Xbox Series Buying Guide – Which Is Right for You?

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Xbox Series Buying Guide

With a selection of different Xbox consoles out in the wild, it’s important to what you’re buying and why. If your child has asked for an Xbox and you don’t know your S from your X, this no-nonsense Xbox Buying Guide will clear up all of the confusion.

One quick note before we dive in, I won’t be mentioning the Xbox One X, purely because it’s since been discontinued and there are vastly better options for the price out there. We’ll also be breaking things down in the easiest to understand way possible. Ain’t no one got time for long-winded tech speak.

Xbox One S

Xbox One S Console

Let’s start with the Xbox One S. This console was released in 2013 and is a smaller version of the original Xbox One (which has also since been discontinued). This console is now considered last-gen, meaning there are now much more powerful Xboxes available.

Technically, the Xbox One S should be the most affordable out of the three we’re focusing on, but resellers have a tendency of upping the price because of shortages, so be sure to check the price to see if you’re paying more for something that isn’t as good as the next options.

Buy The Xbox One S Here

Xbox Series S

Xbox Series S console

Next we have the Xbox Series S console. This is Microsoft’s current-gen console that features the latest cutting-edge tech and retails for around $299.99. The reason for the lower price point when compared with the Xbox Series X (more on that in a bit) is due to the lack of a disc drive.

The Series S console is an all-digital console, meaning you’ll need an Internet connection to be able to download free and paid-for games on it.

There is also a slight power difference between the Series S and Series X. I’ve dropped the specifications at the bottom of the page, but if you’re not a tech-head, it’s easier to see it as the Series S is more powerful than the Xbox One, but not the Series X.

Buy The Xbox Series S Here

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X console

The Xbox Series X is currently the most powerful console on the market and comes with the highest price-tag of the three at $499.99.

While both the Series S and Series X will produce truly beautiful games, the Series X has the edge in both the visual and speed department.

It also, unlike the Series S, features a disc drive so you can play games from a disc as well as via the Internet.

I’m currently using the Series X and the difference in power between that and the old Xbox One is instantly noticeable. Everything from the operating system to games and apps runs noticeably faster, to the point where loading screens come and disappear in a few seconds. It’s wild, and feels truly futuristic.

Buy The Xbox Series X Here

What Games Work On Each Console?

This is where things get a little complex, but bear with us.

The Xbox One and Xbox One S will play select original Xbox, select Xbox 360, and Xbox One games.

The Xbox Series S and Series X will play select original Xbox, select Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series games. As the Series S and Series X are both more powerful, older games from previous consoles will look and play best on the Series S and Series X.

Which Xbox Should You Get?

As someone who gets a lot of usage out of their gaming consoles, I’d say go with the Xbox Series X. It’s the best Xbox out there, and although it’s pricey, if you’re going to use it daily, that’s the best way to get your money’s worth.

That said, not everyone needs to spend $499.99 on a console. If you want a next-gen experience, you’re going to get that with the Series S at a much lower price point. For kids, I’d be more inclined to recommend the Series S, albeit with one caveat. If you got the Series S, that means you won’t be able to take advantage of sales on disc-based games. You’ll always be locked into buying download codes or using the (often more expensive) built-in Xbox store.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s one that’s worth considering.

I would add, however, I don’t think it’s worth picking up an Xbox One S unless you can get a great deal on it. With the Series S doing what the One S can do and more, it’s not worth investing in a console.

The Short Version

The Xbox Series X is more powerful than the Xbox Series S but both are more powerful than the Xbox One S.

Xbox Series X: The choice for people who game often.

Xbox Series S: The budget-friendly option for people game regularly.

Xbox One S: Worth picking up if it’s cheap. Not so much if you can buy either the Series S or Series X.

How Hard Are the Xbox Series S and Series X to Get Hold Of?

In a word, very. Both consoles launched November, 2020, and almost instantly sold out due to their popularity.

The best advice I can give anyone right now is to sign up for Amazon email notifications on the relevant Xbox Series page to get a heads up as to when they’re back in stock. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t check eBay. The prices on there are outrageous and you’d be buying a console without a warranty. Don’t do that.

Best Xbox Series S and Series X Games Out Now

There are a ton of third-party games on to the Xbox Series S and X to get excited about. Below are the games you absolutely need to check out.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S Specs

Xbox Series X Specs

  • CPU: 8-Core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz 3.6GHz w/ SMT Enabled
  • GPU: AMD RDNA 2 GPU 52 CUs @ 1.825GHz
  • GPU Power: 12.15 TFLOPS
  • System on a Chip (SOC): Custom 7nm Enhanced SOC
  • RAM: 16GB GDDR6 RAM – 10GB @ 560 GB/s – 6GB @ 336 GB/s
  • Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
  • Storage: 1TB PCle Gen 4 NVME SSD 2.4GB/sec uncompressed 4.8GB/sec compressed
  • Expandable Storage: 1TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
  • Backward Compatibility: Select Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games, and Xbox One accessories.
  • Disc Drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray
  • Display Out: HDMI 2.1
  • MSRP: $499 USD

Xbox Series S Specs

  • CPU: 8-Core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz 3.4GHz w/ SMT Enabled
  • GPU: AMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUS @ 1.565GHz
  • GPU Power: 4 TFLOPS
  • System on a Chip (SOC): Custom 7nm Enhanced SoC
  • RAM: 10GB GDDR6 RAM – 8GB @ 224GB/s – 2GB @ 56GB/S
  • Performance Target: 1440p @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
  • Storage: 512GB PCle Gen 4 NVME SSD 2.4GB/sec uncompressed 4.8GB/sec compressed
  • Expandable Storage: 1TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
  • Backward Compatibility: Select Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games, and Xbox One accessories.
  • Disc Drive: Digital Only
  • Display Out: HDMI 2.1
  • MSRP: $299 USD
Xbox Series Controllers

Microsoft

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