences, the console offers plenty of options to satisfy your gaming appetite.

Storage and Expansion Options

While the Xbox Series S comes with a built-in storage capacity of 512GB, it’s important to note that the actual usable space is slightly lower due to system files. This limited storage capacity may pose a challenge for gamers who have a large collection of games and media.

Thankfully, the Xbox Series S offers expandable storage options to address this issue. The console features an expansion slot at the back, which allows you to add additional storage using the proprietary 1TB Seagate Storage Expansion Card. This card provides the same performance and compatibility as the internal SSD, ensuring a seamless gaming experience with faster load times and quick resume functionality.

In addition to the expansion card, the Xbox Series S also supports USB 3.1 external hard drives. This means you can connect external storage devices to the console, giving you even more options to expand your storage capacity. While games played from external hard drives may not benefit from the same fast load times as the internal SSD, they still offer a convenient way to store and access your game library without the need to constantly delete and reinstall games.

It’s important to consider your storage needs when using the Xbox Series S, especially if you plan on downloading and installing multiple games. By utilizing the available expansion options or external hard drives, you can ensure you have enough storage space to accommodate your gaming needs.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that the Xbox Series S supports cloud storage through Xbox Live. This allows you to upload your saved game data to the cloud, freeing up storage space on the console and ensuring your progress is always backed up and easily accessible, even if you switch between consoles.

User Interface and Features

The Xbox Series S offers a sleek and intuitive user interface that is designed to enhance your gaming experience. The interface features a clean and modern design, with easy navigation and quick access to your games, apps, and settings.

The Home screen serves as the central hub, displaying your recently played games, recommended titles, and access to the Xbox Game Pass. It also provides quick links to your friends list, notifications, and the Xbox Store, allowing you to easily discover new games, join multiplayer sessions, and stay connected with your gaming community.

One of the standout features of the Xbox Series S is the Quick Resume functionality. This feature allows you to switch between multiple games in an instant, without losing your progress. Whether you want to jump back into a game you were playing earlier or try out a different title, Quick Resume saves you time and ensures a seamless gaming experience.

The console also supports voice commands through the Xbox voice assistant, allowing you to control your console with just your voice. From launching games to adjusting settings, you can navigate through the interface using simple voice commands, offering a convenient and hands-free alternative to traditional controller inputs.

Additionally, the Xbox Series S offers a range of multimedia features. You can stream your favorite movies and TV shows through popular streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu, all from the comfort of your console. The console also supports 4K Ultra HD and HDR content, providing a stunning visual experience for your multimedia entertainment.

The Xbox Series S is also equipped with an array of accessibility features to ensure that gaming is accessible to all. These features include options for customizable controller layouts, text-to-speech, and speech-to-text capabilities, as well as various visual and audio settings to accommodate different needs and preferences.

Overall, the user interface and features of the Xbox Series S are designed to make gaming intuitive, convenient, and accessible. Whether you’re navigating through the interface, switching between games with Quick Resume, or enjoying multimedia content, the console offers a seamless and user-friendly experience for all gamers.

Xbox Game Pass and Cloud Gaming

The Xbox Series S is a perfect companion for the Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service that offers a vast library of games for a monthly fee. With a Game Pass subscription, you gain access to over 100 high-quality games from various genres, including first-party Xbox exclusive titles.

Whether you enjoy action-packed adventures, immersive RPGs, or exciting multiplayer experiences, there’s a game for every preference on the Xbox Game Pass. Best of all, new games are added regularly, ensuring that you always have fresh content to explore.

The Xbox Game Pass extends beyond the console itself, as it also includes the Game Pass Ultimate subscription. With Game Pass Ultimate, you can enjoy the benefits of the Xbox Game Pass on your Xbox Series S, as well as on your Windows PC and compatible Android devices through cloud gaming.

Cloud gaming, also known as Xbox Cloud Gaming, allows you to stream games directly to your device without the need to download or install them. This opens up a whole new world of gaming possibilities, as you can enjoy console-quality gaming on the go, whether you’re using a smartphone or a tablet. With a stable internet connection, you can access and play your favorite games from the Xbox Game Pass library wherever you are.

Cloud gaming also eliminates the need for expensive gaming hardware, as it leverages the power of Microsoft’s servers to handle the game processing. This makes gaming more accessible to a broader audience, as all you need is a compatible device and a Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

Furthermore, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes additional perks, such as exclusive member discounts and access to Xbox Live Gold. Xbox Live Gold allows you to play multiplayer games online and offers free monthly games through the Games with Gold program.

Overall, the combination of Xbox Game Pass and cloud gaming brings an unprecedented level of convenience, flexibility, and value to gamers. Whether you prefer playing on your console or want to experience gaming on the go, the Xbox Series S and Game Pass Ultimate have you covered.

Pricing and Value for Money

The Xbox Series S comes with an attractive price point that offers excellent value for money. Priced lower than its counterpart, the Xbox Series X, the Series S provides a budget-friendly option for gamers who want to enjoy the next generation of gaming without breaking the bank.

With its affordable price tag, the Xbox Series S is a great entry point into the Xbox ecosystem. It offers impressive performance, visually stunning graphics, and a wide range of gaming options, making it a compelling choice for both casual and dedicated gamers.

In addition to the console itself, the Xbox Game Pass subscription service further enhances the value for money. With a Game Pass subscription, players gain access to a vast library of games, including both new releases and popular titles, all for a monthly fee. This allows you to explore and play a wide variety of games without the need to purchase them individually, providing significant cost savings.

Furthermore, the backward compatibility feature of the Xbox Series S adds value to the console. Being able to play Xbox One, Xbox 360, and select original Xbox games means you can tap into a wide range of titles, including beloved classics and hidden gems, without needing to repurchase them.

The Xbox Series S also offers other cost-saving features, such as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which bundles the Game Pass subscription with Xbox Live Gold. This subscription not only gives you access to a massive library of games but also allows you to play multiplayer games online and enjoy other exclusive perks, all for a single monthly fee.

Overall, the Xbox Series S delivers excellent value for money by providing an affordable entry point into next-generation gaming, an expansive library of games through Xbox Game Pass, and various cost-saving features. Whether you’re a casual gamer or a dedicated enthusiast, the Xbox Series S offers a budget-friendly option without compromising on performance or gaming experiences.