Is Xbox Series S worth it in 2022?

The Xbox Series X is now widely available, but what if you don’t feel like dropping $500 / £450 on a new console right now? That’s where the Xbox Series S price comes in. At just $299 / £249, the slimmed down version of Microsoft’s latest console certainly offers a compelling budget argument. After all, if you’re just looking to make the most of a Game Pass subscription for as little as possible, do you really need all the bells and whistles of the top dog? 

We would suggest not. Unless you’re keen to match your console with one of the best gaming TVs, or you’re after the best performance possible in 2022, the Xbox Series S will suit you just fine and won’t break the bank. To make sure you’re not missing out on anything integral to your experience, though, we’re taking you through exactly who should be shelling out for the main event, and who can get away with spending just $300 on their next console.

What do you lose when you buy Xbox Series S?

Of course, you’re spending around $200 less when you buy an Xbox Series S, so there are some sacrifices you’ll make:

  • No 4K resolution for gameplay
  • No disc drive
  • Less internal storage
  • 4 teraflops processing power compared to Series X’s 12
  • Less RAM

In practice, these features won’t make themselves known if you’ve never had your hands on an Xbox Series X. You won’t be juddering through the latest releases, and you won’t experience significantly longer load times. However, because the Xbox Series S can’t output at 4K resolution, your games won’t look quite as crisp. That’s not too large a pill to swallow if you don’t have a 4K TV, of course, but if you have invested in a high quality TV for Xbox Series X, it might be worth holding out a little longer and investing in the main console. 

That said, considering it’s the cheapest full console on the market right now (Nintendo Switch Standard and Nintendo Switch Lite aside), there’s still a notable performance boost in an Xbox Series S over an old Xbox One. You’re still getting DirectX raytracing, up to 120fps, and an 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor at 3.6GHz. If you’re dipping in and out of Xbox Game Pass titles on the weekends, you really don’t need much more than that in 2022. 

There is one more caveat to explore, though; the disc drive. You’ll be limited to digital experiences with the Xbox Series S. Unlike the PS5 Digital Edition, though, that’s not such a heavy blow. Game Pass offers such a compelling package by itself, that it’s easy to see a future where you won’t be buying games at all. With new Microsoft releases hitting Game Pass from day one, and a huge library ready to fill your backlog, there’s plenty packed into this subscription to keep you from reaching for a physical game. However, if you do have a physical Xbox One collection, you won’t be able to keep playing on your new console. 

You’ll find the full Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S breakdown below.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S

Xbox Series X

  • 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor at 3.8GHz
  • 12 teraflops processing power
  • 1TB SSD
  • 16GB RAM
  • 4K resolution
  • Up to 120fps
  • 4K UHD disc drive
  • Variable refresh rate
  • DirectX raytracing
  • Dolby TrueHD with Atmos
  • HDMI 2.1
  • 15.1 x 15.1 x 30.1cm

Xbox Series S

  • 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor at 3.6GHz
  • 4 teraflops processing power
  • 512GB SSD
  • 10GB RAM
  • 1440p resolution
  • Up to 120fps
  • No disc drive
  • Variable refresh rate
  • DirectX raytracing
  • Dolby TrueHD with Atmos
  • HDMI 2.1
  • 6.5 x 15.1 x 27.5cm 

Is Xbox Series S worth it in 2022?

So, is that $299 / £249 price actually worth it once you’ve dropped all the flashy features of the premium model? In certain situations, yes – the Xbox Series S is absolutely worth it in 2022. The ideal candidate for the cheaper console is someone who doesn’t have a 4K TV, wants to save cash by playing through Xbox Game Pass, doesn’t have too much space to spare, and doesn’t need super-fast processing speeds. Because of its 120fps capabilities, HDMI 2.1, and DirectX raytracing, the Xbox Series S is better value for money than the now-defunct Xbox One (assuming you can even get your hands on one), and will still give the latest releases a nice shine as well. 

The Xbox Series S will play all the same games as the Xbox Series X, they just might not look as glossy. If you’re up against a strict budget, though, there’s far more power in this tiny device than you might think at first glance. 

It’s also worth noting that we see far more discounts on the cheaper model, thanks to its historic reliability on the shelves. Xbox Series X deals could start appearing now that stock is more steady, but we wouldn’t expect the first price cuts for months yet. 

Who should buy Xbox Series X? 

If you’ve invested in a top of the range TV, you need a slot for all your old Xbox One games, and you want the best performance possible in 2022, you’ll have to shell out for the Xbox Series X. The Series S offers a strong bang-for-buck value, but it can’t compete with its fully fledged sibling in raw power. What’s more, Xbox Series X stock is far more readily available these days, so you’ll be able to find a console much more easily. 

For more shopping-savvy inspiration, check out our guide to the best Xbox One accessories (hint: they’re much cheaper and still work with both current-generation consoles). Or, if you’re using some of that saved cash for an ultra setup, take a look at the best Xbox Series X accessories and the best Xbox Series X headsets to boot. 

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