Which should you buy, the Xbox Series S vs Xbox One S? These two consoles are both from Microsoft with similar designs and similar names. But there are some significant differences between the Xbox Series S and Xbox One S that you need to know if you can’t decide which one is right for you.
In this guide, we’ll cover what each console offers, as well as which one has the features, resolution and power that’ll suit you. There’s no right answer here, as there’s a solid case to be made for either one, depending on what you’re looking for.
The XBox Series S is the newer console of the two and is capable of 1440p resolution, upscaled to 4K, 120fps and this includes graphical features, such as ray tracing. Although it might not be as powerful as Microsoft’s current flagship, the Xbox Series X, it’s still a next-gen console through and through.
The Xbox One S is older than the Series S and isn’t nearly as powerful. But it’s been around longer, which means its cheaper price point makes it a great choice if the Xbox Series S is out of your budget.
We’ve spent time testing both consoles and putting them through their paces, which you can read more about in our dedicated Xbox Series S review and Xbox One S review. This puts us in a good position to say definitively which one is worth your time and your money.
So if you’ve been agonising over which Xbox “S” to buy, keep reading as we compare both of Microsoft’s budget-friendly consoles to help you make an informed decision about which will best suit your budget and your gaming preferences.
Xbox Series S vs Xbox One S price and release date
Both the Xbox Series S and Xbox One S come with similar price points, though we expect the price of the Xbox One S to drop dramatically as time goes on. The Xbox Series S retails for $299 / £249 / AU$499 and is the cheapest next-gen console available.
The Xbox One S has been out for some time now, making its debut on August 2, 2016. Its price is holding steady at $299 / £249 / AU$499 but can often be found for much cheaper. Again, we expect the Xbox One S to drop in price now that the Xbox Series S has been out for a while.
Xbox Series S vs Xbox One S specs
Specs are where the two consoles differ significantly. The Xbox Series S is Microsoft’s more affordable next-gen console, and while it might not match the Xbox Series X in terms of pure technical prowess, it delivers a massive upgrade over the Xbox One S. Here are the key Xbox Series S specs you need to know:
- CPU: Eight-core 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT) custom AMD 7nm
- GPU: 4 teraflops at 1.550GHz
- RAM: 10GB GDDR6
- Framerate: Up to 120 fps
- Resolution: 1440p with 4K upscaling
- Optical: No disk drive
- Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
The Xbox Series S may be impossibly small, but there’s a lot of power inside. The console will target a resolution of 1440p instead of native 4K (though some titles can output at a full 4K), and is capable of 120fps gaming. Though its GPU is considerably less powerful than the Xbox Series X’s, it’s armed with an almost identical CPU and 10GB of GDDR6 RAM. That’s less than the 16GB the Xbox Series X, but it’s considerably more than the Xbox One S which only has 8GB of GDDR3.
One important thing to note is that there’s no disk drive on the Xbox Series S, and you’ll only have 512GB of storage to play with. Unlike the One S, though, it comes with a super-fast NVMe SSD instead of an achingly slow mechanical hard drive, and it can be expanded with the 1TB Storage Expansion Card from Seagate.
The Xbox One S might look similar, then, but it’s technologically inferior to the Xbox Series S. It’s a great option if you want to play Xbox exclusives that you missed out on like Gears 5 or Forza Horizon 4, or simply want to give Xbox Game Pass a whirl, but if you want a console that has been designed to last the next five or so years, you’ll want to opt for the Xbox Series S. Here are the Xbox One S specs you need to know about:
- CPU: Eight-core 1.75GHz Jaguar CPU
- GPU: 1.23 teraflops at 914MHz
- RAM: 8GB GDDR3
- Framerate: Up to 60fps
- Resolution: 1080p
- Optical: 4K HD Blu-Ray Drive
- Storage: 1TB HDD
The Xbox One S only has one real advantage over Microsoft’s newer model: the 4K HD Blu-Ray drive. If you’re looking for a cheap 4K Blu-Ray player that also allows you to stream Netflix and play games, the One S is a great choice. You could make the case that the Xbox One S has more storage space than the Xbox Series S, but the One S still uses a HDD rather than an SSD, so it has a larger capacity at the expense of speed. In every other department, though, the Xbox Series S comprehensively beats the Xbox One S in terms of technical power and cutting-edge design.
The Xbox One S is a great entry-level system, however. It’s small, quiet and likely to be extremely affordable in the near future. Yes, it won’t be able to deliver the highest quality for gaming, but if that’s not a concern, it’s still a worthwhile purchase. With a similar price point to the Series S for now, though, we’d recommend opting for Microsoft’s newer next-gen console if you have the choice.
Xbox Series S vs Xbox One S games
Even if you don’t choose an Xbox Series S, you’ll be able to play almost every new game on Microsoft’s older console. They won’t run as well or look quite as good, but you won’t be forced to upgrade to experience key titles that are coming to Xbox Series X and S like Halo Infinite. The Xbox One S is the console to choose if the idea of downloading a game makes your head spin, though, as it’s the only console of the two that has a disc drive.
You can expect most games to target 30 to 60fps on Xbox One S and 60 to 120fps on Xbox Series X. Xbox One S games will also likely hit a resolution of 900p to 1080p, while Xbox Series S will target 1080p to 1440p output, which can upscale to 4K.
One area where Xbox Series S benefits significantly is in terms of load times. Thanks to its super-fast SSD, games will load much quicker than they would on Xbox One S, so if you hate waiting around for your games to start, or simply want to upgrade your existing experience, the Series S is the way to go.
It’s also certain that future games will leave the Xbox One S behind eventually – developers will increasingly rely on the newer system’s power as the years go by, and the install base of the new Xbox consoles grows.
Xbox Series S vs Xbox One S verdict
With comparative price points (for now) and similar sleek designs, the Xbox Series S and Xbox One S are easily mistaken at a glance. Delve deeper, though, and the power gap between Microsoft’s two cheap consoles become abundantly clear.
The Xbox One S will soon be seen as a legacy system, unable to provide the next-gen bells and whistles like ray-tracing and blazing fast load times, but it’s a tempting value proposition nonetheless, particularly if you can find a good Xbox One S deal.
The Xbox Series S, however, is the console of choice for those looking to experience the next-generation of gaming at a superb price point. It’s digital-only, of course, so you’ll be at the mercy of your internet connection when it comes to downloading games. If that’s a problem, the Xbox Series X might be the next best choice.