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Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S – which one should you buy?

It’s all about those pixels.

Xbox series s and series s on white background
Image: Microsoft

If you’re planning your next console purchase and it’s a choice between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, we’re here for you. While there are many differences between the two, it boils down to two main points: Is $200 worth 4K resolution and a Blu-Ray drive?

Really, that’s the only question you need to be asking yourself, because the rest of the experience between the two consoles is going to be very similar. Yes, the Series S has half the storage of the Series X, but with Smart Delivery, games won’t take up as much space on the Series S. You can always add a plug-in SSD anyway, as both consoles support the Velocity Architecture that lets you expand the storage. Both consoles support the same accessories, support the same games, and the controller is the same, as is the software that runs the dashboard.

Heck, even the CPU that runs them is the same, with the same 8-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2 architecture, just with a 200 MHz lower core clock on the Series S, likely due to thermal limitations on the smaller device. The GPU is cut-down on the Series S, which is where the 1440p resolution limitation comes from. You only get 20 CU’s on the cheaper console, versus 52 on the Series X. Video memory is lower too, at 10GB versus 16Gb on the more expensive console. Is that going to be an issue for most? Probably not, remember that people have been happily playing at 1080p upscaled to 4K on their TVs since the Xbox One S released years ago.

Yes, the Xbox Series X can supposedly do 8K at 60fps, or 4k at 120fps. Know anyone with an 8K TV? How about one that can do 120Hz at native, rather than internally but running on a 60Hz panel? Yeah, those specs are great on paper, but you’ll need a new TV to take advantage of them. With even the cheapest 8K TVs starting around $2,500, that makes your $500 console purchase a $3,000 outlay. Ouch.

For a physical hands-on, check out this Twitter post from Tom Warren, Senior Editor at The Verge. Now, they’re only dummy units, with no hardware inside, but you can clearly see the size difference (yes, you’ll need a new TV cabinet for the Series X), and also, comparative the size vs the existing Xbox One X.

Microsoft is also offering Xbox All Access on both consoles, which lets you pay a monthly charge for the console and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, on a zero percent interest deal. The Xbox Series S is $24.99 per month over 24 months, with the Xbox Series X being $34.99 per month.

Once the 24 months is over, you own the console outright, but you’ll have to start paying for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate if you want to continue. Sounds like a sweet deal to us. Both consoles release on November 10.

What do you think? Do you plan on snagging one of these consoles when they release in November? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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