How to Pick the Best Xbox One Console For You

Choose between Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X

If you want to buy an Xbox One console, you can choose between the original model, the Xbox One S, and the Xbox One X. We tested each system to help you choose the best Xbox One model for you.

Xbox One vs. Xbox One S vs. Xbox One X

The Xbox One X is the most recent revision of the Xbox One console. So, if you want to game on the latest and greatest system available, your choice is easy. However, the older models can be found used for cheaper and provide most of the same features.

All three Xbox consoles play the same games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 games. Still, there some significant technical differences between the systems. Every version of the Xbox One plays regular Blu-ray movies, but all can't handle ultra high-definition (UHD) Blu-ray or true 4K resolution.

Here are the four key differences between the Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X.

Model 4K Resolution Regular Blu-ray UHD Blu-ray Plays Enhanced Games
Xbox One No, doesn't play Blu-ray or games in 4K. Yes, plays regular Blu-ray movies. No, doesn't play UHD Blu-ray. Yes, but without enhancements.
Xbox One S Yes, but games are upscaled to 4K. Yes, plays regular Blu-ray movies. Yes, plays UHD Blu-ray in 4K. Yes, but without enhancements.
Xbox One  Yes, plays games in 4K when available. Yes, plays regular Blu-ray movies. Yes, plays UHD Blu-ray in 4K. Yes, with full enhancements.

The Best Xbox Console: Xbox One X

The Xbox One X console and controller
What We Like
  • Four times more powerful than the original Xbox One.

  • Improved graphics and gameplay for select titles (look for games with 4K Ultra HD, HDR, or Xbox One X Enhanced badges).

  • Select Xbox 360 games, including Halo 3 and Fallout 3, receive graphical enhancements when played on an Xbox One X.

  • Comes with the same improved controller that was included with the Xbox One S.

  • Smaller than the Xbox One S.

  • Watch 4K videos in the YouTube app.

What We Don't Like
  • More expensive than the earlier versions of the hardware.

  • Requires a 4K television with high dynamic range (HDR) to see graphical improvements.

  • No Xbox Kinect port included, so you need an adapter to play Kinect games.

Released: November 2017
Display Resolution: 720p, 1080p, 4K
Kinect Port: No, requires an adapter

The Xbox One X is technically an Xbox One, and it plays the entire library of Xbox One games. However, the hardware inside the case is more powerful than either the Xbox One or the Xbox One S.

The biggest difference between the Xbox One X and its predecessors is that it can output Blu-ray movies and games in true 4K. That said, you'll need a 4K TV that supports high dynamic range (HDR) to take advantage of these features. Buy the Xbox One X if you want the best graphics, flawless frame rates, and improved game performance.

The Mid-Shelf Model: Xbox One S

The Xbox One S console and controller
What We Like
  • Plays the same games as the Xbox One, including games with Xbox One X enhancements (only without the enhancements).

  • Less expensive than the Xbox One X.

  • Upscales games to 4K.

  • Includes a built-in UHD Blu-ray drive.

  • Has an improved version of the Xbox One controller.

  • Smaller than the Xbox One and slightly bigger than the Xbox One X.

What We Don't Like
  • Microsoft nixed the Kinect port, so you need an adapter to use a Kinect with the Xbox One S.

  • Since the Xbox One S upscales to 4K from 1080p, game graphics don't look as sharp as they do on the Xbox One X.

  • Some games run slower than they would on an Xbox One X.

Released: August 2016
Display Resolution: 720p, 1080p, 4K (upscaled)
Kinect Port: No, requires an adapter

The Xbox One S was released almost three years after the original Xbox One, and it includes several improvements. The bulky external power supply was removed, the overall size of the console was reduced, and support for 4K video output was included.

The major downside of the Xbox One S compared to the Xbox One X is that it doesn't support true 4K gaming. While it supports all original Xbox One accessories, Microsoft removed the Kinect port from the Xbox One S. You need an adapter to play Kinect games. This version of the hardware is also smaller than the original, so it's good if you have limited space.

The Original Model: Xbox One

What We Like
  • Plays the same games as the Xbox One X and Xbox One S.

  • Less expensive than newer versions, especially if you buy a used or refurbished unit.

  • Compatible with the improved Xbox One S controller.

  • It's the only version of the console that has a dedicated Kinect port.

What We Don't Like
  • Some games look worse or run slower than they would on an Xbox One S or Xbox One X.

  • The drive included with the Xbox One can't read UHD Blu-ray discs.

  • The original Xbox One can't output 4K video.

  • The Xbox One is bigger and takes up more space than the newer versions due to the bulky external power supply.

Released: November 2013
Display Resolution: 720p, 1080p
Kinect Port: Yes, no adapter required
Manufacturing Status: No longer being made. The original Xbox One was discontinued when the Xbox One S was released.

The original Xbox One is tough to find these days if you're looking for a new unit. However, getting your hands on a used or refurbished one is easier.

The main benefit of the original Xbox One over its newer siblings is that it's cheaper. If you have a tight budget, and you want to play the entire Xbox One library of games (including Xbox Game Pass), the original model is perfect.