There are now three Xbox One consoles available to buy, with the Xbox One X joining the Xbox One S on store shelves and giving gamers a lot of choice in the process. But which is the right console for you?
With the original Xbox One now having been discontinued and replaced by the Xbox One S, those who haven’t yet invested in an Xbox One will only have two consoles to choose from when making the jump to Microsoft’s platform. However, for those who currently own an Xbox One and are looking to make the upgrade, it can be tricky to know which console to invest in. Let’s take a look at all three consoles and how they stack up against one another.
Xbox One vs Xbox One S vs Xbox One X
The Xbox One X is touted by Microsoft as being the “first true 4K console,” and it’s difficult to argue against them. While the PS4 Pro is certainly capable of displaying games at a native 4K resolution, Sony’s system mostly relies on checkerboarding to enhance the appearance of its visuals, whereas the Xbox One X is much more capable of running games at 2160p. Its selection of Xbox One X enhanced games continues to grow, and even games that don’t utilize its 4K or HDR capabilities wind up looking much better on the console. I was blown away by how fantastic Star Wars Battlefront 2 looks on the X, and even older games such as Halo 5: Guardians look completely different when running on the new hardware.
On the other hand, the Xbox One S upscales to a 4K resolution and looks mighty pretty while doing so. Though you won’t get the native 4K of the Xbox One X, there’s still a UHD Blu-ray player tucked into the hardware and your Xbox One games will certainly look better while running on the cheaper console, with them able to take advantage of its HDR. However, if you own a 4K TV (especially one with HDR), then the Xbox One X is the ideal console to take advantage of your setup, with its additional power meaning that even when it isn’t hitting those 4K heights, it has a lot less work to do in terms of upscaling.
The Xbox One S boasts a minor boost to its performance over the Xbox One, with a small amount of additional processing power available for developers to take advantage of its HDR capabilities. As such, you can expect your games to load slightly faster on the Xbox One S compared to the Xbox One, though not enough that it’s particularly noticeable when jumping from one console to the other.
On the other hand, the Xbox One X boasts completely renovated hardware that increases the number of games that can run at 60 fps, with patches being distributed for older games in the Xbox One library to allow them to take advantage of its increased power. Although very few games currently offer native 4K at 60 fps on the Xbox One X, the console does provide enhancements to its software across the board, making the difference between the Xbox One X and Xbox One S far more noticeable than the latter’s improvements over the original Xbox One.
There are 34 games capable of HDR currently available, with many more either in development or coming soon, all of which will look notably better when running on the Xbox One S than they do on the Xbox One (assuming you have a 4K TV capable of HDR). However, there are 46 games also capable of running at a 4K resolution, and with the Xbox One X able to utilize both of these enhancements, there’s a broader range of games that the console can help improve.
On the Xbox One X enhanced games page over 70 games are listed, including those that are currently available and those that are either in development or “coming soon.” This features most major new releases such as Call of Duty: WW2, Destiny 2 and Assassin’s Creed Origins, with more games likely to follow in Forza Motorsport 7‘s footsteps by way of offering 4K, HDR and 60 fps on the console. There’s already a plentiful selection of games that receive dramatic improvements by way of the Xbox One X, with more on the horizon.
Though you’re likely more concerned with what’s under the hood when it comes to your consoles, both the Xbox One S boast design improvements over the original Xbox One. As its name suggests, the Xbox One S is 40% smaller than its predecessor, though features the same ventilated roof albeit with a slimmer, pure white design. Despite packing in more power, the Xbox One X manages to be even smaller than the Xbox One S (though only by a fraction), though is given an unremarkable deep charcoal finish.
In terms of looks, the Xbox One S is the more attractive piece of hardware of the three, though unless you’re particularly preoccupied with the look of your technology this shouldn’t factor into your buying decision too much.
Both the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S make use of exactly the same user interface (though the X has a flashier start-up screen featuring a close-up of its processor), with them both also boasting a UHD Blu-ray player and having access to the same 4K-ready apps. The Xbox One X will be able to load 4K content quicker, though the difference between the two consoles when it comes to playing 4K media outside of games is negligible.
How much mileage you get out of the Xbox One X compared to the Xbox One S will be firmly dependent on your setup, and how concerned you are about 4K gaming. The chances are that if you own a 4K HDR TV, you’ll want to own a console that takes full advantage of it, which is where the $499 Xbox One X comes in. However, if you’re not all too concerned about 4K HDR gaming and are just happy to watch 4K Blu-rays and stream in 4K on Netflix, then the Xbox One S should do the job for just $189. If you don’t own a 4K TV and you already own an Xbox, then while both the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X will improve the look and performance of your games, it won’t enough to justify making the upgrade.