Welcome to Gaming Expert’s official Xbox One S review. Even though Microsoft has introduced two consoles with similar designs and displays (Xbox One S and Ons X), Xbox One S is still the most appealing and versatile gaming console that we have ever come across. Besides, the console is listed as one of the best gaming consoles on our list.
What is the Xbox One S?
Released in 2013, the Xbox One was then upgraded to a new Version called Xbox One S. The console may look like Xbox One, but don’t be fooled by its similar design; it is much more than that. This is far better in specs, prettier in design, and improved performance than its previous versions. Besides, with features like 4K and HDR, you can now observe an obvious difference in the graphics of videos and gaming.
Though it lacks features such as a high power boost, it still is the most promising and appealing console that offers the best UHD Blu-ray player at an affordable price. The good thing about Xbox One S and One X is that both consoles offer 4K Blue-rays, which is really a big advantage for those who play games and stream UDH movies on their consoles.
Xbox One S
A major shift has been seen in the design of One S with an improved look. Its first look is actually a console with a compact design that is nearly 40% slimmer than the previous designs. But it is a little bit bulkier than PS4, which is probably due to its additional features.
The good thing is that you don’t need additional space for the power supply as the power supply has now been integrated with the console. This will help you to squeeze the space and let other gadgets manage properly.
Want to enjoy a trouble-free gaming experience? Have a look at the Xbox Game Pass Review.
The design has been improved a lot: the grilles have been changed to a new pinhole design, and the shiny black color has been changed to a new eye-catching matte-white and black color.
The touch-enabled power button has been changed to the traditional physical button. The reason to revert to the previous button is to avoid accidental clicks. On its front side, you will notice, formerly hidden controller-pairing button and a USB port.
The controller looks amazing as it is a brilliant blend of Xbox One Elite’s controller and Xbox One pad. While it is more comfortable and ergonomic than other controllers, it feels superb due to its textured grip.
The grip gives an extra advantage when you are on the battlefield and need high precision and accuracy. This is where you will love the controllers as there will be a little chance of dying when you are in danger and need a quick response from your controllers. I was surprised by its response while playing Forza Horizon 4, especially when I was about to crash my vehicle.
The thumbsticks are built with durable material that can endure multiple strikes. The controller takes a little power and needs rechargeable AA batteries to work. Sadly, the batteries don’t last longer than expected, and you will have to plug in the controllers frequently. However, the good thing is that now Microsoft offers Bluetooth features to the controllers.
In terms of specifications and connectivity options, the Xbox One S comes with similar specs as the Xbox One. Equipped with HDMI 2.0 input and Output ports, IR out, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, and an optical audio output.
Previously, the HDMI was kept at a 1.4a version that gave a 4K display at a 30Hz refresh rate. On the other hand, the HDMI 2.4 is much improved and offers a 4K display at a 60Hz refresh rate, which is really a big deal. It means you will be able to watch TV shows at a double refresh rate and sharp images with better resolution.
In both Xbox One S and One X, the extinct Kinect ports have been removed. In contrast, the IR blaster port has been installed, which is the perfect addition to enhance the multimedia capabilities of One S. The feature helps to turn on the IR enabled multimedia devices like TV and amplifiers by using an IR blaster.
Xbox One S – Specifications
As far as storage capacity is concerned, the Xbox One S is much better than One X, PS4 Pro, and Nintendo Switch. The console comes with a whopping 2TB storage capacity which means you will be able to store nearly 50 AAA high-quality games that take 40GB – 50GB space. However, it comes at a higher price tag than other options of low storage capacity like 500Gb or 1TB, which are available at an affordable price. See High-speed NVMe SSDs for Gaming.
Similarly, the One S is equipped with 8GB DDR3 RAM, Radeon GPU with 1.23 Tflops, eight-core AMD CPU that can be clocked at 1.75GHz. This is where One S lags behind One X, which offers 12GB DDR5 RAM, 2.3 GHz eight-core CPU, and 1.172 GHz GPU.
The GPU frequency of One S has been improved from 853MHz to 914MHz, but it is still less than the 1.172 GHz frequency of One X. The increase in GPU frequency helps you increase the HDR performance. The much improved HDR than previous versions lets you see a big difference in colors and contrast ratio. The Forza Horizon 4 that we played on it gave an amazing performance.
See The Best RTX 2060 graphics cards for the next level of gaming.
Xbox One S Features
The console automatically detects a 4K TV, which means while booting the One S for the first time, the system will ask to configure the 4K display. These one-time settings will then notify you if the 4K TV is connected.
The next question arises whether your 4K TV is compatible with HDR10 video and a refresh rate of 30Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz, or 144Hz. If it is exactly at 60Hz, the console will offer the best video and gaming performance with sharp images and better colors variation. On the other, there will be less difference on monitors with low refresh rates.
The good thing is that you can enjoy playing games on a 4K display. The display is not exactly the 4K as the console can play only FHD 1080p. It, however, upscales the native gaming display up to fours times that feels like a 4K display.
Upscaling not only enhances pixels to make sharper images but also improves edges and removes blurs that further enhances the overall image performance. Besides, you can let the 4K TV automatically upscale the 1080p feed, which was quite an amazing experience when we tried it.
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If you have a decent 4K TV, plug in the One S console, and you will be impressed to see the noticeable difference in display. So, what more do you want from a console? However, the difference between the performance of the gaming display of Xbox One S and Xbox One is not noticeable unless you stream UHD video output on One S, which is where it outperforms.
UHD Blu-ray player
As far as the Blu-ray player is concerned, the Xbox One S is superb. While comparing the two best UHD Blu-ray players Panasonic DMP-UB900 and Samsung UBD-K8500, in which each player costs nearly $500, the Xbox One S is really a blessing in disguise. So, instead of buying a separate UHD Blu-ray player, you can satisfactorily rely on this affordable option that costs just $350.
Not only is the price comparatively better than other UHD Blu-ray players, but the performance is also appreciable in every aspect. Looking at the load time, you will be thrilled to see the nice quality pictures, with maximum clarity and rich details produced by One S.
In addition, the console offers a higher dynamic range. That is to say; you will experience the best color distribution, optimum brightness, and contrast ratio while playing videos or movies using the UHD Blu-ray player. These differences would be enough to make the home-cinema picture quality.
Sadly, the 4K Blu-ray player of Xbox One S lacks support for Dolby Atmos audio. This is a bigger downside for those who want to connect their home theater audio to the One S. The good thing is that the One X supports this feature. So, If you urgently need this feature, you may go for Xbox One X rather than opting for One S. Overall, the UHD Blu-ray player is the finest addition to the console.
Is Xbox One S worth the money?
If you do not have the original Xbox One, I bet the One S is a far better option for you to choose from. The features are amazing, and performance is extraordinary, and the design is impressive. This is where Xbox One S excels. Like the new model Xbox One X, this model is a futuristic console that delivers for what it promises. HDR gaming, 4K upscaled display, and UHD Blu-ray player is features that make the Xbox One S the worth buying console.
While comparing One S with its competitor PS4 Pro, the former is at a clear advantage due to its UHD Blu-ray player. Now it is your personal preference of what you go for. From my point of view, the One S is the best gaming console available in the market that you can buy.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
Of the best products developed by Microsoft, the Xbox One S is the most prominent one that delivers outstanding gaming performance and amazing design. Though it was released three years ago, it still is the master of all the gaming consoles available in the market.
The Xbox One S is really worth buying a console that offers everything that a console lover would love. With a nice design, excellent gaming performance, and the best features, it is really an impressive console available in the market.