5 Reasons why you should buy the Xbox One S (and a few why you shouldn't)

Xbox One S and Xbox wireless controller
Xbox One S and Xbox wireless controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Xbox One S has been on the market for just a few days, but there are still lots of questions for gamers and fans alike. Mid-stream console updates are always difficult to recommend as upgrades due to the minor improvements they offer.

Since the One S is not positioned as a next-gen console, I figured I would list the top reasons why you should consider getting the One S even if you own the Xbox One. I lay out the significant selling points of the One S and its biggest improvements over the One are in the video below.

However, the One S does not offer that much for people who use a current Xbox One primarily for gaming. Sure, you get slightly faster clock rate, but rigorous tests revealed the performance gains are modest with no perceivable difference in many games. While HDR gaming sounds great, it is also likely more of a bonus feature, rather than a must-have one at this time.

Because of those caveats I also detail four reasons not to buy the One S in a second video.

The conclusion should be obvious: People who game a lot with the current Xbox One should probably hold off, while those who want a 4K movie experience for a good deal should probably get one. Much of that debate, however, comes down to one thing: money.

If money is no object then getting a One S is a natural choice, just do it. It's a great console that looks better than the One, is smaller, and all the improvements make it an excellent experience. I can't imagine anyone hating the One S when compared to the Xbox One unless you are just averse to a white console in your AV center. (If you fall into that camp I'm sure Microsoft will have various 'limited edition' bundles in different colors during the holiday season).

To get a deeper dive into the pros and cons of the new Xbox One S make sure to read my full review.

Has anyone here reconsidered a decision to get – or not get – the Xbox One S? What could have Microsoft done differently to persuade you? Let me know in comments.

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Check out our other articles for more info on the Xbox One Summer Update.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • My Xbox One will have to do for quite a while still :)
    Thanks for the vids Dan :)
  • Cheers!
  • Xbox one S will serve as a replacement if my Xbox dies.
  • Two issues to be resolved: People are making a big deal over missing Atmos support. On another site someone was complaining about it, so I started questioning them. They didn't even know what Atmos is, let alone have the hardware for it. And there are very few titles that support it. I do have the hardware, so it will be needed. I can switch to my Samsung UHD player when watching an Atmos title, but it will be nice to have just one device for all the media. Second - a better remote. Please Microsoft, make a better remote than the one you have now (although, it is better than the one for the Samsung player). I have heard that it will accept any universal remote, so I may try one of those, but it would be nice to have one built for the X1s.
  • I have an atmos enabled receiver. You need a big room to run it right. I have a big room, ten foot ceilings, but it still is not big enough. I had shared the expense I spent on some new loudspeakers last weekend. The dude that came out said I would be better off with 5.1. I was displeased. After purchasing everything, indeed he was correct. Again, I have a large room, so atmos seems best suited for large, deep rooms. Also, the reflective type of speakers that beam sound to the ceiling - nothing beats a proper speaker where it should be - but that takes even more room.
  • Actually, you want the opposite. Atmos runs best with about 8 foot celings. 10 will work, but it is not optimized for that. Vaulted ceilings will not work. I have 4 Klipsch RP280F, the towers that have the Atmos speakers built in. In ceiling speakers are better because you don't need to worry about positioning the speakers so they reflect onto you, but they are good enough. My room is about 20 x 20, and when I turn Atmos off you can tell a difference. It is not a huge, OMG difference, but there is the difference.
  • I am not saying the height is important, which it isn't if you have proper in ceiling speakers - not those cheap Klipsch's you speak of. Because they are reflecting sound, you need the 8" ceilings, else you lose the sound.
  • I will second a better remote.  But, if you have a lot devices, you are better of with a Harmony (http://www.gottabemobile.com/2013/11/30/use-logitech-harmony-remote-xbox...​)
  • Yeah, I think a Harmony is on my list. May feature it here for those who are wondering if it's a good buy if there's interest.
  • Yeah but the latest and greatest Harmony doesn't work with Windows Mobile since there is no app for it. You need the app to use it.
  • I tried a harmony, and I hated it. The problem was that it would turn some devices on while some would not. Everything would be out of sync. Newer systems use HDMI-CEC to control some devices, which will make it worse. For example, sometimes my Samsung KS8000 will turn on my receiver, sometimes not. On my older TV the Harmony remote would try to navigate through a menu of 6 items to select a setting. But the programming for the remote would only do 5 items, it would end up telling the TV to do a firmware update rather than switch inputs. What is really needed is a remote control dongle that you can plug into HDMI-CEC, the remote sends the dongle a command which tells the devices to turn on or off over the wire. Then IR for devices like Tivo that do not use HDMI-CEC.
  • I have a harmony 5 years now (I have the Harmony 900) it controls my xbox one, receiver, shield, set top box, tv, ps3, xbox 360 without a glitch. (I dissabled all HDMI CEC) I have the activities for every need that I have and it works flawless 
  • What's concerning is that Microsoft announced Scorpio so early that unless they stop offering the original One they likely will have issues selling the S unless someone wants to pay more money for the smaller size or 4K TV. Anyone know when commenting in the app in Windows 10 TH2 will be fixed?
  • I don't think so though. The Scorpio will easily be at least $200 more than the S. That is a big deal in buying a game console. People would simply gravitate to the depths of their pockets lol! In short, there will be a console for casual gamers and hard core gamers. Scorpio will not replace the S, it will only complement it.
  • I will replace my current Xbox One with a Scorpio. Not because of 4k gaming - I don't even own a 4k TV - but because I'm hoping for a better overall performance. Not necessarily in games, but all across the dashboard.
  • I got one yesterday. I traded my XB1 at Gamestop with a few games I was no longer playing. I ended up paying just $116 out of pocket. Couldn't be happier. This thing is tiny, sleek, quiet, more powerful, runs much MUCH cooler and it draws considerably less LESS power. The last one alone will help make the money I paid pay for itself during the next year (my family are heavy users). Just really happy all around and I didn't even mention the more obvious features.
  • Yeah, the trade in stuff really makes it a lot easier. $116 is not bad at all for what you're getting. Congrats.
  • Thanks!
  • Thanks!
  • How many games did you have to trade in? (Sorry, I was looking at doing that too, but haven't traded stuff in for awhile)
  • It depends on the game though. I played to death GTAV and got like $27 just for that. Forza Horizon 2 also have me like $25 (getting FH3). That was over $50 right there, and a few others that were not as much but added up nicely. All together between games and the $150 they're giving for the XB1, I got over $300 in credit hence the difference of $116. That included tax. You can go to GameStop's website and see what you can get for your games before you go.
  • I don't really see why anyone would buy an Xbox One S. Here's a simple flow chart to help you decide: 1. Do you have a 4K TV? No = Don't buy an Xbox One S; Get the original, cheaper Xbox One instead Yes = Wait for Scorpio because it'll actually take advantage of that 4K TV 2. See Question #1.
  • I think the only people who would be getting the S are those who don't already own an Xbox One at all.
  • Exactly. Or kids going to college who want something smaller.
  • I am planning to buy the 500GB version and pass on my current one to my dad. I am undecided on the Kinect due to lack of titles. My dad uses skype heavily and he will be happy to use the Kinect for that as well as for the very few titles that are available.
  • Voice control of TV and movies is pretty awesome. As is skype on Xbox one. As for newer Kinect games, FRU is actually pretty fantastic (if anyone has been on the fence about it, get it!)
  • I have the xbox one and just received the one s, moved the one into the sons bedroom and have one s in the lounge room and I definitely notice a sleeker performance and look
  • I agree. At first I thought it was some placebo effect but when my wife and daughters also noticed the dash ran snappier, I new I wasn't crazy. Awesome upgrade even with Scorpio next year.
  • A new machine is always going to be faster. After installing, deleting, using, etc., I'd be curious for you to do a comparison again. Or you could hard reset your old box to do a fairer comparison. I don't doubt it's faster but I'd bet both with nothing installed and recently reset would be faster than not.
  • The One S is confirmed to have a hardware boost via It's GPU and faster EsRam. Not sure why that's hard to believe. I installed all my games back into the HDD. Still faster. Also if you read my previous post you'd notice I traded my XB1 hence I can't do the test you suggested. Sorry.
  • But then, Scorpio would not be $299 for the 500 GB model (if there is one). You have to consider that. I'm pretty sure the S and Scorpio would be sold side by side during the next gen. Not everyone is interested in 4K gaming (or is willing or able to 'afford' it for that matter), hence the S. On the other hand, those that want the greatest would go for Scorpio. The significant price difference would create a natural coexistence. Car, TV, computer etc. manufacturers do this all the time (I think maybe Apple is one of the few premium or nothing companies)
  • "I think maybe Apple is one of the few premium or nothing companies"... Apple? Only if you considere premium prices and nothing on specs. ​All the ultra sports cars do that!
  • Pretty sure the iPhone 6S is the most powerful smartphone in the world right now. Certainly runs rings around the Nexus devices.
  • This is false, take a look at the specs. They are some of the lowest across all smartphones. I'm really not sure why people insist Apple has the most powerful devices ever as if they are some magic company that has access to parts that no one else has. They consistently use 1-2 year old parts and sell them at a premium. They are way behind on the latest technology, but still manage to sucker people into buying them. It's really quite bizarre once you manage to get past fanboyism.
  • You can't compare specs you compare real world performance. Besides Apple has their own processors, architecture and OS. Like how Windows Phone 7 and 8 ran really fast and lag free with really low specs. I own them all so no fanboy here.
  • Gotta agree here and im an nexus guy through and through......the iPhone is amazing how fast it is with a much lower specd processor.   Just amazing really. Closed off is why I don't use it.
  • Preface: All the not heavy gammers can get a slimmer quieter Xbox One S ! ​Note: You can skip the 2 questions all together. 
  • Does it output hi def audio? If not its kind of pointless having 4K video if you're using plain old Dolby Digital or DTS.
  • It does bitstream out or Dolby/DTS/Stereo. As to your "kind of pointless" I have to disagree. Not everyone who has a 4K TV necessarily has a ATMOS system, nor wants a 7.1 channel setup. You can enjoy a 65" 4K HDR TV and still have a digital stereo or even a speaker bar. I was a film projectionist for 17 years and setup/ran the first digital projectors in the country. I want decent sound, but I can't be bothered with going overboard on these systems. I have a 7.1 system but because we moved recently only running stereo + sub + center. No one cares. I swear the whole pro AV industry is maintained by guys in their 40's who just have disposable income. It's like the safer version of muscle cars mid-life.
  • Lol
  • Ok, if you say so, I guess guys in their 40's aren't welcome at your site either.....
  • I can see the logic here, but I think it misses the bigger picture.  When the PS3 was released, lots of people bought it because it was the cheapest blu-ray player at the time.  Then, as time passed and blu-ray players came down in price, people still bought it because it was perceived as being the best player around due to its power/speed and updates to support the latest features.like 3D, even if they weren't going to use it.  (I know several people who did this.) With this inability of the Xbox One S to bitstream the lossless audio formats (not just Atmos and DTS:X, but even the older Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio formats) the Xbox One S now has the perception - among people who care - of being a gimped 4K Blu-Ray player rather than a best of breed, or at least competitive Blu-Ray player.  And the thing is, these people will influence the rest, so the Xbox One S is immediately put on the defensive - "well, most people don't really need that...."  The One S doesn't even have a clear price advantage at this point either, though it is price competitive.  (Amazon has the Philips BDP7501 for $299 now, same as the 500GB Xbox One S.  Sure, it doesn't play games, but it does output bitstream audio.) There's a podcast I listen to ("AV Rant") and the episode that just came out covered this topic (if you listen, it starts at the 15 minute mark);  the host went on a major rant about this lack of bitstream support.  When one of the guys mentioned that they could update it to do that at some point, he pointed out that Microsoft hasn't fixed the bitstream issue on the original Xbox One, nor have the fixed the stupid bug where if it's set to output 7.1 channel PCM, and you play a source that only has 5.1 channel audio, it maps the surround channels to the surround backs, not the left/right surrounds.  So why would he expect Microsoft to fix this issue?  And this topic came up again briefly at a couple of points later in the podcast.  So how many listeners of that podcast are likely to purchase an Xbox One S for 4k Blu-Ray use without this being fixed?  Probably zero.  Sure they're a niche audience, but they'll have influence over others and this is how the perception spreads. If Microsoft, when releasing a new console, with new capabilities, around the time of a new system release had made their 4k Blu-Ray playback feature competitive as well as price competitive with other 4k players, it would have been a clear win.  But they didn't.  I think it was Thurrott that complained about Microsoft's inability to "finish the job", and this is another example.  If you're going to do something, do it right, or don't bother.
  • If that is so important to you will it make you feel better that Penello said it's not a hardware limitation and will arrive with a future firmware update?
  • It's not that it's personally important to me.  I'm running a 5.1 setup, and actually with the exception of my subwoofer, my audio system was last upgraded in the latter days of DVD/early days of Blu-Ray.  My receiver doesn't even support HDMI audio; I'm using optical.  But I am planning upgrades to my setup along with remodeling the 1960 vintage wood paneled finished basement that serves as my home theater.  Probably not for a year or two, though as I've got other projects ahead of it.  Don't know if I'll bother with height speakers, but I'll probably at least run wires for them to be ready if I do. What I do care about is Xbox (and Microsoft's associated platforms).  Microsoft has enough of an uphill battle anyway; they don't need self-inflicted wounds.  Yes, Albert Panello said that it was something they were planning to add (something like "more a matter of when, not if" was how he phrased it, I think. No timeline though.)  Great.  Why should anyone feel confident that Microsoft will follow through?  I mean just last year Microsoft publicly announced they were going to add OTA DVR functionality, and then this year it turns out that they're not going to do it.  At least not anytime soon, but maybe they will later.  Maybe.....  (Again, this isn't something I was personally interested in.  But Microsoft publicly promised it, and so far has failed to deliver.  Talk is cheap.) And the thing that really ticks me off about this issue is that it's not like this is a new concern with 4K Blu-Ray.  The audio issue is exactly the same as for the original Xbox One;  it simply won't output the direct bitstream from the Blu-Ray (audio formats on 4K Blu-Ray are the same as standard Blu-Ray.)  Microsoft has had nearly 3 years to address this, and haven't yet.  It's not like this is some esoteric capability either; I doubt you can find a Blu-Ray player from the last few years that doesn't offer bitstream output, even among the cheapest units on store shelves.
  • I can't answer as to why they scrapped the OTA DVR feature. Who knows, maybe it was a branding thing and the last thing they wanted was the word "DVR" attached to the XB1. The initial "TV TV" unveil did enough to damage the brand somewhat. But you can't use that one example and ignore everything else they've implemented all thanks to the feedback they've gotten since Spencer took over the Xbox division. This particular issue does seem like it will get done. You're right we don't know when but it was nice to see someone at MS acknowledge and comment on it.
  • Well said Dan. A very tiny percentage of people will go nuts over the audio. But frankly, the difference between what it outputs and full Atmos lossless is completely imperceptible to most people. Not that it's worthless or anything, and supporting it is certainly better than not, but the impact on sales will certainly be almost non existent.
  • Wrong......this is actually the attitude that has Sony eating ms lunch right now 
  • It's not just Atmos though, Xbox One/One S is also missing DTS Master audio and Dolby True HD. These formats have been around for years and are on pretty much every major Blu-Ray over the last 6 years. The audio experience on Xbox is no better than what was available 15 years ago and is at odds with the 4K HDR message the One S wants to run with.
  • Did you really believe this statement when you said it? You are the editor in chief? Would it be safe to assume that you believed Hillary was going to win in a landslide  then because you clearly don't listen to anything outside of your own personal exosphere. For one, anyone that has heard a really good 5.1 system all the way up through Atmos setups, immediately knows why a person would want it. It is the furthest thing from snake oil in the entertainment industry right now. Good speakers have been enhancing people's lives and their connections to movies, games and/or music since long before any of us were around. There is obviously a reason it's still around.  At the very same time people who think because they bought the best tv and/or computer that they are all set and no one tells them the smaller (thinner')the screen the crappier the speakers most Liikely be. So they miss out on so much of what the creators and stylists intended them to hear. If you purchased a new 4K 65 inch instead of a 70''( because you sit 7 feet from the tv anyway so you should have just got a 1080) and saved yourself 500 dollars you could get at least a 5.1 sound bar setup and for a tiny bit more a full 5.1 system with receiver and speakers. So sure there are people that go over the top with the hobby but there are people that do that building pc's or anything for that matter. I haven't even had a chance to mention headphones either. Another a/v product for 40 year old with disposable income, or the fastest growing sector in consumer electronics, ecpevtef to hit north of 23 billion by 2023. But yea, I really think you're on to something.    
  • Just FYI - the subtitle has a typo (it should be "Your", not "You" :) )
  • My thoughts, I have a 4k tv. I have a 4k upscaling bluray player, both stream 4k content well. I have an Xbox 1 and it plays my games well even have a 3tb eternal hooked up to it. I don't want white. I don't mind the larger size. I can buy a Bluetooth controller separately. 4k bluray discs are to expensive for movie buying currently. And gaming is not 4k yet in resolution. So for me I see no need to buy this new Xbox s. If 4k discs were cheaper I would think about it. Or if the Xbox s had a full windows internet experience I would probably move to it when its in black. But knowing all this the reg Xbox one is plenty for me. Considering I can game in 4k from pc to the TV just fine and reg blurays upscaled to 4k still looks pretty darn good. So yea my thoughts for me on staying with first gen.
  • I think a lot of the Xbox OneS sales will probably be from people who don't own a current generation Xbox One and not even remotely aware that Project Scorpio exists. Like many of those same people that go out and buy an iPhone 6S or Galaxy Note 5 the same day or in the same proximity of the new one being announced. One picture at a time -- LG V10
  • Wow Dan!!
    I have the Pro AV system and a Hot Rod!!
    But I guess that's Ok cause I'm in my 50's!!
  • I was in the Mirosoft Store to swap a Band 2 and the rep said they will give $135 for an Xbox One (console only). 
  • I have the Xbox One in my room with the kinect, and I have the Xbox 360 in the living room. Maybe I should replace the 360 with a Xbox One S and buy a new TV that supports 4K, but I only have 15Mb of bandwidth.  I need to invest more... then...  Maybe next year, or a X mas gift for myself.....
  • I'm considering it but I'm hoping Microsoft store gets a good trade in offer. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Well I don't have a 4K TV or a fast internet, nor do I rent or buy dvds...so as always I'LL wait 2-3 years before I buy it.
  • Xbox One S will most likely suck horrible!  I'll probably have to wait over 4 or 5 years. Besides not much changes from Xbox One to Xbox One S.
  • Same here, don't have a 4K TV and am limited to 1.5 mbps internet.... so this really doesn't benefit me at all. Besides I never really bought into the whole 4K thing. Think I'll just stick to 1080p and continue playing Halo on it.
  • Same here Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'd call "No Kinect" a positive
  • If I found it cheap enough, I'd buy one just to watch things on my TV and use Windows apps. It would also be cool to be able to stream from the PC to the Xbox One. Though definitely it's nice to have games which give you both versions when you buy them. I wouldn't want to have to buy games for a new system.
    But I'm digressing, here in my country these are way expensive so it doesn't make sense. I'd rather get a Surface Pro 4 or some kind of stick or mini-PC that allows light gaming.
  • After 10 years being a vey happy 360 owner I have progressed to the ONE S.
    Now I know u don't get the full amount of hard drive space advertised on any product, but getting 1.5 TB instead of 2.0 = 25% less than advertised, that right there is a bitter pill to swallow. 100-200 gb OK, but a full 25% swallowed by the OS and paraphernalia ?! Really?
    Add in the ridiculous load times- 6 games only partially installed because they literally take many hours each to install, then factor in the god awful UI and I am far from impressed with the S, albeit a Beautiful piece of hardware agreed.
    Have I bought a lemon? Does everyone else's write games at an average less than 5mbs a second?
    Please don't say leave it installing and go to work, TV has to be on so leaving my 65" Plasma running all day ISN'T an option, nor should it have to be.
    EDIT: AUGUST 8th:
    My biggest gripe had been the absurd load times, up to 12 hours for some games!!
    What I have just leant is the disc installs AND updates via the net at the same time. My internet therefore chokes the install speed down to around 5 mbs per second.
    If you have blinding fast internet, your installs are fast, slow internet= ridiculous install times.
    This needs to be publicised so people realise, disconnect from the internet, install the game in about 20 minutes, re connect then you are only waiting on the updates to install, not the entire disc.
    I still think I should be able to play directly from the disc to avoid the frustratingly long load times but at least I understand now. I thought my shiny new S was broken because it was taking a day too install some games.
  • Can anyone confirm this? For some reason it's rather hard to believe 500GB was taken by the operating system. Especially considering the 500GB console doesn't. I think you got a bad one. I would take it back and exchange it.
  • Don't forget that hard drive manufacturers always use decimal for capacities, but everyone else uses the binary sizes.  So a 2TB (terabyte) drive is 1.862TiB (Tebibytes).  This could account for a large chunck of your 'missing' space right there.  
  • i have an XBox One and gave my kids my 360, this X-Mas they gonna get a treat to the XBox One S and do some custom controllers for them. im about to be a new home owner and i want that for them but thats the only thing they getting for X-Mas. i currently saving my pennies for a October purchase of the console and then after X-Mas have them create their controllers, cant wait to see their faces
  • lack of Media Center support, or a real replacement for Media Center, is the one thing holding me back at this point. I have 2 XB1's and room for 2 more. But the 360 is a better solution for my purposes, for now.
  • I can afford one, but don't need to change, so will be waiting for the new XBox to come out next year
  • I might be alone in this crowd, but since they killed off Xbox fitness I am finished with this platform. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android