Xbox Series S vs Series X: What are the major differences?

By Aaron Potter | | 1652 |

Much like how Sony is handling the launch of PlayStation 5, Microsoft will similarly be launching two SKUs of its next-gen consoles later this year. We’d already known about the Xbox Series X’s existence since December of last year, but now after several leaks and rampant rumours, the discless, entry-level version of the 2020 console is confirmed to be the Xbox Series S. But what are the major differences between them?

This upcoming generation will mark the first time that both Sony and Microsoft have launched two different versions of the same console line right out of the gate. The result, unfortunately, is that it gets more confusing for consumers to figure out which box does what – but that’s where this guide comes in. Here we’ll be breaking down all the main distinctions in the inevitable Xbox Series S vs Series X debate. If you’re wondering which Xbox to pick up this holiday, we got you covered.

Wondering whether the Xbox Series S or Series X is better for you? We break it down in this vid:

Xbox Series S vs Series X: Release date

Following months of speculation and rampant amounts of misinformation, Microsoft finally has confirmed that both the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X will simultaneously launch worldwide on November 10th, 2020. This puts it roughly a week ahead of when the original Xbox One console released. As of right now, pre-orders aren’t currently live. However, pre-orders for both of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles will go live at a range of UK retailers on September 22nd, 2020.

Xbox Series S vs Series X: Appearance

In terms of how the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X look, players will be pleased to know that both consoles look dramatically differently from one another. Whereas the Xbox Series X is quite clearly designed to be stood upright with a venting fan on the top, the newly revealed Xbox Series S has an aesthetic that appears best when laid vertically. However, to compensate for the necessary heat extraction, the Xbox Series S features a vent that looks like a big black circle. You can’t miss it.

Another obvious way to tell the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X apart aesthetically is imply by their colour. You see, while it used to be commonplace for the same console SKUs to boast different colour options, Microsoft is retaining a pure white colour for the Series S and a bold black tone for the Xbox Series X. It’s not unfair to say that telling the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X apart is far easier than doing the same with PlayStation 5’s two new SKUs. Finally, it’s worth remembering that Xbox Series S doesn’t include a traditional disc drive, so purchasing this means going digital only.

Xbox Series S vs Series X: Tech specs

Arguably the biggest way Xbox Series S and Series X are different from one another refers to the kind of hardware either console is packing. The latter is again being touted by Microsoft as “the world’s most powerful console” handing off from the Xbox One X. The Xbox Series S, meanwhile, has been specifically designed with entry-level players in mind, not being able to achieve 120fps but still rendering games at a solid framerate and resolution.

Specs Xbox Series S Xbox Series X
Power 4 teraflops 12 teraflops
SSD Storage 512GB 1TB
Max resolution Upscaled 4K 8K
Backwards Compatible Yes Yes
Ray Tracing Yes Yes
Disc Drive No Yes

Xbox Series S vs Series X: Games

Here’s where things get less complicated. Right now, as it stands, Microsoft is on record as stating that there will be no separation between the Series S and Series X’s player base. What this ostensibly means is that all Xbox games will across both consoles – there will be no exclusive game for either console. At least for now. Bette yet, Microsoft is going one better in ensuring that the Xbox eco-system stays connected, making every Xbox One game also playable on the Series line of consoles via forwards compatibility.

Much has been said following Halo Infinite’s delay into 2021 about there being no Xbox Series X/S games to play at launch, when the truth is that if you have a Game Pass subscription you have hundreds of titles available to you immediately. Until then, the following is a list of confirmed Xbox Series X/S exclusives coming soon:

  • Halo Infinite
  • Forza Motorsport
  • Psychonauts 2
  • Tetris Effect: Connected
  • Hellbalde II: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Scorn

Xbox Series S vs Series X: Price

Because the Xbox Series S is a significantly less powerful console when compared to the Xbox Series X, it shouldn’t be a surprise to know that both will be launching at a major price difference. Here in the UK the Xbox Series S has been confirmed to be arriving on store shelves this November at an RRP of £249. This is an amazing price point considering the console’s SSD and ray-tracing capabilities.

The day after the Xbox Series S was revealed, despite knowing about the Xbox Series X’s existence much longer than its much trimmer sibling, we finally learned the official price for Microsoft’s premier next-gen box. Leaks, rumours and industry analyst predictions originally placed it at around the $499.99 mark, which here in the UK should work out to be something like £459. Well, it turns out that these bold predictions were right, as that’s exactly the price that the Series X will launch at on November 10th.