Yes, the Xbox Series S Is Worth Buying

But there are compromises

Key Takeaways

  • Despite not being as powerful as the Xbox Series X, the Xbox Series S is more than capable of getting you into next-gen gaming.
  • Support for 1440P resolution and 120FPS means more fluid and graphically detailed gameplay, without spending too much money.
  • The Xbox Series S is perfect for those who want a taste of next-gen, but don’t care about having the full, expensive package.
Closeup of an Xbox controller.

Kamil S / Unsplash

I’ve had the Xbox Series S for over six months now, and it’s still one of the best next-gen consoles you can buy—despite the compromises made to make it more affordable.

When Microsoft unveiled the Xbox Series S and the more expensive Series X, lots of comparisons started to jump around. Where the Series X promised 4K gaming at high refresh rates and cost $500 to pick up, the Series S was much more affordable at just $299. Of course, there were some sacrifices made to hit that lower price point. Even with those compromises, though, the Xbox Series S is one of—if not the—best next-gen console for the everyday person.

"The price is one of the biggest benefits of the Series S. Not only is it the cheapest next-gen console, but it also gives you access to Xbox Game Pass, and all that it has available on it," David Wingert, an avid gamer, told Lifewire on a call.

Budget-Friendly

If you’re looking at picking up a new console, it can be easy to overlook the Xbox Series S. After all, for just $299, there have to be some big compromises, right? 

Not entirely. Yes, the price is by far one of the biggest positives that the Series S has going for it. But that doesn’t mean the console can’t handle itself.

Support for 1440P resolution and up to 120 frames-per-second (FPS) can both be found here. The Series S does offer upscaling to 4K, but it won’t hit the native 4K of the more expensive Xbox. Even then, 1440P is a huge upgrade from the 720P and 1080P resolutions of games on last-gen consoles.

White Xbox One console with a white controller leaned against it.

Louis-Philippe Poitras / Unsplash

Also, that support for up to 120FPS means that games can run more fluidly, allowing you to take advantage of higher frame rates, which will be exceptionally useful in games like first-person shooters and other high-action titles.

Games, Games, Games

Another plus for the Xbox Series S is an extremely affordable gateway to Xbox Game Pass. With over 100 games available on Game Pass, Microsoft has created a unique way to experience the best of last-gen and next-gen gaming on an Xbox console.

Not only does Game Pass give you access to Microsoft’s first-party games, but there are also several third-party games that debut on the subscription service at launch. 

There also aren’t any differences between games that are made for Xbox Series X and Series S, so you never have to worry about a newer title not being available on the Series S, so long as it’s available on Xbox. If you just want a way to play newer games with some beefed-up features compared to last-gen consoles, the Xbox Series S is all you need.

Perfectly Okay

There are some negatives, though. While the Series S brings incredible value to the next-gen console lineup, it does come with a few caveats.

First, there isn’t any true 4K gaming. 4K is part of the big push for next-gen gaming and entertainment, and while the Series S can upscale games to 4K, it won’t run them natively.

"The price is one of the biggest benefits of the Series S. Not only is it the cheapest next-gen console, but it also gives you access to Xbox Game Pass, and all that it has available on it."

And support for the console’s 1440P resolution can be limited. Some games like Resident Evil Village have offered excellent support for that resolution, while others have limited the console’s video output to 1080P. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that is still very much under the developer’s control, though that could change in the future.

There’s also the lower amount of storage that comes with the Series S, compared to the X. Where the more expensive console ships with 1TB, the Series S only offers half that. It still brings the same faster load times and the quick resume feature to let you swap through games easily, but you will need to shuffle through your games a bit more.

Defining the Xbox Series S’s worth, honestly, all comes down to what you want out of your next-gen console. If you’re just looking for a way to experience the next-gen without worrying about the full package of goods, then the Series S is the perfect console for the job.

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