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Xbox Series S vs Xbox Series X: What’s the difference?

Microsoft is launching two next-generation video game consoles this fall

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Microsoft has finally confirmed it will be launching two new game consoles this holiday season, having announced the Xbox Series S.

To be sold alongside the Xbox Series X, the S is a smaller and more affordable alternative, but which is still capable of playing next-generation games.

Scroll down to see how the specs of the Series X and Series S compare.

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Sony is also taking a two-pronged approach this fall, launching two versions of its new PlayStation 5 before the end of the year. But where there are set to be distinct differences between the two Xboxes, the only difference expected between the two versions of PlayStation is that one has a disc drive and one does not.

Pre-order Xbox Series X at Best Buy

What's the difference between the Xbox Series S and Series X?

Design-wise, the Series X is noticeably smaller than the Series X. Although we don't know its exact measurements yet, it is slimmer and not as tall as the X, and is described as the "smallest Xbox ever". And, while Microsoft's promotional image shows it stood up on its side, the Xbox logo suggests it is more likely to be laid flat like a set-top box. In that orientation, it looks to be just a couple of inches all.

Also to note is the S's lack of disc drive. Echoing Sony with the digital version of the PS5, the Xbox Series S will rely entirely on downloading games and other media. The images published so far show a single USB port on the front, next to a button for pairing wireless controllers.

Ray-tracing is claimed to be supported by both consoles, but while the X can play games at 2160p resolution (better known as 4K), the S will run at the lower 1440p resolution. Frame rate is 60fps, with the potential for 120fps gaming in the future.

That said, Microsoft promises the Series S will deliver "next gen performance", so playing future games will be just fine. We imagine the console will have less graphical performance than the X, while still being a marked improvement on the current-generation Xbox One X.

Here is how the specifications compare:

Xbox Series XXbox Series S
Price$499$299
Dimensions151 x 151 x 301mm (5.94 x 5.94 x 11.85in)TBC, but 60 percent smaller than Series X
CPUCustom AMD Zen2, 8-core, 3.8GHzCustom, AMD Zen 2, 8-core, 3.6GHz
GPUCustom RDNA 2, 12.15 teraflop, 52 CU at 1.825GHzCustom EDNA 2, 4 teraflop, 20 CU at 1.565 GHz
RAM16GB10GB
Internal storage1TB SSD512GB SSD
External storage1TB expansion card, USB hard drive support1TB expansion card, USB hard drive support
Resolution4K at 60 fps1440p at 60 fps
Disc drive4K UHD Blu-rayNone

We expect both consoles to work with the same range of controllers and accessories, and for the S to run the same media applications as the X. This will mean the ability to play 4K movies and TV shows, with catering for HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Another key difference will be the price. Microsoft revealed on September 8 that the Series S will cost $299 (£249 in the UK), which is a whole $200 less than the Series X ($499 / £449), and likely much cheaper than both versions of PlayStation 5. For us, this is an aggressive price that will likely see Microsoft undercut even the cheaper of the two PS5 consoles, and give more consumers access to next-generation gaming.

Both versions of Xbox are available to pre-order from September 22 and are available from November 10.

Pre-order Xbox Series S at Best Buy

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