Is The Xbox One S Worth Buying? A Comprehensive Buying Guide

With the Xbox Series X|S now available, you may be wondering if purchasing the last-gen Xbox One S in 2023 is still a smart choice. The Xbox One S is an affordable console with a large games library, but is it worth buying compared to newer models?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick take: The Xbox One S is worth considering for its low price, strong selection of games, and entertainment features. However, the dated hardware and lack of next-gen optimizations may make it less future-proof.

Overall, it depends on your budget and specific gaming needs.

This comprehensive 3000 word guide will dive into all the key factors to help you determine if the Xbox One S is still a good value in 2023 and beyond. We’ll compare it across criteria like price, performance, games library, features, and more against modern consoles.

If you’re deciding whether to buy an Xbox One S, this detailed article will outline the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Xbox One S Overview and Specs

Brief history of the Xbox One S release

The Xbox One S, released by Microsoft in August 2016, is an upgraded version of the original Xbox One gaming console. It was introduced as a slimmer and sleeker model that also boasted several improvements over its predecessor.

The release of the Xbox One S marked a significant milestone in the gaming industry, as it offered enhanced features and a more affordable price point compared to the original Xbox One.

How hardware compares to original Xbox One

When it comes to hardware, the Xbox One S offers several notable improvements over the original Xbox One. Firstly, the Xbox One S is significantly smaller and lighter, making it more compact and easier to fit into any gaming setup.

It also features a built-in power supply, eliminating the need for an external power brick.

Additionally, the Xbox One S supports 4K Ultra HD video playback and high-dynamic-range (HDR) content, providing a visually stunning gaming experience. This is a significant upgrade from the original Xbox One, which only supported 1080p video output.

Furthermore, the Xbox One S comes with a redesigned wireless controller that offers improved grip and Bluetooth functionality. This allows for seamless connectivity with Windows 10 PCs and other devices.

Notable specs and capabilities

The Xbox One S boasts several impressive specs and capabilities that make it a worthy purchase for gaming enthusiasts. One of the standout features is its ability to upscale games to 4K resolution, even if the game is not natively designed for it.

This means that gamers can enjoy enhanced visuals and sharper graphics on compatible displays.

Furthermore, the Xbox One S offers a 1TB hard drive, providing ample storage space for game installations, downloadable content, and multimedia files. This ensures that gamers have plenty of room to expand their library without worrying about running out of space.

In terms of performance, the Xbox One S delivers faster load times and improved frame rates, resulting in a smoother and more immersive gaming experience. It also supports backward compatibility, allowing gamers to play select Xbox 360 and original Xbox games on the console.

It is important to note that the Xbox One S does not support native 4K gaming like its successor, the Xbox One X. However, it still offers a remarkable gaming experience with its 4K upscaling capabilities and a wide range of exclusive titles.

Xbox One S Price and Current Cost Savings

Original MSRP vs current retail pricing

When considering whether the Xbox One S is worth buying, one of the first factors to consider is the price. The Xbox One S was originally released with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) that varied depending on the storage capacity and edition.

However, since its release, the price of the console has dropped significantly, making it more affordable for gamers.

Currently, the Xbox One S can be found at various retail stores and online marketplaces at a lower cost than its original MSRP. This price reduction allows gamers to enjoy the benefits of the Xbox One S without breaking the bank.

Bundles and packages with games, accessories

Another way to save money when purchasing an Xbox One S is by taking advantage of bundles and packages that include games and accessories. Many retailers offer special deals where you can get the console along with popular games and additional controllers or accessories at a discounted price.

These bundles provide a great value for gamers who are looking to expand their gaming library and enhance their gaming experience.

By purchasing a bundle or package, gamers can save money compared to buying each item separately. This not only gives them access to a wider range of games and accessories but also provides them with a cost-effective way to start their Xbox One S journey.

Finding used/refurbished deals

If you’re on a tight budget or looking for additional savings, considering buying a used or refurbished Xbox One S can be a viable option. Many reputable retailers and online marketplaces offer used or refurbished consoles that have been tested and certified to meet quality standards.

When purchasing a used or refurbished Xbox One S, it’s essential to do thorough research and buy from a reputable source to ensure the console’s condition and functionality. By buying used or refurbished, gamers can often find significant savings while still enjoying the benefits of the Xbox One S.

Long-term value estimate

While it’s challenging to predict the exact long-term value of the Xbox One S, it’s worth considering the console’s future prospects in terms of game releases and continued support from Microsoft. The Xbox One S has a vast library of games, both exclusive and multi-platform, which ensures that gamers will have access to a wide range of titles for years to come.

In addition to games, Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to supporting its consoles through regular system updates and enhancements. This ongoing support ensures that the Xbox One S will continue to evolve and provide an enjoyable gaming experience.

Ultimately, the Xbox One S offers a compelling value proposition for gamers, especially considering its current retail pricing, bundle options, and potential long-term value. Whether you’re a casual gamer or a hardcore enthusiast, the Xbox One S is definitely worth considering as your next gaming console.

Performance and Graphics Comparison to Newer Consoles

When considering whether the Xbox One S is worth buying, it’s essential to examine its performance and graphics capabilities compared to newer consoles on the market.

Framerate, resolution, and graphic fidelity

The Xbox One S offers a solid gaming experience with its ability to support games at 1080p resolution and a smooth framerate. While it may not match the performance of newer consoles like the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5, it still delivers impressive visuals and gameplay.

However, if you’re looking for the latest cutting-edge graphics and the highest resolutions, you may want to consider upgrading to a more powerful console.

Backwards compatibility performance

One of the Xbox One S’s standout features is its excellent backwards compatibility performance. It allows you to play a vast library of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. The console’s hardware enhancements ensure that these older games run smoothly and look better than ever before.

So, if you have a collection of older Xbox games that you still enjoy playing, the Xbox One S is a fantastic option.

No native support for 8K or 120fps gaming

It’s important to note that the Xbox One S does not offer native support for 8K resolution or 120 frames per second (fps) gaming. If you’re a gamer who wants to experience the latest advancements in resolution and framerate, you might want to consider a more advanced console like the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.

However, it’s worth mentioning that most games still run well on the Xbox One S, even without these high-end features.

Lacks ray tracing capabilities

The Xbox One S does not have native support for ray tracing, a technology that enhances lighting and reflections in games, creating more realistic and immersive experiences. While this may not be a dealbreaker for everyone, if you’re a gamer who values cutting-edge graphics and visual effects, you might want to explore consoles that offer ray tracing capabilities, such as the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.

Xbox One S Games Library and Exclusives

The Xbox One S offers a vast games library, making it a compelling choice for gamers of all preferences. With its backward compatibility feature, players can enjoy a huge catalog of original Xbox One games.

Whether you’re into action, adventure, sports, or puzzle games, you’ll find a plethora of options to suit your taste.

Huge catalog of original Xbox One games

The Xbox One S boasts an extensive selection of games, including popular titles like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza Horizon. These franchises have garnered a loyal fan base over the years, and their latest installments are optimized for the Xbox One S, offering stunning graphics and immersive gameplay.

Whether you’re a fan of first-person shooters, racing games, or epic adventures, the Xbox One S has something for everyone.

Access to hundreds of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games

One of the major advantages of the Xbox One S is its backward compatibility feature, which allows you to play hundreds of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games on the console. This means you can revisit your favorite classics and discover hidden gems from previous generations.

From iconic franchises like BioShock and Red Dead Redemption to cult favorites like Lost Odyssey and Fable II, the Xbox One S offers a nostalgia-inducing gaming experience.

Notable exclusive titles like Halo, Gears of War, Forza Horizon

The Xbox One S is home to some of the most iconic exclusive titles in the gaming industry. With franchises like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza Horizon, Microsoft has created a strong lineup of games that are only available on their platform.

These exclusive titles offer unique gameplay experiences, breathtaking graphics, and captivating storylines that have captivated gamers for years.

Some next-gen games available via backwards compatibility

While the Xbox One S is not the latest console in the Xbox lineup, it still provides access to some next-gen games via its backward compatibility feature. This means that you can enjoy titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 on your Xbox One S, even though they were originally released for the Xbox Series X|S.

This feature allows you to stay up-to-date with the latest gaming releases without having to invest in a new console.

Entertainment Features Beyond Gaming

When considering whether the Xbox One S is worth buying, it’s important to take a look at the entertainment features it offers beyond gaming. The Xbox One S is not just a gaming console; it’s a complete entertainment hub that can enhance your overall entertainment experience.

Here are some of the key entertainment features that make the Xbox One S a compelling choice:

4K/HDR video streaming support

The Xbox One S supports 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Range) video streaming, allowing you to enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows, and videos in stunning detail and vibrant colors. With 4K/HDR support, you can take full advantage of the latest advancements in video technology and enjoy a truly immersive viewing experience right from your living room.

Whether you’re streaming content from popular services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video or watching Blu-ray movies, the Xbox One S delivers exceptional visual quality.

Built-in 4K Blu-Ray drive

The Xbox One S is the only console on the market that comes with a built-in 4K Blu-ray drive. This means that you can watch your favorite movies and TV shows in stunning 4K Ultra HD resolution, with enhanced color and clarity.

The 4K Blu-ray drive allows you to build an impressive collection of physical media, ensuring that you always have access to your favorite movies and TV shows, even when you don’t have an internet connection.

Apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube

With the Xbox One S, you can access a wide range of popular streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and more. These apps provide you with a vast library of movies, TV shows, and videos that you can stream directly from your console.

Whether you’re in the mood for a binge-watching session or want to catch up on the latest viral videos, the Xbox One S has you covered. It’s like having a smart TV built into your gaming console.

Smart home device integration

The Xbox One S also offers smart home device integration, allowing you to control your compatible smart home devices using your console. With voice commands through the Xbox One S, you can dim the lights, adjust the thermostat, or even control your smart locks without leaving your gaming session.

This integration adds an extra layer of convenience to your gaming and entertainment setup, making the Xbox One S a versatile addition to your smart home ecosystem.

Drawbacks and Downsides of the Aging Hardware

CPU and GPU nowhere near new consoles

One of the major drawbacks of the Xbox One S is that its CPU and GPU are nowhere near as powerful as those found in newer gaming consoles. While it may still be able to handle many current games, it may struggle with more demanding titles, especially those optimized for the latest hardware.

The Xbox One S features an AMD Jaguar processor and a GPU with 12 compute units, which pales in comparison to the Xbox Series X’s 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor and 52 compute units.

According to a benchmark comparison conducted by Digital Foundry, the Xbox One S performs at a lower frame rate and has lower graphical fidelity when compared to newer consoles. This means that if you are someone who values cutting-edge graphics and high-performance gameplay, the Xbox One S may not meet your expectations.

Limited storage space on base model

Another downside of the Xbox One S is its limited storage space on the base model. The standard version comes with a 500GB or 1TB hard drive, which may quickly fill up if you have a large collection of games or frequently download large updates.

This can be a significant inconvenience, as you may need to constantly manage your storage or invest in external storage solutions.

However, it’s worth noting that the Xbox One S does support external hard drives, allowing you to expand your storage capacity easily. This can be a viable solution for those who require more space for their games and media.

No support for newest gaming features

As gaming technology continues to advance, newer consoles offer exciting features and capabilities that the Xbox One S simply cannot match. For example, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 both support ray tracing, a rendering technique that enhances lighting and reflections in games, resulting in more realistic visuals.

The Xbox One S lacks this feature, which means you won’t be able to experience games in the same level of visual fidelity.

Additionally, the Xbox One S does not support features such as 4K resolution gaming or high refresh rates, limiting your gaming experience compared to newer consoles that offer these capabilities.

Miss out on next-gen exclusive games

One of the biggest downsides of purchasing an Xbox One S is that you will miss out on next-generation exclusive games. As game developers continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with the latest hardware, they often create games that are specifically designed to take advantage of the capabilities of newer consoles.

For example, popular titles like “Halo Infinite” and “Fable” are being released exclusively for the Xbox Series X and are not available on the Xbox One S. This means that if you want to play these highly anticipated games, you will need to upgrade to a newer console.

Xbox One S vs Xbox Series S Comparison

Newer CPU/GPU hardware in Xbox Series S

When it comes to hardware, the Xbox Series S has the upper hand over the Xbox One S. The Xbox Series S features a more powerful CPU and GPU, allowing for better performance and faster load times. This means that games on the Xbox Series S will run smoother and look more visually impressive compared to the Xbox One S. If you’re looking for the best gaming experience with the latest technology, the Xbox Series S is the way to go.

Higher framerates and resolutions

One of the biggest advantages of the Xbox Series S is its ability to support higher framerates and resolutions. With the Xbox Series S, you can expect games to run at 60 frames per second or even higher, providing a smoother and more immersive gaming experience.

Additionally, the Xbox Series S can output games at a resolution of up to 1440p, which means sharper and more detailed visuals compared to the Xbox One S.

Ray tracing capability

Ray tracing is a cutting-edge technology that simulates the behavior of light in real-time, resulting in more realistic and immersive graphics. The Xbox Series S is equipped with ray tracing capability, allowing for enhanced visual effects and lighting in games.

This feature is not available on the Xbox One S, so if you’re someone who values stunning visuals and realistic graphics, the Xbox Series S is definitely worth considering.

Only all-digital game library

One important thing to note is that the Xbox Series S is an all-digital console, meaning it does not have a disc drive and can only play digital games. This is different from the Xbox One S, which can play both physical discs and digital games.

If you prefer having a physical game collection or enjoy borrowing games from friends, the Xbox One S might be a better choice for you. However, if you’re someone who prefers the convenience and accessibility of digital games, then the Xbox Series S is a great option.


The Xbox One S delivers a strong gaming experience at an affordable price point, with the benefits of a large games catalog, 4K video streaming, and a built-in 4K Blu-Ray player.

However, dated hardware means lower performance compared to new consoles, no access to latest gaming features like ray tracing, and missing future next-gen exclusive titles.

Overall, the Xbox One S is still worth buying in 2023 primarily for budget-focused gamers happy with 1080p gameplay. But those wanting a more future-proofed console may be better off with the Xbox Series S or X instead.

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