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.

Overall Findings

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 not all can handle ultra high-definition (UHD) Blu-ray or true 4K resolution.

Model 4K Resolution Regular Blu-ray UHD Blu-ray
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.
Xbox One S Yes, but games are upscaled to 4K. Yes, plays regular Blu-ray movies. Yes, plays UHD Blu-ray in 4K.
Xbox One X  Yes, plays games in 4K when available. Yes, plays regular Blu-ray movies. Yes, plays UHD Blu-ray in 4K.
The Xbox One X console and controller

Graphics and Performance: Only the Xbox One X Plays Games in 4K With Graphical Enhancements

Model Plays Enhanced Games Frame Rate Refresh Rate
Xbox One Yes, but without enhancements. 60 FPS 60 Hz
Xbox One S Yes, but without enhancements. 60 FPS 120 Hz
Xbox One X  Yes, with full enhancements. 60 FPS 120 Hz

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.

Hardware and Accessories: Xbox One S Sacrifices the Kinect Port for a Slimmer Design

Model Controller Kinect Port Dimensions
Xbox One Xbox One controller Yes 13.1 x 10.8 x 3.1 inches
Xbox One S Xbox One S controller No 11.6 x 8.9 x 2.5 inches
Xbox One X  Xbox One S controller No 11.8 x 9.4 x 2.4 inches

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'll 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.

Price and Availability: The Original Xbox One Is Cheap if You Can Find It

Model Availability Price
Xbox One No longer being made. About $200 used or refurbished.
Xbox One S Still being made in 2021. About $300 new.
Xbox One X  No longer being made. About $369 used or refurbished.

The main benefit of the original Xbox One over its newer models 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.

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

Final Verdict: Get the Xbox One X if You Can Afford It

Since the Xbox One X is four times more powerful than the original Xbox One, it's the preferred choice. It plays the same games while offering improved graphics and gameplay for select titles (look for games with 4K Ultra HD, HDR, or Xbox One X Enhanced badges). Even some Xbox 360 games, including Halo 3 and Fallout 3, receive graphical enhancements when played on an Xbox One X.

An Xbox Kinect port isn't included, so you need an adapter to play Kinect games. The Xbox One S is less expensive than the Xbox One X, but the visual upgrades are worth the extra cost, providing your TV can support them.

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