Last November I bought my son an Xbox Series S for his birthday. I also immediately felt jealousy because I wanted it for myself. Not enough to give him my Xbox Series X, but still. The Series S is an incredible little thing, and to my mind, perfects why you'd want to game on a console. It's small, it looks good in a home entertainment center, it's fairly affordable and it's backed up by the power of the Xbox ecosystem.
Sure, it's nowhere near as powerful as the Series X, but that's missing the point entirely. Consoles have never been as powerful as gaming PCs, but they have so many other benefits. The only thing I could ever fault the Xbox Series S on was its 512GB storage. It's just not enough, not even close.
It's taken too long in my opinion but Microsoft has finally fixed that with the launch of the new, 1TB Xbox Series S Carbon Black version, which also comes in a stealthy new paint job. Now, this tiny little box of tricks really is the best console that almost everyone could buy, and you're not going to convince me otherwise. Even if I do play my own games on a Series X.
The complete package
There's always been the option to add external storage, including the Seagate Xbox Series X|S Expansion Cards which you would require for Series X|S optimized games. Thanks to the new console, the added cost to double the Series S storage is below what the 512GB card would instead cost. It's actually comparable to just buying an external USB hard drive, which is less useful, and doesn't support current-gen games. Big green tick for Xbox.
But thinking more broadly, this version is now the one parents should buy for their kids. I've lost count of the times I've sneakily jumped onto my son's console to delete games he's not actually playing at that time just to pre-empt otherwise inevitable drama. Kids don't have the same concept of storage space, it seems. And having bought an Expansion Card for myself I definitely didn't fancy forking out for one for his console as well.
Let's also not forget the competition. It's still cheaper (though admittedly less powerful) than the most affordable PS5 by $50. I own the digital-only PS5, and I'd still recommend the Series S ahead of it. Especially in the current economic climate, we all face, this lower price point matters. It matters a lot. But shy of sheer graphical horsepower, 4K output (and a disc drive, I guess) the Series S doesn't lose out. It's fast, it supports high frame rates, ray tracing, and all that jazz. It's brilliant.
The enthusiasts will still gravitate towards the Xbox Series X or the PS5, and they'll be happy to pay the premium for it. But the mass market is where the 1TB Series S should shine. And it couldn't come at a better time. Microsoft just announced the Series X will cost more in a significant number of global markets, including the UK. That added price difference makes the Series S even more attractive as we trundle toward the latter half of the year. Gift buying time.
Nothing about playing on the Xbox Series S has ever felt poor. Despite being lesser-powered, it never feels this way. It's a proper console experience. Affordable, fun to play on, and easy to live with.
A perfect console for all gamers
Xbox has no games. That's the meme, right? Whatever the so-called "hardcore gamers" may think, it's total nonsense. And I speak as both an Xbox gamer and a parent. Xbox Game Pass might be about to cost a little more, but that's fine. It exists, and it's already worth so much more than its price tag.
The majority of games on my son's Series S come from Xbox Game Pass, with a few notables from Xbox Games With Gold. And thanks to the cloud, I can at least pretend I don't need to upgrade him to the 1TB version (for now). There's a ton to play and a ton more to come. And hey, at least on the Xbox Series S you won't be lumbered with a lower frame rate in Starfield compared to it's sibling!
I'm really happy that this console finally exists. It's what we needed all along. Never mind my son, now I've got to try and avoid buying one for myself.
Xbox Series S — 1TB
The 1TB version of the Xbox Series S comes equipped with a slick new colorway and a still-attractive price point of $349.99. Launching Sept. 1, you can preorder starting today.
Preorder from: Microsoft
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine