With new consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 commanding premium prices, the $299 Xbox Series S stands out for its affordability. But does its budget price tag come with too many compromises? Let’s take an in-depth look to see if the Xbox Series S is worth it in 2023.
Xbox Series S Overview and Key Specs
The Xbox Series S is a next-generation gaming console developed by Microsoft. It was released in November 2020 as a more affordable alternative to the Xbox Series X. With its compact design and powerful performance, the Xbox Series S has gained popularity among gamers.
Let’s take a closer look at its key specs.
Release date and price
The Xbox Series S was released on November 10, 2020, alongside the Xbox Series X. It was priced at $299, making it the most affordable console in the next-gen lineup. The competitive price point has made the Xbox Series S an attractive option for gamers on a budget.
CPU and GPU performance
The Xbox Series S is equipped with a custom 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU, clocked at 3.6GHz. While not as powerful as the Xbox Series X, the Series S still offers impressive performance. It features a custom AMD RDNA 2 GPU with 20 compute units running at 1.565GHz.
This allows for smooth gameplay and stunning visuals on a 1440p display.
Resolution and frame rate
The Xbox Series S supports a maximum resolution of 1440p. While it doesn’t offer native 4K gaming like the Xbox Series X, it uses advanced upscaling techniques to deliver a high-quality gaming experience.
Additionally, the Series S is capable of running games at up to 120 frames per second, providing smooth and responsive gameplay.
The Xbox Series S comes with a 512GB custom NVMe SSD. While the storage capacity may seem limited compared to other consoles, it offers fast loading times and quick resume capabilities. However, it’s important to note that the available storage space for games and apps may be less due to system software and pre-installed content.
Physical design and ports
The Xbox Series S features a sleek and compact design, making it easy to fit into any entertainment setup. It has a white color scheme with a black vented grille on the top. The console includes various ports, including an HDMI 2.1 output, three USB 3.1 ports, an Ethernet port, and an expanded storage slot.
This allows for easy connectivity with external devices and accessories.
Game Library and Xbox Game Pass
One of the key factors to consider when evaluating the worth of the Xbox Series S in 2023 is its game library and the value it offers through the Xbox Game Pass. Let’s explore some aspects of this below:
The Xbox Series S continues the tradition of backward compatibility, allowing players to enjoy a wide range of games from previous Xbox generations. This means that you can dust off your old Xbox One, Xbox 360, or even original Xbox games and play them on the Series S. This feature not only adds value to the console but also gives you access to a vast library of games that you may have missed out on.
One of the biggest draws for many gamers is the lineup of first-party exclusives that Xbox offers. These are games developed by Microsoft-owned studios and are only available on Xbox consoles. With titles like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Starfield on the horizon, the Xbox Series S promises to deliver a fantastic gaming experience with its exclusive titles.
In addition to first-party exclusives, the Xbox Series S also boasts a strong lineup of third-party games. Many popular franchises like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and FIFA have a strong presence on Xbox consoles, ensuring that you won’t miss out on the latest releases from your favorite developers.
Xbox Game Pass value
The Xbox Game Pass has been hailed as one of the best value propositions in gaming. For a monthly subscription fee, players gain access to a vast library of over 100 games, including both first-party and third-party titles.
This means that you can enjoy a wide variety of games without the need to purchase them individually. Moreover, Microsoft regularly adds new games to the Xbox Game Pass, ensuring a constant stream of fresh content.
According to a recent survey conducted by Statista, over 90% of Xbox Game Pass subscribers reported being satisfied with the service. This high satisfaction rate is a testament to the value and quality of the games available through the Game Pass.
Graphics and Performance
When considering whether the Xbox Series S is worth it in 2023, one important factor to consider is its graphics and performance capabilities. The Xbox Series S is designed to deliver impressive visuals and smooth gameplay, making it an appealing choice for gamers.
1440p target resolution
The Xbox Series S boasts a target resolution of 1440p, which is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Xbox One X. This means that games will look crisper and more detailed, providing a more immersive gaming experience.
Whether you’re exploring vast open worlds or engaging in intense multiplayer battles, the enhanced resolution of the Xbox Series S ensures that you won’t miss any of the action.
Up to 120 fps support
Another noteworthy feature of the Xbox Series S is its support for up to 120 frames per second (fps). This high frame rate capability ensures buttery-smooth gameplay, allowing for more responsive controls and a more fluid gaming experience.
Whether you’re playing fast-paced shooters or competitive sports games, the Xbox Series S will deliver a level of smoothness that is sure to impress.
Ray tracing capabilities
The Xbox Series S also includes ray tracing capabilities, which adds a new level of realism to games. Ray tracing technology simulates the way light interacts with objects in a virtual environment, resulting in more realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows.
This enhances the overall visual fidelity of games, making them look more lifelike and immersive.
Performance compared to Xbox One X
When comparing the performance of the Xbox Series S to its predecessor, the Xbox One X, the Series S comes out on top in several aspects. Not only does it offer a higher target resolution and support for higher frame rates, but it also benefits from improved load times and faster processing power.
This means that games will load quicker and run smoother on the Xbox Series S, providing a more seamless gaming experience.
Is the 500GB SSD Enough?
When considering whether the Xbox Series S is worth it in 2023, one important factor to consider is the storage capacity of the console’s 500GB SSD. While this may seem like a decent amount of storage, it’s essential to understand how much space popular games require and what options are available for expanding storage.
Install sizes of popular games
Modern games have become increasingly larger in size due to higher-resolution textures, expansive open worlds, and complex game mechanics. AAA titles such as Call of Duty: Warzone and Red Dead Redemption 2 can easily take up over 100GB of storage each.
This means that if you have a collection of several popular games, the 500GB SSD may fill up quickly, leaving you with limited storage for new games.
It’s also worth noting that game updates and patches can further consume storage space over time. These updates often introduce new features, fix bugs, and optimize game performance, but they can also add to the overall size of the game.
External storage options
If you find that the 500GB SSD is not sufficient for your gaming needs, there are external storage options available for the Xbox Series S. The console supports USB 3.1 external hard drives, which can provide additional storage space at a lower cost compared to internal SSD expansion cards.
By connecting an external hard drive to your Xbox Series S, you can offload games that you don’t play frequently, freeing up space on the internal SSD. These games can still be accessed and played from the external drive whenever you want, so you don’t have to worry about losing progress or missing out on your favorite titles.
SSD expansion cards
For those who prefer to have all their games stored internally, the Xbox Series S also has the option to expand its storage capacity using proprietary SSD expansion cards. These cards are specifically designed to match the high-speed capabilities of the console’s internal SSD, ensuring optimal performance and minimal loading times.
While SSD expansion cards may be more expensive than traditional external hard drives, they offer the convenience of seamless integration with the console’s system. This means that you can have a larger library of games readily available without having to worry about connecting and disconnecting external drives.
It’s important to consider your gaming habits and storage needs when deciding whether the 500GB SSD of the Xbox Series S is enough for you. If you primarily play a few select games and are comfortable managing your storage space, the 500GB SSD may be sufficient.
However, if you enjoy having a large collection of games readily available or prefer not to worry about storage limitations, investing in additional storage options such as external hard drives or SSD expansion cards may be worth considering.
Who Is the Xbox Series S For?
The Xbox Series S, a compact and more affordable version of the Xbox Series X, has gained significant attention in the gaming community. While it may not be the right choice for everyone, there are several groups of gamers who can greatly benefit from this console.
Casual and budget gamers
The Xbox Series S is an excellent choice for casual gamers who don’t require the highest resolution or graphical fidelity. With its lower price point, it offers a more budget-friendly option without compromising on performance.
Whether you enjoy immersive single-player experiences or casual multiplayer games with friends, the Xbox Series S can provide an enjoyable gaming experience without breaking the bank.
Second console for Xbox homes
If you already own an Xbox Series X or another gaming console, the Xbox Series S can serve as a great second console for your household. It allows you to have a dedicated gaming setup in another room or share gaming experiences with family members without the need for multiple expensive consoles.
With its smaller form factor, it’s also easier to transport, making it a convenient choice for gaming on the go.
Game Pass subscribers
For those who are subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, the Xbox Series S is a fantastic option. Game Pass offers a vast library of games that can be accessed for a monthly fee. The Xbox Series S, with its solid-state drive and powerful processor, ensures quick load times and smooth gameplay for these Game Pass titles.
Additionally, the console’s 512GB storage capacity is ample for storing a significant number of games from the Game Pass library.
With its affordable price point and next-gen gaming performance, the Xbox Series S is a compelling option for budget-minded gamers. Its compromises like the lower 1440p resolution and small SSD may be dealbreakers for some, but it still delivers a major upgrade over the Xbox One.
For Xbox fans who don’t need 4K or disc drives, the Series S is a worthwhile entry point into the new generation, especially when combined with Xbox Game Pass.