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Choosing the right gaming console comes down to three things: budget, capabilities, and availability. The first thing to figure out is how much you're comfortable spending. Next, find the console with the best capabilities within that price range, and then determine if it is available -- supply shortages have made popular gaming systems like the PlayStation 5 unavailable for months at a time.
The Xbox Series X and Series S are both currently available, offering different capabilities for significantly different prices.
If you don't want to spend $500 on the Xbox Series X, but still want to choose from hundreds of games, the Series S is more than $250 cheaper than the Series X. (You have the option to pay in monthly installments without the use of a third party like Klarna if you buy an Xbox from Microsoft directly.)
Here are the key reasons why you should choose either a Series X or a Series S over the other.
The Series X has a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive, just like the PS5, so you can watch 4K movies on Blu-ray and download games on disc. If Blu-ray is an integral part of your entertainment experience and you don't want to download all of your games digitally, the Series X is the way to go. The Series S is a smaller, entirely digital version of the Series X, so while it lacks an optical disc drive, you can still stream movies and shows and download games.
2. You want to play games at a higher resolution with a better processor
The Series X displays games in true 4K, while the Series S offers a 1440p gaming experience. The Series X also has a 12-teraflop processor while the Series S only has a third of that, with 4 teraflops. The more than double price tag of the Series X could be worth it if the better resolution and processor are important to you. The frame rate, which determines how smoothly a game runs, is impressive for both consoles: Both the Series S and X have rates of 120 fps. Considering that most video games are developed to hit between 30 fps and 60 fps, both Xbox consoles potentially offer smooth gaming experiences.
3. You want more storage
The height and length of the Series X and Series S are comparable (about 30 x 15 cm), but the S is less than half the width of the X, and half its weight as well. In terms of data, the Series X has 1TB of storage and the Series S has half of that, at 512GB. You can expand the storage of both consoles with a storage expansion card. You can get these separately in amounts of 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB at prices of $110, $200, and $360 respectively.
1. You're comfortable with getting the same games as the Xbox X via the cloud
The Series S lacks the option to play physical game discs, so you're restricted to digital games. However, if you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, you get instant access to the same digital library of more than 100 high-quality games offered on the Series X, with all games, saves, and backups safe in the cloud. You can also livestream and record clips in 4K resolution at 60 fps, and pre-install new games to play instantly when they launch.
2. You want the same audio and video capabilities for less money
Both systems support Dolby Atmos, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Windows Sonic. When it comes to video, the Series S and the Series X support Dolby Vision, auto low-latency mode, and variable refresh rate technology. While the Xbox Series X has up to 8K high dynamic range built in, the Series S requires the additional purchase of an Ultra High Speed HDMI cable to get 8K.
3. You want the same 4K Ultra HD streaming
The Series S gives you the same access to hundreds of streaming apps and services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, with the same 4K Ultra HD video that the Series X offers.