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

If you’re deciding whether to purchase the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, you’ve come to the right place. Leading into the new console generation, Microsoft released two next-gen consoles. The Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S both support Microsoft’s Smart Delivery and Quick Resume features, and both provide improved gaming experiences within the Xbox ecosystem.

Having gone hands-on with both consoles, I’ve put together a breakdown of what each console provides. While I can honestly say that you can’t go wrong with either, there’s not really a case I can stir up for you to purchase both.

We’ve pinpointed advantages one has over the other in hardware and pricing, which may help you decide whether to purchase the Xbox Series X or Series S. It’s all a matter of what means the most to you. So, let’s discuss what those advantages are.


Let’s talk about the pricing models first and foremost, since they will obviously play a role when you decide to purchase the Xbox Series X or Series S. The Xbox Series X is positioned as the high-end console experience, and is available for $499 USD. The Xbox Series S, on the other hand, is Microsoft’s more affordable entry into next-generation. It is available for $299 USD.

Purely from a budgetary standpoint, the Xbox Series S is the clear winner. It’s almost hard to imagine a piece of hardware that’s billed as a next-gen console costing so little. However, as we’ll discuss in this article, there are a few drawbacks. The Xbox Series X may be a worthy investment in order to future proof yourself down the line.

Size and form factor

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S come in radically different sizes. When looking at your media center or perhaps your office space, you may want to consider size limitations. The Xbox Series X is the larger of the two, featuring an almost monolithic design. It measures 12 x 6 x 6 inches. The Xbox Series S is much more compact. In fact, it’s Xbox’s smallest console ever made. Many media centers will be able to house the Xbox Series S and its 10.8 x 5.9 x 2.6-inch form factor with ease.

The beautiful thing about both consoles is that they can lay horizontally or stand vertically. However, even when the Xbox Series X is lying on its side, it is still very bulky. Plus, you’d want to ensure there is proper ventilation in the area you store your consoles. It is advisedthat you measure the available space in your media centers before deciding to purchase the Xbox Series X over the Series S.

If you’re gaming in a small space, the Xbox Series S is the frontrunner.


Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S do have some major differences as far as specs go.

The Xbox Series X features:

  • Support for true 4K @ 60 FPS (up to 120 FPS on lower resolutions)
  • CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2
  • GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2
  • Memory: 16 GB GDDR6

While the Xbox Series S sports the following:

  • Support for 1440p @ 120 FPS
  • CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2
  • GPU: 4 TFLOPS, 20 CUs @ 1.55 GHz Custom RDNA 2
  • Memory: 10 GB GDDR6

With this in mind, you can begin determining how important having access to true 4K resolution is for you. The Xbox Series S is only able to support up to 1440p while the Xbox Series X offers the true 4K experience. However, if you prefer performance over fidelity, you may not see the 1440p output of the Xbox Series S as a major loss.

However, if you are gunning for 120FPS you have likely already invested in a high-end 4K display with 120hz support. It may be worth investing in the Xbox Series X as you’ll have the option of playing in true 4K and trading off for 120FPS if you’re so inclined. That option does not exist on the Xbox Series S.

Physical games vs digital

If you’re a collector of physical games you’re likely not going to give the Xbox Series S a second thought. To cut down on pricing, Microsoft did not include a 4K UHD Blu-Ray disk drive in the Xbox Series S. The console is entirely digital. So even if you have amassed a large physical library of Xbox One games, you won’t have an option to use them moving forward. The Xbox Series X does have an optical drive, so you do have the option of buying physical and digital throughout the console generation.

You also have to take into account the storage limitations. Going hand in hand with your software purchases, the Xbox Series X has a 1 TB Custom NVME SSD. However, the Xbox Series S only has a 512GB Custom NVME SSD. Furthermore, the OS and system files take up a portion of the storage space. On Xbox Series X, you’re left with 800GB to use for games. The Xbox Series S has a total of 364GB available.

This puts the Xbox Series S at a massive disadvantage. When selecting the games to play, you only have the digital option available. Additionally, there’s only so much room to store games. If you’re someone who jumps between titles frequently, 364GB may not suffice. The investment in a console with more storage may be more advantageous.

Both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S have their own advantages and disadvantages. No matter which one you go with, you’ll get a quality next-gen experience from the hardware. While the Xbox Series S is smaller and more affordable, the Xbox Series X does have the leg up over its sister console. The specs, storage size, and option to play physical games could help future-proof yourself for the run of this generation.

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Steve Vegvari

Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His adoration for everything gaming began very early on in the SNES-era. He’s gone on to write honest content around the web. While not writing about games, Steve is often looking for the next big narrative-driven title. Something with an impactful story, regardless of genre or platform. Bonus points if it has an appealing achievement/trophy list!
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