Is Xbox Series S a good one?

Is Xbox Series S a good one?

For the first time in its history in the world of consoles, Microsoft entered the market with two substantially different versions of their next-generation gaming machines. In recent weeks we have already spoken and discussed extensively about the new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, two consoles intended for an audience with different needs and budgets. On the one hand we have the most powerful console in the world, capable of offering uncompromising performance in a compact and elegant design. Xbox Series S on the other hand undoubtedly offers the best quality / price ratio to enter this new generation of consoles. The difference in cost is substantial, in fact the price of the younger sister is almost halved. What we asked ourselves is in fact: can the Xbox Series S offer a satisfying experience, despite its shortcomings compared to Series X? A question to which we will try to answer today, analyzing whether the absence of the optical reader, the decidedly lower power and a rather limited internal memory still manage to satisfy us. Is the Xbox Series S therefore a good compromise for those who want to approach the new generation of consoles, without spending too much?

Lack of reader

The first sacrifice that Microsoft had to make to offer such a low price is the elimination of the optical reader. This means that on Xbox Series S you have to download all games digitally. Often the convenience with which we insert a disc, wait a few minutes for the data to be copied and start the game just purchased is truly unparalleled. However, it must be emphasized that even digital has its advantages, especially when it comes to the Xbox ecosystem. Of course, if you don't have a good internet connection, downloading games could be quite annoying, but if you have a decent fiber line, you will undoubtedly begin to enhance this video game system. As mentioned earlier, the Xbox ecosystem reaches its peak with the use of the Game Pass, a subscription service with a catalog of numerous games available at a fixed monthly price.

Subscribing to the Game Pass will give you numerous titles to play, spending a very minimal amount to access the catalog. A real workhorse for promoting Microsoft gaming machines. Precisely for this reason, the absence of the optical reader on the Xbox Series S easily fades into the background. Even the owners of its older sister probably won't take advantage of the games on disc as much, thanks to the Game Pass. The titles not available in the catalog of the service can be safely purchased separately, through the official store installed directly in the console. The absence of the player on the Xbox Series S is really easy to forget, especially thanks to the Game Pass and the excellent discounts available on the digital store. Having all the titles available within the console also allows us to take full advantage of features such as the Quick Resume, without having to first insert the disc into our Xbox. We want to underline, however, that the absence of the reader has precluded the exchange of video games between friends or the sale in the large second-hand market. So if you think these last two points are fundamental, consider the purchase of Xbox Series X.

Limited internal memory?

Having the obligation to own all video games in digital leads us to a another problem: the space available on the console SSD. Xbox Series S has a 500GB internal drive on paper, but only 364GB is actually available. The rest of the space is occupied by the operating system and is used to be able to adopt functions such as the Quick Resume. The amount of internal memory may seem very small, but in reality it is able to host several video games without too much difficulty. Microsoft is doing a great job of optimizing the space between the two new generation machines. On Xbox Series X, games have a greater weight due to textures and other high-resolution assets. Its younger sister, supporting 1440p only, does not need these elements, so the weight of video games is less. For example, Sea Of Thieves takes up less than half the space it would occupy on Xbox Series X, more precisely 17 GB instead of 47. Similarly, Gears Of War 5 also requires less space on Series S with only 39 GB instead of the 64 required on Series X.

Confident of the optimization brought by Microsoft, we started downloading some video games on our Xbox Series S to see how many titles it can hold up inside. In particular we downloaded the recent exclusive The Medium (23 GB), Assassin's Creed Valhalla (50 GB), the fast-paced shooter Doom Eternal (40 GB), a racing title like Forza Horizon 4 (71 GB), Sea Of Thieves to play with friends (17 GB), two indie games such as Hollow Knight (3.5 GB) and Ori And The Will Of The Wisps (10 GB), Jedi: Fallen Order from the Star Wars universe (43 GB) and finally the hugely popular Cyberpunk 2077 (75 GB). Doing a quick calculation we took up around 332 GB of memory in our console, thus still having 32 GB available for some other games. The list of titles you download is quite large and above all varied. We have specifically chosen video games of all genres to have a diverse library in our console, ideal for both short sessions of games like Hollow Knight, or long games of Cyberpunk 2077. Many of these games are available directly on the Game Pass, so they can be downloaded. by everyone simply by subscribing to the service. In short, the space inside the console is largely sufficient. We also remind you that it is possible to expand it with the purchase of official memories sold directly by Microsoft, or through a classic external hard drive on which to copy the games.

Power, the real weak point?

Up to now we have seen how both the absence of the optical reader and the internal memory of only 364 GB are not actually a problem for the Xbox Series S. Microsoft has therefore found a good compromise from this point of view, however proposing a valid alternative to your Xbox Series X. Now, however, we come to the last point of this analysis: the computing power. On this front, the Redmond company had to sacrifice a little more to maintain that attractive price of the console. On paper, in pure terms of teraflops, Xbox Series S is even less powerful than Xbox One X. As we know, however, the different architecture used for the chip cannot be compared to that of the last generation, so the teraflops in this case are not they help us a lot. Xbox Series S, however, shares the same architecture with its older sister, which has 12.15 TFLOPS against only 4 TFLOPS of the other. The difference is therefore substantial, but let's try to understand how this additional power is actually exploited.

The goal of the Xbox Series X is to play video games in 4K at 60 frames per second (in some cases even 120 FPS ). This resolution requires a huge computational effort to be able to generate the necessary frames at 4K resolution. Much of the power of the Xbox Series X is then used precisely to maintain this frame rate at this resolution. Xbox Series S instead points to 1440p and in many cases directly to the classic 1080p, where resolution is no longer a problem for the computing unit. However, it remains a console with a rather limited power, which already at the beginning of the generation cannot guarantee solid performance for next-gen titles. From the Xbox Series S we were expecting at least a solid 1080p resolution with a fixed 60 frames per second, but sadly the console seems to struggle with this video output as well. For example Assassin's Creed Valhalla plays at 1080p at 30 frames per second. Overall, the game is more than enjoyable, especially having always been used to having this frame rate on consoles. Having these "difficulties" already at the beginning of the generation, we are worried about what might happen in the future, when the heavier next-gen games arrive. The console could struggle to maintain even a solid 1080p, creating headaches for developers who will be forced to support it. Of course, for the average user who does not consider these details and technicalities, this problem could easily take a back seat. The question, however, arises at this point: how long will a console with this rather limited power still be supported? Only time will tell us, for the moment Xbox Series S remains an excellent compromise between quality and price, truly unbeatable in the whole market. It's a pity that Microsoft didn't think of a Series X version without a reader and with a less capacious SSD, a bit like Sony did with the Playstation 5 Digital Edition. In this way, perhaps she would have been able to bring a console from 350-400 € to the market, without having to sacrifice the computing power, the real sore point of the Xbox Series S.

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