Even with the more capable PS5 at my disposal, the Series S is the console I use the most — and it does enough right that I don’t feel a need to upgrade to the mightier Series X just yet. And while folks all over are still frantically refreshing their browsers in hopes of scoring an elusive PS5 or Xbox Series X during restocks, the Series S is abundantly available on most store shelves.
I was very pleased with only my PS5 when the latest console generation began around a year ago. I already own a fairly powerful gaming PC that can run all of Microsoft’s latest titles, so there was no compelling reason for me to get an Xbox Series X. Even though I didn’t need one, something about the smaller, less expensive Xbox Series S kept appealing to me. When I bought one early this year, it didn’t take long for the most basic current-gen console to become my favourite.
For all of those reasons — and a few others — the Xbox Series S is the console I recommend to most folks. Let me break down why.
Xbox Series s
The Xbox Series S’ excellent performance, compact design and superb overall value make it the console that most people should pick up right now.
The Xbox Series S is the best-looking modern console out there.
I’ll be honest — a big reason why I bought the Xbox Series S is because I simply love the way it looks. Whereas the blocky, tower-shaped Xbox Series X and the ridiculously gargantuan sci-fi behemoth that is the PS5 both command a decent amount of space, the Series S is an adorable little white rectangle that kind of looks like a large Bluetooth speaker. It’s about half of the weight of both higher-end consoles, and a fraction of the size. This tiny box is just nice to look at — especially sitting next to the matching white Switch OLED in my entertainment center.
But the Series S’ sleek design isn’t just pretty — it’s also practical. Moving the console from my living room to my PC area whenever I streamed on Twitch was a breeze, and far less of a hassle than lugging my PS5 from room to room. And if I ever find myself going on a long trip where I’ll want a console handy, the Series S is the only system small enough to fit in my backpack.
The Xbox Series S has some of the Xbox Series X’s best features — and performs great for the price. Despite being the cheapest current gaming console out there, the Series S still feels distinctly next-gen, largely because it has a lot of the same key features as the pricier Series X. Modern games are practically devoid of loading times, thanks to the solid-state drive packed inside, but it’s the “Quick Resume” feature that actually impacted the way I play games during my first few weeks with the console.
Available on both the Series X and S, Quick Resume lets you have a handful of games open at once and pick up right where you left off when you switch between them. So when I take a break from Halo: The Master Chief Collection for some retro shooting action in Doom 64, I can hop right into my paused game rather than booting up the title all over again. It’s one of the best innovations of this console generation — and is something the PS5 doesn’t offer. And while the Xbox Series S isn’t quite as powerful as the Series X, it’s still a fantastic way to experience current-gen gaming. Titles such as Dirt 5 and Mass Effect Legendary Edition still burst with vivid color and detail on Microsoft’s tiny console, and more importantly, run at incredibly smooth frame rates.
While the Series S outputs at a lower resolution of 1440p compared to the Series X’s richer 4K output, both consoles are capable of frame rates as high as 120 frames per second. That means that when I’m playing titles such as Forza Horizon 5 and Star Wars: Squadrons, I’m getting a fluid and responsive experience that feels on par with both my PS5 and my powerful gaming PC. If you have a 1080p TV and don’t plan on upgrading to 4K anytime soon, the gap between the Series S and the Series X or PS5 is even less significant. How the Xbox Series S and PS5 stack up.
On top of stacking up well to its bigger sibling, the Series S gets more playtime in my home than my more powerful PS5 — and it’s all because of the little things. While this hasn’t always been the case on previous consoles, I much prefer the Xbox user interface to what PlayStation offers right now. It’s far more customizable — not just in the amount of ways that you can tweak colors and backgrounds, but also due to the fact that you can pin your go-to games and apps to your home screen for easier access. By comparison, the PS5 interface feels empty. You can’t set a custom wallpaper, and the ability to organize games into folders (a feature that the PS4 had) is still missing.
Some quick caveats to keep in mind Despite holding up well against the Xbox Series X and PS5, the Series S isn’t without its caveats. The console’s small 512GB SSD only has about 364GB of usable storage, which means that it’ll quickly fill up with modern games that can demand as much as 100GB of space. You can always delete and redownload software as you need to, or pick up a Seagate expansion card, but the former can get annoying and the latter is very expensive.
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- In comparison to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, the Xbox Series S holds its own
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