The much anticipated 2020 release of Microsoft’s next-generation of video game consoles has finally happened. The Xbox Series S is one of these consoles. New and improved from the ground up, there is a lot of excitement for the Series S among Xbox fans.
- Access your favorite entertainment through apps like YouTube, Netflix, and more
- Enjoy over 100 games right out of the box with a 1 month Xbox Game Pass trial
- Watch 4K Blu-ray movies and stream 4K video on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft Movies & TV, and more
- Play with friends and family near and far—sitting together on the sofa or around the world on Xbox Live, the fastest, most reliable gaming network
- Xbox 1 games and accessories work together
So when is the release date? What are the specs of the new Xbox Series S? What is the price? What other versions of this next-generation console will be available?
Here is what you need to know.
Microsoft Has Released Two New Consoles
When compared to the Series X the Series S is less powerful, has a smaller SSD drive (512GB vs. 1TB), and doesn’t have an optical drive. That said, the Series S is much smaller and is priced less than the Series X. So if you want something that is more portable (smaller dimensions) or just like the idea of saving a couple of hundred dollars you might want to consider the Series S.
Xbox Series S Release Date
The fanfare for the console culminated on November 10, 2020 when the Xbox Series S first was released and available for purchase.
Just as with the Xbox One, Microsoft planned the release of the Xbox Series S for November so that it would coincide with the upcoming holiday shopping season.
It seems like every video game console flies off store shelves when it is first released and the Xbox Series S is no different. Many retailers sold out of the Xbox Series S, as well as the Series X consoles, quickly after they were first released. So if you want to buy the Xbox Series S in 2020 and you see it available online or in stores, you might want to consider purchasing it on the spot, because it is probably a gamble to assume that you will be able to easily find it again in a week or two.
Xbox Series S Specs
If you are looking at getting the Series S console you are probably wondering about its technical specs and how it differs from the Xbox One consoles that came before it. You also want to know the differences between the Series S and the other new Xbox console, the Series X.
First of all, the Xbox Series S is a significant improvement over both the Xbox One S and has advantages over the powerful Xbox One X as well. Advancements in video game console technology is always great, but keep in mind that your ability to enjoy all the benefits of the Series S will also relate to the games you are playing (not all games are designed to take full advantage of the console you are playing them on) and the television have your console hooked up to.
So let’s take a look at the specs for the Xbox Series X and compare them to the previous generation Xbox One S and Xbox One X.
Xbox Series S specs vs. Xbox One Specs
How Does the Xbox Series S Differ From the Series X
The Xbox Series S is capable of streaming media at an impressive 4K resolution, which is fantastic, but most people who are buying a video game console care more about what resolution will be for video games. So let’s take a look.
The game resolution for the Series S tops out at 1440p, which is a step down from the Series X as we saw above. Ultimately, if you have a smaller TV or a non-4K TV, you may very well not ever notice the difference. If you have a larger 4K television you might notice that some games look a bit softer when played on the Series X as compared to playing them on the new Series X, which can provide 4K output.
In the end, since 1440p is just a small step up from 1080p, many people consider the Series S to essentially be a 1080p game playing console, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, if you have a 4K television or currently own a Xbox One X, you might feel disappointed to be taking a step down in resolution capabilities. That said, it is also fair to point out that many games, especially early on, will not be optimized for the Series S or Series X consoles.
What About Not Having a Disc Drive?
Not having a disc drive means that you need to be okay building a library of digital games for your Xbox Series S instead of buying physical copies of games. Your games, saves, and backups are safe in the cloud. Plus, you can enjoy the option to pre-order and pre-install upcoming games so that you will be ready to play them the moment they launch.
If you are not sure about how you feel about only having digital copies of your video games you might want to check out our article comparing physical video game copies and digital video game copies.
If you decide that you prefer having the option to buy physical copies of games and really want to be able to play Blu-Ray movies the Series X might be the better way for you to go with its 4K UHD Blu-Ray optical drive that comes standard on the Series X console.
Is The Xbox Series S As Big And Boxy As the Series X Console?
If you have taken a close look at the Xbox Series X, you probably noticed that it is weirdly shaped. More specifically, it looks very boxy or like a big cube. Some people have gone so far as to say that the Series X is shaped like a refrigerator.
Regardless of how you describe how it looks, you might be wondering why it looks the way that it does. Why is the Series X shaped so differently than the Xbox One or the Xbox 360? Was Microsoft trying to make it look different so it would visually stand out from the crowd or was there another reason for this design?
There was actually a very practical reason behind the shape and design of the Series X console. Much like how your laptop or desktop computer can heat up and feel warm to the touch – especially when they are working hard – video game consoles suffer from the same problem. They need to keep cool.
With four times the processing power of the Xbox One X the Xbox Series X is capable of generating a lot of heat. The big boxy design allows for three air-flow channels, an innovative split motherboard, and parallel cooling architecture that allows the Series X to remain cool and quiet while delivering incredible performance.
Thankfully the Xbox Series S is much smaller than the Series X. In fact, it is not only smaller than the Series X, but it is also smaller than both of the new PlayStation 5 consoles as well. The Series S measures only 10.8 inches (275mm) x 5.9 inches (151mm) x 2.5 inches (63.5mm), which actually makes the Series S the smallest Xbox ever.
It has rubber feet on two sides, which allows you to use the Series S in both the horizontal and vertical positions. This also allows the Series S to fit comfortably on, or in, most people’s TV stands.
The large black circle on the case is there to provide ventilation and to help the cooling fans keep the console cool.
The large black circle on the exterior of the case is there for ventilation purposes and helps the fans keep the Series S cool. This circular vent will be either on the top or the side of the case depending on if you stand it up vertically or horizontally. So either way, it will help to keep the console from overheating.
Does the Xbox Series S have a new controller?
Yes. This new console comes with a more refined wireless controller. The new Xbox Wireless Controller is designed to easily fit an even wider range of hand sizes and has a new Share button that makes capturing screenshots and game clips simple. It also has a new hybrid d-pad that was inspired by the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, which is a terrific top of the line controller. This new Xbox Wireless Controller is included with every Xbox Series S and is also compatible with Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
Is Xbox Series S Backwards Compatible?
Yes! Not only is the Xbox Series S backwards compatible, but Microsoft is taking backwards compatibility to the next level with this new generation of consoles.
Prior to the release of the new Series S console Microsoft reported that “thousands of games are already playable on Xbox Series X”. Not only that, but because of their more powerful CPU, GPU, and SSD these games will run better on both the Xbox Series S and X consoles resulting in faster load times, higher fidelity, and increased framerates, with some games seeing doubled framerates from 30 to 60fps or 60 to 120fps. On top of all of this is the ability of the console to add HDR (High Dynamic Range) to older titles that were created before HDR was possible. Lastly, in addition to backwards compatibility for games, accessories from older consoles, like gamepads (controllers), are also backward compatible on the Xbox Series S and X.
Solid State Drive (SSD)
Having a SSD on this next generation of Xbox consoles is a big deal. If you spent any time playing the Xbox One in the past you know how much time you could spend waiting for the Xbox One’s HDD to load games. The SSD drive on both the Series S and X means that now games load in a fraction of the time they used to take on the Xbox One.
Here is a video that shows you an example of just how much faster the Series S, with its SSD, loads games compared to the Xbox One S:
The only negative about the SSD on the Series S has to do with its size. Instead of the 1TB drive that is on the Series X, the Series S has a smaller 512GB SSD drive. If you read any of the things we wrote about the Xbox One consoles when Microsoft was offering them with only 512GB of storage you know that we were very critical of this decision.
Only having 512GB of storage space means that it will be much easier for you to fill the drive up with games. If you are someone who sticks to playing just a few games you will probably be just fine, but if you enjoy playing several games and like to frequently switch back and forth between games you could end up wishing that you had more storage space. Yes, you could remove a game from the SSD and download the one you want to play, but you don’t want to do that repeatedly because waiting for games to download can take a long time.
The good news is that you can add additional storage to the Series S if you need to. Both the Series S and X have a dedicated storage expansion port in the back of the console where you can add a 1TB Seagate Storage Expansion Card, which provides additional storage while replicating the console’s custom SSD experience giving you the same outstanding performance.
- SEAMLESS GAMEPLAY: Designed in partnership with Xbox to seamlessly play Xbox Series X|S games from the internal SSD or the expansion card without sacrificing graphics, latency, load times, or framerates
- HIGH CAPACITY: 1TB of storage increases the overall capacity of the Xbox Series X|S—collect thousands of games across four generations of Xbox without sacrificing performance
- EXCLUSIVE TO XBOX: The only available expansion card that replicates the Xbox Velocity Architecture —providing faster load times, richer environments, and more immersive gameplay
- QUICK RESUME: Switch between multiple titles in seconds—directly from the internal SSD or the expansion card
- WARRANTY: Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included 3-year limited warranty
New Quick Resume Feature
The new Quick Resume feature will allow you to switch between different games and resume playing right where you left off “in an instant”.
Not only does this new Quick Resume feature work for new games that were designed specifically for the Xbox Series S or X consoles, but it can also be enabled for backward-compatible games.
Below is a video showing the Quick Resume feature on the Xbox Series S:
Xbox Series S Price
Microsoft’s suggested retail price for the Xbox Series S at release is $299, which is a super affordable price for a new console. In fact, I would describe the price for the Series S as being shocking low. In fact, if you go back in time and look at Microsoft’s introductory price for the Xbox 360 you will find that it is exactly the same as its price for the Series S, which is amazing to think about since the Xbox 360 was two console generations ago.
It is also worth mentioning that the introductory price for the Series S is $200 less than the Series X. So if you really want one of these new Xbox consoles, but you are on a tight budget, the Series S will certainly be the more attractive option to you.
Regardless of which console you end up shopping for you should still be on the lookout for bundles with both the Series S and Series X. In case you are not familiar with what bundles are, what you will get in a bundle is a console along with 1 or more games and sometimes other bonuses as well.
As you can see the hoopla for the Xbox Series S is certainly justified. With its impressive performance, new controller, and backward compatibility, the Xbox Series S is ready to be the center of the video game and entertainment world in your home for years to come, but the question remains, should you get one?
If you don’t mind not having an optical drive and like having digital game copies there is a lot to like about the new Series S console. However, if you plan on playing your console on a 4K TV you might need to decide if you want to make a larger investment and get the Series X console to get a boost in gaming resolution to take full advantage of your 4K television.
In the end, if you are an Xbox fan, you will get one of the new Xbox consoles eventually. The only question is when. If you are getting a video game console for the first time, the affordable Series S certainly makes a pretty compelling case as to why you may want to seriously consider purchasing it now.
Last update on 2021-05-10 at 12:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API