Why The Xbox Series S is Worth Your Time (and Money)

The budget version of the Xbox console might surprise you

Key Takeaways

  • The Xbox Series S is a little less powerful, but still pretty great.
  • It's a digital-only affair with no disc drive.
  • Xbox All-Access makes it a very affordable way to upgrade. 
The Xbox Series S

The idea of a budget games console sounds off-putting. Maybe it's the use of the word budget or merely the idea of a cut-down gaming experience, but I'm guessing that's why some people were wary of the news about the Xbox Series S which launches alongside the Xbox Series X in November. In reality, the Xbox Series S will be a fantastic way to enjoy next-generation gaming for less. 

Keenly priced at $299 and part of Xbox All-Access to make it even better value (we'll get to that), the Xbox Series S might be a smaller and more modest version of the Xbox Series X, but it should still delight many. 

How Is the Xbox Series S More Budget-Friendly?

Microsoft has divided up the latest Xbox console into two models: the Xbox Series S and the Xbox Series X. It did this before with the previous Xbox One, which was available in both Xbox One S or X flavors. The difference here is that both consoles are launching at the same time. That's created a little apprehension. While the Xbox One X feels like the premium version of the Xbox One S, launching the Xbox Series S at the same time feels like you're getting the pauper's version, right? We get that but no, you're not. 

Instead, you're getting a far more stylish version of the Xbox Series because the Series S is the smallest Xbox ever. Super-sleek looking, you won't struggle to fit it into your living room setup like you will with the overly bulky Xbox Series X. The smaller form comes at a price —the Xbox Series S is less powerful—but it's a reasonably small price.

The Xbox Series S
Microsoft 

To get into the complicated details, the Xbox Series S offers a third of the number of teraflops (TFLOP) that the Xbox Series X offers with its graphics card. To put that into perspective, that's slightly fewer TFLOPs than the Xbox One X but nearly four times as many as the original Xbox One. It also offers less RAM, which could mean the much anticipated Quick Resume feature may work slightly less efficiently, but there's no confirmation of that yet. 

Ultimately though, the significant factor that may make the decision for you is the lack of a disc drive. Yup, the Xbox Series S is a digital-only affair. If you're like me and hate swapping discs around a lot, that won't be an issue, but if you're keen to play older disc-based games, this could be a problem. Only you can decide here. Still, you are saving $200 on the usual option. 

So, Why Would You Want an Xbox Series S?

Simply put, you get to enjoy a next-generation console for a whole lot less. You'll still get to play the latest Xbox games, enjoy the benefits of being able to switch between multiple games seamlessly using Quick Resume, and then there's Xbox Game Pass. The subscription service means you won't have to budget for buying as many games as past generations because it works like Netflix, offering you a near-endless supply of titles to choose from, reminding you that a digital-only future is actually pretty great. 

The Xbox Series S looks better than the Xbox Series X anyhow, so you get the best looking system, too. 

The Xbox Series S Is Even Cheaper if You Want It To Be

The Xbox Series S is reasonably well priced at $299, but that's still a big chunk of change. Fortunately, you can join Xbox All-Access and get the console, plus 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, all for $24.99 per month.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate ordinarily costs $14.99 per month, so for an extra $10 each month, you get a whole new games console to enjoy for many years to come. It's a great deal and a smart way of making gaming more accessible to the majority of us who can't just spend hundreds of dollars on a new piece of tech. 

The only real downside we can see is that it's convenient to have a disc drive, especially if you really want to watch 4K Blu-rays, and the omission of one does mean you're going to be restricted to prices on the Microsoft Store. 

Still, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get into next-generation gaming, or if you’re just starting out in gaming altogether, the Xbox Series S is definitely the way to go.