Xbox Series S Price, Release Date, Specs, Games, and News

The all-digital console just might have the edge over Xbox Series X

The Xbox Series S from Microsoft is the companion console to the more powerful Xbox Series X. Billed as the smallest Xbox ever, it plays only downloaded games and doesn't support 4K gaming. Still, it packs a pretty delightful punch.

When Was the Xbox Series S Released?

The Xbox Series S was released on November 10, 2020.

Xbox Series S Price

Microsoft is making the Series S available in two different ways: You can purchase it separately for a flat $299 or you can bundle it with Xbox All Access.

If you choose to bundle, it will cost you $24.99/month for two years. That gives you the console plus 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

The Latest News about Xbox Series S

You can get more gaming news from Lifewire about the Xbox Series S, other systems, games, and a variety of other related topics. Here are some of the latest stories involving the Xbox Series S.

Xbox Series S Features

The Xbox Series S in an exploded view to show all components.

The console comes only in white and includes a wireless controller. If has the same CPU as the Xbox Series X with the three key differences: a slightly slower GPU, less memory, and the lack of a disc drive. That puts the Series S focus on frame rate over resolution, which is what Microsoft says more of its customers want.

Even though the GPU is not as fast in the Series S as it is in the Series X, it's still four times faster than the Xbox One. You can scale up games for 4k on TVs and there's full hardware support for graphics, including ray tracing, mesh shaders, and variable rate shading.

The primary difference between Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S is in resolution. 

Xbox Series S Specs and Hardware

The xBox Series S is an all-digital gaming console powered by an 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU. It delivers more than 40 times the I/O bandwidth of an Xbox One for faster load times, steadier frame rates, and Quick Resume for multiple titles.

Xbox Series X-at-a-Glance
Frame rate 1440P at up to 120fps
Optical drive None. Digital only.
System on a Chip Custom 7nm Enhanced SoC
Expandable storage 1 TB expansion card
Internal storage 512 GB SSD
Memory interface 10GB GDDR6 
Memory bandwidth 8GB @ 224 GB/s or 2 GB 56GB/s
IO throughput (raw) 4.8GB/s, (uncompressed) 2.4GB/s
CPU 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6 GHz/3.6GHz with SMT enabled
GPU architecture AMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz
The back of the Xbox Series S showing storage and other ports.
The back of the Xbox Series S console. Jeremy Laukkonnen

Xbox Series S Games and Backwards Compatibility

Microsoft is offering 'thousands' of digital Xbox One and Xbox 360 digital games to use on the Series S. That means when you see a game in the digital store for the original Xbox, the Xbox 360, or the Xbox One, you can play it on the Xbox Series S.

However, some enhancements found in other consoles might not be available in the Series S. For example, while you can play some games in 4K on the Xbox One X, system memory limitations of the Series S could limit that same experience even though you can play the same game on both consoles. However, the vast majority of Xbox games are compatible with the Xbox Series X and S

Most Xbox One gaming accessories are compatible as well.

The Wireless Controller

The Xbox Series S controller from both sides.

The Xbox controller has been redesigned in several key ways. New technology between the console and the HDMI television connection sends information more frequently between the two, which shaves off time and makes gameplay more responsive.

It now fits a wider range of hand sizes and includes rounded bumpers, a tactile dot pattern on triggers and bumpers, carefully sculpted grips and a new D-pad. The D-pad now has a slightly deeper dish for your thumb and the angles are tuned differently so that you can use the D-pad with minimal movement.

The controller is also designed for cross-compatability between Xbox Series X and Xbox One, plus PC, Android, and iOS. It remembers multiple devices so that switching is easy to do.

One interesting nod to modern times is the Share button. With it, gamers can easily grab screenshots or record videos to share with others.

The Headset

The console does not come with a headset. However, multiple manufacturers are already claiming their headsets will be compatible with the Xbox Series S.

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