Many people who are looking to get into gaming are wondering if the Xbox Series S is worth it. I’ve been using my Xbox Series S for about a year now and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
Most people will prefer to buy the Xbox Series X but there are reasons why that’s not always an option. Technically, the Xbox Series X is supposed to only be $200 more than the Series S.
The problem is not every country sells the Xbox Series X at its retail price, whereas you can find the Series S for its retail price. Or maybe the Series X is just not available.
Either way, the Series S holds up quite well and it actually has some advantages over the Series X.
If you’re struggling to make the decision to buy an Xbox Series S, continue reading this article from an unbiased Xbox Series S user.
Is the Xbox Series S Worth It?
The Xbox Series S is worth buying for casual 1080P gamers. It’s affordable, can run most modern games without issues, and it’s extremely portable.
Combine the Xbox Series S with a game pass subscription and you’ll have pretty much everything you need.
Having said that, continue reading for my unbiased list of the pros and cons of the Xbox Series S.
Pros of the Xbox Series S
Probably the best thing about the Xbox Series S is how affordable it is. From time to time, you can find it on sale or use a gift card for discounts.
Even at its retail price, the Series S costs just under $300. Take a look at Amazon for Xbox Series S listings.
So if cash is tight, the Xbox Series S is a good option. In the country I live now, the Series X costs almost 3 x as much!
Another underrated feature of the Xbox Series S is how portable it is. It weighs about 2 KG or 4 LB – about the size of a thick book.
The dimensions of the Xbox Series S console are approximately 6.5 x 2.6 x 10.8 inches (165 x 65 x 275 mm) when placed horizontally.
When placed vertically, the dimensions are approximately 10.8 x 2.6 x 6.5 inches (275 x 65 x 165 mm).
What that means is you can easily travel with it and use it in hotels. I’ve done it many times!
There’s something satisfying about being able to game and watch Netflix in hotels while on vacation.
You can also bring it over to a friend’s place for an impromptu LAN party – good times.
If you are thinking about that, consider taking a look at our portable monitors for the Xbox Series S.
Can Play Most Modern Games at 60 FPS
Thankfully, the Series S isn’t a forgotten console. Since it’s part of the Series family, games optimized for the Xbox Series X also need to be optimized for the Xbox Series S.
What that means is the Series S can run most modern, triple-A games, at a stable 60 FPS, depending on how well the developers optimize them.
To give you an idea, Halo Infinite, Warzone, Battlefield 2042, and Apex Legends run flawlessly at 60 FPS.
Granted the developers do need to cut some corners to improve the game performance on the Series S but the games still look great.
Some games can push 120 FPS on the Series S but it’s not the best experience.
Most modern games will be optimized for the Series S, including upcoming games.
Great for Gamepass
By now you have definitely heard about Xbox Gamepass, a subscription to hundreds of Xbox games.
What’s cool about Gamepass (besides access to a library of games) is you can play backward compatible Xbox games too.
For example, you can find games that were launched for Xbox 360 and even the original Xbox.
Many of those games receive the next-gen treatment too, with an FPS boost and improved resolution.
Sounds good, huh?
But wait, we need to balance it out with some downsides just so you know what to expect.
P.S. Follow this tutorial on how to get 70% off a Gamepass subscription.
Quick Resume, Fast Load Times
One of the best features of the Xbox Series S (compared to other Xbox consoles) is the addition of Quick Resume.
If a game supports Quick Resume, you don’t even need to worry about saving your game.
When you close the game, the system will save your game state. When you open it again, the game will continue from the exact same place you stopped.
You can have three games in Quick Resume at a time. You can play a game for a few minutes and then instantly switch to another one.
No need to watch logos, main menus, and loading screens. That’s crazy!
Downsides of the Xbox Series S
And now for the downsides…
364 GB of Storage
Now one issue with the Xbox Series S is the limited storage, especially when new games are determined to be as large as possible.
While the advertised storage capacity of the Series S is 512 GB, only 364 is usable. The rest is for the system.
364 GB might seem like plenty, but it’s only really enough for a few modern games. For example, Forza 5 is 120 GB, Battlefield 2042 is 70 GB, Apex Legends is 70 GB, and Warzone is 62 GB.
If you only play a few games at a time, it’s not that much of a problem. It’s also not a problem if you have a fast internet connection and can quickly download a new game.
An external hard drive can solve that problem. Most Xbox One games can run directly from an external hard drive too.
Series S Optimized Games Need Internal Storage
People are often confused about the storage issue with Series S-optimized games. I’ll explain how it works. If a game is Series X/S optimized, it won’t run off of external storage.
It needs to be installed on the internal drive. Of course, you won’t even know that unless you first install it on an external drive.
One type of external storage that works with Series X/S optimized games is the Seagate Expansion card.
You can read my opinions about the Seagate Expansion card over here.
So if you have an external hard drive, you’ll need to keep copying games to the internal and whatnot. An external hard drive is a must-have for Xbox Series S users.
Digital Only, No CD Drive
Another issue is the Series S is a digital-only console, it does not have a CD drive. For those of you who have a big collection of physical games, that can be a major bummer.
Unfortunately, external USB CD drives don’t work on the Series S at the moment. Hopefully, sometime in the future, Microsoft will design one but there’s no word on that.
So if you have a bunch of physical games, it may be best to wait until you can buy an Xbox Series X because it does have a CD drive.
Lower Graphics Fidelity
Naturally, the Xbox Series S isn’t as powerful as the Series X. The Series X has a much more powerful graphics card.
To make games playable, developers have to lower the graphics settings in games to reach the target frame rate.
For that reason, certain games (especially modern demanding titles) will look much worse on the Series S than on the Series X.
The main way developers lower the graphic requirements of games is by reducing the in-game render resolution.
So some games might look really blurry on the Series S because the render resolution of the game is lower than your monitor or TV’s resolution.
It’s hard to say exactly what resolution a game is running at because these settings are hidden.
Another trick developers use is dynamic resolution. When a game uses dynamic resolution, the resolution of the graphics can change in real time during gameplay.
For example, if a game is running at 4K resolution but the hardware can’t keep up with the demands of the game, the game may lower the resolution to 1440p or 1080p temporarily to maintain a smooth frame rate.
By dynamically adjusting the resolution, the game can maintain a consistent frame rate and avoid stuttering or lag, while still delivering high-quality graphics when the hardware can handle it.
The Xbox Series S aims for 1080P on most games, but the dynamic resolution can drop the resolution for demanding scenes.
Most modern games won’t run at exactly 1080P, it will be around 900P or even lower.
Can The Series S Do 4K?
The Xbox Series S is capable of outputting a 4K resolution for Netflix and other apps. But it is not optimized for native 4K gaming like the more powerful Xbox Series X.
Can the Series S Do 1440P?
The Series S can run some games at 1440P but it mostly targets 1080P. For the games that run at 1440P, the frame rate needs to be lowered to 30 frames a second.
Is The Xbox Series S Right For You?
To wrap it up, the Xbox Series S isn’t the world’s most capable console, but for the price, it packs a punch. Want one? Grab one on Amazon!
It delivers solid performances on most modern games (plus all the backward-compatible games on the game pass) and it can provide you with many hours of entertainment.
Of course, it’s not nearly as good as the Xbox Series X, but if the Series X isn’t an option for you, then the Series S is a great alternative.
Ultimately it’s up to you. I’m very happy with my Series S and I don’t really see the need to upgrade to the Series X in the future.
What do you think about this little console? Drop a comment with your opinions below.